The 9 Best MCT Oils of 2021, According to a Dietitian

How to choose an MCT oil that is right for you

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Best MCT Oils

Verywell Fit / Sabrina Jiang

MCT oil, short for medium-chain triglyceride oil, is a supplement widely used to increase energy and promote fat loss. The oil is composed of easily digested fatty acids that differ in carbon chain length—caproic acid (C6, or six carbon atoms), caprylic acid (C8), capric acid (C10), and lauric acid (C12)—and are processed differently than other dietary fats. They’re absorbed directly from the digestive system into the liver, and broken into ketones—the fuel the body produces when it converts fat to fuel.

“MCTs are absorbed directly from the intestines without needing transport molecules called chylomicrons which all other forms of fat require," says Dr. Steven Gundry, cardiothoracic surgeon, NY Times best-selling author, pioneer in nutrition, and medical director at The International Heart and Lung Institute Center for Restorative Medicine. As such, they are taken directly to the liver "where C8 and C10 are converted into ketone bodies (or ketones) which are water-soluble fat molecules that are capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier to be used as an alternative fuel for glucose” explains Dr. Gundry.

Foods such as dairy products and coconut oil naturally contain MCTs; however, many people choose a supplement to help them reap extensive health benefits. Historically used to manage epilepsy, research suggests that MCT oil may help to boost brain power, improve exercise performance, suppress hunger, and support a healthy gut.

What to Look for in an MCT Oil Supplement

Form:

MCT oil supplements come in a variety of formats, including liquid, powder, and pills. Consider how you will consume the supplement when selecting the best option for your individual needs.

Processing:

Many oils are processed using potentially harmful ingredients or methods. To select the best quality product, look for an MCT oil that is hexane-free. If choosing coconut oil, look for a cold-processed oil.

Flavors:

Some MCT oils are flavored to improve taste and palatability. To avoid artificial ingredients and sweeteners, choose an unflavored product. Coconut-derived products—including coconut oil—generally have a naturally nutty, coconut flavor. If you don't like coconut, a C8 oil may be preferable to you.

Certifications:

To ensure you are selecting the highest quality MCT oil, look for a USDA Organic or Non-GMO Project Verified product.

It’s also beneficial to select an MCT supplement that has been third-party tested. This means an independent organization has reviewed the manufacturing process and it has been independently established that the final product complies with specific safety, quality, or performance standards.

MCT Oil Dosage

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

There are currently no established dosage recommendations or tolerable upper intake level for MCT Oil. Most studies conducted have used between 1.7 to 48 grams per day. It’s been suggested that 50-100 grams of MCT oil per day is the maximum recommended dose.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best time to take MCT Oil?

    You can take MCT oil at any time of the day, but the "best time" for you may depend on your goals. If you're looking to boost fat loss or extend a fasting period, using MCT oil in the morning may be best. It's easy to mix into a cup of coffee or tea. If you're looking for a pre-workout boost or a bit of quick energy throughout the day, MCTs convert quickly to usable energy, so you can use it throughout the day. Some MCT oil fans recommend taking MCT oil with dinner or before bedtime to boost sleep quality.

    There is no one right answer when it comes to the best timing for this supplement, so experiment with what works best for you.

  • Which type of MCT Oil is best?

    There are four types of MCTs: caproic acid (C6), caprylic acid (C8), capric acid (C10), and lauric acid (C12). If you're looking for a highly ketogenic MCT oil, you may want to select a 100 percent C8 oil. However, if you prefer a mix of MCTs, a coconut oil-based product may be best for you. Avoid cooking with C8 or using the oil in hot dishes.

    Coconut oil is generally solid at room temperature, so be cautious to avoid clumps when blending it into cold beverages like smoothies. With its higher smoke point, coconut oil is suitable for medium-high heat cooking.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science, as well as clinically tested and approved for use in humans. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. These attributes include non-GMO, Organic, and allergy-friendly products that are free of most artificial ingredients including colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners. When possible, we recommend products that are third-party tested and certified.

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

Here, the best MCT oil supplements:

Best Overall: Bulletproof Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil

Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil
Pros
  • Flavorless, can add to any food or beverage

Cons
  • 100 percent caprylic acid triglycerides

One of the early leaders in the MCT oil space, Bulletproof continues to live up to its stellar reputation and delivers a high-quality, high-value product with its Brain Octane Oil. The potent oil is made up of 100 percent caprylic acid triglycerides from coconut oil, offering 14 grams per tablespoon. The C8MCT produces ketones more efficiently than other forms of MCT's so you may feel full and focused for longer. The chemical-free distillation process uses only water, heat, and pressure, rather than cheaper solvents such as hexane, resulting in a product that is pure and clean.

The flavorless oil is delicious blended into coffee or tea, added to smoothies, or mixed into a salad dressing. The easy-to-pour bottle has a great grip and is uniquely created to give you a precise pour without drips. It also features a plug to reseal and preserve the oil, so you can take it with you on the go without worrying about oily leaks.

Key nutrients: Caprylic acid triglycerides | Vegan: Yes, not certified | Gluten-free: Yes, not certified | Non-GMO: Yes, not certified | Organic: No | Additives: None

Best Overall Runner-Up: Kiss My Keto C8 MCT Oil

Kiss My Keto C8 MCT Oil
Pros
  • Flavorless - variety of applications

  • 100 percent caprylic acid triglycerides

  • Glass packaging with pump for ease of use

Cons
  •  Not organic

If you're looking for a top-quality caprylic acid-only MCT oil, Kiss My Keto MCT Oil Brain Fuel is a great choice. This tasteless and odorless MCT gives you an immediate boost, mixing easily into your favorite beverage or salad dressing without altering the flavor. Each tablespoon offers 15 grams of caprylic acid from coconuts, helping to boost your ketone production more efficiently than any other type of MCT oil.

The high-quality oil comes in in a glass bottle with a pump, which makes elevating your morning coffee simple. It's important to note that MCT oil has a low smoke point—the temperature at which the oil burn, produces smoke, and degrades—so it should not be heated or generally used in cooking. However, Kiss My Keto recommends drizzling the oil over a finished warm dish, incorporating it into a keto-friendly dessert, or very lightly sautéing it with vegetables.

Key nutrients: Caprylic acid triglycerides | Vegan: Yes, not certified | Gluten-free: Yes, not certified | Non-GMO: No | Organic: No | Additives: None

Best Budget: Nature's Way Organic MCT Oil From Coconut

Nature's Way Organic MCT Oil From Coconut
Pros
  • Affordable

  • 100 percent USDA organic

  • Certified keto, paleo, and vegan

Cons
  • Blend of capric and caprylic acid triglycerides

Proving that you don’t have to sacrifice quality to get a bargain, Nature's Way offers an inexpensive MCT oil that's 100% USDA organic and provides 14 grams of medium-chain triglycerides per one tablespoon serving. It supplies a mix of 7.7 grams of caprylic acid and 5 grams of capric acid per serving. While research suggests that 100-percent caprylic acid supplements are best for enhancing the body's production of ketones, capric acid contributes, just at a lower rate.

The gluten-free, vegetarian liquid is also certified vegan, paleo, and keto. It's made from premium coconuts with no palm or filler oils and processed without harmful chemical solvents like hexane.

Key nutrients: Capric and caprylic acid triglycerides | Vegan: Yes, certified | Gluten-free: Yes, not certified | Non-GMO: Yes, certified | Organic: Yes, certified | Additives: None

Best Budget Runner-Up: Dr. Bronner's Organic Fresh Pressed Unrefined Coconut Oil

Dr. Bronner's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Pros
  • Affordable

  • 100 percent USDA organic 

Cons
  • Low in caprylic acid compared to others on the list

  • Not flavorless - may not taste good in some applications

Another budget-friendly option, Dr. Bronner's Regenerative Organic Coconut Oil, is a top pick for anyone who is looking to add MCTs into their routine but isn't quite ready to commit to a more expensive, specialized 100% MCT oil. Coconut oil is approximately 50% lauric acid, with about 8% caprylic and 7% capric acid. This versatile kitchen staple can be used to add MCTs to your diet but also has multipurpose applications as a moisturizing beauty product and medium-high heat cooking oil.

Dr. Bronner's whole kernel virgin coconut oil is Certified Fair Trade and USDA Organic. It's cold-pressed from fresh coconuts to provide a delicious coconut flavor to any recipe, including stir-frys, baked goods, and even coffee. Research suggests that coconut oil is less ketogenic than other MCT oils; however, it may be a more efficient energy source. Note that coconut oil is generally solid around 76 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, so it may clump when added to cold drinks and beverages.

Key nutrients: Lauric acid, capric acid, caprylic acid triglycerides | Vegan: Yes, certified | Gluten-free: Yes, not certified | Non-GMO: Yes, certified | Organic: Yes, certified | Additives: None

What Experts Say

"Medium-chain triglycerides' short length helps make them more easily absorbed since they do not require bile or pancreatic enzymes for absorption. There is a difference in the quality of MCT oils, but it is hard for consumers to tell because brands are not required to list out each MCT. When selecting an MCT oil, choose a brand that lists out the MCTs contained. The most ketogenic MCT oil contains more short MCTs (C6 to C9) as opposed to longer MCTs (C10 and C12)." —Pegah Jalali, MS, RD

Best Flavorless: Natural Force Best Value Premium MCT Oil

Natural Force Best Value Premium MCT Oil
Pros
  • Flavorless, can add to any food or beverage

  • Project Non-GMO-, Vegan-, Keto-, Paleo-, and Kosher-Certified

Cons
  • Coconut oil is lower in caprylic acid compared to other sources

If you're looking to supplement with MCT oil, but don't want to change the taste of the beverage or food you're mixing it with, consider a flavorless option. Known for their premium, clean supplements in non-toxic and eco-friendly packaging, Natural Force offers an effective, tasteless, and odorless MCT oil.

The Certified Vegan, Non-GMO Project Verified MCT oil is responsibly sourced from the Philippines and Sri Landa. The product is free of palm oil, a saturated fat that harms the environment. Each one-tablespoon serving contains 5.2 grams caprylic acid (C8), 3.4 grams capric acid (C10), and 3.8 grams lauric acid (C12).

Key nutrients: Capric acid, caprylic acid, lauric acid triglycerides | Vegan: Yes, certified | Gluten-free: Yes, certified | Non-GMO: Yes, certified | Organic: No | Additives: None

Best Hexane-Free: Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Brain Health 100% Organic Coconut MCT Oil

Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Brain Health
Pros
  • Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Certified

  • Lower amounts of Lauric acid than other coconut MCT Oil products

Cons
  • Slight coconut flavor may not taste good in some recipes

Some companies use hexane, a potentially harmful chemical solvent, to extract vegetable oils like MCTs from plant seeds. Research suggests that hexane may damage the nervous system, so it choosing a hexane-free product is prudent. Garden of Life's 100% Organic Coconut MCT Oil is not only hexane-free, but it's also USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified.

The unflavored supplement offers 7 grams caprylic acid (C8), 5 grams capric acid (C10), and 1 gram lauric acid (C12) per tablespoon. Unlike most coconut-derived MCT oils, this product contains lower amounts of lauric acid and higher quantities of ketogenic C8, providing fast fuel for the brain. Garden of Life recommends using the MCT oil in coffee, shakes, yogurt, or on salads but notes that it's not intended for cooking.

Key nutrients: Caprylic acid, capric acid, Lauric acid triglycerides | Vegan: Yes, not certified | Gluten-free: Yes, not certified | Non-GMO: Yes, certified | Organic: Yes, certified | Additives: None

Best Powder: Perfect Keto MCT Oil C8 Powder

Perfect Keto MCT Oil C8 Powder
Pros
  • Variety of flavors to choose from

Cons
  • Powder not as versatile for cooking

If you want to get the benefits of liquid MCT oil but want to avoid the mess that oils can make or unpleasant side effects such as stomach upset, then this powder from Perfect Keto is for you. Made with MCTs derived from coconuts, each one scoop serving contains 10,000 milligrams of MCTs. It's a portable, easy-to-mix powder that adds a smooth, easy-to-digest boost of MCTs to smoothies, coffee, and baked goods.

Of note, the unflavored powder contains a small amount of keto-friendly dietary fiber—acacia fiber—which is typically lacking in high-fat diets and can help to improve digestion. It's lightly sweetened with stevia and comes in a variety of flavors, including chocolate, salted caramel, vanilla, and matcha.

Key nutrients: Capric acid, caprylic acid, lauric acid triglycerides | Vegan: No | Gluten-free: Yes, not certified | Non-GMO: No | Organic: No | Additives: Natural flavors, gum acacia, stevia

Best Pills: Kiss My Keto MCT Oil Capsules

Kiss My Keto MCT Oil Capsules
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Travel friendly

Cons
  • Blend of capric and caprylic acid triglycerides

Traveling with MCT oil or powders can be a hassle, especially when you have to go through airport security. Some people also just dislike drinking an oily liquid and aren't a fan of smoothies or blended beverages. That’s where MCT soft gel capsules come in. They’re portable and convenient, but still have the same benefits as MCT oil in other forms. These MCT capsules from Kiss My Keto are sourced from non-GMO, 100 percent coconuts, and contain no palm oil, chemicals, or artificial flavors. They’re also gluten-free, easy to digest, and gentle on the stomach.

If you decide you'd like to boost your beverage on-the-go, you can dissolve the capsules in a hot beverage like coffee or tea with no need for mixing or blending. They’re entirely flavorless, so you won’t even notice the difference. As with other MCT oils, you should gradually build up to a full serving (three capsules).

Key nutrients: Capric acid and caprylic acid triglycerides | Vegan: No | Gluten-free: Yes, not certified | Non-GMO: Yes, not certified | Organic: No | Additives: No, but capsule made from gelatin and glycerin

Best Organic: Nutiva Organic MCT Oil

Nutiva Organic MCT Oil
Pros
  • Flavorless and odorless

  • Non-GMO Project Verified

Cons
  • Blend of capric and caprylic acid triglycerides

Extracted from fresh, non-GMO, 100 percent USDA organic coconuts, Nutiva Organic MCT oil is free of filler oils, chemicals, and additives. It’s neutrally flavored, so even those who have very sensitive noses or particular tastes can enjoy it in their homemade salad dressings, sauces, and smoothies. Add it to your coffee or other morning beverage for a burst of energy to start the day—and sustain you for hours.

Each tablespoon contains 7.3 grams caprylic acid (C8), 5 grams capric acid (C10), and 0.7 grams lauric acid (C12).

Key nutrients: Capric acid and caprylic acid triglycerides | Vegan: Yes, certified | Gluten-free: Yes, not certified | Non-GMO: Yes, certified | Organic: Yes, certified | Additives: None

Final Verdict

For an excellent MCT oil, try Bulletproof's Brain Octane Oil (view at Amazon). This MCT oil is composed entirely of caprylic acid triglycerides, which produce ketones more efficiently than other types of MCTs.

Another great choice is Garden of Life 100% Organic Coconut MCT Oil (view at Walmart). This option is hexane-free and organic. It has a more desirable triglyceride profile than other coconut oils, as it has less lauric acid and more ketogenic caprylic acid.

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