The recent swell of interest in the ketogenic diets has also brought on keto supplements. As any keto dieter knows, high amounts of healthy fats are the foundation of maintaining a state of ketosis, serving as fuel for the body and brain once they are no longer dependent on glucose / glycogen.
King among these supplemental healthy fats is medium-chain triglyceride oil, which you’ll see more commonly as MCT Oil, which is derived from coconut oil.
There’s been an explosion of MCT-based products, led by the well-known BulletProof brand.
Picking up where the biohacking behemoth left off, a startup named Nuton (pronounced “Newton”) has released their own version of an MCT oil, titled Nuton Brainfood, an ultra-pure MCT oil that’s marketed to be more effective than any other MCT oil supplement on the market — and it’s far more budget-friendly than competitors such as BulletProof’s XCT Oil, with a better bottle to boot.
We’ve got all the info down below, but first, take a moment to check the best deal and sign up for alerts from PricePlow:
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What is MCT Oil? (Not just for keto dieters)
For those of you unaware of the hype behind MCT oil, it’s best to provide some background.
MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides. When discussing fats, there are three different kinds — short, medium, and long:
- Short-chains contain 5 or fewer carbon atoms,
- Medium-chains have 6-12 carbons, and
- Long-chain fatty acids contain over 12 carbon atoms in their chain.
Generally speaking, the fewer carbons a fat has, the faster the body can break it down (and the fewer enzymatic processes it requires) to convert it into usable energy in the mitochondria, your cells’ “power plants”.
What fatty acid chains are in MCT Oil and why isn’t that good enough?
MCTs are easily digested and absorbed by the body and provide immediate and prolonged energy. In total, there are 4 different kinds of MCT oils:
- Caproic Acid (C6 – 6 carbons)
- Caprylic Acid, also called Octanoic acid (C8 – 8 carbons)
- Capric Acid, also called Decanoic acid (C10 – 10 carbons)
- Lauric Acid, also called Dodecanoic acid (C12 – 12 carbons).
The issue with lauric acid: is it really a true MCT?
While lauric acid is technically classified as a medium-chain triglyceride (due to its 12 carbon structure), it can also be grouped into the long-chain family due to its unique chemical composition which makes it functions more similar to a long-chain triglyceride.
Truth be told, Lauric acid more readily behaves as a long-chain triglyceride in the body, which means you don’t get the immediate energy like you do from the other “true” medium-chain fats. It’s processed by the liver, as opposed to MCTs which bypass the liver and are immediately taken up for use as energy by the brain and body.[2,3]
So the theory behind Nuton’s Ultra-Pure MCT Oil is to further refine it down, and get that lauric acid out of there — leaving only the shortest medium chains to help you get your energy nearly immediately.
So the two MCTs that we really want to key in on are Caprylic Acid (C8) and Capric Acid (C10), the two fatty acids in Nuton Brainfood (and their doses are 100% fully disclosed!)
Roles of C8 and C10
Caprylic Acid is the 8 carbon chain fatty acid MCT and might be the most potent of all the MCTs. Outside of the caloric energy it provides, it’s an incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial fat that’s been shown in research to treat a vast array of conditions including everything from frequent urination to chronic upper respiratory infections. It’s even combats yeast infections and skin conditions as well as lowers the risk of developing antibiotic resistance.[4,5]
Capric acid is the 10-carbon chain fatty acid that also bypasses the liver and is readily taken up into your mitochondria for energy. Similarly to caprylic acid, outside of its caloric energy, capric acid is an equally potent antiviral and antimicrobial compound that fights viruses, bacteria and the yeast Candida albicans (Candida).
Studies have shown that Capric acid can reduce inflammatory activity against bone tissue, which indicates it may be useful in preventing osteoporosis and bone loss!
Safety studies on MCT Oil (30g/day)
Many of you reading this are probably thinking it’s crazy to supplement with a product that is pure saturated fat. After all, common thinking is that excess saturated fat intake will lead you to a quick death due to clogged arteries. But, that’s not exactly true….
Research has shown that individuals consuming 30 grams per day of MCT for 30 days did NOT adversely impact insulin, triglycerides, serum glucose, cholesterol, free fatty acids, body weight, or BMI.
This would be roughly two “heaping” tablespoons of Nuton Brainfood – one in your morning coffee, and one pre-workout or during your workout to get you through the day!
Nuton Ultra-Pure MCT Oil / Brainfood Ingredients
So, now we circle back to the original point of this post — Nuton Brainfood!
Each serving of the Ultra-Pure Brainfood is concentrated to contain only Caprylic Acid (C8) and Capric Acid (C10), the two oils we’re most interested if wanting to optimize performance and brain function fast.
1 serving of Brainfood constitutes 1 Tablespoon of oil (15ml) and contains the following macros:
- Calories: 125
- Fats: 14g (14g saturated fat)
- C8:0 – Caprylic Acid: 7.7g
- C10:0 – Capric Acid: 6.3g
- Protein: 0g
- Carbs: 0g
Nuton vs. BulletProof XCT
Compare this to BulletProof XCT Oil, which has a proprietary blend of capric and caprylic acids — and they have capric acid first! This means that XCT can legally change from batch to batch, possibly even providing 99.9% capric acid and 0.01% caprylic acid!
That’s not the case with Nuton – we know exactly what we’re getting with them, each and every time.
More than just the nice packaging: the spout!
If you’ve ever bought a plain bottle of MCT Oil (including XCT mentioned above), you’ll know that those large spouts are very difficult to pour well – you either get too much, or you have the oil run down the side of the bottle.
To remedy that problem, Nuton’s got a spout that pours a perfect, thin stream of ultra-pure MCT! This is similar to the spouts you see on the high-end bottles of olive oil and the like. No more nasty dribbles!
What about Coconut Oil?
Reading all about MCT oils, you might wonder — “why not just supplement with coconut oil?”
Well you could, as coconut oil is rife with MCTs, but coconut oil is high in the longer types of fatty acid chains while a concentrated MCT oil product, like Brainfood, is higher in the shorter chains. Meanwhile, standard coconut oil isn’t liquid when it’s cold, so it can’t be used easily in any type of cold drink or smoothie.
Really, it depends on what the purpose of your MCT oil consumption is — if you’re looking for a cheap, healthy fat for cooking or skin and hair care, go with the coconut oil.
But if you’re looking for that fast-acting energy and cognition without working your liver, the higher amounts of C8 and C10 in a concentrated MCT oil is where you want to go. The reason is that while coconut oil contains on average 7 different types of saturated fatty acids, including capric, caproic, caprylic, myristic, palmitic, and stearic.
Meanwhile, lauric acid accounts for over 50% of the saturated fat composition in coconuts, and if you remember from up top, lauric acid isn’t a true blue MCT in the sense that we’re keying on here.
Nuton recommends consuming 1 tablespoon per day until tolerance is assessed. Following that, you may consume up to 3 servings (i.e. 3 tablespoons) per day.
This is a supplement, so use it to supplement the fat gaps in your diet. Most people like this as a morning coffee boost to get the ketones going (see Mike’s MCT Oil video below to understand beta-oxidation into ketogenesis), and taking it pre workout through intra workout is also another great use!
Mike explains how MCT Oil works
While Bulletproof might be the most well known brand for brain-boosting fat products, they’re often a bit too pricey for the average consumer, and that proprietary blend means you might not get something consistent from batch to batch.
At PricePlow, we place a premium on companies that provide high quality products at an affordable price. If you’ve been curious about the benefits of high-end MCT oil supplementation, but didn’t want to shell out the high dollars for a product like XCT, Nuton Brainfood might just be the option for you.
Take 1 tablespoon to start your day and experience the brain-boosting benefits for yourself… and once you use a product with that nice spout, you’ll never go back to the cheap packaging provided by the competition!
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- Tetrick MA, Greer FR, Benevenga NJ. Blood D-(–)-3-Hydroxybutyrate Concentrations after Oral Administration of Trioctanoin, Trinonanoin, or Tridecanoin to Newborn Rhesus Monkeys (Macaca mulatta). Comparative Medicine. 2010;60(6):486-490. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3002109/
- Kirschner, S. L., Harris, R. S.; “The Effects of Chain Length on the Metabolism of Saturated Fatty Acids by the Rat”; The Journal of Nutrition; Vol. 73 no. 4 397-402; April 1, 1961; http://jn.nutrition.org/content/73/4/397.extract
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- Omura Y, O’Young B, Jones M, Pallos A, Duvvi H, Shimotsuura Y. Caprylic acid in the effective treatment of intractable medical problems of frequent urination, incontinence, chronic upper respiratory infection, root canalled tooth infection, ALS, etc., caused by asbestos & mixed infections of Candida albicans, Helicobacter pylori & cytomegalovirus with or without other microorganisms & mercury. Acupunct Electrother Res. 2011;36(1-2):19-64. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21830350
- Hoshimoto A, Suzuki Y, Katsuno T, Nakajima H, Saito Y. Caprylic acid and medium-chain triglycerides inhibit IL-8 gene transcription in Caco-2 cells: comparison with the potent histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2002;136(2):280-286. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0704719. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1573354/
- Kim H-J, Yoon H-J, Kim S-Y, Yoon Y-R. A Medium-Chain Fatty Acid, Capric Acid, Inhibits RANKL-Induced Osteoclast Differentiation via the Suppression of NF-κB Signaling and Blocks Cytoskeletal Organization and Survival in Mature Osteoclasts. Molecules and Cells. 2014;37(8):598-604. doi:10.14348/molcells.2014.0153. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4145371/
- Courchesne-Loyer A., Fortier M., Tremblay-Mercier J., Chouinard-Watkins R., Roy M., Nugent S., et al. (2013). Stimulation of mild, sustained ketonemia by medium-chain triacylglycerols in healthy humans: estimated potential contribution to brain energy metabolism. Nutrition 29 635–640. 10.1016/j.nut.2012.09.009 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23274095