What is a carrier oil and why do we use MCT oil? | Hemp Leith

What is a carrier oil and why do we use MCT oil?

Jar of MCT oil with coconut in background

CBD and MCT oil

Why we use MCT oil as a carrier oil?

MCT oil is a type of coconut oil, clear and subtly sweet, if not tasteless, a welcome respite for those who find the flavour of hemp seed oil overpowering. This also makes it an easy addition to any salad, smoothie, coffee or any other recipes you have in mind, as it won’t change the taste or appearance of the dish.

MCT oil or medium-chain triglycerides, is a ‘fractionated’ coconut oil, meaning that the medium-chain fatty acids have been separated out from the long-chain fatty acids. MCT oil is made up of fatty acids or a chain of carbon atoms: C6 (caproic acid) C8 (caprylic acid) C10 (capric acid) and C12 (lauric acid). Triglycerides are simply a type of fat that are made of either saturated, unsaturated or both types of fat, MCT oil is a saturated fat. A chain of carbon atoms below 6 are known as short chain and above 12, long chain.

What, then, is a carrier oil and why is it important?

Carrier oils are plant-based oils that the CBD extracted from hemp are diffused into or ‘carried’ inside of.  CBD extracted from the hemp plant comes as a concentrated powder. Not only would it be difficult for consumers to figure out how much CBD they are getting when trying to dose CBD in its powdered state, much of the CBD would be destroyed by the digestive tract. Carrier oils make it easier to know how much CBD you’re taking and (MCT especially) protects CBD from being destroyed during digestion.
So, how does CBD diffused in a carrier oil make it easier for you to know exactly how much CBD you’re getting per dose?

Take one of our 500mg CBD oils for example. Our bottles are 10ml in volume and contains 500mgs of CBD in total, the dropper, used to dose the CBD oil, carries 1ml when full. Meaning, that if you fill the 1ml dropper it will contain 50mg, only want 25mg? Fill the dropper halfway.
To be extra clear, a full 1ml dropper is 10% of the whole 10ml bottle containing 500mg, 10% of 500mg equals 50mg.

What makes MCT oil a super-efficient carrier oil?

MCT oil protects CBD from being destroyed in the digestive process increasing its bioavailability.
Normally CBD would be broken down and expelled in the liver (and often is with other carrier oils), however as CBD is fat soluble ( your liver loves fatty acids)  CBD carried in a saturated fat such as MCT oil is taken up into the bloodstream and circulated throughout the body,  increasing the absorption rate

It’s best practise to drop CBD oil under your tongue and hold it there for as long as possible. Although, inevitably some will end up in your digestive tract. Since MCT is made up of fatty acids and CBD is fat soluble, the CBD/MCT coupling makes for the most efficient blend.

What are the health benefits of MCT oil?

Aside from MCT oil increasing the bioavailability of CBD, MCT oil is used for a variety of health reasons. Unlike LCTs, MCTs go straight to the liver (1). Here they are taken up and used rapidly as an energy source rather than stored as fat.

Additionally, MCT oil can also aid in weight loss. MCT oil has been implicated in the production of hormones that produce the experience of fullness (2). Furthermore, compared to coconut oil (LCTs), those who eat MCT oil in the morning eat less at lunch (3). Finally, in comparison to LCTs, MCTs have been found to increase the release of energy in the body and lead to a greater reduction in bodyweight (4), (5), (6).

There have been concerns that MCTs could adversely affect metabolic profiles, however this is usually in regard to LCTs such as coconut oil. Studies on MCTs have found that they don’t negatively affect metabolism, likely due to being medium-chain (7).

Furthermore, many otherwise metabolically healthy individuals still suffer from obesity. Gut bacteria has been found to be a determining factor in diseases related to obesity. These include endotoxemia, intestinal and systemic inflammation and insulin resistance. Due to MTCs improving metabolic health by enhancing the intestinal ecosystem and permeability, MTCs could be used to reduce weight by mitigation of obesity-related diseases via  modification of gut bacteria (8).

MCTs may also aid in athletic performance. Compared to LCTs, a study of lactic acid build-up during moderate/high intensity workouts in ‘recreational athletes’ engaged in cycling exercises. Researchers found that MCTs supress lactate build up and extend duration of high intensity workouts (9).

However, there are mixed results in MCTs effect on exercising. Some studies find that they are benificial to weight loss but have no effect on exercise performance (10).

Summary

In sum, as MCTs increase bioavailability of CBD, taste great and boast a variety of health benefits, why not support your health and wellbeing and try one of our CBD/MCT oils in our shop.