Coconut oil has been prized for its health benefits. In addition to supporting health, coconut oil can be used in many recipes to cook delicious foods with a nutty flavor. In fact, coconut oil is marketed as a superfood.
Coconut oil is high in healthy fats called medium-chain fatty acids, which can significantly improve your metabolism. Fractionated coconut oil is derived from coconut oil. It is said to consist of two medium-chain fatty acids. Regular coconut oil is solid at room temperature and melts when exposed to heat. Fractionated coconut oil on the other hand, can maintain its liquid form even under refrigeration. This article explores the health benefits of fractionated coconut oil.
What Is Fractionated Coconut Oil?
Fractionated coconut oil is a simply an oil processed from regular coconut oil. Both of these fats are an excellent source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), containing fatty acids of about six to twelve carbon atoms. However, the composition of fatty acids in fractionated and regular coconut oil is different. In particular, regular coconut oil consists of 12-carbon lauric acid (C12). However, in fractionated coconut oil, this fatty acid has been removed. Additionally, coconut oil does not contain long-chain fatty acids. For this reason, fractionated coconut oil is mainly made up of the following medium-chain fatty acids – caprylic acid or octanoic acid (C8) and capric acid or decanoic acid (C10). Noteworthy, the metabolism of all medium-chain fatty acids is different from other fats. Upon digestion in the digestive tract, they are transported to the liver, where they can be used as an immediate source of energy. Similarly, they can be converted into ketones, which numerous studies have shown that may benefit people with epilepsy. Unlike regular coconut oil which has a strong odor and white in color, fractionated coconut oil is tasteless, odorless, and is priced higher than regular coconut oil.
Processing of Fractionated Coconut Oil
From its name, fractionated coconut oil is processed by fractionation. This process is usually used to create new products for consumers and involves separating different types of fats occurring naturally in some fats. Fractionation uses melting point to separate these fats. For example, the melting point of most long-chain fatty acids and lauric acid is higher than that of capric acid and caprylic acid. For this reason, they will solidify as soon as they start cooling. Though the process of fractionation can last for several hours, it ensures that coconut oil is heated above its melting point. After leaving it to cool, the solid part of the oil can easily be separated from the liquid.
Fractionated Coconut Oil May Support Weight Loss
Consumption of vegetable oil has been associated with many complications on health, including weight gain. Adding MCTs to your diet, which largely makes up fractionated coconut oil, can help you lose weight. Studies indicate that MCTs can support weight loss because they increase feelings of fullness which in turn reduces your calorie intake. They also increase the metabolism of fat and calories, which sheds down the extra pound. Lastly, MCTs cannot be stored as fat in your body. That said, the amount of weight that can be lost is very small. One study indicate that they can only lead to a weight loss of 0.5 kg in 21 days.
Fractionated Coconut Oil Contains Healthy Fatty Acids
Capric acid and caprylic acid are the two fatty acids found in fractionated coconut oil and they are healthier than other fats. Studies suggest that these acids may help reduce total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. They may also elevate the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood, thus lowering the risk of heart disease. Other studies also suggest that MCTs may improve brain health by supplying quick energy to this vital organ. Since they can be converted into ketones, MCTs may help prevent seizures in epileptic patients, treat Alzheimer’s disease, among other neurological conditions.
MCTs Encourages Fat Burning
Many people in the Western world are obese. While it is true that the number of calories play a role in causing obesity, the source of these calories is also a key factor. The hormonal actions and your body’s responses are affected by the types of food you eat. Studies indicate that the MCTs in fractionated coconut oil can elevate the number of calories your body breaks down as opposed to longer-chain fatty acids.
May Reduce Hunger
MCTs are celebrated for their ability to increase and prolong feelings of fullness. Given that they can be metabolized by converting them into ketones, your hunger can be kept at bay for long. Evidence suggest that eating foods high in MCTs can drastically reduce your calorie intake per day.
May Help Treat Seizures
Epilepsy is a neurological condition characterized by seizures. Brain cells can shut off for a moment if they don’t receive sufficient energy promptly. Scientists are currently looking into the ketogenic diet, which restricts the intake of carbs but high in fat. The ketogenic diet is thought to be effective at treating epilepsy that has failed to respond to drugs in children. It exerts its therapeutic effect by reducing the number of seizures by concentrating ketones in the blood, which are used by the brain. Since the MCTs in fractionated coconut oil are transported directly to the liver and turned into ketones, it is thought that this oil may also help treat epilepsy.
Fractionated Coconut Oil May Elevate HDL (good) Cholesterol
The fats in fractionated coconut oil have been shown to increase the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) “good” cholesterol in your body. They may also help prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) “bad” cholesterol. By doing these, health experts think that fractionated coconut oil may protect against heart disease compared to other fats.
May Help Manage Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
Dementia is one of the common mental problems in older adults, and in most cases caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by poor use of glucose for energy by the brain. Studies suggest that ketones – simple forms of MCTs – can provide quick energy sources to the brain and reduce the symptoms of this condition.
Fractionated coconut oil is made by heating regular coconut oil above its melting point. It contains two medium-chain fatty acids, which have several health benefits. This may include reduced weight and reduced hunger among others.