Coconut oil is a complex blend of saturated fatty acids, over 50 % of them can be classified as MTC : Medium Chain Tryglicerides of varying lengths:
C6, 6-carbon: caproic acid
C8, 8-carbon: caprylic acid, most ketogenic
C10, 10-carbon capric acid, also ketogenic
C12, 12-carbon lauric acid
The most ketogenic of these are C8 and C10, but they make a up a relatively small percentage (approx. 14 %) of all MCT’s in coconut oil.
Organic, extra virgin coconut oil itself is great to use while on keto because it’s inexpensive, readily available, it’s mildly ketogenic, can be used in cooking or as cold oil(keto fat bombs), it has antimicrobial properties and it tastes and smells great. There are no contradictions for light to moderate use. Please use only organic, cold pressed coconut oil. There are organic brands, which are “steamed”, these are odorless if you prefer that.
MCT oil is considered a supplement, not cooking oil, it is isolated from coconut oil and often it’s a blend of C8 and C10. Pure C8 caprylic acid is the most ketogenic MCT, you can get good quality MCT’s only online. Of course, a good MCT oil should never contain flavorings or sweeteners.
MCT’s are so ketogenic because they bypass the normal pathway for fat digestion, they don’t require enzymes or bile and once in the liver they convert into ketones and are returned to the bloodstream for distribution through the body.
But there is a limit how much the liver can handle it, that’s why some people experience gastrointestinal distress after ingesting. Its important to start with small dosage, like 5g/teaspoon per meal.
MCT’s were (and are) used for decades in a MCT version of the ketogenic diet to treat pediatric epilepsy. MCT gained enormous popularity after Dave Asprey invented the bulletproof coffee, which is a mix of coffee, ghee and MCT oil(which I love but without the ghee). Bulletproof tea and broth are fantastic alternatives to coffee, and it definitely boosts ketones if used with a good MCT oil. My preferred brand is ketosource , which is pure C8. I measure my blood sugar and ketones daily and this oil always gives me higher ketone readings. I like to add the oil to dressings, fatbombs and chocolates I make, too. Higher ketone readings always mean lower GKI (glucose ketone index), it’s easier to achive with a good MCT oil.
Source: Kalamian; Miriam. Keto for cancer. Ketogenic metabolic therapy as a targeted nutritional strategy.Chelsea Green Publishing, 2017.