Nutritional products are not well regulated, particularly on some selling sites when it comes to claims and labels. Being the experts in MCT oils, lipids, and nutrition, we receive many questions on what to look for before buying an MCT oil. In this newsletter, we address some major questions that come up frequently from customers on various platforms.
1. PACKAGING MATERIALS: Are you confident the seller has used, and has the technical understanding to use the correct plastics in the bottle, lid components, pouring conveniences and any cups that the oils are poured into?
Did you know that MCT oils, particularly C8 MCT oils, have natural chemical properties (emulsifying, penetrating, surfactant, polar) that dissolve softer plastics. We see many commercial MCT products using the wrong plastics and this really concerns us, particularly since the sellers, buyers, and administrators of the sites do not have the technical understanding to know that this is potentially harmful to their customers. We care deeply about your safety. Ordinary plunger style pumps or non-tested plastics are not to be used with MCTs.
2. SOURCING: Does the manufacturer disclose the source of the MCT oil C8? Some companies do not disclose the sources. Others claim their C8 MCT is derived from coconuts, coconuts only, palm kernel oil or both. Some companies claim "coconuts", but not only coconuts, to allow flexibility in case there is also palm kernel oil present. Some companies claim "C8 from coconuts only" to present the perception that their product is somehow better and deserving of a higher price.
Did you know that C8 MCT oils is made by combining glycerin (glycerol) with C8 fatty acid under heat and pressure in the USA and elsewhere; and that the starting sources of fatty acids and glycerin are typically obtained in large factories where coconuts and their components, palm kernel oil and their components, and other vegetable oils are processed. Thus, without 24/7 supervision, it is very challenging to claim that the starting sources of both the C8 fatty acid AND the glycerin are from coconut oil only, which is why companies such as Life Sense International, makers of C8 KetoMCT prefer to be totally transparent with their customers and state both sources. If a company says they use only coconuts, challenge them to prove it, which is difficult to do, and currently not analytically possible since the end product of C8 MCT are identical.
SOURCING: Palm kernel Oil: Dose the manufacturer describe the sustainability of the palm kernel oil they use?
Did you know that palm trees used to produce C8 and glycerin, can be grown in a sustainable manner, and certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)? KetoMCT is manufactured only using small amounts of RSPO-Palm Kernel Oil. Our focus is to protect the natural habitat and be a very socially responsible company (see NutraIngredients article on our honesty and integrity, as leaders of MCT oils).
3. THE AMOUNTS OF C6, C8, C10, and C12: Some companies do not give the amounts of each fatty acid in the product. Some claim C8 enriched, some state C8 and C10 (leaving off the C12), some state C6, C8, C10, and 12. Some claim 100% C8.
Did you know that it is not technically accurate to state a product is 100% C8 (caprylic acid) since there are always small amounts of C10 at least, and that having small amounts of C10 is not a negative attribute from a taste and potency perspective. It is not logical biologically and analytically, to choose one product because it claims 100% over another product that claims 99%, 98%, or 97%. Do these percents refer to the company’s general specification (Spec) sheet; or do the percentages given represent the actual analysis of each lot? A spec may give a broader range for C8, like 97% to 99+%, even if most lots are actually 99%. For practical reasons (logistics, cost), manufacturers do not change their labels to reflect actual lot-specific values, so what is on the label is commonly an average of recent lots. C10 is a good ketogenic fatty acid, but not quite as ketogenic as C8. C12 that is abundant in coconut oil is a weakly ketogenic fat that is partly stored in adipose (fat storage) and should not be considered a ketogenic fatty acid. Coconut oil should also not be considered a “keto oil”. Nor should coconut oil be labeled as a source of MCTs, since it only has 10-15% C8/10 MCTs. C6 MCT (or C6 as a component of MCTs with C8 and C10) is present in small amounts and is also ketogenic despite what may be stated in non-academic/lay/internet sources.
4. SERVING SIZE: Not all companies state the same serving size. The most common serving size is 1 tablespoon, or 14.3 grams, with some customers electing to take 2 tablespoons per day. Some companies sell their MCT oils in packets or in soft gel capsules with much less than 1 tablespoon. Most capsules contain one gram per capsule, so even if 3 capsules (3 g) were consumed per day, this is still 5X (versus 1 tbsp) to 10X too little to have a meaningful impact on raising blood ketone levels and exerting ketogenic benefits, so do not be fooled.
Did you know that the reason 1 tablespoon is chosen, is because this amount of product yields a substantial and rapid increase in plasma ketone bodies, is well tolerated when consumed with solid foods and is the amount commonly published in peer reviewed literature to be both safe and efficacious. Some companies may decrease the serving size so they can state the product contains more servings in the same volume, say 32 oz. Thus, the undiscerning consumer, determines that the cost preserving is less. When comparing products, consumers must always compare equivalent amounts of oil. In some cases, it is also necessary to calculate the cost of a gram of actual C8. For example, in a C8 product emulsified with water, a tablespoon of oil might contain only 8 grams of actual C8, and 8 grams of water, emulsifiers, and other components.
5. ORGANIC and NATURAL: Some companies claim that there products are organic, natural, or both?
Did you know that the term “natural” has no official meaning from USA regulatory agencies, and thus has no practical meaning when used on a product. But since true and best C8 MCT is made by splitting the original materials to yield C8 and glycerin, and these components are then re-combined, a true C8 MCT oil should not be labeled natural. Note that is not technically feasible to produce a 95+ percent C8 product without the aforementioned splitting, but less potent products enriched in C8 can be produced without splitting. An organic product should be a product grown organically per official governmental guidelines. For the product to be labeled organic, the sources of both the C8 and glycerin should be grown organically, and there can be no mixing with other C8s and glycerins during any step in manufacture or transport.
6. TASTE: Our customer’s always tell us they love the taste of our product. If all C8 MCTs were the same, why should there be differences in taste? Although, taste is not part of a label per se, we thought this topic would be of interest.
Did you know that taste in a C8 MCT oil product can be affected by the levels of free fatty acids, the packaging materials, the transport materials, and other contaminants. Free fatty acids are the small amounts of residual fatty acids that are not bound to glycerol during the manufacturing process. If the levels of free fatty acids are high, then this can impart an acidic taste to the product. If the MCT oils are transported in unclean or re-used drums, this can also contribute to off-taste, so only buy from reputable companies who understand their supply stream. As noted in Item 1, “Packaging Materials”, an MCT oil in contact with incompatible plastics can not only be unsafe, but can also contribute to poor taste. Last, MCT oils removed from the original bottle should never be placed in incompatible materials, particularly Styrofoam, as carefully noted on our bottle.
You are welcome to share the above information to help assist others to choose the right products. When sharing please include that the above information is trademarked and provided by Life Sense International, LLC on April 16, 2018.