Want to know how the fat you eat can help protect your thyroid?
Keep in mind that not all fats are created equal.
There are harmful thyroid-suppressive fats that we do recommend avoiding.
More on that in a minute.
Yet, we’re talking about certain types of dietary fats that have a very different effect and can not only help protect your thyroid, but also help you feel like the real you at the same time.
These are the fats that can help improve your Thyroid Hormone Pathway.
Short-Chain and Medium-Chain vs. Long-Chain Fats
Most people understand the difference between protein, carbohydrates, and fats in our diet.
Fewer understand that there are many more layers of differences between each one of these dietary components.
With fats in particular, there are saturated and unsaturated fats.
Among unsaturated fats there are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
(By the way, we talk more about how dangerous and thyroid-suppressive polyunsaturated fats are in this article on “The Worst Food for Your Thyroid (and Doctors Claim It’s “Essential” to Your Health”)
Then there are short-, medium-, and long-chain fats.
From a scientific perspective, the length of the chain has to do with how many carbon-atoms the chain contains. Short-chain fatty acids have fewer carbon atoms while long-chain fatty acids have more.
From a thyroid and metabolic perspective, this is what you need to know…
…Short and medium-chain fatty acids are readily metabolized and used as energy whereas long-chain fatty acids must be converted into storage forms of fat that are stored in fat cells and not readily metabolized.
So, if you don’t want the fat you consume to increase fat stores, then short-chain and medium-chain fats can help.
While there are many different variations of short and medium-chain fats available, commonly found in varying amounts in foods, there’s one that stands out for being readily available.
We’re talking about MCT Oil.
MCT is short for medium-chain triglycerides.
6 Ways MCT Oil Can Help Protect Your Thyroid
Let’s make something clear.
When referring to MCT Oil, we’re referring to medium-chain triglycerides, but more specifically, we’re referring to a combination of caprylic (C8) and capric acids (C10).
MCT Oil is most commonly derived from coconuts or coconut oil.
Coconut oil has many health benefits.
However, MCT Oil contains only the isolated medium-chain fatty acids.
That’s also what makes MCT Oil remain liquid at even cold temperatures while coconut oil turns solid.
Now when it comes to your thyroid, here’s how MCT Oil can help.
1. MCT Oil Can Give You Instant Energy
As mentioned above, medium-chain triglycerides are quickly metabolized by your cells for energy.
In fact, studies show that these fatty acids can be metabolized as easily as glucose and without interfering with glucose metabolism, and without the need for insulin.
This means that when you take them, they can give you more of an instant energy response, which can be welcomed in the face of thyroid fatigue.
This is also in part because MCT Oil increases levels of keto-acids (not to be confused with the keto-diet) in the blood.
In fact, some research shows a 25x increase:
Thermic effect of medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides in man
“Mean postprandial oxygen consumption was 12% higher than basal oxygen consumption after the MCT meal but was only 4% higher than the basal oxygen consumption after the LCT meal. There was a 25-fold increase in plasma beta-hydroxybutyrate concentration and a slight increase in serum insulin concentration after MCT ingestion but not after LCT ingestion. Plasma triglyceride concentrations increased 68% after the LCT meal and did not change after the MCT meal.”
Keto-acids can also be readily used for energy, particularly by the brain, which leads us to another benefit of MCT Oil…
2. MCT Oil Can Give You Instant Brain Power
Your brain is the largest consumer of glucose (sugar) in your whole body.
Yet, because thyroid sufferers commonly develop a degree of insulin sensitivity, it can be difficult for the brain to metabolize glucose efficiently to support adequate brain function.
This is another area where MCT Oil can help.
The increase in keto-acids due to MCT Oil use allows the brain to use those keto-acids as a direct source of energy, again without the need for insulin.
This can result in more of an instant improvement in brain power, and or function.
So, if you’re suffering from thyroid related brain fog, or more serious neuro-degenerative diseases, then MCT Oil can help.
It has also been shown to be very protective of the brain.
Effect of beta-hydroxybutyrate, a cerebral function improving agent, on cerebral hypoxia, anoxia and ischemia in mice and rats
“Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) is one of the ketone bodies that can be utilized as an energy source during starvation… The isotonic solution of BHB administered 30 min before the induction of ischemia at doses over 50 mg x kg(-1) x h(-1) showed remarkable protective effects against hypoxia and anoxia.”
This is also why MCT Oil has been shown to help protect against and slow the cognitive decline of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
3. MCT Oil Can Boost Your Metabolism by Improving Insulin Sensitivity
As mentioned above, thyroid sufferers often develop a degree of insulin resistance that negatively affects thyroid function in a multitude of ways.
For example, it can lead to issues with blood sugar regulation, increase in thyroid-suppressive stress hormone production, prevent the efficient use of thyroid hormone, etc.
Yet, by improving insulin sensitivity, it can help to reverse all of this and help support healthy thyroid function.
Effects of medium chain triglyceride on insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes mellitus
“With total energy and fat consumptions controlled, replacement of 50% dietary oil with MCT can improve insulin resistance.”
4. MCT Oil Can Decrease Fat Production
At Forefront Health, our focus is on overcoming hypothyroidism by restoring proper thyroid function.
Needless to say, we never focus on quick-fix weight loss solutions because in almost all cases, these quick-fix solutions leave your thyroid even more damaged, while promoting long-term weight gain.
We never recommend trying to solve one problem only to create bigger and more serious problems as a result.
However, when there are thyroid-supportive means of helping to regulate weight, we’re all for it… and that includes MCT Oil.
By displacing the more common long-chain fatty acids that most eat with MCT Oil, it can lead to a decrease in fat accumulation.
This is in large part because MCT Oil is readily metabolized for energy instead of being stored as fat. This alone decreases fat storage.
However, by using MCT Oil to help maintain a high rate of metabolism, there’s also a secondary effect in that one will use more fat for energy at rest, thus promoting further fat loss.
As we always say, the best way to lose weight is to maintain a high rate of metabolism.
Restrictive diets (low-calorie, low- carb, etc.) simply lead to long-term damage to metabolism and long-term weight gain.
5. MCT Oil Can Decrease Endotoxin and Protect Your Liver
It’s well known that your liver health plays one of the most essential roles in supporting and maintaining thyroid health.
(We talk about this in detail in our article on “How to Heal Your Thyroid By Healing Your Liver”.)
With that being said, hypothyroidism itself leads to increased endotoxin production, which in turn suppresses your thyroid by impairing liver function.
Endotoxin is produced by bacteria in the intestines, which in turn causes increased intestinal permeability, burdens the liver, and leads to a cascade of thyroid-suppressive effects on the body.
Much of what we teach focuses on reducing endotoxin, which is essential to restoring thyroid function.
One way to help do that is through the use of MCT Oil.
Protective effects of medium-chain triglycerides on the liver and gut in rats administered endotoxin
“Results: All rats given corn oil died after LPS administration; however, this mortality was prevented by MCT in a dose-dependent manner. Rats given corn oil showed liver injury after LPS administration. In contrast, MCT prevented this pathologic change nearly completely.”
As shown in the study above, MCT proved to be extremely protective of endotoxin (LPS), protecting against it “nearly completely”.
So, MCT Oil is also a simple and easy way to help protect your thyroid and liver from the harmful cascading effects of endotoxin.
6. MCT Oil Can Protect Your Thyroid from PUFAs
Another important way that MCT Oil can protect your thyroid is by directly protecting against the harmful and thyroid-suppressive polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs).
(As mentioned above, we discuss more about how dangerous and thyroid-suppressive polyunsaturated fats are in this article on “The Worst Food for Your Thyroid (and Doctors Claim It’s “Essential” to Your Health“).
One of the many thyroid-suppressive effects of PUFAs is that they directly impair your metabolism. So, to maintain proper thyroid function and metabolism, we want to prevent that from happening.
Because the fats in MCT Oil are prioritized over the PUFAs’ long-chain fats, your body will metabolize them prior to metabolizing the harmful PUFAs.
By doing this, MCT Oil helps to protect your thyroid and keep your metabolism running full steam.
While this list could go on-and-on, these are 6 primary ways that MCT Oil can help protect your thyroid.
Yet, there are even more secondary effects that we could cover as well.
As you can see, MCT Oil is a viable means of not only helping to address a few of the most common and debilitating thyroid symptoms (fatigue, brain fog, and weight gain), it also helps to protect your thyroid and metabolism in very important ways.
It can be easily added to your dietary or supplement routine.
It can be used in many recipes such as smoothies, shakes, dips, salad dressings, etc.
Or, it can simply be taken by mouth.
Either way, it’s another easy way to help you restore your thyroid hormone pathway, overcome your thyroid dysfunction, and get you back to the happy and healthy you.