Negative Side Effects of MCT Oil: Four Steps to Losing Fat with MCT Oils

Look—it’s working!

Maybe you’ve recently started a ketogenic diet to help you lose fat. For you, it’s more than a trend. It’s a measure of your strength and the path to your success.

As you learn more about keto diets, you might decide to experiment with MCT oil supplements to boost your personal keto power.  Good idea.

MCT oils can provide a lot of benefits for folks on keto eating plans. However, there can also be some negative side effects of MCT oil. In this article, we’ll discuss the steps to losing fat with MCT oils in a way that allows you to minimize the negative effects.

The first step: know what MCT oils are

To use anything effectively, it’s a good idea to get to know it as much as you can. If you understand where it comes from, what its properties are and why other people use it, you’ll have a better idea of how it can help you.

A quick example

Many people buy raspberry ketone supplements to help them lose weight.  Don’t be fooled. (1)

There are some indications that raspberry ketones can shift the way you metabolize fat. However, they aren’t the same kind of ketones that your body produces during ketosis, and they won’t work the same way in your body. If you understand this, you won’t try to use raspberry ketones to go into ketosis. (2), (3)

This is why it’s so important to understand what MCT oils are.

So what are MCT oils?

MCT oils, or medium-chain triglycerides, are fat molecules that have a shorter carbon chain than many of the fats you’re used to eating. This makes them super-easy to digest. They’re generally pulled right from the GI tract and sent to the liver, where they’re converted to ketones to be used as energy. (4)

There are four main types of MCT oils found in nature: caprylic acid, capric acid, caproic acid, and lauric acid. (6) Some of them are more effective at forming ketones than others.

Like ketones made in your body vs. raspberry ketones, MCT oil supplements and MCT oils aren’t necessarily the same thing.   You need to understand this in order to prevent the negative side effects of MCT oil.

Where do MCT oils come from?

MCT oils are found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and dairy products.  Coconut oil contains all four MCT oils. (7)

However, lauric acid doesn’t convert into a ketone as well as the others. This might slow down the keto process for people who are taking coconut oil rather than an MCT oil supplement.

MCT oil supplements are strictly the high-converting MCT oils without the other compounds found in their source. For example, an MCT oil supplement made from coconuts won’t have much lauric acid but will be packed with the other MCT oils.

It’s powerful.

How do MCT oils help you?

MCT oils can boost your ketone levels. If you’re just going back on a keto diet after being off your eating plan, this can kick your keto back into gear.

MCT oils can also help with symptoms of keto flu. Because they provide energy for your brain, they can alleviate brain fog. They can also help with athletic endurance. If you’re doing fine but just want higher ketone levels to help you burn fat faster, these might provide the boost you’re looking for. (8)

Don’t take a high dose without working up to it first, though, or you’ll find out firsthand what the negative side effects of MCT oil are.

The second step: understand the negative side effects of MCT oil

Do you know what to look for when you’re thinking about the shadow side of MCT oils? There are a few different ways that the negative side effects of MCT oil can show up in your body.

Gastrointestinal distress

Stomach cramps and diarrhea are among the most common negative side effects of MCT oil. This can sometimes be alleviated by starting out with small doses, such as a teaspoon a day. You can work your way up to two tablespoons or more daily. (9), (10)

Don’t rush it. Give your body time to adjust, and your gut will thank you.


Ketoacidosis can be one of the more serious negative side effects of MCT oils. Ketoacidosis is a condition where blood ketones are too high. It’s usually found in diabetics. If it’s not taken care of properly, it can result in coma and death.

For this reason, diabetics should be very careful about taking MCT oils or doing anything else that might raise their ketone levels too high. (11)

Liver problems

Likewise, people who have liver problems should probably avoid taking MCT oils. This is because MCT oils are primarily processed by your liver. If you have cirrhosis or other liver diseases, give your liver a break. Stay away from MCT oils. (12)

The third step: settle on your supplement

If you decide to move ahead with using MCT oils to boost your fat burning abilities, your next step is to decide how you’re going to take them.  There are a lot of really great products on the market.

If you’re concerned about digestive issues, you might think about purchasing an MCT oil powder instead of straight MCT oil supplements.

The fourth step: decide on your dosages and build your routines

Once you’ve purchased your supplements, you’ll need to be able to tell when your body is in ketosis. This will help you figure out your perfect dose while avoiding the negative side effects of MCT oil.

You might consider purchasing some test strips to help you figure out when your body reaches ketosis.


The best way to lose fat with MCT oils is to know what you’re getting into. While MCT oils provide some good benefits, the negative side effects of MCT oil may outweigh the costs. Research the oils, think through the process, and decide on an MCT oil supplement that might work for you.


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