Are you curious about the pH level of MCT oil?
As a supplement that’s claimed to have numerous health benefits, it’s important to understand how it interacts with our bodies.
In this article, we’ll explore the acidity or alkalinity of MCT oil and its potential effects on our health. From the chemistry of triglycerides to the benefits of coconut oil for oral health, we’ll cover it all.
So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of MCT oil and pH levels.
Is MCT Oil Acidic Or Alkaline?
MCT oil is derived from coconut oil and contains medium-chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently than the long-chain triglycerides found in most other foods. Triglycerides are simply the technical term for fat, and they have two main purposes: to be burned for energy or stored as body fat.
The pH level of MCT oil is slightly alkaline, with a range of 7 to 8. This is one of the reasons why it’s beneficial for our oral health. Our mouths normally hover around a pH of 6.2 to 7.6, and when the pH gets closer to an acidic level, it can lead to the demineralization of enamel and ultimately tooth decay. Because coconut oil’s pH is slightly alkaline, it can help to re-balance a slightly acidic mouth.
MCT oil has been associated with many health benefits, including improved gut health, cognitive function, athletic performance, and weight loss. However, just like any other oil, consuming too much MCT can lead to unpleasant side effects. In one study, some individuals experienced mild to moderate side effects when consuming 10 to 20 grams of MCT. They experienced more severe side effects when consuming 30 grams of MCT.
Another potential side effect of MCT oil is high total cholesterol levels, but this only occurs in oils that contain lauric acid (C12). You can easily avoid this side effect by purchasing MCT oils that don’t include lauric acid.
Understanding PH Levels And Their Importance
The pH level of a substance measures its acidity or alkalinity. A pH of 7 is considered neutral, while anything below 7 is acidic and anything above 7 is alkaline. The importance of pH levels in our bodies cannot be overstated, as they play a crucial role in maintaining our health. Our bodies have a natural pH balance that needs to be maintained for optimal health. For example, our blood has a pH of around 7.4, which is slightly alkaline. If the pH level of our blood drops too low, it can lead to a condition called acidosis, which can be life-threatening.
When it comes to oral health, maintaining the right pH balance in our mouths is crucial. The mouth normally hovers around a pH of 6.2 to 7.6, and when the pH gets closer to an acidic level, it can lead to the demineralization of enamel and ultimately tooth decay. This is where MCT oil comes in. Because coconut oil’s pH is slightly alkaline, it can help to re-balance a slightly acidic mouth.
In addition to oral health, maintaining the right pH balance in our bodies can also help with other health issues. For example, some studies have suggested that an alkaline diet may help prevent chronic diseases like cancer and osteoporosis. However, it’s important to note that the evidence for this is still inconclusive.
What Is MCT Oil?
MCT oil is a highly concentrated source of medium-chain triglycerides that are extracted and isolated from coconut or palm kernel oil through a process called fractionation. MCT oils generally contain either 100% caprylic acid (C8), 100% capric acid (C10), or a combination of the two. Caproic acid (C6) is not normally included due to its unpleasant taste and smell, while lauric acid (C12) is often missing or present in only small amounts. MCT oil is clear, flavorless, and odorless, making it ideal for cooking or adding to beverages without disturbing the flavor. MCTs are metabolized differently than long-chain triglycerides found in most other foods, as they go straight to the liver and are broken down quickly and efficiently into energy. MCT oil has been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved gut health, cognitive function, athletic performance, and weight loss. However, consuming too much MCT oil can lead to unpleasant side effects such as mild to moderate gastrointestinal discomfort and high total cholesterol levels if the oil contains lauric acid.
The Chemistry Of Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of fat that is composed of a glycerol backbone and three fatty acids. The fatty acids can have different numbers of carbon atoms attached to them, which determines the type of triglyceride. Long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) have 13 to 21 carbons in each fatty acid tail, while short-chain triglycerides have fewer than six carbons attached to each fatty acid. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) fall in the middle with an aliphatic tail of six to 12 carbon atoms on at least two out of three fatty acids.
MCTs are metabolized differently than LCTs in the body. When LCTs enter the body, they must first be broken down by pancreatic enzymes and then delivered to the lymphatic system before traveling to the liver where they can be converted to energy. MCTs, on the other hand, can travel immediately to the liver after they are consumed to be used as instant energy. MCTs can also be turned into ketones which can travel from the blood to the brain to serve as an alternative energy source to glucose.
There are a few main types of medium-chain fatty acids that are defined by the length of their aliphatic tail. Caproic acid or hexanoic acid (C6) is the shortest MCT with six carbons in its aliphatic tail and metabolizes very quickly. Caprylic acid or octanoic acid (C8) is the second most efficient MCT after caproic acid and does not have an offensive taste or smell. Capric acid or decanoic acid (C10) metabolizes a bit slower than caprylic acid but still turns into ketones very quickly in the liver. Lauric acid or dodecanoic acid (C12) makes up most of the MCTs in coconut oil but is often removed from MCT oil. Compared to other MCTs, lauric acid is the slowest to metabolize but still provides anti-microbial properties and other health benefits.
MCT oil is derived from coconut oil and contains medium-chain triglycerides, which are easier for the body to metabolize quickly, meaning they are less likely to be stored as fat. The pH level of MCT oil is slightly alkaline, with a range of 7 to 8, making it beneficial for oral health by helping to re-balance a slightly acidic mouth. However, consuming too much MCT can lead to unpleasant side effects, and some individuals may experience mild to moderate side effects when consuming 10 to 20 grams of MCT. It’s important to purchase MCT oils that don’t include lauric acid if you want to avoid high total cholesterol levels.
Acidic Or Alkaline? The PH Level Of MCT Oil
As mentioned earlier, MCT oil has a pH level that is slightly alkaline, ranging from 7 to 8. This means that it can help to neutralize the pH in our mouths, which is important for maintaining good oral health. However, when it comes to using MCT oil on our skin or around the vaginal area, it’s important to note that the pH of these areas is more acidic than the pH of MCT oil.
The pH of healthy skin is around 5, which means that MCT oil is essentially 100-1,000 times more alkaline than our skin. This can cause havoc on our skin and make any skin condition we have a lot worse. Similarly, the pH of the vagina is quite acidic at pH 3.5-4.7, which helps to kill off invasive bacteria and protect this delicate environment. Most raw coconut oils test at around pH7, which would be unsuitable for use around the vaginal area.
How PH Levels Affect Our Health
pH levels play an important role in our overall health, and this is especially true for our oral and vaginal health. The pH of the mouth normally hovers around a range of 6.2 to 7.6, and when it becomes too acidic, it can lead to tooth decay. Coconut oil’s slightly alkaline pH of 7 to 8 can help to re-balance a slightly acidic mouth and promote oral health.
Similarly, the pH of the vagina is quite acidic at a range of 3.5 to 4.7, which helps to kill off invasive bacteria and protect this delicate environment. Disrupting this balance with products that have a higher pH can lead to infections such as thrush. It’s important to choose products that are pH-balanced for the vaginal environment.
Beyond oral and vaginal health, pH levels can also affect our overall health in other ways. For example, an overly acidic diet can lead to inflammation and chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. On the other hand, a diet that promotes alkalinity can help to reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
Benefits Of Coconut Oil For Oral Health
Coconut oil is a natural source of MCTs, which comprise around 54% of the fat in copra. It naturally contains MCTs, including 42% lauric acid, 7% caprylic acid, and 5% capric acid. While many recommend avoiding coconut oil on skin, the same can’t be said for in your mouth. Coconut oil has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for oil pulling for thousands of years, and the science still demonstrates its benefits.
One of the main benefits of coconut oil for oral health is its ability to neutralize the pH in your mouth. The mouth normally hovers around a pH of 6.2 to 7.6, and when it gets closer to an acidic level, it can lead to the demineralization of enamel and ultimately tooth decay. Because coconut oil’s pH is slightly alkaline, it can help to re-balance a slightly acidic mouth.
Coconut oil has also been associated with being good for your gums and the potential for it to heal cavities. Our mouths are constantly exposed to acidic foods and beverages, so a regular rebalance with coconut oil is a great way to support oral health. Just three to five minutes of oil pulling with coconut oil or a gentle green oil pulling has the potential to neutralize pH and make our mouths healthier.
It’s important to note that coconut oil is high in saturated fats, which can increase a person’s levels of “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol if eaten in amounts that are too high. However, research from 2020 found that coconut oil consumption resulted in higher levels of LDL cholesterol in people when compared to other vegetable oils. It is worth noting that many studies into the benefits of coconut oil may use 100% MCT coconut oil, when most coconut oils contain only 13–14% MCTs. This means a person would have to eat far more than the recommended amount of coconut oil to gain these benefits.