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When you think of supplements, jars of powder, capsules or pills probably come to mind. Performance Lab MCT is different – it’s an oil.
This versatile supplement has been marketed to improve brain function and metabolism in people who are fasting especially, and has risen to popularity on the back of ketogenic diets. It also claims to lower cholesterol and improve mental clarity.
But these bold claims require strong scientific backing. We’ve inspected the ingredients and rigorously researched this product, so you don’t have to. Here’s our honest review of Performance Lab MCT.
What is an MCT?
MCT is an abbreviation of Medium-Chain Triglyceride. These are small fat molecules (also known as lipids). They’re most commonly found in palm kernel oil and coconut oil, which is where the MCTs in Performance Lab MCT are derived. Fats, oils and triglycerides aren’t inherently bad or unhealthy. Many of them play numerous important roles within the body – MCTs are used to make hormones and steroids as well as providing energy.
Performance Lab MCT Ingredients
Capric Acid (C10) and Caprylic Acid (C8)
The two ingredients in Performance Lab MCT are capric acid and caprylic acid. These are often called C10 and C8 respectively. For the scientists among you; the numbers refer to the number of carbon atoms in each fatty acid chain ‘tail’ on the triglyceride molecule.
Both C8 and C10 are naturally occurring MCTs that make up around 15% of raw coconut oil. There hasn’t been much research into each specific ingredient – this is because they’re almost always found together. Performance Lab MCT contains 60% C8 (caprylic acid) and 40% C10 (capric acid). According to Performance Lab, C8 and C10 deliver the most benefits at the lowest cost.
There isn’t that much difference between the four MCTs. [ASIDE: There are 4 MCTs – caproic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid and lauric acid. They all have extremely similar names and shapes, but slightly different properties and uses.]
Not all MCT oils are created equal. There are some major differences between your typical MCT oil and Performance Lab MCT. For starters, Performance Lab MCT is made from non-genetically modified, organic coconuts. A lot of other MCT oils are created using cheaper, genetically modified coconuts.
Some companies also irradiate their coconuts to kill parasites and harmful pathogens, Performance Lab does not. As Performance Lab MCT is produced to strict standards, it doesn’t contain any nasty surprises or unexpected impurities.
Here are some of the health benefits associated with Performance Lab MCT…
Health Benefits of Performance Lab MCT
Taking C8 and C10 could help your body burn fat, even without exercise or calorie-restrictive diets. This is one of the reasons why MCT oil is a favourite supplement of many dieters. There’s lots of anecdotal evidence linking coconut oil with weight loss but be warned: oils are naturally high in calories. Taking huge amounts of any oil might cause you to gain weight. One serving of Performance Lab MCT contains 130 calories, so make sure you use it to replace — and not add to — your normal daily oil intake.
Having high levels of blood cholesterol significantly increases your risk of suffering heart and circulatory problems. Around half of people in the UK suffer from raised cholesterol and many are unaware until it’s too late. In a 2003 study, participants that were given MCT oil for a month reduced their cholesterol levels by, on average, 12.5%. It’s also been shown to improve levels of ‘good’ cholesterol. These are some seriously impressive results.
Performance Lab MCT claims that it ‘may be the ultimate performance fuel’. This isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. MCT oils are rapidly absorbed through the stomach, just like regular foods and supplements. The body can use MCT oil as an energy source, much like protein and carbohydrate. However, unlike other foods, MCTs don’t need to be broken down or altered to release their energy – this makes them an excellent source of energy and a great alternative to glucose and carbohydrates.
You could take Performance Lab MCT before a workout to keep your body fuelled and ready to function. This is a potential alternative to more traditional, powdered pre-workouts.
According to the manufacturer, Performance Lab MCT will support mitochondrial function by increasing levels of ketones in the body. Ketones are a group of chemicals produced in the liver. Through a long and complex process, they allow the mitochondria to produce energy. Almost every single cell in our body contains some mitochondria – they’re like tiny, biological power plants. By taking Performance Lab MCT, you’re helping these mitochondria produce enough energy to keep you functioning physically and mentally as ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier easily.
But that’s not all! MCTs and the ketones they produce can support weight loss and boost your gut microbiome.
If you’ve ever tried a ketogenic diet, you might have experienced the dreaded ‘brain fog’. This sluggish mental feeling can put some people off the diet completely. Even people that follow a more typical diet can be affected by poor mental clarity. Thankfully, MCT oils like Performance Lab MCT can improve mental clarity. In a 2015 pilot study, volunteers given MCT supplements daily for 24 weeks benefitted from an improved memory. However, the researchers used 56g per day per person, which is a lot more than most people would take.
Performance Lab MCT claims to be the world’s cleanest MCT oil. This is technically true as it only contains medium-chain triglycerides, although there are other products on the market that only contain MCTs.
- Only contains useful MCTs with no additional ingredients
- Packaged in a sturdy bottle so you can carry it around with you
- Performance Lab’s commitment to allergen-free clean products is impressive
- More expensive than some other MCT oils on the market, though we would argue that the steeper price tag is reflected in a better quality product.
Who Can Take It?
Almost anyone can take Performance Lab MCT, although pregnant women and people with malabsorption syndrome should not take it without consulting a medical professional first.
It’s suitable for vegans and people with allergies. And because it doesn’t contain any additives, it’s caffeine-free, soy-free, gluten-free and synthetic additive-free too.
Performance Lab MCT hasn’t been mixed with any stabilising products, preservatives or artificial colours – it doesn’t need to be. MCT oil is a naturally stable product that doesn’t go off (if it’s stored correctly).
If you follow a ketogenic diet, this supplement is a great choice. It’s keto-friendly because it contains no carbohydrates and the MCTs are turned into ketones in the liver, helping promote nutritional ketosis.
Performance Lab MCT is packaged in a BPA-free bottle that is 100% recyclable. The shipping boxes used to transport Performance Lab MCT are also recyclable.
Safety & Side Effects
Some people may experience stomach cramps or diarrhoea. Ingesting any oil in large amounts can cause these side effects, so it’s not a problem specific to this supplement. If you do experience any unwanted side effects, try taking this supplement with or after food or take smaller amounts, less often.
How to Take It
There are endless ways to consume Performance Lab MCT oil, the only limit is your imagination. You can drink it straight from the bottle, but we wouldn’t recommend this as it tastes very bland and it can be quite hard to stomach.
A better method of consumption is adding it to food or drink. Why not stir some into your morning coffee? You could blend it into a delicious, fruit smoothie or drizzle it onto a salad. There are seemingly endless ways to introduce this supplement into your diet. As it’s a flavour-neutral oil, you can add it to most foods without changing their taste or texture. It couldn’t be easier to add it to your everyday diet.
How Much Should I Take?
A common dosage of MCT oil is one tablespoon (~15ml). According to the ingredients list, this is one standard serving of Performance Lab MCT. This is enough to provide the beneficial effects that MCT oils are known for, without major side effects. There’s no upper safe limit on how much you can take daily, although you’d probably feel ill after taking more than 100ml.
Our Verdict on Performance Lab MCT
If you’re looking to buy an MCT oil, Performance Lab MCT is a great choice. Its neutral flavour means it can be added to your daily diet in a myriad of easy ways, and its versatility — helping to boost brain function at the same time as it lowers cholesterol, especially when in a fasted state, is likely to make it popular with dieters and athletes alike.
Performance Lab have a knack for producing versatile supplements: this isn’t just a brain supplement (Performance Lab produce an excellent dedicated nootropic already in Performance Lab Mind in case you’re wondering). Neither is it just a weight-loss aid. Or merely a way to lower your cholesterol.
It’s sort of all three. It is an instant source of energy that can produce ketones to fuel the brain, as well as support weight loss and lower cholesterol (assuming you use it as a replacement to other forms of oil). It’s likely to be particularly beneficial to those on a fasted or ketogenic diet.
It’s true that more research into MCT oil would be beneficial, but what we have seen so far is promising.
Performance Lab MCT is possibly the best certified organic MCT oil on the market due to its 100% purity, quality packaging and respectable price tag. We like the sleek design of the packaging and the top-quality reputation of the Performance Lab brand. There aren’t any unnecessary, filler ingredients included – this is a big selling point. This supplement is especially useful for people that don’t like taking powders or pills and people on ketogenic diets.
At £25 for 475ml, it’s slightly more expensive than its competitors. However, it is a lot purer than other MCT oils. The hexane-free extraction technique used to produce Performance Lab MCT is a unique feature. It’s also triple distilled – it really is one of the purest MCT oils available.
Where to Buy
You can buy Performance Lab MCT online direct from Performance Lab.