MCT Oil is pretty much a household word in Japan and hardly needs an introduction. In the last 5 years especially this health fad oil has really kicked off. As such, you can easily pick up a bottle at a local higher-end supermarket or department store.
People generally know it’s a healthy oil, an energy booster, and all round good stuff. As MCT Oil has boomed in popularity, so has the variety of not only oils, but other MCT enhanced products.
Competition and variety are great, but making the best choice for your superfood oil becomes a little harder. We’ve done our best to find some of the best and top recommended MCT Oil in Japan, as well as other MCT products you may not be aware of.
What Exactly is MCT Oil Anyway?
Once we more or less get what something is, the details tend to escape us. But to rehash, MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglyceride. This just means it’s a shorter kind of fat molecule which is more easily digested by the body.
Technically, MCT fatty acids have between 6 to 10 or sometimes 12 carbon atoms. Other oils have more than 12. Such ‘healthy fats’ from fish, avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, are long-chain triglycerides (LCTs).
The key difference is that MCT oil doesn’t need enzymes or bile secretions to aid digestion. It goes straight to your liver where it can then be quickly absorbed or turned into ketones, These help to break fat stored in the liver into energy instead of using glucose.
What is the Difference between MCT and Coconut Oil?
Almost every MCT oil sold in Japan will have a picture of a coconut and something to the effect of 100% made from coconut oil. The reason for this is that coconut oil is the richest source for this superfood oil.
Coconut oil is plentiful and comes from the copra or the inner white flesh of the coconut. This oil contains about 54% MCTs, namely 42% lauric acid, 7% caprylic acid, and 5% capric acid. It also contains LCTs and unsaturated fats.
However, Lauric acid (C12) behaves in a similar way to LCTs in its slow absorption rate. Some experts don’t consider C12 a valid medium chain triglyceride. This suggests that coconut oil itself may not be the super oil it is claimed to be.
Superior quality MCT oil should contain only Caprylic acid (C8) and Capric acid (C10) which should be listed as percentage values on the label.
Caprylic acid (C8) or [ カプリル酸 ] is octogonic or contains 8 carbon atoms. Capric acid (C10) or [ カプリン酸 ] is likewise decanoic. Other MTC fatty acid chains include Caproic acid (C6) which is hexanoic, and Loric acid (C12) which is dodecanoic.
Healthy Sources of MCT Oil
Apart from coconuts, MCT oil can also be found in palm kernel oil. Other sources include milk, cheese, and yoghurt. Goat’s milk, however, has been found to be a richer source than cow’s milk.
Are There Any Dangers in Taking MCT Oil?
This is a question everyone should ask before taking any kind of supplement or super concentrated foodstuff.
MCT oil is a specific kind of oil which is concentrated via processing. Even if you can afford it, this oil should not be used to the exclusion of other essential fats. It’s also a saturated fat, so should therefore not be over-supplemented.
Large doses, taken on an empty stomach, or rare individual reactions may lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, and or vomiting. MCT C8 powder is gentler on sensitive stomachs.
Most people take the recommended dosage of the oil mixed into morning coffee, in a smoothie, salad, or some other food. Others just take the oil as it is, especially if it’s in a capsule. Alternatively, you can also choose MCT C8 powder.
Most products recommend taking between 5 to 15ml or grams per day. This is about 3 teaspoons. It’s best to start off with small doses at a time to get your stomach used to the oil. Some people take 15ml all at once, others spread it through 2 or 3 servings.
There are numerous potential benefits to MCT oil, which are well discussed through various popular and authoritative sources on the Internet. Academic studies into MCT oil can be found through Google Scholar.
Best Recommended MCT Oil Products in Japan –
Sendai Shozanka MTC Oil 360g – 仙台勝山館MCTオイル360g
- Popularly reviewed
- Caprylic acid (C8) 60%
- Capric acid (C10) 40%
- No additives or preservatives
It’s recommended to take up to 15 g/ml a day or spread between 3 teaspoons. Store in a cool place at room temperature and use within 1 to 2 months. Don’t allow contact of the oil to polystyrene or ABS resin containers for an extended period of time.
People find this MCT has a smooth and watery texture – so it’s not oily or thick. The most popular way to take it seems to be with morning coffee. Overall it’s well received and liked. A number of people report improved bowl and stomach conditions after a number of months.
There are a few sensitive people who experience upset stomachs with initial use. Like other concentrated foodstuffs such as protein powder, this can be expected. If the condition continues, then you can consider an MCT powder instead. The only negative issue is that the bottle design is not so great. Oil tends to drip down the sides.
This oil is tasteless and odorless and is not meant as just a salad dressing. If you put it on salad, add it in addition to some other flavoring. Some people don’t understand that MCT oil is not a remedy for weight issues or fatty liver. It should be taken as a companion to a healthy lifestyle and good exercise.
Katsuyama Nextage MTC Oil 450g – 勝山ネクステージ MCTオイル
- Caprylic acid (C8) 60%
- Capric acid (C10) 40%
- No additives or preservatives
This Katsuyama brand is the same company as the Sendai brand recommended above. There is no real difference between the two.
Because MCT oil should be used within a limited time period after opening, this is more suited for a couple using at the same time. It’s also relatively cheaper.
Flora Organic MCT Oil 250 ml – FloraオーガニックMCTオイル
Most people are happy with their purchase, especially the glass and the organic sourcing. Some find the lid difficult to deal with at times. The reported effects are much the same as other oils. However, many people buying this product have used MCT before. Some find the texture is better quality than the Katsuyama brands reviewed above.
Now Sports Softgels 1000mg – 3個セットMCTオイル、150ソフトカプセル
- GMP certified
- C8 and C10 fatty acids
- 50 servings per container
Now Sports from Now Foods is one of the top third party verified supplement brands. This product, however, only has GMP (manufacturing safety) and not the usual Informed Choice (ingredients) certification carried by their more expensive option.
These softgels use bovine (cow) gelatin and they are not Kosher, Halaal, nor vegetarian. The ratio of C8 to C10 is unknown. Each capsule is 25 calories.
Capsules are useful for people who can’t form a habit of integrating MCT oil into their food regime. Japanese consumers find that these capsules are way too big for their liking, but the 3 bottle value set is good cost performance.
Reviews on foreign shopping portholes indicate that these softgels are best appreciated by those following a strict Keto diet. They’re useful for maintaining Ketosis. They’re also useful for taking to work or while traveling.
Lohas Style Sachets – ロハスタイルMCTオイル スティック
- 12g or 20g sachets
- C8 55~65%
- C10 35~45%
- Manufactured in Japan
Lohas is a well-known sports and health foods brand. These sachets are useful for taking to work or when traveling. Other than that, they are a bit wasteful of resources. For home use, it’s better and more economical to buy a bottle.
Not to many people actually buy these sachets. For the most part, it’s people who need the convenience of taking one with them on the go. The quality of this oil seems much the same as other contenders.
The only downside is that people find the 20g sachets a little too much. If you’re not used to MCT oil, it’s best to start off with a small dose and gradually increase the amount. Sachets are not a good choice for this.
VALX MCT C8 Powder – VALX バルクス MCTオイルパウダー 250g
- C8 Caprylic acid only
- Zero additives
- No emulsifiers
- Mixed with acacia dietary fiber
VALX by Yoshinori Yamamoto is a top Japanese high performance sports brand specializing in protein and other powders. Most MCT powders only use C8 which is the shorter fatty acid.
These powders work great with morning coffee without the oily texture, protein shakes, smoothies, or meal replacements.
The most common use is to put in coffee or protein shakes. This C8 powder dissolves really well and doesn’t clump even if you mix it with some milk. People with sensitive stomachs who have reacted badly to MCT oil, find that this powder is much more suitable.
Katsuyama MCT Whey Protein – MCTホエイプロテイン750g
- MCT & fortified protein powder
- Calcium and Vit D
- L-leucin & L-valine
- No artificial additives
- Stevia sweetener
The Katsuyama brands are quite the specialists in Japan when it comes to MCT enhanced products. This is a good fortified protein powder with 5g MCT powder, 15.6g protein, 2000mg BCCA, and 27.8ug Vit D.
Most people rave about the the taste. The coca flavoring is high quality and it dulls the typical stevia taste leaving a milk sweetness. It mixes and dissolves well with no lumpiness or gritty texture. For a protein powder, this is pretty pricey. If you don’t need all the other extras, you may just as well add MCT powder to your usual protein mix.
A similar priced product is more focused on women. The flavor is maccha and it includes 400mg of collagen peptides
Oillio MCT Charge Jellies – エムシーティーチャージ ゼリー
- 6g MCT per stick
- 10 stick x 15g
- Top certification
Nishin Oillio is a top Japanese brand that often carries international verification on their sports products. These jelly sticks are certified by Informed Choice Sport.
However, these sticks are not for those looking for artificial additive free options. Additional ingredients include salt, emulsifier, gelling agent from soy beans, sucralose, flavoring, and 調味料 (アミノ酸) which usually indicates MSG.
Most people find these sticks easy to eat with a slight yoghurt taste. Some feel the taste is a little acquired. One stick is approximately ¥138 depending on price fluctuations. These MCT jelly sticks have proven useful to gym goers, for on-the-go supplementation like running, cycling, or rowing, and even health recuperation (discounting the additives!).
Shozanka Coffee Creamer – 仙台勝山館 MCTコーヒークリーマー
- C8 43%
- Grass fed butter powder 10%
- Organic ghee 6%
- Coconut oil 10%
- No flavoring or coloring
- No preservatives or artificial sweetener
- Sticks and 165g or 500g packs
This is an interesting product that meets half way between butter coffee and MCT coffee. Despite the health status of this product, it contains maltodextrin as a powder emulsifier.
Maltodextrin is found to spike glucose levels (high GI) and can also interfere with gut bacteria. It does, however, give one a good energy boost.
For the most part, this coffee creamer is well-received. It mixes well and tastes good, and is a convenient way to take MCT oil. The packs have a measuring spoon included.
All well and good, this product does not indicate the amount of MCT C8 that is present. If this matters to you, you’re better off putting straight C8 powder into your coffee instead.
People who take this creamer for health reasons are also largely unaware of issues surrounding maltodextrin. People with sensitive stomachs have reported cramps, which is quite likely related to the same issue.