What Is Fractionated Coconut Oil Good For?
It's rich in several medium-chain fatty acids that can have powerful effects on your metabolism.
Fractionated coconut oil is made from coconut oil and mainly consists of two medium-chain fatty acids.
It has been marketed as a coconut oil that can stay in liquid form in the fridge.
This is a detailed review of fractionated coconut oil and its health effects.
What is Fractionated Coconut Oil?
Fractionated coconut oil is an oil made from regular coconut oil.
Both regular and fractionated coconut oils are great sources of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), providing fatty acids that contain 6 to 12 carbon atoms.
However, their fatty acid composition is vastly different.
While the main fatty acid in coconut oil is the 12-carbon lauric acid (C12), most or all of this fatty acid has been removed from fractionated coconut oil.
The long-chain fatty acids present in coconut oil have also been eliminated.
Thus, the main medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in fractionated coconut oil are:
- C8: caprylic acid or octanoic acid
- C10: capric acid or decanoic acid
MCFAs are metabolized differently than other fats.
They're transported directly to the liver from the digestive tract, where they may be used as a quick source of energy. They can also be turned into ketone bodies, which are compounds that may have therapeutic effects in those with epilepsy (1Trusted Source).
Fractionated coconut oil is tasteless, odorless, and usually more expensive than regular coconut oil.
It's very similar or even identical to MCT oil.
Fractionated coconut oil is made from regular coconut oil and mainly consists of the medium-chain fatty acids caprylic acid (C8) and capric acid (C10).
How is Fractionated Coconut Oil Made?
Fractionated coconut oil is produced via a process called fractionation.
The different melting points of various fats make fractionation possible.
For example, lauric acid and long-chain fatty acids have higher melting points than caprylic acid and capric acid. Therefore, they will become solid sooner when cooled.
The fractionation of coconut oil is carried out by heating the oil above its melting point. Then, it's left to cool, and the solid fraction of the oil is separated from the liquid.
The whole process of fractionation can take several hours.
A process called fractionation is used to produce fractionated coconut oil. This method uses the different melting points of fats to separate them.
Fractionated Coconut Oil May Help You Lose Weight
A diet high in MCTs, the main component of fractionated coconut oil, may aid weight loss.
Most studies on this effect replaced other fats in the diet with MCTs.
MCTs may help you lose weight because they:
- reduce hunger and calorie intake (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source)
- help you burn more fat and calories (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source)
- are less likely to be stored as fat (9Trusted Source)
However, the amount of weight lost is generally quite modest.
One review of 13 studies found that MCTs reduced body weight by an average of 1.1 pounds (0.5 kg) over three weeks, compared with other fats (10Trusted Source).
The authors also noted that about half of these studies were funded by MCT oil producers. Therefore, there is a high risk of bias.
Eating a diet rich in MCTs may lead to modest weight loss by helping you eat less and burn more fat. MCTs are also lesslikely to be stored as fat.
Other Potential Health Benefits
The MCTs in fractionated coconut oil have been associated with several other health benefits, including:
- Reduced insulin resistance: One small study found that taking MCTs may reduce insulin resistance and improve other risk factors in people with diabetes and excess weight. More studies are needed to confirm this effect (11Trusted Source).
- Epilepsy treatment: Children with epilepsy may benefit from a ketogenic diet enriched with MCTs. Adding the MCTs may allow them to eat more carbs and protein, making the diet easier to stick to (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
- Improved brain function: One study reported that in some people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, MCTs may improve brain function. However, further studies are needed (14Trusted Source ).
The MCTs in fractionated coconut oil have been suggested to enhance exercise performance and improve various health conditions. However, more research is needed.
Most Fractionated Coconut Oils Don't Contain Lauric Acid
Lauric acid is a major component of coconut oil. In fact, the oil comprises about 50% lauric acid and is one of the world's richest dietary sources of this saturated fat.
Most fractionated coconut oils do not contain any lauric acid, or only very small amounts of it.
Thus, fractionated coconut oil doesn't offer all of the health effects that regular coconut oil does.
Fractionated coconut oil is able to stay in liquid form because its lauric acid has been removed. Thus, the oil does not offer lauric acid's many health benefits.
How Is It Used?
Fractionated coconut oil has been marketed under three different names.
You may know it as:
- Fractionated coconut oil: This oil is mainly used for various household and personal care purposes, such as a moisturizer, hair conditioner, and massage oil.
- MCT oil: It's often used as a dietary supplement, with 1–3 tablespoons per day being a common dosage recommendation.
- Liquid coconut oil: This oil is advertised as an edible cooking oil.
Ultimately, these are the same product that has been marketed for different consumer uses.
Fractionated coconut oil is also marketed as MCT oil and liquid coconut oil, but fundamentally, these are all the same product. Its uses include skin care and cooking.
Safety and Side Effects
Consuming fractionated coconut oil appears to be safe for most people.
However, there have been reports of people experiencing digestive symptoms.
These include stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting, and they seem particularly common in children on an MCT-enriched ketogenic diet (18Trusted Source).
These people may experience adverse reactions when consuming fractionated coconut oil.
Fractionated coconut oil is well tolerated by most people. However, it may cause digestive problems in some cases, as well as adverse symptoms in people who are allergic to coconut products.
The Bottom Line
Fractionated coconut oil is made by separating the different types of fats in regular coconut oil.
What remains are two medium-chain fatty acids that may lead to modest weight loss and several other health benefits.
While fractionated coconut oil may offer some benefits, it's more processed than the regular kind. Plus, lauric acid, one of the most beneficial fats, has been removed.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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By Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie
Of all the plastic we've ever produced, only 9% has been recycled. So what happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years?
Triangle of Mistruths<p>The myth created around plastic recycling has been one of simplicity. We look for the familiar triangle arrows, then pop the waste in the recycling bin so it can be reused.</p><p>But the true purpose of those triangles has been misunderstood by the general public ever since their invention in the 1980s.</p><p>These triangles were actually created by the plastics industry and, according to a report provided to them in July 1993, <a href="https://www.npr.org/transcripts/912150085" target="_blank">were creating "unrealistic expectations"</a> about what could be recycled. But they decided to keep using the codes.</p><p>Which is why many people still believe that these triangular symbols (also known as a <a href="https://sustainablepackaging.org/101-resin-identification-codes/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">resin identifier code</a> or RIC) means something is recyclable.</p><p>But according to the American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) – which controls the RIC system – the numbered triangles "<a href="https://www.astm.org/Standards/D7611.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">are not recycle codes</a>." In fact, they weren't created for the general public at all. They were made for the post-consumer plastic industry.</p><p>In other words, the symbols make it easier to sort the different types of plastics, some of which cannot be recycled – <a href="https://www.ecobin.com.au/understand-recycling-codes/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">depending on the recycling facility</a>.</p><p>"Unfortunately, just placing your plastic into the recycling bin doesn't mean it will get recycled," says Lara Camilla Pinho. She is an architect and lecturer at the UWA School of Design who is researching novel uses of plastic waste.</p><p>"The recycling system is complicated and often dictated by market demand. Not all plastic is recyclable. We cannot recycle plastic bags or straws for example."</p>
Behind the Scenes<p>So, what makes recycling plastics so difficult?</p><p>"Essentially, there are two types of plastics – thermoplastics and thermosets. While thermoplastics can be re-melted and re-molded, thermosets contain cross-linked polymers that cannot be separated meaning they cannot be recycled," says Lara.</p><p>"Even thermoplastics have a limit to the amount of times we can recycle them, as each time they are recycled they downgrade in quality."</p><p>Even when plastics are recyclable, it is <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/13/war-on-plastic-waste-faces-setback-as-cost-of-recycled-material-soars" target="_blank">often more costly</a> than simply making new plastics.</p>
Sugar, Seaweed and Mushrooms<p>If the conventional recycling system isn't working, what else can we do with all the plastic we've created?</p><p>Lara is looking for ways to add value to recycled plastics such as using it in the design and development of architectural products. She hopes to use these architectural products to help underserved communities that are disproportionately affected by plastic waste.</p><p>In addition to recycling, we also need to find ways to reduce our use of virgin petroleum-based plastics.</p><p>Bioplastic is one such product that has been getting a lot of hype over the last few years. And although they're better than petroleum-based plastics, bioplastics also come with their own <a href="https://phys.org/news/2017-12-truth-bioplastics.html" target="_blank">set of challenges</a>.</p><p>"There are already a lot of bio-based alternatives to plastic, such as bagasse – a byproduct of sugar cane processing," says Lara.</p><p><a href="https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-mycelium-revolution-is-upon-us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mycelium</a>, a type of fungi we most often associate with mushrooms, are also providing an interesting plastic alternative.</p><p>"In the field of architecture, mycelium is starting to be used as an alternative to plastic insulation, but also as compostable packaging and bricks," says Lara.</p><p>"The bricks take around five days to make and are strong, durable, water resistant and compostable at the end of their use."</p><p><a href="https://www.arup.com/news-and-events/hyfi-reinvents-the-brick" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hy-Fi Tower</a>, created by <a href="http://www.thelivingnewyork.com/living_about.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Living</a>, is an example of a building made from these bricks.</p><p>And finally, there's seaweed.</p><p>"[Seaweed is] cheap and can reproduce itself quickly without fertilizers. In architecture, there is use for seaweed as an alternative to plastic insulation but also as cladding," says Lara.</p>
More Money, More Problems<p>While all these alternatives are great, the main cause of our plastic dilemma is not scientific or technological, but economic.</p><p>As long as it remains <a href="https://engineering.mit.edu/engage/ask-an-engineer/why-is-it-cheaper-to-make-new-plastic-bottles-than-to-recycle-old-ones/" target="_blank">cheaper to create new plastics</a> from fossil fuels rather than from bioplastics or from recycling, we're going to be stuck with plastic garbage islands floating in our oceans.</p><p>The true cost to our health and our environment has yet to be included in the equation. But once it is, maybe that is when the real shift will happen.</p>
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