Can I Take MCT Oil At Night? (A Nutritionist Explains)

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With MCT oil being quickly broken down by the body as an energy source, you might be questioning whether it is ok to take at night.

Can you take MCT oil at night? Yes, you can take MCT oil at night. When consuming MCT oil at night, it may benefit your sleep, assist with fat burning, minimize cravings and leave you feeling sharper the following day.   

However, if you’re going to take MCT oil at night, it’s important that you consider the dosing and what you’re mixing it with, which I’ll discuss below.

I’ll also address:

  • Why it makes sense to take your MCT oil at night
  • If there are any drawbacks to taking MCT oil at night 
  • How best to consume MCT oil at night.

4 Benefits To Take MCT Oil At Night

pros vs cons of taking mct oil at night

The  4 benefits for using MCT use at night are:

  • It assists in suppressing night time snacking
  • It helps improve sleep quality
  • It improves cognitive function the following day 
  • It may increase  energy burning overnight

Understanding more about these factors could allow you to maximize the benefit of your MCT oil use. 

1. Assists in Suppressing Night Time Snacking

Research has shown that MCT oil can lower your appetite. So if you find yourself susceptible to night time snacking and frequent walks to the fridge or pantry, taking MCT oil at night could help lower appetite and hunger cues. 

The benefit to this is:

  • If you’re following a nutritional program that involves fasted periods, MCT oil acting as an appetite suppressant following dinner, may help you be more adherent to your goals by maintaining your fasted state.
  • If you want to lose fat and you’re eating in a calorie deficit, MCT oil acting as an appetite suppressant will limit over consumption of calories because your desire to eat is lowered. 

2. Help Improve Sleep Quality

MCT oil has been connected to reducing insulin spikes. Insulin spikes occur when you have a big intake of carbs, leaving you with a burst of energy in the form of glucose in your blood, which your body will look to expand. Something akin to a sugar rush. 

If this insulin spike is occurring before bed, you may find yourself feeling restless at a time when you’re trying to relax and fall asleep. 

The benefit here is:

  • If you’re taking MCT oil at night, it may help regulate glucose in your insulin levels, allowing you to reach a more restful state and achieve better sleep quality. 

3. Improve Cognitive Function the Following Day

Your brain uses the most energy of any other organ in your body, but it is unable to store energy, So to work effectively, it needs a constant stream of energy being sent to it. 

When you consume MCT oil it is quickly metabolized (broken down)  and sent to the brain for it to use as energy. By taking MCT oil before bed, you’re providing your brain with its preferred energy source to help sustain itself overnight. 

The benefit of this is:

  • Your brain gets to take advantage of an available energy source (without creating an insulin spike) as it runs its processes overnight.
  • This could leave you feeling sharper and with improved cognitive function the next day because your brain hasn’t tired itself out overnight. 

4. Improve Cognitive Function the Following Day

Some studies have shown that consuming MCT oil as part of a high fat diet can promote your body breaking down stored fat as an energy source. 

Taking MCT oil at night, while utilizing high fat or fasting dieting strategies, could assist in your body continuing to burn fat overnight. 

The benefit of this is:

  • It could assist in influencing your body composition to appear more lean, providing you’re in a calorie deficit, because your body could be continuing to metabolize fat overnight. 

There are variables to how fat loss occurs and how MCT oil can support this, so if you’re interested in understanding more, contact us and we’ll be able to assist with your specific circumstances. 

Are There Any Drawbacks To Taking MCT Oil Before Bed?

The main drawback of consuming your MCT oil before going to bed is the possibility of it causing stomach discomfort, leading to disrupted sleep. 

To avoid this, try the following:

  • Introduce MCT oil into your diet gradually;
  • Build up your servings of MCT oil, to develop a tolerance; and
  • Try mixing it with something or have it in a powdered form.

If you’d like to understand more about how to manage possible gastrointestinal complaints associated with MCT oil use, see my recent article on the topic.  

How To Take MCT Oil At Night?

guidelines on how to take mct oil at night

When taking MCT oil at night, follow these guidelines to find what works best for you:

Consider The Dosage

The amount of MCT oil you take at night should be dependent on what you’re doing. For example if you’re in a fasted state and training at night, you may want to consume a full serve, roughly a tablespoon. 

Alternatively, if you have experienced stomach discomfort with high concentrations of MCT oil, it may be better to consider a small amount or half service or MCT oil. This way you can still provide your body with the benefit while limiting possible gastrointestinal issues and midnight runs to the toilet. 

Consider Mixing It

When you’re taking MCT oil at night you have a couple of options available to you in how you consume it. You could incorporate MCT oil as dressing or in a sauce paired with your dinner or you could use it in powdered form as a creamer and mix it in a tea. 

This will help you take it at night and minimize the risk of nasty stomach side effects that could disrupt your sleep. 

Consider The Timing

If you’re looking to suppress your appetite and curb snacking cravings late into the night, it may be best to have your MCT oil with dinner. Or if you’re looking to improve your sleep quality it may be better to consume MCT oil as part of your bedtime routine.

 If you’re looking to try a flavorless and versatile MCT oil, I’d recommend Bulletproof

Bulletproof Pure C8 MCT Oil

Is MCT Oil Better Than Other Types of Oil Before Bed?

MCT oil and other types of oil

When you are trying to determine which oil is best for you at night, you want to know the difference between:

  • medium chain triglycerides (MCTs); and
  • Long chain triglycerides(LCTs. 

LCTs take longer to be absorbed by the body whereas MCTs are more quickly absorbed by the body and can therefore be used as a fast energy supply. Different fats will have different MCT and LCT composition. 

Depending on what you are looking to achieve will dictate what is the better oil to consume before bed. Common oils are compared below:

Coconut45-53% MCT and 55-47% LCT9 calories per gram
Olive100% LCT9 calories per gram
MCT100% MCT8.4 calories per gram

Olive Oil

If you’re looking for an anti-inflammatory benefit or to assist with constipation, taking olive oil will assist. Generally speaking, studies have also shown that olive consumption over time can assist in lowering blood pressure.

Coconut Oil

The typical benefits associated with coconut oil are similar to those of MCT oil, because of the large ratio of MCTs contained within it. So if you’re taking coconut oil for the benefits of MCT oil, then perhaps opt for a straight MCT option is a better choice, because then you’re getting the most optimal amount with every serve.

It is not that MCT oil is necessarily better than different oils, but it provides different benefits, so the oil appropriate for you to consume before bed, should be aligned to your health and nutrition objectives. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re using MCT oil as part of your supplement regime, there seems to be some merit in taking it at night. Have a look at your goals and consider whether introducing MCT oil to your night time routine is going to level up your health and performance gains. 

Other MCT Oil Resources

About The Author

Steph Catalucci

Steph Catalucci is an online nutrition coach from Australia, working with clients all over the world. Her passion for nutrition was born through wanting to treat her body better, for health and performance. She is a strong advocate for understanding nutrition to develop informed nutritional habits that go beyond just food.  Steph leverages a decade of her own nutritional experience to help people make sense of the noise and carve a path forward with their nutrition, supporting clients with whatever body composition goal they have. When not coaching or writing, you’ll find her training for her next powerlifting competition.

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