This article pits 2 of the most popular nutritional supplements made from fats, fish oil and MCT oil against one another.
Unlike most ‘vs.’ articles, this one doesn’t have a clear winner. After reading you will know how both fish and mct oil can benefit you. You’ll also know why, how, when, and even where to take either supplement.
MCT vs Fish Oil
1. One’s vegetarian, the other isn’t
The MCT oil you get from a supplement is made from coconut or palm oil. Fish oil, as the name implies comes from fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies.
While you can get MCTs from some animal based foods and the omega 3 fats found in fish oil from plant sources, neither provides a large enough amount to benefit your health.
2. They Digest And Work Differently
When you take a spoonful of MCT oil, it skips the normal digestive process of other fats. Instead it’s quickly shuttled from your small intestines to your liver. Once in your liver it’s converted to compounds called ketones.
These ketones are then used by our brains, muscles, hearts as a form of instant energy.
Fish oil, on the other hand is digested and utilized like other fat. They’re also assimilated differently. Instead of being used within minutes like MCTs, the omega 3 fats in fish oil are slowly absorbed by various cells in our body.
3. Each Helps You Lose Weight Loss In Different Ways
Research finds both MCT and fish oil are good for fat loss. Do so differently.
Fish oil helps us lose weight by signaling hormones in the brain to tell us we’re full. Some research also finds that they can slightly help us burn more calories.
MCTs, on the other hand get their weight loss benefits from the ketones they help produce. These compounds have an appetite suppressing effect. There’s also data that shows they can help ‘speed up’ your metabolism so you burn more calories throughout the day.
4. Different Amounts Are Required To See Results
When you take fish oil, you’ll need to take between 1-3 grams a day to see the results. The amount needed will be based upon your healthy, diet, how active you are, etc.
MCTs on the other hand require a dosages of 1-3 tablespoons (15 or more grams). Again the amount you need to take is dependent on your health, goals…
5. You Can Cook With MCT Oil And Add It To Food
Unless you want your food or protein shakes to taste like fish, you’ll never want to cook with fish oil. Plus, these fats are rather delicate and are destroyed when subjected to high temperatures.
MCTs, on the other hand are much more stable and can be used for baking, frying, and blending into a protein shake. They’re also flavorless which makes them especially great to add to foods.
6. MCT And Fish Oil Work Differently In Your Body
When you take fish oil, it integrates into the cells of your body. From there, it sets off a variety of mechanisms that help to reduce inflammation throughout your body.
This is how it then helps to reduce joint pain, fat loss, etc.
MCT Oil on the other hand works by increasing the amount of compounds called ketones in your bloodstream. They are an alternate source of energy from sugar, our normal energy source.
Ketones are like high test fuel and can be used by the brain, heart muscles, and other organs. When their levels increase they help to decrease our appetite, make us more mentally focused, and make the transition to burning fat for fuel much easier. This why so many of us following a ketogenic diet use them.
7. One Works Immediately, The Other Much Slower
When you take a serving of MCTs you’re likely to feel the benefits very quickly. I just took one about 20 minutes ago and I’m on fire. My body is warm, my mind is focused, and I have a ton of energy. It’s the ultimate pre-work and workout supplement.
Fish oil on the other hand doesn’t kick in so fast. It took me about 2 weeks to begin noticing a difference. I have arthritis in one of my elbows and other nagging joint pain. Taking fish oil helps but it took longer to notice a difference. The results were also more subtle at first and improved the longer I’ve been taking it daily.
8. They Come From Different Sources
As you can guess, omega 3 fats come from fish. Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and anchovies have the greatest amounts.
MCTs are found in the highest amounts in coconuts and palm kernels. They’re also present in butter and other high fat dairy foods.
9. MCT Oil Tastes Much Different Than Fish Oil
Fish oil tastes just like you’d think, like fish. This is why we take it in capsule form. The best supplements (link) add lemon flavor too it to mask this flavor. It’s why I take it in capsule form so I don’t have to taste it at all.
MCT oil on the other hand is totally flavorless. This makes it great to add to shakes and meals. Unlike fish oil, it’s actually a flavor enhancer. This is why food scientists add it to so many foods. My wife and I really notice this when we add it to guacamole or use it to sauté vegetables.
10. You can cook with MCT Oil
The fats in MCT oil are heat stable. This means they can be cooked with at fairly high temperatures. Cooking with them not only gives you the Keto friendly acts you’re looking for but makes your foods taste better too. This is why they’re added to so many foods.
Try using them instead of your normal oil the next time you sauté or roast vegetables. It’s what we use in our home regularly.
Fish oil, on the other hand isn’t good for cooking at all. The first reason is that it becomes rancid at high temperatures. This will turn its healthy omega 3’s into unhealthy and potentially harmful fats.
It’s fish flavor isn’t going to make your food taste very good either.
Use Them Both For Optimal Benefits
Just because they’re different doesn’t mean each shouldn’t both be part of your supplement plan. Listed below are several benefits for each supplement.
MCTs are great for
Fish oil supplements can
Which Products Are The Best?
When it comes to MCT oil, my favorite is MCT Edge. It’s a product that I developed for my wife and myself. After testing dozens of products and our own formulation for more than a year, we began to sell it in our store (link).
Every serving gives you nothing but pure, pharmaceutical grade MCT oil. It uses the two most powerful of the four types of medium chain triglycerides. All you need to take is a tablespoon to see results fast.
My favorite fish oil is Oximega by Controlled Labs. Every 2 softgel serving gives you more than 1 gram of EPA and DHA, the fatty acids that give fish oil its benefits.
Oximega also has a tasty orange flavor. Most fish oil supplements taste fishy, both going down and coming up with the fish oil burps they give you.
Not this supplement, you get a mild orange flavor when you take them and nothing else since they won’t cause you to burp their flavor back up. If you do, it tastes like oranges anyway.