MCT power: Singapore brand aiding cognitive and metabolic awareness around 'essence of coconut oil'
dr. MCT, a brand belonging to Singaporean health food company Keto Science, carries a line of MCT products in two delivery formats: oil and powder.
Its 100% MCT oil comes in 250ml and 500ml bottles, while its MCT powder comes in either 350g tub, or a box of 30 7g sachets. These former is recommended as a salad dressing, and the latter can be added to food and drink, such as coffee, tea, smoothies, soup, stew and curry.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, Keto Science's assistant marketing manager Kueh Vi Vien said: "MCT supplements are quite new in the market. We explain MCTs to the layman as 'the essence of coconut oil'. In the past, coconut oil itself was hyped up because of its health benefits, as well as endorsements from celebrities and even nutritionists."
Indeed, MCTs are the key ingredient in coconut oil, which contains between 60% and 65% MCTs. MCTs are also found in human breastmilk, though they make up only 5% of the total composition.
Kueh said dr. MCT's MCTs were extracted from plant sources, from which it was possible to obtain 100% pure MCT.
She added: "We only extract what is called the caprylic C8 and capric C10 components; these are the components that are most readily absorbed by the body. Coconut oil has other C — or carbon chain — components, but those are not effective."
The products are manufactured and packaged entirely in Singapore, using raw ingredients imported from Indonesia.
Apart from extract purity, the brand also prides itself on validation from healthcare and nutrition professionals, basing its research on previously conducted clinical trials to maximise its credibility.
Kueh said: "We've received support from both nutritionists and doctors in launching our products, and we've referenced many studies to back up our health claims. In fact, MCTs have been widely used for the last decade or so in clinical and medical applications.
"For people who are malnourished or who have nutrition absorption problems, doctors have actually prescribed MCT oil. Some of the notable benefits we've observed are that MCTs provide cognitive energy for those with Alzehimer's or dementia, who generally have problems processing glucose as energy.
"MCTs bypass the digestive system, go directly to the liver, and are then processed into ketones, which are a very good source of energy for the brain."
Furthermore, dr. MCT has worked with endocrinologists, particularly with regards to their patients who suffer from diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
Kueh highlighted two such doctors from Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, one of whom had recommended MCT oil to his patients. After consuming the oil, the patients experienced a positive impact on their resting metabolic rate.
The other doctor — also from the same hospital — had diabetic patients experiencing an increase in energy levels after they had incorporated MCTs into their diets.
While MCTs can be used to support and improve the health of diabetics, dementia and Alzheimer's patients, and individuals with metabolic syndrome, most of dr. MCT's customers (who tend to be in their early 30s to mid-40s) use them for preventive health purposes.
Convenience and comprehension
Though oil is considered the 'purest form' of MCTs, the brand developed its powder format to provide a convenient method for users to incorporate MCTs into their diets.
Kueh said: "Some people don't like to take the oil. They prefer to add the powder into their coffee as a non-sugar creamer, for instance. You can also add it into stews, curries and shakes, and we are exploring more food applications. This will make it even more convenient for consumers to incorporate MCTs into their favourite foods."
She added that the recommended daily dose for MCTs (5ml to 30ml for oil and 14g to 28g for powder) made more traditional delivery formats, such as capsules and soft gels, impractical.
Currently, dr. MCT's range of products are sold in select pharmacies and health food stores in Singapore, as well as in its official web stores.
While the brand has no overseas distribution yet, it is open to discussion with interested parties who would like to bring the product to their respective markets.
At the moment, however, dr. MCT prefers to focus on raising awareness locally before venturing overseas.
Kueh said: "MCT supplements are still a fairly new concept in Singapore, so we are focusing on building awareness in this market at the moment. Awareness in other countries in South East Asia is also low, so we would still have to work on the educational aspect even if we begin overseas distribution."
She further stated that it was important for the brand's message around the health benefits of MCTs to come from more than one source.
As such, dr. MCT would strongly consider working with doctors to ensure its products gave their patients "measurable benefits" that could support its health claims.