Check out the oil section of any grocery store these days and you're sure to find a huge variety of coconut oils, fractionated coconut oils, liquid coconut oils, and MCT oils on display.
But with all these types of oils to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which will best suit your needs.
In this post we'll take a look at the different types of oils, explore the main differences between them, and outline their relative health benefits.
First, let's talk about coconut oil. There are two major types of coconut oil available to buy – "virgin" coconut oil and "RBD" coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil (unrefined) is processed naturally and retains its coconut flavor and smell.
RBD (refined, bleached, and deodorized) coconut oil often comes from inferior or sun-dried coconuts (copra) and has therefore been chemically processed to remove impurities. This also removes its natural flavor and smell.
Because virgin coconut oil is processed naturally, it retains the maximum number of vitamins and nutrients possible.
Virgin coconut oil has many health benefits for pets and people. These include the power to boost the immune system, support brain health, aid the digestive system, and fight infection.
RBD coconut oil is a cooking-grade product. While it is generally a healthy oil to cook with compared to other vegetable oils, it has far fewer health benefits than virgin coconut oil because of the way it's chemically processed.
RBD coconut oils are often low in healthy nutrients and contain only small amounts of lauric acid and other medium-chain fatty acids that help keep the body healthy. This is usually as the result of being made from coconuts that aren’t fresh, or from old copra. Low-quality coconut oil may also contain heavy metals such as arsenic, copper, iron, and lead.
When you choose a therapeutic-grade product such as CocoTherapy virgin coconut oil you can be sure that you are giving your pet a high-quality, natural health food that retains the maximum amount of beneficial nutrients.
Virgin coconut oil can be given both orally and topically to support and maintain overall health and treat a wide range of illnesses and diseases in pets. For more information please visit the health benefits section of our website.
Fractionated Coconut Oil
Fractionated coconut oil is processed to remove the long-chain fatty acids, leaving only the medium-chain fatty acids remaining.
When processed, fractionated coconut oil has almost all of it lauric acid removed. But due to the way it’s processed it contains higher levels of capric acid and caprylic acid than other types of coconut oil.
The high levels of capric acid and caprylic acid in fractionated coconut oil have been associated with health benefits including weight loss, treatment of malabsorption problems, and prevention and treatment of skin conditions and inflammation.
Fractionated coconut oil remains liquid at room temperature and is designed to be used topically. It is a powerful antioxidant and disinfectant and is commonly used in massage and aromatherapy oils and other skincare products.
Liquid coconut oil is another product you may have seen on store shelves. It is marketed as a cooking oil as well as a skincare product and is obtained via fractionation in much the same way as fractionated coconut oil.
Liquid coconut oil is fractionated coconut oil with the addition of lauric acid. This is added by manufacturers to introduce the health benefits of lauric acid into fractionated coconut oil.
However, liquid coconut oil contains far lower levels of beneficial lauric acid than virgin coconut oil. Lauric acid raises the overall melting point of the product and adding too much can cause it to easily solidify at normal temperatures.
Essentially, manufacturers have attempted to create a product that remains liquid while offering all the health benefits of virgin coconut oil. But due to the lower levels of lauric acid in liquid coconut oil, it is less healthy overall than virgin coconut oil.
Fractionated coconut oil is also marketed as MCT oil. It is essentially the same product as liquid coconut oil, but it is packaged as a health food supplement rather than a healthy cooking oil.
Like liquid coconut oil, MCT oil is billed as a purer and safer form of fractionated coconut oil that's fit for human consumption. Manufacturers often add lauric acid to MCT oil in much the same way as they do with liquid coconut oil to increase its relative health benefits.
MCT oil has been used in hospitals since the 1950s and is thought to treat various health issues including malabsorption, epilepsy, and cystic fibrosis. It is also popular with athletes to manage weight and increase performance.
Like liquid coconut oil, MCT oil can be applied topically as a skincare product or used as a cooking oil or dietary supplement.
The Bottom Line
Fractionated coconut oil is made by separating the different types of fatty acids in coconut oil. After undergoing the process of fractionation, the end product contains high levels of two MCTs – capric acid and caprylic acid. These MCTs have been linked with potential health benefits, several of which we've outlined in this post.
Fractionated coconut oil in its various forms may have certain health benefits, but it's a processed product that contains far less lauric acid than regular coconut oil.
The best choice for you and your pets is a natural whole food product such as CocoTherapy virgin coconut oil that's packed full of healthy nutrients.
Our oil contains 53% lauric acid which is considered responsible for many of coconut oil's health benefits. In comparison, most grocery or cooking-grade coconut oils contain around 40% lauric acid, and fractionated coconut oils contain far less still.
Click here to find out more about the CocoTherapy Difference.