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NUTRITION LIBRARY

First off, I love coconut oil. It tastes great. It can be used in place of other fats in cooking, either to change the flavor profile or to replace a less desirable ingredient. Although you shouldn’t get it as hot as other cooking oils, so don’t try frying an egg using the über heat setting on your stove. You can also use it in place of skin moisturizer or even hair conditioner. And it also tastes pretty tasty in coffee. Okay, you get it. I likes me the coconut oil.

But the point of this blog is to provide a nutritional overview coconut oil and its relationship to MCTs, as well as simply explain what these things are. 

SPOILER: There is also a plot twist toward the end of the story.

So what is are MCTs you ask? MCTs are medium chain triglycerides. Triglycerides are also referred to as fatty acids. There are medium and long chain fatty acids. Chain length references the number of carbons chained together in a fatty acid. The medium chain variety consists of 6 to 12 carbons.  There are four MCTs: Caproic Acid (C6), Caprylic Acid (C8), Capric Acid (C10) and Lauric Acid (C12).  And our friend coconut oil happens to be the richest natural source of MCTs.

The metabolic benefits of MCTs are what get bodybuilders, dieters and endurance athletes so excited. The shorter chain length makes it easier for your body to absorb MCTs and does not require the complicated digestive processes used to metabolize conventional fats. MCTs are transported directly from the small intestine to the liver. With little effort, the liver then turns some of the MCTs into ketone bodies, which our muscles can use for energy. Some MCTs are used for thermogenesis (i.e.: burned to create body heat), and the rest is converted to ATP, the energy currency of our bodies. In summary: MCTs = muscle, thermogenesis, and energy. Due to the liver’s efficient processing of MCTs, there is little to nothing left to be stored as fat. 

In addition to the metabolic benefits, MCTs have been linked to a number of wellness benefits, including:

  • Improved brain function, as well as evidence it may help combat Alzheimer’s
  • Decreased bad cholesterol levels
  • Improved immune system function, largely due to Lauric Acid (C12).  

Which brings us to the interesting twist in this little story... Remember how I said that coconut oil is the richest source of MCTs? Coconut oil contains all four MCTs, with Lauric Acid (C12) being the most prevalent. Therefore, coconut oil is also the richest available source of Lauric Acid. Lauric Acid is arguably the most beneficial of the MCTs due to its brain function and improved immune system benefits. Other MCTs don’t offer nearly the same level of benefits. 

Here’s the kicker: for a premium, you can purchase pure MCT oil, which is touted as being better than coconut oil because all of the non-MCT fatty acids are removed during the manufacturing process. It’s all MCTs all the time. BUT, the manufacturing process removes almost all of the Lauric Acid because it is at the top of the carbon chain count. That’s right, if you spend the extra money on MCT oil versus coconut oil, you’re missing out on all of the Lauric Acid C12 goodness.

This isn’t to say MCT oil is bad. It’s still good stuff. It’s simply not better than coconut oil. In fact, it’s arguably less beneficial. And if you happen to be eating it, coconut oil actually tastes good. MCT oil has little to no flavor, and a lower burning point as well. So there you have it. For my dollar, it’s coconut oil all day. Made Man Nutrition offers an easy-to-take Coconut Oil supplement if you would like to add some more MCTs and Lauric Acid to your daily diet.

I will premise this post with the recommendation that if you would like to learn more about the importance of Vitamin D3 and the many important roles it plays it your wellbeing, visit Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s website at foundmyfitness.com. Simply put, she is a brilliant biomedical scientist who presents a tremendous amount of detailed information on this topic in a very easy to understand fashion.

There are a number of different types of Vitamin D, but the one you should look for is Vitamin D3, which is actually a steroid hormone. FDA guidelines actually set a very low daily allowance that only accounts for the amount of Vitamin D3 necessary to maintain essential bodily functions like bone homeostasis. However, Vitamin D3 is actually involved in over 1,000 functions in the body. So what happens when that small dose of Vitamin D3 recommended by the FDA gets used up for bone homeostasis and other critical functions? The rest of the functions that contribute to your optimal health can fall by the wayside. Because of this, a large number of researchers and nutritional experts agree that most people could benefit greatly from additional Vitamin D3 consumption.

What are other functions/benefits that Vitamin D3 assists with you ask? Here are some of the biggies:

  1. Protection against DNA damage, resulting in slower biological aging
  2. Increased brain serotonin levels, which is important for mood and mental health
  3. Reduced inflammation
  4. Lower cancer risk

The best way to determine how much Vitamin D3 would benefit an individual is to take a blood test, but many people will fall within a range of 3,000 to 5,000 IU per day. A daily packet of Made Man 360 provides 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3, offering substantial anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.

If I had a dollar for every time I am confronted with this question… well, I’d have a lot of dollars. I’m sure almost everyone who trains on a regular basis can empathize. Generally speaking, if your body is telling you it’s tired, you should probably take a break and not train that day. The problem is distinguishing between the actual signals your body is giving you versus the desire to be lazy and sit on the couch. Truth be told, missing one workout isn’t going to kill anyone. But you don’t want it to become the norm.

Which brings us back to the simple day-to-day question. To rest or to train? The best solution I have found is a two-step process. If either step indicates I need to rest, I rest.

  1. Document your training program. Write it down. That is to say, create a training schedule. If the schedule says Tuesday is leg day, it’s leg day. If Wednesday is a rest day, then it’s time to rest. Obviously allow some flexibility for injury, other demands in life, etc. But having a written schedule removes a lot of the guesswork.
  2. Check your resting heart rate every morning when you wake up. Do this before you get out of bed or consume any food or coffee. Your resting heart rate is a very good indicator of whether you are overtraining or not. If your resting heart rate jumps up by 5 beats per minute, take it into consideration if your body is also telling you to take a break. If your resting heart rate increases by 10 beats per minute, it is definitely time for a break. Take a day or two off. If your resting heart rate goes back down, you will know you were overtraining and needed a break.

Following a written schedule and tracking your day-to-day resting heart rate takes a lot of guesswork out of the “To rest or to train?” conundrum. Over time, you will become more aware of your body and its recovery capabilities, which is pretty cool.

I get this question a lot. And the best answer I can muster is “it depends.” When it comes to Made Man supplements, we try to put the best and most specific dosage instructions on the bottle. There are certain supplements that are best taken on an empty stomach, and others that are better to take with a meal. It all depends on how your body metabolizes a particular nutrient, or perhaps if it could cause upset on an empty stomach.

Unless there is a specific direction to take a supplement on an empty stomach, I typically consume my supplements with breakfast. I do this for a couple reasons. First, I have found that the majority of nutrients are best absorbed if they are accompanied by the consumption of healthy fats and proteins. Second, it is simply a good habit. As we’ve noted in other blog posts, good habits are huge. If you can incorporate a supplement routine into your typical day, you are most likely to remember to take them and therefore get the most benefit from them.

I believe it is Tim Ferris who said: “It’s better to follow a good program consistently than to follow a perfect program inconsistently.” …or something close to that. Tim, I apologize if I’m misquoting you. The point is, if you are trying to improve yourself, whether it be nutrition, exercise, studying, or any other forms of self-improvement, and you implement an overly strict and ambitious program, you simply aren’t going to follow it on a consistent basis. Which negates the whole point.

Rather, if you establish a good program that isn’t exceedingly ambitious (i.e.: it allows for cheat meals, it doesn’t require an hour of sprints 5x a week), you are much more likely to be consistent. And consistency is the key to success.  The idea is to incorporate positive lifestyle changes that become part of your routine. Drastic “fixes” don’t last. HABITS are lasting and effective.

The widely accepted benchmark for developing a new habit is 2 weeks. That is to say, if you can follow a new gym program or sleep schedule for 2 weeks, it is likely to become a daily standard. The new activity is now just a comfortable and expected part of your everyday.   

This isn’t to imply that your new habit shouldn’t be challenging. It’s good to challenge yourself. However, don’t start off going 100 miles per hour if you know it isn’t sustainable yet. Start at 60 miles per hour, and work up to 100 once the activity is firmly ingrained in your lifestyle.

Every morning I take a good number of supplements. I consider them an investment in both my daily health and my longevity. First I get some food in my system. Usually something low in carbs, and high in protein and healthy fats. Then it’s supplement time. I consume all of the Made Man products each day: including the 6 pills in a Made Man 360 pack, 2 Big'O Coconut Oil pills, 2 Pacific Krill Oil pills, 2 Turmeric pills, and 2 Pro-40 Probiotic pills. That’s 14 pills. Seem like a lot of pills to swallow? Nope.

I've found that swallowing pills is a challenge for some people. But it’s usually because they are timidly trying to take one at a time. Then the pill awkwardly gets stuck in their throat and they are even timider the next time they try to swallow a pill.

My mom taught me the secret to taking pills when I was a kid. When she was young, she contracted tuberculosis and was quarantined in the hospital for months. Multiple times each day, the doctors made her take a small mountain of medications. The nurses taught patients to treat the pills like a bite of food, and easily swallow as many as 20 pills at once. Yes, TWENTY of them, in one gulp.

Swallowing multiple pills is way easier than swallowing a single pill! Give it a shot tomorrow morning. Those 14 pills I take every morning? I take them with 2 sips of coffee.

You hear a lot about probiotics these days. In my opinion, the Made Man Pro-40 Probiotic we offer is one of our most beneficial and important products. I like to think of probiotics as microscopic good-guy warriors patrolling inside our gut and on our skin. But I realize that is rather anecdotal. So here’s a brief scoop on what probiotics really are:

Your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for your health and are especially helpful for your digestive system. In addition to supplement form, they can be found in a number of fermented foods such as kombucha, yogurt, and sauerkraut.

There are all kinds of different probiotic species, the two most common types of probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. 

Lactobacillus is a crucial component for creating a lactic acid environment in the gut, which is necessary for fighting off bad bacteria that thrive in alkaline environments, and are also necessary in order to absorb a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. Acidophilus (you may recognize this term from your favorite yogurt label) is the most common and perhaps effective strain of Lactobacillus.

Bifidobacterium is also very helpful in creating that lactic acid environment in your gut but it also helps with the digestion by creating enzymes that break down of carbohydrates, fat, and protein molecules into smaller pieces that are easier for the body to metabolize.

Keeping a healthy store of probiotics in your system, therefore, can help prevent you from getting sick, AND it helps you metabolize nutrients properly. If you take antibiotics, the medication can destroy both bad and good bacteria, so it’s important that you counter the administration of antibiotics with probiotics supplementation.

In addition to everyday health, probiotic supplementation can be hugely beneficial for sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome and eczema. From here, it gets really exciting. The evidence is mounting that probiotics play a significant role in maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy cholesterol level. I’ll be writing separate a blog post about these topics very soon.

The general consensus is that Krill oil is like fish oil, except better. Krill oil is a source of exceptionally high-quality Omega-3 and is capable of being absorbed by the body much faster than fish oil. In fact, the EPAs and DHAs in krill oil are up to 40% more bio-available than in fish oil.

But there is one thing you should know about krill oil capsules… every bottle krill oil capsule I have encountered, regardless of the manufacturer, the type of capsule or the type of container, smells a little bit like uncooked shrimp when you open it. Yum...

Here’s the good news: most krill oil capsules, notably Made Man Pacific Krill Oil capsules, are smaller than your typical fish oil pills. So they are super easy to swallow. Furthermore, krill oil doesn’t have the fishy aftertaste of most fish oil supplements. I have never experienced the dreaded fish oil burp with krill oil. And the smell isn’t bad, just unexpected for some. And now you know!