Bulletproof coffee, butter and coconut oil extracts

bulletproof coffee

Bulletproof Coffee

Today’s biggest biohacking trend is probably Bulletproof coffee.
It means putting butter in your coffee and nothing else (no sugar, no milk).
Caffeine and fat have a synergic effect on brain energy.
Putting butter in coffee is the best way to:

– Start the day with a ketogenic breakfast, totally avoid sugar and carbs, to keep you alert.
– Feel energized without eating a big meal.

Coffee helps burning fat (read here)

Bulletproof coffee is increasing in popularity everyday because of the energy boost everybody trying it experiences.
Dave Asprey, that named this recipe Bulletproof Coffee, is selling two extracts of coconut fat that allegedly are the best for brain function.
This is his supplements shop: UpgradedSelf.com
Let’s see what are the differences and if it will really work!

Butter fatty acid profile

First of all, let’s brush up on the notation of fatty acids.
The number after the “C” is the number of carbon atoms that make that particular fatty acid chain.
The number after the “:” is the number of double bonds contained in the carbon chain.
Double bonds make the molecule less stable, that’s why unsaturated fatty acids are liquid at a lower temperature than saturated fatty acids.
Fatty acids with 0 double bonds are saturated.
Unsaturated fatty acids are called “Omega-x” where “x” is the position of the first double bond in the chain.

At this point, we know that all fat is not created equal.
And they don’t have the same effect on our health too.

What do we know about particular fatty acids?

Medium Chain Triglycerides are composed of fatty acid chains from 6 to 12 carbon atoms.
C8:0  (Caprylic Acid) and C10:0 (Capric Acid) seem to be the best for cognitive function.

Long Chain Triglycerides are the suspicious form of fat, the one that seem to cause CVD.
Palmitic Acid (C16:0) and Myristic Acid (C14:0) are more likely to cause blood clots.
Stearic Acid (C18:0) is otherwise safe.
This is the reason why i wouldn’t suggest palm oil, highest in Palmitic Acid.

Unsaturated fatty acids:
They are absolutely needed for brain health.
Oils are rich in omega-6 and omega-9 but they don’t have a lot of omega-3.
The form of omega-3 contained in oils is also the weakest one (ALA).
DHA and EPA are the forms of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish (and almost only in fish!) and they are neuroprotective.
Omega-6 is also healthy but it could inhibit the absorption of omega-3 if consumed at an excessive rate to omega-3.
The best omega3/omega6 ratio is 1:1.
Western diet contains too much omega-6 and too little omega-3.

So what should I put in my Bulletproof Coffee?

It has been suggested to change butter for coconut oil because of its fatty acid profile.
As you can see in the chart above, coconut oil has a higher degree of MCTs than butter and lower LCTs.
Almost half of coconut oil is Lauric Acid, the 12 carbon chain saturated fatty acid.
We once thought that saturated fat was bad, but we have discovered that the negative effects of saturated fat come from Myristic and Palmitic acids only.
The best kind of MCTs, C8:0 and C10:0, make combined the 15% of coconut oil.
Coconut oil MCTs extracts are totally C8 and C10, the best kinds to nourish the brain, C8 alone is the most powerful and can have nootropic benefits.
UpgradedSelf sells both a MCT oil and Brain Octane to put in their Bulletproof Coffee, the last one being an extract of 100% caprylic acid, C8:0.

What’s the point about choosing the shortest form of MCT? Why the most expensive oil, Brain Octane, totally made of C8 caprylic acid, should be better than predominantly C12 (Lauric acid) coconut oil?

  1. No LCTs: Coconut oil already has little palmitic acid (9.5%) whereas butter has a lot (31%). Brain Octane Oil has zero palmitic and myristic acid, so it should be even healthier than coconut oil.
  2. Shorter fatty acids are transformed in ketones at a faster pace than longer chains.
    So C8:0 is better than C12:0. Coconut oil is almost 50% C12. Brain Octane Oil is 100% C8.

Should I replace every oil for MCT?

No, Shorter chain fatty acids are an effective way to produce ketones quickly and they are particularly useful on a ketogenic diet, but they are not the only source of fat we need.
We should not miss on unsaturated fatty acids and there is no trace of them in MCT oils.
The best source of omega-9 is olive oil, it also has some omega-6.
Fishes like mackerel and salmon are the best for omega-3 and nuts for omega-6.

As for the saturated acids, it could be a good idea to increase the consume of shorter chains and lower the consume of longer ones.
But don’t take this advice for the word of God, we still need more research about saturated fatty acids. They sure are not as bad as we are told, they are needed for hormone synthesis and are better than carbohydrates as an energy source, but it could be true that some of the longer chains cause CVD.

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