Does virgin coconut oil have MCT?

It's the MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) that makes virgin coconut oil beneficial to our health. So yes, virgin coconut oil has MCT, about 50 – 64%, depending on various factors such as quality of coconut used, types of coconut used, processing method, environmental conditions, method of farming etc. But having MCT doesn't make virgin coconut oil the same as MCT oil.

MCT oil comprises purely MCT, unlike virgin coconut oil that contains not just MCT, but LCT (long-chain triglyceride) as well.

Does that mean MCT oil provides greater health benefits than virgin coconut oil since MCT oil has more MCT?

It may seem so on the surface. But what a typical MCT oil carries are merely caprylic acid and capric acid. Whereas virgin coconut oil generally contains these two medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) plus lauric acid and caproic acid.

Fatty acidMCT oilVirgin coconut oil
Caproic acid< 0.5%
Caprylic acid35 – 75%4.6 – 10%
Capric acid25 – 45%5 – 8%
Lauric acid45.1 – 53.2%

Delving even deeper, I'd say half of the benefits of virgin coconut oil actually come from lauric acid, which is the most potent antimicrobial among these MCFAs, according to various researches. Which means, virgin coconut oil is better than MCT oil in terms of protecting against harmful pathogens.

Technically speaking, MCT oil is not the same as virgin coconut oil because MCT oil is fractionated from a pure coconut oil.

Pure coconut oil carries everything a typical coconut oil should have. For instance, lauric acid, caprylic acid, capric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, oleic acid etc. Refined coconut oil and virgin coconut oil are pure coconut oils.

In contrast, MCT oil is not a pure coconut oil. It's merely a subset of pure coconut oil.

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  3. What's the difference between virgin and extra-virgin coconut oil?
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  6. Can we heat virgin coconut oil?