MCT studies datasheet - 2019 Update

Here is a summary list of medium chain triglycerides (MCT) studies showing their effect on human performance. It's real data from real studies. Read, learn, and decide for yourself!

 

Last updated: 14 May 2019 

 

Remember: Do not buy any product which does not specify MCTs on the label. Vast majority of studies refer to two MCTs: caprylic acid (C8) and capric acid (C10), but some companies try to sell MCT products full of lauric acid (C12), which does not have properties listed below. Best products will contain either C8 alone or a mix of C8 and C10, without C12. 

 

Human studies  

 

Energy 

 

  • A study of recreational athletes found that the exercise time to exhaustion at a workload corresponding to 80% peak VO2 was significantly longer in the MCT trial (6g) than in the LCT trial. Blood lactate concentration and rating of perceived exertion during exercise were significantly lower after ingestion of MCT-containing food (Study)

  • Another study concluded that more MCTs are oxidized when ingested in combination with carbohydrates. Data do confirm the hypothesis that oral MCTs might serve as an energy source in addition to glucose during exercise because the metabolic availability of MCTs was high during the last hour of exercise (well-trained athletes cycled 4 x 180 min), with oxidation rates being approximately 70% of the ingestion rate (Study

  • A study suggested that intake of MCTs (15-30 g per day) as part of habitual diet may play a role in the control of human body composition by enhancing daily energy expenditure, and that this effect is mediated at least in part through activation of the sympathetic nervous system (Study)

  • A scientific review concluded that MCTs increase energy expenditure, may result in faster satiety and facilitate weight control when included in the diet as a replacement for fats containing long-chain triglycerides (Study

 

Weight control 

 

  • A study of 78 healthy men and women stated that the MCT diet may reduce body weight and fat in individuals (BMI > or = 23 kg/m(2)) more than the LCT diet (Study)

  • A study of 17 healthy obese women concluded that long-term consumption of MCT (caprylic acid and capric acid) enhances energy expenditure and fat oxidation in obese women, when compared to LCT consumption. Authors concluded that substitution of MCT for LCT in a targeted energy balance diet may prevent long-term weight gain via increased energy expenditure (Study)

  • A study of 12 healthy, adult, male volunteers found that the addition of any of the fats to the high-carbohydrate breakfasts did not alter hunger ratings, but significantly delayed the request for lunch compared with the low-fat breakfast. The free-choice lunch eaten after the MCT breakfast was also significantly smaller. Blood glucose and insulin concentrations were lower after the 3 fat breakfasts, followed by larger increases in glucose and enhanced insulin responses 30 min after the lunch (Study)

  • Another study found that body weight decreased with MCT consumption compared to long-chain triglyceride (LCT) consumption (MCT: 1.03+/-0.25 kg, LCT: 0.62+/-0.29 kg (Study)

  • A review of scientific studies concluded that dietary MCFAs/MCTs suppress fat deposition through enhanced thermogenesis and fat oxidation in animal and human subjects. Additionally, several reports suggest that MCFAs/MCTs offer the therapeutic advantage of preserving insulin sensitivity in animal models and patients with type 2 diabetes (Study)

  • A study of 19 healthy participants found that both conjugated linoleic acid and MCT increased satiety and reduced energy intake, indicating a potential role in aiding the maintenance of energy balance (Study)

  • A study of 10 overfed male volunteers demonstrated that excess dietary energy as MCT stimulates thermogenesis to a greater degree than does excess energy as LCT. This increased energy expenditure, most likely due to lipogenesis in the liver, provides evidence that excess energy derived from MCT is stored as fat with a lesser efficiency than is excess energy derived from dietary LCT (Study)

  • Another study of 82 subjects who consumed a test bread made with 14 g of medium- and long-chain triacylglycerols (MLCT) containing 1.7 g MCFA for 12 weeks found significant decreases of body weight, the amount of body fat, subcutaneous and visceral fat in the MLCT group as compared with those of the LCT group. Authors concluded that the daily intake of MLCT diet could result in a reduction in body weight and in accumulation of body fat, and, moreover, it could reduce serum total cholesterol (Study)

  • A study investigating a liquid formula diet supplement containing structured medium- and long-chain triacylglycerols (SMLCT) composed of medium- (10%) and long-chain (90%) fatty acids concluded that replacing long-chain triacylglycerols with SMLCT over long periods of time could produce bodyfat loss in the absence of reduced energy intake (Study)

  • Another study from the same group (one up) investigated a single dose of structured medium- and long-chain triacylglycerols (SMLCTs) composed of medium-chain (20%) and long-chain (80%) fatty acids. The authors found that postingestive total energy expenditure was significantly higher after SMLCT ingestion versus LCT ingestion. The thermic effects of the test oil were also significantly greater after SMLCT ingestion compared with LCT ingestion suggesting that long-term substitution of SMLCTs for LCTs will produce body fat loss if energy intake remains constant (Study)

 

Cognitive performance

 

  • A review study stated that medium chain triglycerides significantly improve Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive scores when added to ongoing pharmacotherapy in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's Disease (Study)

  

 

Animal studies  

 

  • A study concluded that caprylic (C8) and capric (C10) acids added to the feed improve piglet performance (increased growth, lowered mortality, increased protein and fibre digestibility), probably due to positive changes in the mucosal epithelium structure of the ileum (small intestine) (Study)

  • Another study found that MCT rats gained 15% less weight than long-chain triglyceride fed controls. Total dissectible fat was significantly lower in MCT group, as was mean adipocyte size. Resting and maximal norepinephrine-stimulated 02 consumptions were 39.7 and 22.1% higher in MCT than in LCT group, respectively. Resting and norepinephrine-stimulated metabolic rates were 38.8 and 22.2% higher in MCT than LCT fed rats, respectively (Study)

  • A study looking at thermogenesis in rats using MCT stated that the reduced weight gains of animals fed MCT are due to elevated rates of energy expenditure. Body weight, energy gain, and energetic efficiency were all markedly suppressed in MCT-fed rats, but energy expenditure over the 14-day experiment was significantly increased. Resting oxygen consumption, measured at thermoneutrality, was also enhanced in MCT-fed rats (Study)

  • Interestingly, a study found that the weight gain of rats fed MCT diet was 30% less than that of rats fed low fat or LCT diets. Energy retention was less when the diet provided MCT than LCT or LF, and that resulted in a 60% decrease in the daily lipids deposition. Plasma glucose, free fatty acids, glycerol, and insulin/glucagon ratio were similar in the three groups (Study)

  • Another study stated that MCT-fed rats gained 20% less weight and possessed fat depots weighing 23% less than LCT-fed rats. Mean adipocyte size was smaller in MCT- than in LCT-fed rats. Authors concluded that the decreased deposition of fat in the MCT-fed rats may have resulted from obligatory oxidation of MCT-derived fatty acids in the liver after being transported there via the portal vein, leaving almost no MCT derivatives for incorporation into body fat (Study)

 

 

In Vitro studies 

 

  • A study evaluating MCTs' antimicrobial activity concluded that caprylic acid (C8), and to a lesser extent also capric acid (C10), has a significant antimicrobial activity toward E. coli. Neither short-chain fatty acids (C2-C6) nor fatty acids with longer chain (C12-C18) influenced substrate utilization by E. coli bacteria (Study)

  • Another study found that capric acid (C10) causes fast and effective killing of all three strains of C. albicans tested. Lauric acid (C12) was the most active at lower concentrations and after a longer incubation time (Study)

 

 

MCT food sources

 

  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut milk
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Milk (cow, sheep, horse, goat) 
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt

 

 

For more information about food sources visit https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/

For more MCT studies visit https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=mct+oil

 

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