Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are the primary type of fat found in coconut oil. It has been found to increase cognitive performance in older adults suffering from memory issues including Alzheimer’s disease. Amazingly, positive results can occur after one single 40 milliliter dose.
How medium chain triglycerides work
How could a single dose of MCTs (40 ml or 2.7 tablespoons) cause an almost immediate improvement in cognitive performance in those suffering from cognitive impairments as serious as Alzheimer’s disease?
The brain has unique metabolic needs that MCTs can meet. Typically, glucose is the primary fuel source for the brain. However, when suboptimal metabolism or insulin resistance develops, the brain’s function and structure become compromised. Ketone bodies provide an alternate fuel source to glucose that can boost the metabolic processes in the brain. This results in a near-immediate improvement in cognitive function.
MCTs are different than other fats in our diet. Because of their smaller size, they do not form micelles and are not stored in adipose tissue. Up to 97% of dietary fats are comprised of long-chain triglycerides, which have 14 to 18 carbons. MCTs have chain lengths of 5 to 12 carbons, which makes them easier to absorb and utilize. The liver oxidizes them and produces ketone bodies.
Medium-chain triglycerides were first isolated in the 1950s and were used to manage epileptic seizures.
MCTs are essential for the development of babies’ brains.
They are found in abundance in human breast milk and are included in some brands of baby formula.
Additional MCTs are given to premature infants to give them the extra energy boost they need to thrive.
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