The effects of medium chain triglyceride (MCT) supplementation using a C8:C10 ratio of 30:70 on cognitive performance in healthy young adults

Jake S. Ashton, James W. Roberts, Caroline J. Wakefield, Richard M. Page, Don P.M. MacLaren, Simon Marwood, James J. Malone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose The brain can utilise medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) as an alternative fuel to glucose, and research has shown that MCT ingestion improves cognitive function in diseased and/or elderly individuals. The aim of this study is to determine if these improvements can also be observed in young, healthy adults. Furthermore, we aim to establish the ideal dosage and timeframe necessary for an effect. Methods Participants were divided equally into three groups of 10 (Placebo (0 g), 12 g and 18 g MCT/day) and were supplemented for 4 weeks. The supplement had a C8:C10 ratio of 30:70. Participants visited the laboratory once a week for 5 weeks (baseline, test weeks 1–4) to undergo a battery of cognitive tests; Trail Making, Digit Span, Spatial Span, Covert Shift of Attention, and Rapid Visual Information Processing. Results After 2–3 weeks of supplementation, MCT ingestion enhanced performance in cognitive tasks, including: Trail Making A/B and Digit Span Forwards/Backwards (ps0.05). There were also null results in tasks measuring attention and reaction time (ps>0.05). Conclusions MCT ingestion improved cognitive performance after 2–3 weeks, with minimal difference between taking 12 g and 18 g MCT/day groups, suggesting a possible dose-response threshold at 12 g MCT/day when supplementing over a short period.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113252
Pages (from-to)113252
JournalPhysiology & Behavior
Volume229
Early online date18 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • MCTs
  • Processing speed
  • Task switching
  • Working Memory

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