(Natural News) Natural health experts are excited about the brain-boosting benefits of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). These fatty acids support healthy heart functions, protect against disease-causing bacteria, and regulate inflammation. Studies suggest that MCT oil could alleviate dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions affecting brain functions.
MCT oil is from coconut oil, which contains considerable amounts of a healthy fatty acid called lauric acid. But MCT oil has up to 18 times more fatty acids. It also features two different fatty acids called capric acid and caprylic acid.
The carbon chain of an MCT is made up of six to 10 atoms. This range happens to be the perfect length for absorption and metabolizing, and people suffering from digestive disorders could easily digest them.
Furthermore, MCTs are immediately burned as fuel for the body. They promote weight loss by reducing fat levels while also increasing the mass of lean muscles. They also improve endurance and performance during physical activity which could prevent muscle wasting. (Related: The neuroprotective benefits of coconut oil.)
The brain uses blood sugar to power itself. If there isn’t enough glucose in the blood, the liver metabolizes body fat into ketones that serve as brain food.
Ketones could be obtained from a ketogenic diet with high levels of healthy fat and low amounts of carbohydrates. But MCTs serve as an even better source of the vital brain fuel. Consuming MCT oil raises the concentration of ketones in the blood, raising the available energy in the brain by almost 10 percent.
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Being present in human breast milk, MCTs assists the normal development of babies’ brains. They are closely involved in the creation of most of the dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters that serve as the chemical messengers of the brain.
Furthermore, MCTs slow down the aging process of the brain. They also heal injuries sustained by brain cells. Given these findings, MCT oil could offer a way to protect against brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and traumatic brain injuries. It could also possibly treat autism thanks to its caprylic acid content.
Alzheimer’s disease makes it more difficult for the brain to access glucose as a fuel. The lack of food starves brain cells and causes them to die. But ketone bodies in MCT oil can serve as an alternative source of energy for the brain, and ketogenic diets have been tested on dementia patients.
In 2004, researchers administered an oral dose of MCTs to older adults suffering from cognitive decline associated with age. They found that the MCT treatment increased the cognitive function of participants suffering from mild mental decline that often preceded dementia.
Study participants who took a drink with emulsified MCTs were able to remember memories with greater clarity. The memory boost took place within 90 minutes of the initial dose.
The analysis showed considerable increases in the concentrations of a ketone called beta-hydroxybutyrate. The higher amounts of ketones from MCTs appeared to be linked to improvements in recalling paragraphs from memory.
Aside from coconut oil, MCTs can also be found in butter from grass-fed cows, cheese, and palm oil. Meanwhile, MCT oil comes in liquid and powder supplement forms – both forms can be mixed into drinks, salad dressings, soups, and stews.
People interested in the brain-protective properties of MCT oil should take it alongside coconut oil. MCT oil contains more acids, while coconut oil provided other nutrients. Healthy people are advised to take a spoonful of MCT, while dementia patients need four to six times as many fatty acids.