Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), the primary type of fat found within coconut oil, have been found to boost cognitive performance in older adults suffering from memory disorders as serious as Alzheimer’s and not after months or even days of treatment, but after a single 40 ml dose!
After a groundbreaking 2004 study that was published in the Neurobiology of Aging journal, it was found that the administration of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) (the primary fat type found in coconut oil), almost, if not immediately improved the cognitive function in older adults with memory disorders.
The study was done with 20 subjects suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or a mild cognitive impairment. On separate days, they were given either an emulsified MCTs or a placebo. The researchers observed a significant increase in blood plasma levels of the ketone body beta-hydroxylutyrate (beta-OHB) after only 90 minutes of treatment, and depending on the apolipoprotein E genotype of the subject tested, beta-OHB levels either continued to rise or held constant between the 90 and 120 minute blood draws in the treatment condition. Cognitive testing revealed that this brief MCT treatment facilitated improved performance on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-cog) in 4 subjects within the study group. Moreover, “higher ketone values were associated with greater improvement in paragraph recall with MCT treatment relative to placebo across all subjects.
The details of the study were described as follows.
The study, conducted with a double-blind placebo was controlled design with two study visits. During each visit, subjects were given one of two isocaloric conditions (690calories) in a randomized order: emulsified MCTs, or emulsified long chain triglycerides as a placebo. NeoBee 895 was used for MCTs. Heavy whipping cream was used as a source of long chain triglycerides (to increase palatability) and also as a source of long chain mono- and di-glycerides for emulsification. 152ml of heavy whipping cream were blended with MCTs (40ml), to create the emulsified test sample. To create the placebo, heavy whipping cream (232ml) was blended alone.
From 8:00 p.m., the subjects fasted on the night prior to the study visit. Their blood was drawn upon arrival, to determine plasma β-OHB levels and APOE genotyping. Then the subjects consumed the test beverage and rested quietly for 90 minutes. After that, their blood was drawn, and a 30-minute cognitive testing session ensued. After testing, a final blood draw was taken.