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MCTs’ Potential Effect on Gait & Brain Metabolism

iStock-1325204361The results of a randomized double-blinded and placebo-controlled trial examining the effect of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) supplementation on gait balance and markers of brain metabolism in healthy elderly adults were recently published in Geroscience. Sixty-three participants over age 65 completed the study over a 3-month period, with the experimental group ramping up to a dose of 6g MCT, three times per day taken before meals, and the control group receiving the same dosage of long-chain triglycerides derived from canola oil.

Participants receiving MCT had improved walking balance by the end of the study period, as measured by the Lissajous index, an indicator of trunk symmetry. Additionally, PET image analysis found glucose hypometabolism in the right pericentral cortex in the MCT group, indicating alterations in brain metabolic function. This decrease in glucose utilization in this region of the brain was significantly correlated with the improvement in walking balance. It also appeared to correlate with increased connectivity between this region of the brain and the cerebellum, which is responsible for balance control and coordination. This study adds to a growing evidence base suggesting that the brain uses glucose less efficiently with age, but that providing ketones (as MCT) may help restore brain function.

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