Pilot feasibility and safety study examining the effect of medium chain triglyceride supplementation in subjects with mild cognitive impairment: A randomized controlled trial

BBA Clin. 2015 Jan 16;3:123-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbacli.2015.01.001. eCollection 2015 Jun.


Background: Impaired brain glucose metabolism appears to be a potential pathogenic feature of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This study examined the potential for increasing circulating ketone bodies through medium chain triglyceride (MCT) supplementation, as a means to beneficially modulate brain homeostasis in subjects with MCI.

Methods: Six participants with MCI were enrolled in a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Participants received 56 g/day of either medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) or placebo for 24 weeks. Serum β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations, apolipoprotein-E4 status, and cognitive assessments were carried out. Due to the small number of participants only the raw scores were examined.

Results: Intake of MCT oil increased serum ketone bodies and improved memory, while intake of placebo did not show improvement in any of the cognitive measures tested.

Conclusions: Consumption of 56 g/day of MCTs for 24 weeks increases serum ketone concentrations and appears to be a candidate for larger randomized control trials in the future that quantify the modulation of cognitive function through supplementation with ketone precursors, in patients with MCI.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Ketone bodies; Medium chain triglycerides; Memory; Mild cognitive impairment.