Medium Chain Triglycerides enhances exercise endurance through the increased mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism

PLoS One. 2018 Feb 8;13(2):e0191182. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191182. eCollection 2018.


Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) is a dietary supplement and usually used along with medications for treating food absorption disorders including diarrhea, steatorrhea and liver disease. It has been shown that MCT plays a role in lowering weight, and decreasing metabolic syndrome, abdominal obesity and inflammation. However, it is still unknown whether MCT enhances exercise endurance. Here, we demonstrated that MCT containing diet improves high temperature induced exercise performance impairment. We found that MCT up-regulates the expression and protein levels of genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism. Further investigation demonstrated that the increased mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism is mediated through the activation of Akt and AMPK signaling pathways and inhibition of TGF-β signaling pathway. Collectively, our findings indicate a beneficial effect of dietary MCT in exercise performance through the increase of mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism.

MeSH terms

  • Adenylate Kinase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Down-Regulation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal*
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / metabolism*


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Triglycerides
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Adenylate Kinase

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.