Use of medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil in subjects with Alzheimer's disease: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, with an open-label extension

Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2022 Mar 14;8(1):e12259. doi: 10.1002/trc2.12259. eCollection 2022.


Introduction: Cerebral glucose and insulin metabolism is impaired in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Ketones provide alternative energy. Will medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, a nutritional source of ketones, impact cognition in AD?

Methods: This was a 6-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, with 6-month open-label extension in probable AD subjects, on stable medications. MCT dose was 42 g/day, or maximum tolerated. Cognition was assessed with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and Cognigram®.

Results: Twenty subjects, average age 72.6 years, 45% women, 70% university educated had baseline MMSE 22.6/30 (10-29); MoCA 15.6/30 (4-27); baseline Cognigram® Part 1: 65-106, Part 2: 48-107. Average MCT oil consumption was 1.8 tablespoons/day (25.2 g, 234 kcal). Eighty percent remained stable or improved. Longer MCT exposure and age > 73, resulted in higher final MMSE (P < .001) and Cognigram® 1 scores.

Discussion: This is the longest duration MCT AD study to date. Eighty percent had stabilization or improvement in cognition, and better response with 9-month continual MCT oil.

Keywords: Cognitive Impairment; Montreal Cognitive Assessment; betahydroxybutyrate; coconut oil; cognigram; computer based cognitive testing; ketones.