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Medium chain triglyceride supplementation increases postprandial ketone bodies in a dose dependent manner

Dias, C.B., Hillebrandt, H., Barin, E., Chatterjee, P., Sohrabi, H.ORCID: 0000-0001-8017-8682, Shah, T.M. and Martins, R.N. Medium chain triglyceride supplementation increases postprandial ketone bodies in a dose dependent manner. In: Alzheimer's Association International Conference. Satellite Symposium, 25 - 27 September 2019, Sydney, NSW.


Background: Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), unlike other fats, are quickly digested into medium-chain fatty acids, absorbed and transported to the liver. Once in the liver, medium-chain fatty acids are preferentially metabolised into energy and ketone bodies, as compared to long-chain fatty acids. Ketone bodies are then transported to the brain and other tissues for energy supply. This makes MCT the ideal energy source for patients with conditions in which energy deprivation is observed, like in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In AD the brain becomes partially deprived of glucose due to insulin resistance but is still able use ketone bodies for energy. Despite the MCT potential, to our knowledge, a dose effect study has not been previously done.

Methods: This was a sequential feeding study involving 10 healthy males and females aged 60 to 77 years. Participants consumed increasing doses of an MCT oil (40% caprylic acid, 28% capric acid, 32% lauric acid) in increments of 15mL per week for 7 weeks (0mL in week 1 increasing up to 90mL in week 7) divided in 3 daily doses. At baseline and at the end of each week participants had their anthropometric measurements taken, donated fasting blood, consumed MCT oil and had their ketone levels measured over 2 hours. Participants could discontinue their participation at any time during the intervention period.

Results: There was a significant increase in postprandial ketone level in response to the consumption of increasing doses of MCT oil. The area under the curve for change in postprandial ketone levels increased significantly, compared to baseline, in 85% with an 10mL MCT oil (n=10), 133% with 15mL (n=10), 188% with 20mL (n=10), 220% with 25mL (n=9) and 239% with 30mL (n=8). Despite the increase in MCT oil over the study period no significant changes were observed in body mass index (BMI), fasting triglycerides, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol or high density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Conclusion: Supplementation with MCT oils increase postprandial ketone levels in a dose dependent manner, without a significant impact to blood lipids or BMI.

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