Functional benefits of MCTs: a primer

Weight Management

Two large “meta analyses” (combining data from numerous individual studies) have confirmed that intake of MCTs result in a reduction of body weight and body fat, with no reduction in lean fat mass (St. Onge and Jones 2002Mumme and Stonehouse 2015). Increased thermogenesis and improved satiety are two mechanisms involved. It is expected that the combination of MCT+BHB may be more effective. Individuals consuming Atkins, Paleo, and Medifasttypes of dietary regimens, will appreciate that MCTs plus KBs (ketone bodies) may be more effective, and easier to follow. After losing weight on these diets, MCTs plus KBs may prevent the usual weight gain and weight yo-yoing that occurs.


There is intense interest in the ability of MCTs  to improve cognition in Alzheimer’sParkinson’s diseaseHuntington’s diseaseALS, epilepsymultiple sclerosis, diabetes, and in healthy aging (where brain glucose uptake is impaired). MCTs and exogenous KBs are also of benefit in treating rare disease of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism; and for treating cancer. A few specific examples. In persons with Alzheimer’s, the addition of MCTs improved results in a paragraph recall test (Reger et al. 2004). In animal models, exogenous KBs delayed Alzheimer-associated pathologies (Vanitallie 2015). In a single human Alzheimer subject, exogenous KBs improved mood and cognitive and daily activity performance (Newport et al. 2015).


MCTs may benefit both type I and type II diabetes, by improving insulin resistance, improving hypoglycemic unawareness and associated cognitive measures, and diminishing glycogenolysis and glucose dumping into the plasma. It is likely that insulin intake can be diminished and that a steadier blood sugar may result.

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