How MCTs can help with Muscle Loss Sarcopenia

As we continue with our Technical series, in this newsletter we focus on Muscle Loos (Sacropenia).
Background: Sarcopenia is a condition in which muscle/protein is lost (wasted), and is typically associated with aging and some clinical conditions. At some point after the age of 30, people start to lose muscle mass and function. We need to pay attention to the loss of muscle as it lessens strength and mobility. Weight loss without exercise, can also result in sarcopenia. Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), by virtue of being rapid and efficient energy sources for tissues, can diminish sarcopenia. 
Here are Results from a recent clinical trial: In a 3-month study with 38 very frail elderly adults (average 86.6 year’s age),  the first group received either: 1.2 g L-leucine (amino acid), 20 micrograms vitamin D3, and 6 g MCT; the second group received same but with 6 g MCT plus long-chain fatty acid triglycerides (LCT); or third (control group) received no supplements1.
Relative to the other two groups, only the MCT group increased right-hand grip strength (13%), walking speed (13%), and peak expiratory flow (28%).  The peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) test measures how fast a person can exhale.
Conclusions and Discussion: This remarkable result illustrates that in the elderly, MCTs can improve muscle strength and function (and have cognitive and other advantages not examined herein). 
The form of the MCT used was a 75:25 weight percent blend of C8/10. It is possible that C8 KetoMCT, may be even more potent as an anti-sarcopenia agent, since C8s are not stored in adipose tissue at all, but burned for energy in the mitochondria or converted to ketone bodies, thus efficiently sparing proteins from degradation; whereas C10 MCTs are slightly incorporated into adipose tissue and less ketogenic. 
MCT was not examined without leucine and Vitamin D in this experiment due to limited numbers of subjects available, but MCT oil was the variable that differed between the groups and may be the causative nutraceutical.
1.  Abe, S., O. Ezaki, and M. Suzuki, Medium-Chain Triglycerides in Combination with Leucine and Vitamin D Increase Muscle Strength and Function in Frail Elderly Adults in a Randomized Controlled Trial. J Nutr, 2016. 146(5): p. 1017-1026. (Link full article:

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published