Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCT) that are easier to digest, absorb and utilize in comparison to the long-chain fatty acids found in other oils such as maize, soy, canola and rice-bran oil. MCT absorb directly into the portal blood and are transported to the liver. By comparison, long chain fatty acids are absorbed into the lymphatic’s and slowly transported to the liver. Further, MCT appear to behave more like glucose than other oils, meaning coconut oil provides a ready source of energy.
A study by Matsumoto (1995) found that mice supplemented with medium chain fatty acids took longer to reach a state of exhaustion whilst swimming than unsupplemented mice.
Coconut oil possesses special dietary fats, called medium chain triglycerides or MCTs, they are unique in that they can easily be converted into energy that can be absorbed by an ageing brain, providing fuel that it needs to help maximise brain function.
Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs.
Br J Nutr. 2010 Jun;103(12):1746-54. Epub 2010 Feb 9.
Pan Y, Larson B, Araujo JA, Lau W, de Rivera C, Santana R, Gore A, Milgram NW.
Source -Nestlé Purina Research, St Louis, MO 63164, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
The present study focused on the hypothesis that dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG (MCT) will improve cognitive function in aged dogs by providing the brain with energy in the form of ketones.
Aged Beagle dogs were subjected to a baseline battery of cognitive tests, which were used to establish cognitively equivalent control or treatment groups. The dogs in the treatment group were maintained on a diet supplemented with 5.5 % MCT. After an initial wash-in period, all the dogs were tested with a battery of cognitive test protocols, which assessed sequentially landmark discrimination learning ability, egocentric visuospatial function and attention. The groups were maintained on the diets for 8 months. The MCT-supplemented group showed significantly better performance in most of the test protocols than the control group. The group differences also varied as a function of task difficulty, with the more difficult task showing greater supplementation effects than the easier tasks.
The group given the MCT supplement showed significantly elevated levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate, a ketone body. These results indicate, first, that long-term supplementation with MCT can have cognition-improving effects, and second, that MCT supplementation increases circulating levels of ketones. The results support the hypothesis that brain function of aged dogs can be improved by MCT supplementation, which provides the brain with an alternative energy source.