MCT Oil for Alzheimer’s Disease: More Clinical Evidence

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurological condition marked by a decline in cognitive function, memory, and focus. These symptoms are driven plaques of the beta-amyloid protein which accumulate between nerve cells of the brain, disrupting their function. There is no cure for AD; current medications prescribed for AD only treat the symptoms.

Lifestyle modifications are recommended along with prescribed medications including a balanced diet.

Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) is a nutritional source of ketones. It is found in coconut and palm kernel oils. Ketones can cross the blood-brain-barrier and serve as an energy source for the brain. 

Clinical Evidence

One study found that adults with AD who consumed MCT oil for 30 days showed improved cognition. Another study found that adults with AD who consumed MCT oil, showed brain ketone use similar to healthy adults.

The longest study to date looked at the effects on AD after 9 months of continuous MCT oil consumption.

A study of 20 patients diagnosed with mild-to-moderate dementia associated with Alzheimer’s Disease were randomized to receive either 2 tablespoons per day of MCT oil or placebo. After 9 months, patients in the MCT oil group showed significant improvements in attention, psychomotor function and cognition. The results were more pronounced in older subjects (>73 years) and in those with milder forms of Alzheimer’s. 

MCT oil is demonstrated to improve cognition in Alzheimer’s Disease; however, it is important to consult with your physician before starting any regimen in addition to prescribed therapy. 

References

Croteau E, Castellano CA, Richard MA, Fortier M, Nugent S, Lepage M, Duchesne S, Whittingstall K, Turcotte ÉE, Bocti C, Fülöp T. Ketogenic medium chain triglycerides increase brain energy metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2018 Jan 1;64(2):551-61.

Juby AG, Blackburn TE, Mager DR. 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. Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions. 2022;8(1):e12259.

Xu Q, Zhang Y, Zhang X, Liu L, Zhou B, Mo R, Li Y, Li H, Li F, Tao Y, Liu Y. Medium-chain triglycerides improved cognition and lipid metabolomics in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease patients with APOE4−/−: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial. Clinical Nutrition. 2020 Jul 1;39(7):2092-105.