How Your Brain Works
Your brain is a hungry beast. Keeping your brain operating takes about about 260 calories per day, about 20% of your resting metabolic rate, 10% of your overall calorie expenditure. The brain uses glucose as it primary fuel but as the human body ages it becomes less efficient at getting glucose to brain which is a primary cause of age related mild cognitive impairment. Researchers have hypothesized that delaying or preventing this impairment could play a key role in delaying or preventing the onset of Alzheimer's.
How MCTs Help
MCTs breakdown into ketone bodies, the brain’s alternate fuel source. These ketone bodies are very easily used as fuel by the brain even when glucose becomes difficult to use, either from aging or Alzheimer’s. Multiple studies have shown this effect including one with elderly patients who already were diagnosed cognitive impairment, one in diabetic patients and even one in elderly dogs! Interestingly the more difficult the mental task the subjects were asked to perform the more the MCTs improved their performance versus the control group.
MCTs Boost Brain Function Regardless of Age
Another study using healthy young adults showed that taking MCT’s boosts brain metabolism by 8-9%. There is a limit to the amount of glucose that can be in the bloodstream before dehydration sets in. Ketone bodies from MCTs provide an additional fuel source to your brain turbo-charging your cognitive performance!
Different MCTs for Different Purposes
Different types of MCTs have different properties. Lauric acid, which makes up 48% of all fat in coconut helps to control bacteria and virus populations in the body but doesn’t play much of a role in ketone production. Three fatty acids in coconut do the the heavy lifting when it comes to improving brain function; Caprylic acid (7% of the fat in coconut), Capric acid (8%) and Oleic acid (6.5%). Oleic acid is actually a long chain fatty acid but it is a major building block of the myelin sheath that wraps around the neurons in your brain. Caprylic and Capric acid on the other hand are the triglycerides that break down into ketone bodies to fuel your brain. Boosting your brain’s performance is just one of the many benefits that coconut brings to your body. Check our other articles to see more of the science behind the benefits of coconut.