Medium-chain Triglycerides

Other names MCTs, MCT Oil

Medium-chain Triglycerides

Medium-chain triglycerides help in the production of ketones, an alternative to glucose as a fuel source for brain cells. Some people say MCTs increase their mental clarity, focus, energy, and well-being. But is it an effective cognitive enhancer? Read on to find out what the science says.

This nootropic has no healthy human placebo-controlled studies that meet our inclusion criteria. Negative side effects can occur if used carelessly, so make sure you’re aware of the risks of Medium-chain Triglycerides.


Read about the effects of Medium-chain Triglycerides in relation to the amount of evidence we've found

Why do people use medium-chain triglycerides?

People who self-experiment with medium-chain triglycerides often state they use it to improve their:

  • Focus
  • Mood
  • Energy
  • Physical performance

There is a lack of solid scientific evidence for the effectiveness of medium-chain triglycerides for any of these purposes, especially in healthy humans.

What science exists on medium-chain triglycerides for cognition enhancement?

There's a lack of research on the efficacy of medium-chain triglycerides for cognitive enhancement in healthy humans.

The one study examining MCTs for cognition in healthy humans that does exist showed no beneficial effects.

There's currently only anecdotal evidence available to support the claim that healthy people can perform better cognitively thanks to the use of MCT oil.

Do medium-chain triglycerides improve learning and memory?

Entrepreneurs, college students, and other people seeking to optimize their performance have started to use medium-chain triglycerides, commonly in the form of MCT oil, as a means to get an edge. The rumor is that it has recently gained a lot of popularity in the silicon valley. But is there any science to the hype?

There’s only one high-quality study [1] that aimed to figure out whether MCTs can enhance cognitive functioning in healthy humans. The study was conducted on elderly people with below-average memory performance. Various tests of learning and memory were administered to the participants. No benefits were found from using MCT oil when compared with the placebo.

The best available evidence does not support the efficacy of MCTs for cognitive enhancement in healthy people.

But is this the full story?

Perhaps not. There's generally a lack of research on the efficacy on MCTs in healthy humans. Specifically, we are lacking in our understanding of what factors determine if someone responds well to MCT oil or not. Certain people may have a great experience when using it, while others will perform the same or worse. We need more data on the genes, lifestyle factors, and other circumstances in a persons' life that determine the efficacy of MCT oil for boosting their memory capacity and learning abilities.

For instance, MCT oil improved cognitive performance in people with Alzheimer's, but only if they had a specific gene variant. [2]

While there's a lack of research on the efficacy of MCT oil for cognitive enhancement in healthy humans, it is unlike many other substances lacking high-quality research not considered a high-risk nootropic.


The legality and side effects of Medium-chain Triglycerides


Frequently asked questions about Medium-chain Triglycerides


Studies conducted on the effects of Medium-chain Triglycerides in healthy humans

Last updated Saturday, June 10, 2023