This 2018 study examined the effect of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil supplementation on exercise performance, muscle function, and metabolism in mice exposed to high temperature conditions. The researchers found that MCT supplementation increased running endurance and improved skeletal muscle function in high temperature conditions. MCT also upregulated the levels of genes and proteins associated with mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism, leading to an increase in energy output from mitochondria. The study suggests that MCT supplementation may be beneficial for improving exercise capacity and muscle function, particularly under high temperature conditions.
The study involved training mice on a treadmill for 14 days under normal or high-temperature conditions. The researchers then evaluated the running endurance of the mice using a rotarod performance test. The results showed that the mice fed with MCT-containing diets had much better performance compared to the regular chow diet-fed mice. The study also examined the levels of mRNA and protein involved in mitochondrial biogenesis and respiratory chain, which were found to be significantly upregulated by MCT. The researchers concluded that MCT improves skeletal muscle function through the induction of mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism under high-temperature conditions.
MCT works by increasing the number and activity of mitochondria, which are the organelles in cells that produce energy. This is achieved through the activation of two signaling pathways, Akt and AMPK. Akt helps to regulate the uptake of glucose by cells and the sensitivity to insulin, while AMPK plays a role in regulating energy balance in cells. MCT also downregulates the TGF-β signaling pathway, which is involved in tissue repair and homeostasis. The inhibition of TGF-β signaling by MCT may promote the generation of ATP, the primary energy source for muscle contraction, by upregulating the expression of PGC-1α gene that controls mitochondrial biogenesis.
The study found that MCT increases energy production in muscle cells by increasing mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism. This was achieved through the activation of Akt and AMPK signaling pathways and downregulation of TGF-β signaling, which inhibits ATP generation. The study also found that MCT may increase insulin sensitivity, glucose utilization, and energy expenditure without causing oxidative stress in skeletal muscle. These results are significant for people with muscle dysfunction or exercise impairment who could benefit from taking MCT as a food supplement.
In conclusion, these findings suggest that MCT oil supplementation could be an effective way to improve exercise performance and treat muscle dysfunction in patients. More research is needed to understand the precise effects of MCT on human muscle function, but this study offers new insights into the potential benefits of MCT oil supplementation.
Study Title: Medium Chain Triglycerides enhances exercise endurance through the increased mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism
Study Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5805166