Can medium-chain fatty acids pass the blood-brain barrier?

Written by Marina Lommel
1 minute reading time
19. April 2023

People often ask what the difference is between regular MCT oil, Bulletproof XCT and Brain Octane.

The difference is made by the different fatty acids it contains. All the oils mentioned contain medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).

– MCT ? Fatty acids with chain length C8, C10, C12
– “XCT” ? C8, C10
– “Brain Octane” ? C8

Apparently, the C8 fatty acid (called octanoate or octanoic acid / caprylic acid) is the only medium-chain fatty acid that can pass through the blood-brain barrier and act as an additional energy carrier for brain cells, without the detour via ketone body formation.

The other medium-chain fatty acids are first metabolized to ketone bodies and can then be available to the brain as an energy source.

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Literature:

“Energy Contribution of Octanoate to Intact Rat Brain Metabolism Measured by 13C Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy ” https://www.jneurosci.org/content/23/13/5928.full

Brain uptake and metabolism of [1-11C]octanoate in rats: pharmacokinetic basis for its application as a radiopharmaceutical for studying brain fatty acid metabolism. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/8534586/

Photo: Shutterstock.com / vitstudio

This article was written by

Marina Lommel

Marina gründete Foodpunk nach ihrem Abschluss in Ernährungswissenschaften und ist aktuell CEO des Unternehmens. Während ihres Studiums arbeitete sie in verschiedenen Bereichen, darunter in der Wissenschaftsredaktion beim Radio, Redaktion beim TV und Uni-Wissensmagazin sowie im Labor am DZNE in der Parkinsonforschung. Marina ist außerdem Autorin von 5 ernährungswissenschaftlichen Sachbüchern.

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