Nutrition Bytes: November 2023

MCTs Positively Impact Walking Balance and Brain Energy Metabolism

Image of nurse assisting an older adult walkNew research shows that medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) can lead to improvements in walking balance, potentially through enhanced brain energy metabolism, in healthy older adults. MCT supplements provide the body with unique fatty acids that can be used by the brain as a quick energy source, and as a result, MCTs have beneficial effects on both muscle function and cognition. The study, published in the journal GeroScience,1 followed 63 healthy adults between the ages of 65 and 80 years. Participants took either 18 grams of MCTs or a placebo of canola oil daily for three months. Results demonstrated that MCTs led to an improved walking balance compared to the control group; the researchers went on to show that MCTs may improve gait stability by improving brain energy metabolism.

Increasing evidence suggests that age-related declines in cognition and walking function are entangled. Implementing nutrition and dietary interventions, like incorporating MCTs, could help maintain cognitive and walking capacities as we age.

Mediterranean Diet Associated with Decreased Risk of Dementia

Image of raw fish, nuts, and avocadoes  A new study2 revealed that eating a traditional Mediterranean-type diet—rich in foods such as seafood, vegetables, nuts, and olive oil—can reduce the risk of dementia by 23 percent. This research, conducted at Newcastle University, is one of the largest studies of its kind, analyzing data from 60,298 individuals from the UK Biobank, a large cohort including individuals from across the UK, who completed a dietary assessment.

The participants were followed for almost a decade, during which authors scored individuals based on how closely their diet matched the key features of the Mediterranean diet. Researchers also considered each individual’s genetic risk factors for dementia, and concluded that even for those with a higher risk for dementia, adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with lower dementia risk.


  1. Mutoh T, Kunitoki K, Tatewaki Y, et al. Impact of medium-chain triglycerides on gait performance and brain metabolic network in healthy older adults: a double-blind, randomized controlled study. Geroscience. 2022;44(3):1325-1338. doi:10.1007/s11357-022-00553-z
  2. Shannon, O.M., Ranson, J.M., Gregory, S. et al. Mediterranean diet adherence is associated with lower dementia risk, independent of genetic predisposition: findings from the UK Biobank prospective cohort study. BMC Med 21, 81 (2023).