Does medium chain triglyceride play an ergogenic role in endurance exercise performance?
Because of the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) specific physical and chemical properties, they have been used over the last 40 years in enteral and parenteral nutrition. Results from clinical practice lead some researchers in the early 80’s to use them for ergogenics purposes. The hypothesis was based on the relationship between the oxidation rates of carbohydrate and fat. The increase in fat oxidation would promote glycogen sparing effect, and therefore, delay the time to exhaustion. The aim of the present paper is to review the effects of MCT supplementation upon endurance exercise performance. Most of the studies failed to prove the ergogenic effect of MCT. A few studies that showed the ergogenic effect of MCT administration used alternative experimental designs, such as high MCT dose (above from the previous established limit) or infusion. The chronic use of MCT by athletes is new and few studies have been done in this matter. These few studies showed controversial results. There is a strong tendency in the literature that MCT is not a viable strategy to increase performance during endurance exercise. The aim of this study is to discuss the effects of MCT use on endurance exercise.