A brand of R+ Lipoic acid (GeroNova's RALA-Gel) which I take (and which appears to be an excellent product) uses 'Medium-Chain Triglycerides' to enhance its bioavailability. Currently, GeroNova (the manufacturer) is the only firm which uses this technique, and it definitely seems to increase the effectiveness of this powerful brain antioxidant and mitochondrial energizer.
My concern however is whether the long-term use of 'Medium-Chain Triglycerides' might have adverse effects on ones health.
In the RALA-Gel advertising excerpt below, it is noted that MCT's (Medium-Chain Triglycerides) "are found naturally in milkfat, palm oil and coconut oil."
Since I know from some of Barry Sears previous works that Milkfat, Palm, and Coconut oils can be damaging to the body, I'm wondering if MCT's themselves are an active constituent of what gives these oils their negative health attributes.
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are fats that contain 6-12 carbon fatty acids, as opposed to long chain triglycerides - LCT, those generally found in the diet, which contain more than 12 carbons per fatty acid and are the major storage form of fat in the human body.
Plasma level is optimised by use of the proprietary MCT transport, found in no other lipoic product in the world.
MCT are found naturally in milkfat, palm oil and coconut oil.
MCT are treated by the body quite differently from conventional dietary fats, the LCT.
Most fats are broken down in the intestine and remade into a form (LCFA) that can be transported in the blood, but MCT are absorbed intact and taken to the liver and muscle, where they are used directly for energy. In
this sense, they are processed very similarly to carbohydrates.
In comparison to LCT, MCT are readily broken down into glycerol and medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) and the resulting MCFA are faster absorbed into the gastrointestinal cells than free long chain fatty acids (LCFA). In fact, while the process of digestion and absorption of LCT can take 3-4 hours, MCFA can appear in the circulation within several minutes of
Unlike LCFA, MCFA are not as dependent upon the L-Carnitine shuttle system for entry into the mitochondria, where fat breakdown occurs; therefore this does not represent a limiting step in their metabolism.
MCT therefore represent a readily available energy source to the body. In fact, MCT have double the energy value (calories) of carbohydrates, but contain fewer calories than conventional fats and easily digested and not stored in fat deposits.
Recent human studies also suggest that MCT may have a role to play in weight management.
MCT have the additional benefit of protecting the liver and gut from various toxins.
From preclinical studies, it has been suggested that the hepatic uptake of lipoic acid may be carrier-mediated and selectively inhibited by MCFA, allowing higher levels of RLA to reach the plasma and tissues."