Caregiver Reports Following Dietary Intervention with Medium Chain Fatty Acids in 60 Persons with Dementia

Mary T. Newport, MD, July 31, 2010

The purpose of this study is to characterize improvements in persons with dementia in response to dietary intervention with medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs).

Caregivers of persons with dementia were encouraged to report both positive and negative responses to MCFAs, unprompted with regard to specifics, and responses were categorized.


Subjects included 32 males, 27 females, 1 unknown; 43 of 60 reported age, ranging 50-94 (average 76.3.) 36 used coconut oil, 3 MCT oil and 21 coconut oil and MCT oil. 54 (90%) reported improvement, 1 (2%) stability, and 5 (8%) no improvement. Specific improvements included: 37(62%) memory/cognition, 29(48%) social interaction/behavior/mood, 21(35%) speech/verbal skills, 16(27%) resumption of lost activities, 12(20%) physical symptoms, 4(7%) sleep, 2(3%) appetite, and 2(3%) vision.

Caregivers of 60 persons with dementia reported improvements in cognition as well as other aspects of human life. Positive responses are presumably due to metabolism of MCFAs to ketones and use by insulin-resistant neurons as an alternative fuel to glucose. Other currently unknown effects of ketones and MCFAs in brain also could be involved. Controlled trials of MCFAs should be undertaken and consideration given to improvements in cognition as well as other areas impacting human life.

Chart of Responses