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Cross Country Skiing Olympics Athlete Race

Medium Chain Triglycerides May be Good Energy Source for Athletes

A recent study suggests that blood concentrations of medium chain triglycerides, which are a type of saturated fatty acid, may be higher after certain types of high intensity training. The researchers concluded that this could mean that supplementation with medium chain triglycerides may be a good energy source for athletes.


Participants in the study included 15 healthy male members of the Russian national skiing team. All of the participants had at least five years of cross-country skiing practice as part of their training schedule.


In summer 2014, the participants took part in a bike test, during which they rode an ergometer bike until exhaustion. The researchers drew blood at rest, at the peak of the test, and at the conclusion of the test. Then, in fall 2014, the same athletes participated in a .8 mile sprint high intensity ski race, followed by a 9.3 mile medium intensity distance race. The researchers drew blood after both. The participants all consumed a standardized meal on test days.


The researchers noted higher concentrations of the medium chain triglycerides capric acid (164.1%), lauric acid (223.9%), and myristic acid (130.2%) after the sprints. A smaller increase in all three was seen after the cycle exercise and the distance race. No significant differences in long-chain saturated fatty-acids were seen.


The researchers stated that these results show that the body prioritizes the use of medium chain triglycerides during high-intensity exercise.


Researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences led the study. It was published on December 10, 2018, in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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