One question I am frequently asked by athletes, especially ultra-endurance athletes, is if they should be adding MCT’s to their race fuel.

Adding Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), or any fat, to your ultraendurance diet needs to be carefully considered in light of the following issues.

1. How will it affect GI function…will it induce GI symptoms like cramping, bloating, nausea.

Our feeling is that the more ‘stuff’ one tries to ingest during competition that more likely GI dysfunction will result. Keep in mind that ‘we are what we absorb’ and GI function during endurance activity isn’t ideal to begin with.

2. Will it result in better endurance?

This is debatable based on the literature.

I am sure there are other studies that may support better endurance using MCTs, but then we are also back to the GI tolerability issue.

My experienced based on treating thousands of endurance athletes and witnessing their performance in the field has always been “KEEP IT SIMPLE” In fact, those of you who know me are aware that it is my sport nutrition mantra. Easily absorbable carbs, water and sodium are the keys to successful endurance performance, with a pH of ingested supplements as close to neutral as possible and minimal to no resistant starch sources.

These are the principals underlying all of our products. Adding protein sources and fat sources for longer events (I usually use the 16 hour mark) may be helpful provided these can be absorbed without adding to GI dysfunction.

Douglas W. Stoddard MD, M Sport Med, Dip Sport Med, ES
Medical Director Sports and Exercise Medicine Institute