A new type of supplement being tested by scientists could boost the mental performance of anyone playing sport, according to new research.
And it could also offer hope for dementia patients, improving the speed and clarity of thought.
For years those engaged with sport have used carbohydrate-heavy glucose gels to provide energy to fatigued muscles
Now a different type of sachet gel rich in ‘Decanoic’ fatty acid, or ‘C10’, a type of Medium Chain Triglyceride, or ‘MCT’ – has been put through its paces by experts at Liverpool Hope University.
Hope’s lead researcher Jake Ashton notes ‘significant improvements to cognitive performance’ among test subjects after just two weeks of taking the ‘Nuroco’ High C10 gels.
Ashton says the results could make a difference to sports people who need to concentrate, focus and think clearly and quickly under pressure.
And he also says the study could have implications for both dementia and diabetes patients, too, as they could also see a ‘clear benefit’.
While the research has not yet been published, writing about his preliminary results Ashton concludes: “The present study aimed to determine if MCTs with a ratio favouring C10 improved cognition in healthy individuals, and if so, quantify the ideal dose and time frame to elicit these improvements.
“Our data suggests that these MCTs do appear to improve cognitive performance in healthy individuals after a minimum of 2-3 weeks, with minimal difference seen between ingesting 12g and 18g of MCTs per day.”
And he adds: “Also, due to the fact diet was not controlled in this study, furthers on from suggestions that MCTs improve cognition even in the presence of carbohydrates.
“This allows for MCTs to be incorporated much more easily into people’s diets rather than needing to have a fully ketogenic diet.”
Liverpool-based Nuroco say the product is already being used by a number of elite professional golfers, and add they are, ‘driving neurofitness and neuroperformance in sport’.
According to Ashton, a Sport and Exercise scientist, it’s an ideal ‘fuel source’ for the brain due to its ability to be absorbed quicker by brain cells without any subsequent dips or crashes.
The study itself saw 30 young participants, with an average age of 20, subjected to a series of mental tests.
One saw them having to draw a line as quickly as possible through a series of numbers of ascending order, while another test saw them tasked with repeating a series of numbers in corresponding fashion.
Another task saw participants having to hit ‘left’ and ‘right’ on a keyboard in response to visual clues as quickly as possible, with their reaction times monitored.
Overall, Ashton says there were ‘significant improvements’ from taking the brain fuel when it came to ‘Visual Attention’, ‘Task Switching’, ‘Executive Function’, ‘Visual Motor Skills’, ‘Working Memory’ and ‘Verbal Short-Term Memory’ compared to a carbohydrate placebo.
And results were apparent after just two weeks of taking the supplement – with participants consuming either two 6g sachets or three 6g sachets per day.
Ashton points to the fact that previous studies have suggested how MCTs could benefit Alzheimer’s patients, and he adds: “MCTs have a clear benefit in diseased and/or healthy populations by either slowing down or masking precludes cognitive decline.
“This study has shown this positive intervention can also be spread to healthy, young individuals.”
Founder of Nuroco, Colm O’Donnell, welcomed the results from Liverpool Hope University, and added: “In sport, we concentrate on our physical fitness but often neglect our neuro fitness.
“Being mentally strong can be the difference between winning or losing.
“These findings, combined with the clinical evidence which highlights C10 MCTs increase the number of mitochondria in neuronal cells suggest C10 MCTs may play a pivotal role in neuro performance.”
The research from Hope compliments a separate study revealed by experts in China, published last year, which analysed the same high C10 MCT oil found in its gels.
The research, conducted in conjunction with Nankai University, looked at how this MCT might benefit patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
The paper, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition and which tested the oil on 53 individuals, concluded, ‘The results of the present study demonstrate that compared with placebo, treatment with oral MCT significantly improved cognition in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease patients’.
Meanwhile Nuroco is also endorsed by golfer Paul Eales, a European Tour Winner as well as broadcaster on BBC TV, BBC Radio 5 Live & European Tour Productions.
He said of his experiences taking Nuroco High C10 Gel: “I feel focused throughout my round especially where I used to dip towards the end and when I do have that bad shot, I now have the focus and resilience to keep going.
“After a few months of taking Nuroco I had two wins in short succession. The Scottish Senior Open followed by the Jamaican Open.”