Minor amounts of plasma medium-chain fatty acids and no improved time trial performance after consuming lipids

Bodil Vistisen, L. Nybo, Xuebing Xu, Carl-Erik Høy, B. Kiens

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    Medium-chain triacylglycerols (MCT) have a potential glycogen-saving effect during exercise due to rapid hydrolysis and oxidation. However, studies comparing intake of carbohydrates (CHO) plus 80-90 g MCT with intake of CHO alone have revealed different results. The present study tested performance after consumption of specific structured triacylglycerol, consisting of a mixture of medium-chain fatty acids and long-chain fatty acids, to prevent the adverse effects observed by MCT (pure medium-chain fatty acids) regarding gastrointestinal distress. Seven well-trained subjects cycled 3 h at 55% of maximum 02 uptake during which they ingested CHO or CHO plus specific structured triacylglycerols. Immediately after the constant-load cycling, the subjects performed a time trial of similar to50-min duration. Breath and blood samples were obtained regularly during the experiment. Fatty acid composition of plasma triacylglycerols, fatty acids, and phospholipids was determined. Performance was similar after administration of CHO plus specific structured triacylglycerol [medium-, long-, and medium-chain fatty acid (MLM)] compared with CHO (50.0 +/- 1.8 and 50.8 +/- 3.6 min, respectively). No plasma 8:0 was detected in the plasma lipid classes, but the amount of phospholipid fatty acids was significantly higher after CHO+MLM compared with CHO intake. The lacking time trial improvement after intake of medium-chain fatty acids might be due to no available 8:0 in the systemic circulation. A higher level of plasma phospholipid fatty acids in the CHO+MLM compared with the CHO group was probably due to endogenous phospholipid release into chylomicrons.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)2434-2443
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • Specific structured triacylglycerol
    • Well-trained cyclists
    • Fatty acid composition
    • Plasma lipid classes


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