Upgraded MCT Oil vs Upgraded Brain Octane – Rough Draft

Upgraded MCT vs Upgraded Brain Octane


I’ve recently been using both Upgraded MCT and Upgraded Brain Octane and was wondering what the actual difference was between them.  Upgraded MCT is marketed as being better for stimulating the metabolism while Upgrade Brain Octane is marketed as being better for stimulating the brain.  As I was thinking about this, given the little that I know about biochemistry, it didn’t quite make sense to me, so I did what any self respecting n=1 blogger would do… I went to the forums and posed the following question:

I was wondering what is the difference in metabolism between the two, and why Upgraded Brain Octane works more for the brain while upgraded MCT is more for metabolism and brain.

Both are broken down into ketones immediately as stated on the product pages which can then be used as energy by the body and brain faster.

This purportedly bypasses the long and slow metabolic pathway of ingesting typical fats.

Now here is the part I  don’t get.

The 3 ketones our bodies produce are:

1. Beta Hydroxybutyrate (BHOB) – Measured via blood ketones, and the primary metabolically active ketone
2. Acetoacetate – Measured via urine dip sticks, not very active
3. Acetone – Can be measured via breath, also not very active.

So presumably both the C8 and C10 get broken down into BHOB… so what’s the difference in effect within our body and brain?

Why does pure C8 in Brain Octane preferentially go to our brain compared to the C8 + C10 combination in MCT oil?

If anyone can refer to any literature out there describing this, I’d really appreciate it.


I’ve now gone through a bunch of research papers dating back to the 1960s, and found the original studies most cited by the current research.  The most influential of the studies were done in epileptic kids in the 1980s.

I won’t include any of the citations here because it will take too long, but will provide an update to this.  I’m thinking with the amount of research I’ve done, I’m going to make a series of posts… and possibly even an e-book about “everything you’ve ever wanted to know about MCT oil,” simply because I haven’t found anything good out there.

I’m still in the process of reading and digesting more papers, so this is by no means final.  But here goes:

Both C8 (Caprylic acid aka Octanoic acid aka Decanoate) and C10 (Capric acid aka Decanoic acid aka Decanoate) quickly pass through the intestines and into the liver.

Once in the liver, both undergo the same 4 different fates

  1. Beta oxidation
  2. Omega oxidation
  3. Peroxisomal oxidation
  4. De novo lipogenesis

We are most interested in #1.  Both C8 and C10 can bypass the normal gate keeper to the mitochondria and become oxidized into ketones which everyone agrees is good for both metabolism and the brain.

This is how they both stimulate the metabolism and are good for fat loss:

  • Both satiate appetite
  • Both increase metabolism
  • Both decrease fat absorption peripherally.

Now here’s the cool thing about both of them.  A small amount can also bypass the liver, avoiding the 4 fates listed above and become free fatty acids floating in the blood.

Then the free C8 and C10 fatty acids can cross the blood brain barrier into the brain, where they are both then metabolized by neurons and astrocytes (cells that support neurons) into acetyl-CoA to be used in the Kreb’s cycle for energy.

Now, for the perception of why C8 is better for the brain than C10:  This is simply because in the original studies, the MCT oil they used was 80% C8 and 20% C10.  So every study after that assumed it was the C8 that was the primary factor.

This line of reasoning lead to more studies looking into the effect of C8 on neuronal metabolism with some as recently as the past few years, exploring effects seizure patients using pure C8.  This is why C8 has the reputation of being better for the brain.

Most recent studies are still using MCT oils of various constituent concentrations with C8 being 50-80%, C10 being 20-50%, and smaller varying amounts of C6 and C12.  This stuff still isn’t standardized in the clinical setting.

No one has bothered looking into the effects of C10 on the brain because it was such a small proportion of the initial MCT oil concentration people were using before.  Remember, C8 and C10 are derived from palm and coconut oil, so the concentrations they worked with back then likely reflected the natural concentrations found in the purification processes that were available at the time.

Now we are at a place where we can obtain pure C8.  Some of the pharmaceutical grade C8 used in certain studies go for $350 per liter, so we’re getting a pretty good deal from Dave.

Bottom Line:

To revisit my initial question regarding the differences of Upgraded MCT vs Upgraded Brain Octane

Upgraded MCT Oil: C8 and C10
Upgraded Brain Octane: C8

All the research I’ve found do this date indicate that:

  • Both C8 and C10 are good for stimulating the metabolism

  • Both C8 and C10 are good for the brain

  • The only reason C8 has a reputation for being better for the brain is largely historical


There haven’t been any studies that I’ve come across that compare the benefits between pure C8 vs C8 and C10… and remember, studies exploring the benefits of C8 and C10 haven’t been using standard formulas, which is another confounder.


To truly answer the question I would need to see a study exploring the differences in effect on both metabolism AND brain function comparing the following:

  • 100% C8

  • 80% C8 and 20% C10

  • 50% C8 and 50% C8

  • 20% C8 and 80% C10

  • 100% C10


Although I’m not entirely sure the question is even worth answering at this point

Interestingly, a research paper just came out in 2014 that I am in the process of reading that tangentially addresses the effect on neurons of C10 by itself.

Upgraded MCT and Brain octane

My current stash at home.

Upgraded MCT Oil vs Upgraded Brain Octane – Winner?

I’ve personally used both Upgraded MCT ($29.95) and Upgraded Brain Octane ($45.95) and haven’t noticed a difference, so given the price differential, I’m probably just going to stick with Upgraded MCT from now on.

This is just a rough draft.  Once I finish reading through the rest of the articles I’ll definitely include the citations and papers themselves if possible. Again I want to reiterate that there are thousands of studies looking into MCTs and I’ve done my best to find the relevant articles.

If anyone knows of any pertinent articles, please send them my way and I’ll be glad to read through them. My opinion now only reflects the data that I’ve seen and I’m more than willing to change my mind if more data is available.


23 Responses to Upgraded MCT Oil vs Upgraded Brain Octane – Rough Draft

  1. Jasmine says:

    Having recently purchased Upgraded Decaf to try, I was curious what the differences were between these MCT oils. Thank you for writing this post!

  2. Ash Simmonds says:

    Speculation at this stage, but I reckon with time we’ll figure out that MCT is only particularly useful to those on a moderate carb diet – 100-300g or so.

    If already well ketotic 99% of the nebulous benefits of MCT oil are already pretty well covered without supplementing.

  3. sootedninjas says:

    I don’t suppose you have listened to the latest Keifer podcast. He talks about BP Coffee and MCT Oil in the last 15 or 20 minutes.


    • BJJ Caveman says:

      Funny you should bring that up… I’m 30 minutes into it right now! It’s an hour 20 minutes total!

      Will finish it by end of the day and be happy to discuss.

      • sootedninjas says:

        I always have reservations about Asprey just because I feel that to him branding his product will always comes first. I mean I can understand that BUT to me sometimes it comes thru like a sales pitch most of the time. I have to say tho he does have some good info however there are NOT necessarily unique ideas but existing ones that are just buried in the avalanche of digital information age instead he puts it to the forefront and then monetize it.

  4. Clare says:

    Thank you, Thank you , Thank you for delving into this…I have tried to get this and other basic information from Bullet Proof and it’s very hard to get a straight answer…SOOO much is about marketing that I have become suspect of the products…Not enough BASIC information, so I really appreciate your efforts toward clarification.

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      Glad I could help! I was in your same boat and wanted to understand more too… which is why I fell down that rabbit hole and didn’t emerge for quite a while…

  5. PghPammy says:

    I have looked, without success, for any information supporting Kiefer’s assertions that MCT oil should only be used by athletes. The closest I have seen is a study that suggests it might be a problem for someone with liver disease (but I think it was a large dose also), That’s about it. I can’t understand why an otherwise reasonably healthy person cannot incorporate a Tbls or two in their diet (whether they work out hard or not at all)….other than Kiefer just doesn’t like Dave Asprey and calls his coffee BS Coffee. Do you know Whi Kiefer would say only athletes should use MCT.

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      I’ve looked too and I haven’t found anything either, that’s why I was surprised at what Kiefer was saying. I mean they give epileptic kids mct oils for a prolonged period of time in all those studies with no real issues..

      • PghPammy says:

        Well then that makes feel better if you can’t find anything either. Your reviews are great and I truly appreciate all you write about and refer to it often. Kiefer gets a lot right, but I think he’s just hating anything BP and not being fair when it comes to Dave.

        • BJJ Caveman says:

          YA! At this point it just seems like Kiefer is a hater. Oh well, doesn’t look like it’s affecting Dave at all since his company is on the rise. Dave does seem to make some references to ‘cherry turnovers’ every once in awhile in is podcasts which definitely seem like jabs back at Kiefer though!

          • PghPammy says:

            Yes he finally did start jabbing back. But he didn’t for a long time. And he’s never called him or his brand out with vulgar names that I’ve heard.

    • Pitbullshark says:

      Kiefer, isn’t he that awful “CarbNite” guy? Worst diet I ever went on, bar none. I wouldn’t trust him more than I would trust Ancel Keys! Why he hates Dave Asprey? Well, same reasons all those others who do, I guess–jealous of his success, irritated that he is making money, embarrassed because Dave is someone who knows from personal experience what he is talking about concerning weight loss. How many champion athletes or models or whatever purport to tell obese people how to lose weight? As if they know a single thing about it. Those are the type of people who are disgusted by overweight people. They feel that what they deserve is punishment, not compassionate guidance with something that actually really works and is doable. Also, they’re those stupid people who say, “Butter in your coffee? [Gasp] Who would think of such a thing?” How about Tibetans who put yak butter in their tea? I’ve known about that for about thirty years, or more. Putting butter in something is not some off-the-wall idea. What people in other cultures do just might be worth a look.

      I don’t remember Keifer’s story except that we was quite a “salesman” regarding his horrible diet idea. Good thing I didn’t buy a Pinto from him, too…or the Brooklyn Bridge.

      I have NO complaints about Dave Asprey. His book is gigantically good–he explains things extremely well. I don’t care if he makes a billion dollars–good for him. At least he is earning it by helping people, not spying on them on the Internet or whatever. He’s brilliant to sell products that support what he is saying. And of course you can ignore those if you feel like it; it’s a free country.

      Also, final point–he interviews all sorts of people on his Podcasts, even if they disagree with him. He doesn’t have that “hate”, “it’s only about me”, “you’re a fraud” attitude, but presents things that are useful and valuable no matter who you are and how you ultimately decide to eat. And ultimately, it IS about the individual person and what they decide to do. He never has said anything else.

      P.S. THIS main post was quite useful and I hope “BJJ Caveman” DOES write a book about what he is discovering. I would buy it for sure.

      • BJJ Caveman says:

        Yeah, I agree with you that it’s a big turn off when Kiefer goes into the whole so-and-so is BS and when he craps on other people… but it might just be part of his schtick. To separate himself from the pack by promoting himself as THE expert.

        While I do still find his information helpful, the negativity does get to be quite the turn off!

        Thanks for the vote of confidence for my imaginary book… who knows I may actually get around to writing something one day!

        • Pitbullshark says:

          Thank you for your response! Yes, I would rather all these guys work together instead of attempt to tear others apart. Certain recommendations may work better for certain situations, so one size may not fit all. I do hope you write that book, but meanwhile, I am extremely glad to have found your blog!

  6. PghPammy says:

    Not sure if you are still working on this, but if you don’t know already, there is finally some competition for the C8 only market share – MiCkey T™ Eight™

    He’s in startup and only selling via Amazon right now. Very approachable and eager to talk about his product. Might be worth the contact and possibly have information for you. I also have a $5.00 off coupon that he’s told me to share: C8MCT4ME

    Using it now and seems like a very solid product.

    MiCkey T Eight


    • BJJ Caveman says:

      Interesting! Might be worth checking out. I’ve really cut back on my usage of MCTs lately, and so have a few bottles left over that I’m slowly working through… so it’ll probably be a while for me before I can give it a shot.

      • Doug says:

        Why’d you cut back on the MCT oil if I may axe’ sir?

        Thanks for the coupon PghPammy! I’m pulling the trigger on the MiCkey T 8 today. There’s just something about Asprey that rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s just me but the fact he’s full of $hit with regards to mycotoxins in coffee and oh by the way he has the solution. $25 buck a pound coffee…..

        • BJJ Caveman says:

          I’m cutting back because part of my experimentation for my cholesterol is cutting back on my saturated fat intake, that’s all.

  7. Uncle Harley says:

    I’ve done the BP diet and coffee (MCT oil, only) for a year now. I lost 40 lb.’s this past spring, and I’ve kept it off. My blood data and vital signs have vastly improved; particularly my pulse rate (50); all without increasing exercise from my normally-active lifestyle (I walk or bike everywhere close by). Eliminating the G-F butter in the BP coffee (as well eliminating cholesterol from all other dairy sources, daily) brought my cholesterol way down, and it brought my triglycerides down to the medically-desired level (which previously had always been moderate to high). Sure, I still enjoy “lite” ice cream and cheese occasionally, but I won’t have it in the house.

    When combining Asprey’s research with that from UCSF’s Endocrinology Dept., the Linus Pauling Institute and William Davis, MD (wheatbellyblog)you find that MCT’s are essential for meeting peak energy demands because you’re no longer getting the fast blood glucose increases from sugars and refined starches (i.e., “fast” carbs) on the BP diet. Moreover, you’re not eating an average of 400 extra calories per day that wheat (gliadin) eaters do (per cardiologist Wm. David, MD). Pure C8 simply metabolizes faster than do the longer MCT chains, so for normal energy demands, I only use one soupspoonful of pure C8 with two soupspoonfuls of blended C8/C10. I’m using the “MiCkey T Eight” pure C8 and Viva Labs blended capric and caprylic MCT oils. And I notice the difference between the two. Using only pure C8 will make me hyper and not want to eat if I’m sedentary.

    The beauty of MCT’s is that the body doesn’t rapidly counteract them like it does with blood glucose peaks (i.e., by producing insulin, which rapidly converts blood glucose peaks to body fat (see Robert H. Lustig’s research from UCSF)). Hence, there’s no peaking and crashing with MCT’s like there is from refined starches and sugars. And once your body looks to fats for its immediate energy needs, it starts burning body fat at a faster rate than you’re producing it, especially when you’re keeping that blood glucose down and avoiding the exaggerated insulin cycle. Of course, you can only take so much MCTs a day without risking “disaster pants”, so lots of fruits and vegetables are still very important for “slow” carbs, which provide sustained, low, blood glucose levels.

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      First off, I’m stoked to hear that you’ve lost 40 lbs! Congratulations, that’s quite an accomplishment.

      With the improvement in your lipids after cutting out all of that saturated fat, it makes me think that you might be an Apo E 3/4 like myself!

      Have you considered getting it checked?

      I’ve heard good things about the MiCkey T Eight MCT, but haven’t really looked into it myself. Good to hear that it’s working well for you. It really looks like you’ve found a formula that works best for your health!

  8. Karl says:

    Guess it’s a long time since this thread stopped. My interested in it is the reference to the C8. I’v been 23 in Naturopathic medicine, practiced in WA., CT., and my specialty was family medicine but was certified in environmental med, and what used to be called ‘nutrigenomics’ (the gene – nutrition interface). Here’s the issue I have with the brain octane and Mickey T’s product. It’s not about C8 it’s about the source for C8 its alleged purity. I’ve begun to source this for our patients as well. The issue is with Mickey T it is stated that it is 100% certified sustainable coconut and Palm Kernal oil. Though their COA (certificate of analysis which posted on their amazon site) is 99.07% C8 and some C6 & C10 purer forms are available of 99.9% of C8. Who cares. I’m not sure yet, but C6 is a gastric irritant a purer form is the most preferred. The statement that the source is from “100% sustainable Coconut and Palm Kernal Oil” strikes me either as an unverifiable claim and possibly a lie because 1) there is not certificate stamp anywhere on their product or website. 2) They know nobody is going to spend their money on getting their product tested. So from an advertising perspective, it is a very safe bet to make. Obviously it is the most politically correct statement to make as well to appeal to the largest possible customer base. It strikes me as being inauthentic. In regards to Brainoctane, The offer no COA or reference to their source so perhaps they might be equally culpable.

  9. Henrik says:

    Thank you so much for doing this research BJJ Caveman. Big help

Leave a Reply

Disclosures: Please note that some of the links provided are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.  Please understand that I have experience with all of these products.  If they're books, I've read them cover to cover, and if they're products or supplements, I've used and/or continue to use them, and I am not shy about giving my honest opinion of them, positive or negative.  The small commissions I make help me out a tiny bit, and if you've found my site helpful then feel free to purchase these products through the links I've provided.  If not, that's fine too, no pressure, I'll still continue to write!  Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites

Medical-Legal Disclaimer:

This site is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and linkages to other sites, bjjcaveman.com provides general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this site, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. BJJ Caveman and bjjcaveman.com are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.

Privacy Policy

See the bjjcaveman.com privacy policy here.