Bulletproof (sometimes called Upgraded Self) has had a bigger impact on bringing nootropic ingredients mainstream than almost any other company. Any while not every product of theirs is a home run, we’ve seen some decent, good, and really good results from products like Unfair Advantage and Choline Force. A few of our testers are also fans of Bulletproof Coffee, the blend of grass-fed butter, medium chain triglycerides, and coffee that launched Bulletproof and founder Dave Asprey to stardom.
Until recently, Bulletproof’s popular Brain Octane Oil, a refined version of coconut oil that is primarily composed of caprylic acid and designed for use in Bulletproof Coffee, was only available in liquid form, which made traveling with it nearly impossible (not ideal for a product many people like to take during the workday or while on the road). However, the company has just released a version of Brain Octane Oil encapsulated in softgels (click for best price), making it a TSA and office-friendly version of their bestselling oil. Read on to see if the new capsules stack up to the old standby, and whether the ingredient dosage is enough to make these softgels worth it.
*Per 2 softgels
Caprylic Acid Triglycerides (Brain Octane Oil) – 1600 mg
Medium chain triglycerides, normally in the form of refined coconut oils, have become very popular in recent years, largely thanks to the work of Bulletproof founder Dave Asprey. They’re a primary ingredient in Bulletproof Coffee, and Bulletproof/Upgraded self claims they provide sustained energy to the brain without the crash of stimulants. Research indicates MCT oil creates more ketone bodies when metabolized than most other fats, and these ketone bodies may be quickly utilized by the brain for energy. Their consumption in place of other calories sources has also been linked to increased fat loss.
Regular coconut oil contains about 8% caprylic acid, so Bulletproof’s Brain Octane Oil is a highly refined derivative of coconut oil targeted toward brain function. Of course, that’s not to say the other lipid compounds in coconut oil don’t have their own potential benefits. There’s some evidence that Brain Octane Oil is not readily stored as fat within the human body, meaning it’s either metabolized for relatively quick energy or expelled as waste.
Bulletproof also claims slowing the digestion of their Brain Octane Oil carries benefits gut biome health and microbial balance. However, research on that potential benefit is so far pretty sparse, and we’ve chosen to assess the products effects as they pertain to mental performance.
A normal tablespoon of liquid-form Brain Octane Oil contains 15 grams of caprylic acid. Two softgels of Brain Octane contain only about 1.6 grams, so there’s significantly less in a serving of the capsule than in a tablespoon serving of the liquid oil.
Other Ingredients: Bovine Gelatin, Glycerin, Oleic Acid (Derived from Olive Oil), Vitamin E TPGS, Purified Water, Natural Flavor.
Take 1-2 capsules with food for gut health. Take 1-2 more capsules as desired for energy.
What Our Testers Say
“I’m a fan of Bulletproof Coffee, though I realize not everyone is, so I was looking forward to this version of their Brain Octane Oil. I tried it in a few different ways: With my coffee in place of the oil, on its own, and with food. There’s not as much MCT oil in these as you’d get with a standard serving of the liquid Brain Octane Oil, so it’s not going to be as noticeable an energy boost. HOWEVER, I felt no stomach upset when taking these, which sometimes happen when I take too much MCT oil without food. I felt solidly sustained energy throughout the day, and the portability was excellent. The effect isn’t as good as the liquid oil, but in a pinch, these will do.”
“I’ve been looking for a good capsulized MCT product for awhile, and this is the first one I’d consider purchasing again. They have a pleasant smell and go down smoothly, which is definitely not the case for most MCT products I’ve tried. I’m going to keep a bottle of these in my desk for times when I need an energy boost from digesting fats, not caffeine or other stimulants.”
“I can’t really speak to the gut health aspect of these pills, but I’ve experienced digestive stress from MCT oil before, and I didn’t feel that here. I’d consider taking these with lunch to help avoid a post-lunch crash. So far I’ve only tried them for about a week, and they’ve helped me do just that.”
“Stacking these with other nootropics worked out really well for me. I especially liked adding them to a morning stack of coffee and rhodiola, and I also had good results taking with Alpha BRAIN.”
- While our testers experienced less of a “gut bomb” from Brain Octane Softgels as compared to straight MCT oil, we had success following the manufacturer recommendation of taking with food; some people experience upset stomach the first time they ingest MCT products.
- Our best results came from taking with lunch to provide long-lasting energy into the afternoon.
- Though it contains dietary fats, this supplement is not a replacement for food.
- It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before making any significant change to your diet or supplement routine.
Brain Octane Softgels are an ultra-portable version of Bulletproof’s popular Brain Octane Oil. While the amount of fatty acids in a serving (or two) of softgels is significantly lower than in a tablespoon of the liquid oil, our testers found the capsules to be a handy option suited for the workplace or travel. These could be a welcome stimulant-free addition to a existing nootropic stacks.