Nutritional Supplement

Medium-Chain Triglycerides

Medium-chain triglycerides are a class of fatty acids. Their chemical composition is of a shorter length than the long-chain fatty acids present in most other fats and oils, which accounts for their name. They are also different from other fats in that they have a slightly lower calorie content1 and they are more rapidly absorbed and burned as energy, resembling carbohydrate more than fat.2


1. Bach AC, Ingenbleek Y, Frey A. The usefulness of dietary medium-chain triglycerides in body weight control: fact or fancy? J Lipid Res 1996;37:708-26.

2. Bach AC, Babayan VK. Medium-chain triglycerides—an update. Am J Clin Nutr 1982;36:950-62.

3. Jeukendrup AE, Saris WHM, van Diesen RAJ, et al. Exogenous MCT oxidation from carbohydrate-medium chain triglyceride supplements during moderate intensity exercise. Clin Sci 1994;87:33.

4. Berning JR. The role of medium-chain triglycerides in exercise. Int J Sport Nutr 1996;6:121-33 [review].

5. Goedecke JH, Elmer-English R, Dennis SC, et al. Effects of medium-chain triaclyglycerol ingested with carbohydrate on metabolism and exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr 1999;9:35-47.

6. Van Zyl CG, Lambert EV, Hawley JA, et al. Effects of medium-chain triglyceride ingestion on carbohydrate metabolism and cycling performance. J Appl Physiol 1996;80:2217-25.

7. Jeukendrup AE, Thielen JJ, Wagenmakers AJ, et al. Effect of medium-chain triacylglycerol and carbohydrate ingestion during exercise on substrate utilization and subsequent cycling performance. Am J Clin Nutr 1998;67:397-404.

8. Misell LM, Lagomarcino ND, Schuster V, Kern M. Chronic medium-chain triacylglycerol consumption and endurance performance in trained runners. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2001;41:210-5.

9. Angus DJ, Hargreaves M, Dancey J, Febbraio MA. Effect of carbohydrate or carbohydrate plus medium-chain triglyceride ingestion on cycling time trial performance. J Appl Physiol 2000;88:113-9.

10. Eckel R, Hanson A, Chen A, et al. Dietary substitution of medium-chain triglycerides improves insulin-mediated glucose metabolism in NIDDM subjects. Diabetes 1992;41:641–7.

11. Yost T, Erskine J, Gregg T, et al. Dietary substitution of medium chain triglycerides in subjects with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in an ambulatory setting: impact on glycemic control and insulin-mediated glucose metabolism. J Am Coll Nutr 1994;13:615–22.

12. Han J, Deng B, Sun J, et al. Effects of dietary medium-chain triglyceride on weight loss and insulin sensitivity in a group of moderately overweight free-living type 2 diabetic Chinese subjects. Metabolism 2007;56:985–91.

13. Cater NB, Heller HJ, Denke MA. Comparison of the effects of medium-chain triacylglycerols, palm oil, and high oleic acid sunflower oil on plasma triacylglycerol fatty acids and lipid and lipoprotein concentrations in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 1997;65:41-5.

14. Hill JO, Peters JC, Swift LL, et al. Changes in blood lipids during six days of overfeeding with medium or long chain triglycerides. J Lipid Res 1990;31:407-16.

15. Fan ST. Review: nutritional support for patients with cirrhosis. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 1997;12:282-6.

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2022.