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Medium chain triglycerides

Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) commonly abbreviated MCT or MCTs, are medium-chain (6 to 12 carbons) fatty acid esters of glycerol.

MCTs passively diffuse from the GI tract to the portal system (longer fatty acids are absorbed into the lymphatic system) without requirement for modification like long chain fatty acids or very long chain fatty acids do. In addition MCTs do not require bile salts for digestion. Patients who have malnutrition or malabsorption syndromes are treated with MCTs because they do not require energy for absorption, utilization, or storage. Rich sources of MCTs include coconut oil and palm kernel oils and are also found in camphor tree drupes. The fatty acids found in MCTs are called medium chain fatty acids. The names of the medium chain fatty acids (and the corresponding number of carbons) found in MCTs are: caproic (C6), caprylic (C8), capric (C10) and lauric acid (C12). MCTs are composed of a glycerol backbone and three of these fatty acids. The approximate ratios of these fatty acids in commercial MCT products derived from coconut oil is 2(C6):55(C8):42(C10):1(C12).[1]

Throughout the years, some studies have shown that MCT's can help in the process of excess calorie burning, weight loss. However, close to half of the calories in one's diet would have to be from the MCT's themselves. Therefore, consuming medium chain triglycerides in a regular diet may or may not be beneficial to weight loss; studies are still being conducted.[2]


  1. ^ PDR Health -- Medium-Chain Triglycerides [1]
  2. ^ B. Martena, M. Pfeuffer, J. Schrezenmeir (2006). "Medium-chain triglycerides". International Dairy Journal 16 (11): 1374-1382. doi:10.1016/j.idairyj.2006.06.015.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Medium_chain_triglycerides". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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