The application of medium-chain fatty acids: edible oil with a suppressing effect on body fat accumulation

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008:17 Suppl 1:320-3.


The bulk of fatty acids found in our diets consists of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA), which are molecules containing 12 or more carbon atoms. In contrast, medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) are composed of 8-10 carbon atoms, and are found in palm kernel oil, among other types of foods. MCFA have attracted attention as being part of a healthy diet, because they are absorbed directly into the portal vein, transported rapidly to the liver for beta-oxidation, and thus increase diet-induced thermogenesis. In contrast, long-chain triacylglycerols are absorbed via the intestinal lymphatic ducts and transported by chylomicrons through the thoracic duct into the systemic circulation. Because medium-chain triacylglycerols (MCT) containing solely MCFA have a few disadvantages when used for deep frying, we have developed a new kind of triacylglycerol product: medium- and long-chain triacylglycerol (MLCT). MLCT is produced by lipase-catalyzed enzymatic transesterification. Long-term clinical trials have demonstrated that MLCT and MCT result in less body fat accumulation in humans. MLCT oil has been approved as FOSHU (Food for Specified Health Use) for use as cooking oil with a suppressing effect on body fat accumulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / growth & development
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / metabolism*
  • Digestion
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Palm Oil
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Fatty Acids
  • Plant Oils
  • Palm Oil