Medium-chain triglyceride ketogenic diet, an effective treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy and a comparison with other ketogenic diets

Biomed J. 2013 Jan-Feb;36(1):9-15. doi: 10.4103/2319-4170.107154.


The ketogenic diet (KD) is one of the most effective therapies for drug-resistant epilepsy. The efficacy of the medium-chain triglyceride KD (MCTKD) is as excellent as the classic KD (CKD), which has been documented in several subsequent retrospective, prospective, and randomized studies. MCT oil is more ketogenic than long-chain triglycerides. Therefore, the MCTKD allows more carbohydrate and protein food, which makes the diet more palatable than the CKD. The MCTKD is not based on diet ratios as is the CKD, but uses a percentage of calories from MCT oil to create ketones. There has also been literature which documents the associated gastrointestinal side effects from the MCTKD, such as diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, and cramps. Therefore, the MCTKD has been an underutilized diet therapy for intractable epilepsy among children.The author has used up to >70% MCTKD diet to maximize seizure control with gastrointestinal side effects optimally controlled. As long as health care professionals carefully manage MCTKD, many more patients with epilepsy who are not appropriate for CKD or modified Atkins diet or low glycemic index treatment will benefit from this treatment. A comparison between the MCTKD and other KDs is also discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted
  • Diet, Ketogenic*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Epilepsy / diet therapy*
  • Glycemic Index / physiology
  • Humans
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / metabolism*


  • Triglycerides