Medium-chain triglycerides: an update

Am J Clin Nutr. 1982 Nov;36(5):950-62. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/36.5.950.


A review of the literature on the medical and nutritional use of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) since 1970 is presented with additional discussions on the various modifications and applications of the MCTs in the synthesis of certain structured lipids. The metabolism of MCTs in the liver and extrahepatic tissues is discussed along with further documentation of the use of MCTs in malabsorption and hyperlipidemia cases. Recent applications of MCTs and modified MCTs in hyperalimentation, deficiency in the carnitine system, epilepsy, obesity, and other special areas of application are cited. The use of medium-chain monodiglycerides for dissolving cholesterol gallstones is presented. The contraindications for the use of MCTs in ketosis, acidosis, and cirrhosis are also discussed. Suggestions for use of MCTs in a variety of medical and nutritional applications are presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Carnitine / deficiency
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Diglycerides / metabolism
  • Enteral Nutrition
  • Fatty Acids* / metabolism
  • Gallbladder Diseases / diet therapy
  • Humans
  • Ketone Bodies / biosynthesis
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Lipids / biosynthesis
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Parenteral Nutrition
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Dietary Fats
  • Diglycerides
  • Fatty Acids
  • Ketone Bodies
  • Lipids
  • Carnitine