Metabolic availability of medium-chain triglycerides coingested with carbohydrates during prolonged exercise

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1995 Sep;79(3):756-62. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1995.79.3.756.


The present study examined the metabolic response to medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) ingestion with or without carbohydrates (CHOs). Eight well-trained athletes cycled 4 x 180 min at 50% maximal work rate (57% maximal O2 consumption). Subjects drank a bolus of 4 ml/kg at the start and 2 ml/kg every 20 min during exercise of either a 15% (214 g) CHO solution (CHO trial), an equicaloric 149 g CHO-29 g MCT suspension (CHO+MCT trial), 214 g CHO [high CHO (HCHO)]-29 g MCT suspension (HCHO+MCT trial) or 29 g MCT solution (MCT trial). Exogenous MCT oxidation was measured by adding a [1,1,1-13C]trioctanoate tracer to the MCT oil. 13CO2 enrichment of breath samples were measured every 15 min. During the second hour (60- to 120-min period), the amount of MCT oxidized was 72% of the amount ingested during the CHO+MCT trial, whereas during the MCT trial only 33% was oxidized. The rate of MCT oxidation increased more rapidly during the HCHO+MCT and CHO+MCT trials compared with the MCT trial, yet in all three cases the oxidation rate stabilized at 0.12 g/min during 120-180 min of exercise. It is concluded that more MCTs are oxidized when ingested in combination with CHOs. Data do confirm the hypothesis that oral MCTs might serve as an energy source in addition to glucose during exercise because the metabolic availability of MCTs was high during the last hour of exercise, with oxidation rates being approximately 70% of the ingestion rate.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Humans
  • Lactates / blood
  • Lactic Acid
  • Male
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Triglycerides / metabolism*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Lactates
  • Triglycerides
  • Lactic Acid