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Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are partially man-made fats. The name refers to the way the carbon atoms are arranged in their chemical structure. MCTs are generally made by processing coconut and palm kernel oils in the laboratory. Usual dietary fats, by comparison, are long-chain triglycerides. People use MCTs as medicine.
MCTs are used along with usual medications for treating food absorption disorders including diarrhea, steatorrhea (fat indigestion), celiac disease, liver disease, and digestion problems due to partial surgical removal of the stomach (gastrectomy) or the intestine (short bowel syndrome).
MCTs are also used for "milky urine" (chyluria) and a rare lung condition called chylothorax. Other uses include treatment of gallbladder disease, AIDS, cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer''s disease, and seizures in children.
Athletes sometimes use MCTs for nutritional support during training, to increase exercise performance, for decreasing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass, and for weight loss.
MCTs are sometimes used to reduce levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood called triglycerides. They might also be used for diabetes. In older people, MCTs are used to increase muscle mass and strength. They are also used for a rare disease called Waldmann disease.
MCTs are sometimes used as a source of fat in total parenteral nutrition (TPN). In TPN, all food is delivered intravenously (by IV). This type of feeding is necessary in people whose gastrointestinal (GI) tract is no longer working.
Intravenous MCTs are also given to prevent muscle breakdown in critically ill patients.
Possibly Effective for
Preventing muscle breakdown in critically ill patients, when given intravenously (by IV). MCTs can provide calories in critically ill patients, but don''t seem to offer any advantages over normal dietary fats (long chain triglycerides).
Certain types of seizures in children.
A rare disease called Waldmann disease. Following a low-fat, high-protein diet and supplementing with MCTs seems to reduce symptoms in patients with Waldmann disease.