Fatty acid is one of the basic nutrients of the human body and one of the substances that ensure the normal operation and operation of metabolism. It usually exists in the form of triglyceride, which is formed by the combination of one glycerol and three fatty acids. According to the length of the carbon chain structure of fatty acids, fatty acids can be divided into short-chain fatty acids, medium-chain fatty acids and long-chain fatty acids, general food contain most of the long-chain fatty acids. Similar to other fatty acids, medium-chain fatty acids are still present in food in the form of triglycerides (MCT), mainly found in butter, coconut oil, palm oil and a few other lipid products. Do you know the benefits of this medium-chain Triglyceride(MCT) powder and oils?

What’s the medium-chain triglyceride(MCT) good for?

Help losing weight

Fat is an important nutrient in human diet. It has many health benefits to the body, but it is also one of the main causes of obesity, atherosclerosis and hyperlipidemia. According to reports, coconut oil and palm oil, which are mainly composed of medium-chain triglycerides, have become popular health supplements for people abroad who want to control their weight and improve their athletic performance.

Chain triglycerides in the digestion, absorption, transport and metabolism characteristics of unique, makes the MCT will not like LCT is stored in the body’s fat, liver and muscle tissues, but quickly digest absorb, oxidation power, so the LCT curb weight gain, obesity prevention effect is obvious and verified in basic research and clinical research. It was found that MCFA intake of 0.975 g/kg BW had a certain inhibitory effect on body weight gain of nutritionally obese rats under the condition of no difference in feed intake. Under reasonable dietary conditions, eating medium long-chain fatty acid edible oil can reduce body weight and body fat level in adult male patients with hypertriglyceridemia. However, whether the effect of MCT on obesity prevention has sustained stability and the corresponding mechanism still needs to be further verified.

Improve metabolism of sugar, fat and cholesterol

Under the condition of reasonable diet, medium long-chain fatty acid edible oil can reduce blood triglyceride and improve lipoprotein metabolism. Studies have shown that deficiency or deficiency of lipoprotein or an increase in the proportion of lipoprotein in the blood that is not appropriate to the blood lipid can lead to lipid metabolism disorders. Therefore, MCT may improve lipid metabolism by improving lipoprotein levels. Insulin resistance refers to the weakened role of a certain amount of insulin in promoting glucose clearance, which is closely related to the disorder of glucose metabolism in the body. MCFA can avoid the increased intracellular lipid deposition induced by LCFA in muscle, liver and fat tissues, which is conducive to improving insulin resistance in these tissues and organs, and thus improving glucose metabolism in the body.

Antibacterial properties

The antibacterial effect of MCT makes it widely used in animal feeding. Experimental studies have shown that adding MCT oil in piglets diet can inhibit the number of intestinal microbes and improve the growth performance of piglets, which can be used as a substitute for antibiotics in weaned piglets’ diets. It was found that adding organic acids and medium chain fatty acids in feed can resist Clostridium difficile, which is beneficial to the control of necrotizing enteritis in broilers. However, when using MCT to feed animals, it is necessary to pay attention to the adding method, time, dosage and the ratio of protein, carbohydrate and other energy substances, so as to give full play to the antibacterial and other nutritional health functions of MCT.

Anti-fatigue performance

Sugar and fat are the most important energy sources for long duration aerobic endurance exercise. Lipid energy supply is mainly caused by the hydrolysis of triglycerides to glycerol and fatty acids under the action of lipase. The complete decomposition of one molecule of glycerol produces 22 molecules of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), and the oxidation of one molecule of fatty acid produces about 113-147 molecules of ATP. Therefore, fat energy supply mainly refers to the oxidation of fatty acids after hydrolysis. Lipid metabolism in the body includes the reesterification of triglyceride from fatty acids and glycerol, and the lipolysis of triglyceride from hydrolysis to fatty acids and glycerol, also known as fat mobilization. Appropriately increasing the mobilization capacity of fat can improve exercise endurance. In rats, it was found that low and medium doses of MCT could improve the antioxidant capacity, prevent oxidative damage and resist mental fatigue after sleep deprivation.

MCT has little dependence on bile salts and trypsin and is easily hydrolyzed under the action of intestinal lipase. The hydrolyzed medium-chain fatty acids can be quickly absorbed by intestinal mucosal cells, which is 4 times faster than long-chain fatty acids. The absorbed medium-chain fatty acids are transported to the liver in free form through the portal vein, can cross the mitochondrial membrane without dependence on l-carnitine, and quickly oxidize into the energy of the body, which is a high-quality energy supply substance. Based on the advantages of fast energy release and no accumulation of fat, MCT is also an important functional factor to enhance endurance and is favored by fitness and sports enthusiasts.

Other benefits

Although not effective in every child, MCTS has been shown to reduce seizures in many children and may eliminate seizures altogether in some children. Compared to a traditional ketogenic diet, the MCT diet has similar levels of seizure control, and it may take several months to determine whether the diet is effective.

MCT also boosts immunity, enhances gluconeogenesis, improves memory and cognition, and cardiovascular health.

Side effects of medium-chain triglyceride(MCT)

A number of animal experiments and clinical studies have proved that MCT has good tolerability and safety. In the acute toxicity tests, subchronic toxicity tests and long-term toxicity tests of several kinds of animals, no reproductive disorders, maternal toxicity, fetal toxicity or malformation were found, and no adverse effects were found on blood and urine tests and organs of animals. In 1994, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed MCT on its list of “Generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) substances. Many clinical studies have confirmed that the safe dose of MCT powder in human body is 1 g/kg per day, and the appropriate intake is 20 g to 30 g per day, while the best MCFA is about 10 g.

However, MCT has also been reported to be harmful to humans, for example, studies have shown that high concentrations of captanic acid in plasma can be harmful to the central nervous system. It has also been reported that if the calorific ratio of MCT energy to total energy is more than 50%, it may cause decreased ABSORPTION of LCT, deficiency of essential fatty acids, vomiting, gastrointestinal discomfort, abdominal distention, abdominal cramps, penetrating diarrhea and other symptoms. These side effects usually occur when large amounts are taken over a short period of time. As mentioned earlier, high MCT intake may also raise “bad cholesterol” and triglyceride levels, which are not good for long-term cardiovascular health. Random intake may be associated with weight gain since MCT has a high energy density and is easy to overconsume. At the same time, because medium-chain fatty acids are not essential fatty acids, a certain amount of essential long-chain unsaturated fatty acids should be supplemented in daily diet. In the presence of cirrhosis or ketosis, if ingestion exceeds the body’s current metabolic capacity, it will not only cause gastrointestinal discomfort, but also lead to ketoacidosis. In clinical application, attention should be paid to monitoring gastrointestinal symptoms, liver and kidney function, acid-base balance and other indicators.

Ye Tao