Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) was a unique type of fat that consisted of fatty acids with 6 to 12(usually 8 to 10 or 8 to 12) carbon atoms, The fatty acids that makeup MCT are called medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). These MCFA can be esterified with glyceride to form MCT without catalyst. Due to the short carbon chain, MCT can be used as emulsifiers in the food industry and have good mutual solubility and solubility between water and oil phases. Because MCFA or MCT differs from the specific physiological and biochemical properties of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) or long-chain triglycerides (LCT), they were used in human clinical treatments such as gastroenteritis, obesity, diabetes, It is especially used to provide energy for patients with fat metabolism disorder and premature babies. In recent years, MCT has been widely used as a functional raw material in sports food for rapid energy replenishment. Today we are going to detail some typical applications of MCT.

Diet food

The energy properties of MCT do not seem to be associated with fat loss, but it is a good fat loss agent, contradicting the popular belief that saturated fats raise cholesterol. This difference depends on the induction effect of medium-chain fatty acids, which can enhance the body’s energy metabolism and promote fat burning, thus playing a role in lowering blood lipids and losing weight. MCT generally acts as an energy source and does not store in adipose tissue and attenuates muscle protein degradation; Its unique metabolic pathway increases energy expenditure while improving the absorption of minerals and some essential fatty acids. Compared to standard oils, it provides less energy MCT (8.3-9kcal) per gram and can improve satiety.

Therefore, MCT can be used as food raw material or food additive in ordinary food. However, MCT is not suitable for everyone. It can make the concentration of ketone body in the body rise suddenly, which is bad for diabetics and can cause poisoning in serious cases. In addition, MCT lacks essential fatty acids and is not comprehensive as a cooking oil alone. Therefore, a more comprehensive and safe medium-long chain fatty acid edible oil emerged, that is, a structural oil made from edible vegetable oil and medium-chain triglyceride through the transesterification reaction of lipase.


Baby food

In fact, middle-chain fatty acids are no stranger to anyone. They are naturally found in breast milk and provide a quick energy boost to a baby’s body temperature and growth needs.

Fat deposition in the viscera is caused by low lipoprotein lipase, liver lipase activity, and carnitine in infants. MTC can be rapidly absorbed in the duodenum independently of esterase and cholic acid activities. In the liver, MTC transport is independent of the carnitine transport system, in addition, it can improve the absorption of minerals and some essential fatty acids. It has a good promoting effect on the growth and development of infants whose digestive system function is not quite developed, especially premature infants and weak infants.

Exercising supplement

In the liver, the transport of MTC does not depend on the carnitine transport system, which can rapidly increase energy, enhance endurance and reduce the rate of catabolism, saving protein consumption for athletes. MTC provides 8.3kcal per gram, which is twice as much energy as carbohydrates. A large number of studies have shown that MTC can improve athletes’ endurance level and fatigue recovery, save protein consumption and improve the ratio of body muscle to body weight. Therefore, it can be used for nutritional replenishment and fatigue recovery of intense sports and physical labor.

Special food for patients

MTC is not only easily digested and absorbed by the human body but also quickly cleared from the blood, so it is very suitable for use as special food for patients after surgery, infection and skin burn. It can also be used for those suffering from fat malabsorption, AIDS and cancer. In addition, MTC is suitable for use in foods for diabetics because it has no adverse effects on blood glucose and insulin levels.

MCT has many unique characteristics such as it does not need the hydrolysis of bile salts digestion, quick speed, easy to absorb, directly via the portal vein to the liver metabolism, do not need carnitine transport into mitochondria oxidation, making it is good for surgical patients, clinical tumor patients, patients with diabetes, lymph circulation disorder patients, malnutrition and food allergy patients.

Studies have found that early postoperative intake of high animal protein and lipid foods leads to chylomethylochest and gastrointestinal dysfunction, and the inhibition of gastric emptying in the gastrointestinal tract (duodenal-gastric feedback inhibition) is weaker than that of LCT. In addition, MCT absorbed through the intestine does not form chylomicron, but is transported through the lymphatic system, reduced fat loss and drainage (chylous fluid) leakage due to lymphatic fistula in surgical patients.

Other food

When used in the food industry, MTC can be used as a flavoring and coloring additive and is often mixed with vegetable oil as an anti-stick agent to prevent adhesion in baked food processing. Pure MTC or mixed oil with vegetable oil is also commonly used as a lubricant and release agent for sausage stamping; A small amount of MTC can greatly reduce the viscosity of fatty substances with high viscosity. In other food processing, MTC can also be used to replace easily oxidized milk fat to make milk wine and cheese imitation products, mixed with water-soluble colloid can also be used as a beverage turbidity agent. In addition, MTC can be used as lubricating oil in food processing machinery instead of mineral oil.

Feed additives for mammals (e.g. piglets)

The antibacterial activity of MCT has made it widely used in animal feeding in recent years. Experimental studies have shown that adding MCT in piglets’ diets 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. MTC added in the feed can be well absorbed by newborn piglets as a fast energy substance, it can delay the energy loss of newborn piglets, especially for the sick and weak piglets. It can improve the metabolism and digestion of newborn piglets. At the same time, MTC can regulate the immune system of piglets, prevent and eliminate pathogenic microorganisms and then improve the weight and survival rate of weaned piglets.

Ye Tao