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Archive for April 11th, 2007

Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs): The Good Fat

Posted by naturalhealthmd on April 11, 2007

If you’ve read the article I posted on Coconut Oil, you can see the benefits of this oil. Coconut oil is made up of medium chain triglycerides; which are a great fat.

They can promote the increase in metabolism, which can lead to weight loss. MCT’s are sent directly to the liver, where they are converted to energy and not stored as fat. MCT’s are a great oil that can improve your body’s overall function.

To know exactly what it does: here is the mechanism of action

The physiology and biochemistry of medium-chain triglycerides are very different from those of long-chain triglycerides. MCT is rapidly absorbed from the small intestine, intact or following hydrolysis, into the portal circulation. From there, it is transported to the liver. Long-chain triglycerides are first hydrolyzed in the small intestine to long-chain fatty acids. They are in turn re-esterified in the mucosal cells of the small intestine to long-chain triglyerides, which are then carried by chylomicrons and transported via the lymphatic system to the systemic circulation. The systemic circulation in turn distributes the long-chain triglycerides to various tissues of the body, including adipose tissue and the liver.

Since MCT, in contrast with long-chain fatty acids, does not require pancreatic enzymes or bile salts for digestion and absorption, MCT is better handled in those with malabsorption syndromes than are the long-chain fatty acids. These syndromes include pancreatic disorders, hepatic disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and disorders of the lymph system.

Medium-chain fatty acids are taken up by hepatocytes and converted to medium-chain fatty acyl CoA which enters mitochondria without requiring the aid of carnitine. On the other hand, long-chain fatty acids, which are also converted to their coenzyme A esters in cells, including hepatocytes, require that they be converted from coenzyme A esters to carnitine esters in order to be transported across the mitochondrial membrane. Within the hepatocyte mitochondria, medium-chain fatty acyl CoA is converted to acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate and subsequently to carbon dioxide, water and energy. The oxidation of MCT produces 8.3 kilocalories of energy per gram ingested.

MCTs are therefore easier to metabolize, which could be advantageous to those who are critically ill and those with carnitine deficiencies.

MCT is ketogenic. The metabolism of MCT in hepatocytes produces two so-called ketone bodies, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate. These ketone bodies are carried by the bloodstream to other tissues of the body, where they are used for energy production, as well as for other biochemical processes. It is believed that ketosis may raise the seizure threshold and reduce seizure severity. This is still hypothetical but is the rationale for the use of ketogenic diets in the treatment of seizure disorders.(Source:pdrhealth)

Main Theme: EAT YOUR MEDIUM CHAIN FATTY ACIDS. You can get them in

-Coconut Oil
-Milk Fat
– Palm Oil


Medium-chain triglycerides were first used in the mid-1900s to reduce seizures with the help of the ketogenic diet. In the 1980s, MCTs became popular in sports as a substitute for normal dietary fats or oils. They quickly became a favorite energy source for many athletes, such as marathon runners, who participate in endurance sports. These athletes require a quick source of energy, which is readily supplied by carbohydrates. However, diets high in carbohydrates may cause rapid increase in insulin production, resulting in substantial weight gain, diabetes, and other health problems. Dietary fats or oils are not a readily available source of energy. In addition, they are believed to make the body fatter. MCT is also a form of fat; therefore, it is high in calories. Yet, unlike normal fats and oils, MCTs do not cause weight gain because they stimulate thermogenesis (the process in which the body generates energy, or heat, by increasing its normal metabolic, fat-burning rate). A thermogenic diet, which is high in medium-chain triglycerides, has been proposed as a type of weight loss regime. (Source:answers)


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