[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
January 22, 1968

Medium-Chain Triglycerides

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Foods and Nutrition, American Medical Association, Chicago (Dr. Harkins), and the Department of Nutritional Research, Mead Johnson and Company, Evansville, Ind (Dr. Sarett).

JAMA. 1968;203(4):272-274. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140040024005

A medium-chain triglyceride mixture (MCT) has recently become available, providing a special source of fat, containing triglycerides of octanoic and decanoic acids, C8 and C10 fatty acids, respectively. These triglycerides are digested and absorbed differently from the long-chain triglycerides which comprise most dietary fats. Thus MCT may be useful in the nutritional management of subjects with impaired fat digestion or absorption.

The medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), octanoic and decanoic acid, are present in small concentrations in the milk of different animal species and comprise about 15% of the fatty acids of coconut oil, the commercial source of MCT. In preparation, coconut oil is hydrolyzed, the fatty acids are fractionally distilled to isolate the octanoic and decanoic acid fraction, and this is esterified with glycerol. The resulting oil contains approximately 75% of the fatty acids as octanoic and 25% as decanoic acid, and is more readily miscible with water