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Medium-chain triglycerides

Medium-chain triglycerides are a class of saturated fat composed of fatty acids containing 6-10 carbons. They are found primarily in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and dairy fat, and they appear to benefit fat loss to a minor extent when consumed in place of other dietary fat.

Our evidence-based analysis on medium-chain triglycerides features 105 unique references to scientific papers.

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Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine members

The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Medium-chain triglycerides has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-c Minor Moderate See all 4 studies
Appears to be a short lived and of small magnitude increase in metabolic rate.
grade-d Minor - See study
May decrease fat mass to a greater degree than an isocaloric amount of long chain fatty acids.
grade-d Minor - See study
Appears to increase the percentage of calories derived from lipids in obese persons; no comparator.
grade-d Minor - See study
Administration of purified MCTs results in a decrease in HDL-C in diabetics that is minor and likely not practically relevant.
grade-d Minor - See study
May improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics, requires more evidence though as the one study was confounded with fat loss.
grade-d Minor - See study
Has been implicated in increasing serum ketones more than other fatty acids.
grade-d Minor - See study
Administering purified MCTs to diabetics results in a non-significant reduction of LDL-C.
grade-d Minor - See study
A decrease in total cholesterol (both the LDL and HDL portions) has been noted with purified MCTs to a minor degree, relative to longer chain fatty acids.
grade-d Minor - See study
Appears somewhat effective in reducing weight of obese persons to a greater degree than an isocaloric amount of longer chain fatty acids
grade-d - - See study
grade-d - - See study
grade-d - - See study
Insufficient evidence to support alterations in blood glucose.
grade-d - - See study
No significant influence detected on fasting insulin levels following coconut oil consumption
grade-d - See study
Was able to attenuate the rate of skeletal muscle loss during a hypocaloric diet in obese persons; unknown if this applies to lean persons and may be related to ketone production.
grade-d - - See study
Insufficient evidence to support alterations in the thermic effect of food compared to other oils
grade-d - - See study
Insufficient evidence to support changes in serum triglycerides.

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Things to Note

Is a Form Of

  • triglycerides

Also Known As

MCTs, MCT oil, medium-chain fatty acids

Do Not Confuse With

coconut oil

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Click here to see all 105 references.