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Metabolism. 1990 Sep;39(9):887-91.

Effects of medium-chain triglyceride feeding on energy balance in adult humans.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


In recent years, the metabolism of triglycerides has attracted much attention. Oxidation of fatty acids is an essential energy supply, especially when glucose supply is limited. In the present study, the effect of a 3-day high medium-chain triglyceride (MCT; 51% of calories), low carbohydrate intake on plasma glucose and amino acid, and urinary organic acid levels, including dicarboxylic and tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates, was determined in eight normal adult volunteer subjects. Urine was collected at baseline and at 48 to 72 hours for amino acid and organic acid levels, and plasma collected at 0 and 72 hours for glucose and amino acid concentration. The MCT diet increased urinary levels of dicarboxylic acids (adipic 8-, suberic 65-, sebacic 284-fold) and keto acids (acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate, 67.5-fold); alanine and lactate were decreased 2.5- and 4-fold, respectively, while pyruvate, other amino acids and citric acid intermediates remained unchanged. Plasma amino acid levels were unchanged, while the plasma glucose levels decreased by 8% from baseline. The loss of calories as urinary dicarboxylic acids and keto acids, although increased during the MCT diet, was less than 1% of the daily caloric intake. The data suggest MCT sustain energy expenditure through medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) oxidation with no decrease in citric acid cycle intermediates, while sparing protein oxidation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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