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Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT)

8/17 8:54:00

QUESTION: Hello Dr.....

I have Malabsorption Syndrome and Malnutrition due to having had a Completion Pancreatectomy and
Islet Cell Transplant for Chronic Pancreatitis (due to a congenital defect with my pancreas).  I have an
Albumin level at 3 currently, which is not terrible, but still, low (low normal is 3.5).  We are trying to avoid
IV Nutrition (Total Parenteral Nutrition~TPN) as I do have other nutritional deficiencies, but would like to
try Medium Chain Triglycerides in the meantime to see if that will help with replacing some of the fats
that my body is not absorbing.  I do know from reading, MCTs are more easily absorbed by people with
the problems I have.  My insurance company will not pay for a Nutritionist (however, they are willing to
pay for TPN....makes no sense that they'll pay 90,000.00 a month for TPN, but not 500.00 a month for a
Nutritionist!), so I am going to try and do this without the help of a Nutritionist.  I have not seen my
Gastroenterologist yet, but will be seeing him in two weeks.

How does one take Medium Chain Triglycerides?  Do you take a Tablespoon several times a day?  Once a
Day?  How long does it take before they start to work?  Do you have any websites you can point me to so
that I can read more about them?

Thank you so much for any help you can give to me!


ANSWER: Unlike long chain fats, medium chain triglycerides (MCT) do not have to be 'dismantled' in order to be taken up into the cells of the gut, making them an ideal source of fat in conditions where absorption is impaired. After being broken down into individual fatty acids, MCTs   are absorbed directly from the intestines into the main portal vein, and sent straight to the liver where, amongst other things, they are utilised as fuel in a similar way to carbohydrate. Foods rich in MCTs are coconut oil, palm oil and milk fat. They can also  be found as dietary supplements, using most internet search engines.  Most sites suggest taking  between 1-3 tablespoons daily, with meals, with this dose built up slowly.  You should be able to feel the benefits within weeks.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: In terms of benefits, will it help with weight gain, help my albumin level,
hair, skin and nails?  I'm becoming depressed over feeling so sick for so
long and having to be hospitalized again several times after having been
out for about four years!  I was in twice in a month for a week each time!  
Not the way to live my life!

Thank you so much for your help!!

Low albumin levels, as seen in inflammation as well as in malnutrition is a sign of nitrogen loss through protein loss.   MCT can elevate serum albumin concentration and improve nitrogen balance.  As protein is needed for cellular repair and growth, preserving protein will help skin hair and nails over time.  
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