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Medium-Chain Triglycerides

Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:



Medium-chain triglycerides are fats that come from coconut oil, palm oil, and butter. They have been used to manage body weight and improve mental function. Medium-chain triglycerides can be taken as an oil, pill, or powder. They can also be injected into the bloodstream by a healthcare provider.


There are no advised doses for medium-chain triglycerides.

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

  • Obesity —likely to help lower body weight B1

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take medium-chain triglycerides in small doses for a short time, but stomach upset may happen. Not enough studies have been done to say whether they are safe to take for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.



A. Cognitive Function

A1. Abe S, Ezaki O, et al. Medium-Chain Triglycerides in Combination with Leucine and Vitamin D Increase Muscle Strength and Function in Frail Elderly Adults in a Randomized Controlled Trial. J Nutr. 2016 May;146(5):1017-1026.

A2. Abe S, Ezaki O, et al. Medium-Chain Triglycerides in Combination with Leucine and Vitamin D Benefit Cognition in Frail Elderly Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2017;63(2):133-140.

B. Obesity

B1. Mumme K, Stonehouse W. Effects of medium-chain triglycerides on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015;115(2):249-263.

Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 6/29/2020