​Effects of Medium-Chain Triglycerides on Weight Loss and Body Composition: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Effects of Medium-Chain Triglycerides on Weight Loss and Body Composition: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Obesity currently stands as one of the largest challenges and an apparent reasoning for this seems to be high fat diets. Contrary to popular belief, different forms of fat have varying effects within the human body or in vivo. Unlike long-chained triglycerides (LCTs), medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) may reduce fat deposition in adipocytes through various pathways. Current literature has examined possible weight-reduction related to MCTs, which could lead to widespread application for body composition and prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. The current focus of the present investigation, is to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials in order assess the effects of MCTs, C8:0 and C10:0.

The collection of records was conducted by searching through databases and other additional sources, which were screened for duplicates. Once these records (n=701) werescreened for eligibility, excluding study periods < 3 weeks long, and other parameters such as no control group, 21 articles represented qualitative synthesis and 13 studies represented quantitative synthesis.

When analyzing the effect of MCTs on body composition, the mean difference for body weight was significantly favored MCT with a small effect (-0.51kg). Studies with trial periods greater than 12 weeks showed a larger reduction in weight loss than studies that were less than 12 weeks. Waist circumference, demonstrated a mean difference that MCT with a medium sized-effect and hip circumference with a small effect. Including these characteristics nine studies, six parallel and three crossover trials provided outcomes for total body fat. Another seven studies measured outcomes for total subcutaneous fat and another six studies recorded visceral fat outcomes.

The next measurement assessed was the effect of MCTs on blood lipid levels. MCT did not present an affect on cholesterol, total, LDL, or HDL levels. A sensitivity analysis was also conducted on studies using saturated fatty acid as a control, did not have an effect on the present results.

Though only concluding a small average reduction in body weight, may provide clinical application with chronic disease. With a 1kg decrease in body weight, there is an apparent 16% reduction in risk for diabetes. These studies provided a consistency in the form of dietary intervention. In addition these collected trials presented an elevated level for assessment for body composition but many studies had lacked sufficient assessment for blood lipid levels. Another possible limitation for this meta-analysis was possible commercial bias among many studies. With these said, rigorous screening of the collected research allowed for a quality meta-analysis to provide consistent outcomes and measures for the physiological effects of MCTs.