Title: Medium-chain triglycerides and the impact on fat absorption, growth, nutritional status and clinical outcomes in children with cholestatic liver disease: a scoping review
Source: Clinical Nutrition 2023, 42 (11): 2159-2172
Date of publication: September 2023
Publication type: Review article
Abstract: Background & aims: Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) supplementation is recommended in cholestatic liver disease, despite unclear evidence and no consensus on the ideal percentage of fat that should be MCT. The aim was to undertake a scoping review to identify the extent and type of evidence regarding how MCT supplementation, and percentage of MCT, affects fat absorption, growth, nutritional status and clinical outcomes (morbidity, mortality, transplant) in children with cholestatic liver disease.
Methods: Nine databases (MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PubMed, AMED, Cochrane Library, Global Health, Scopus, Proquest) were searched from inception, with hand-searching conference abstracts and forward/backward citation searching. Eligible studies investigated oral/enteral MCT supplementation in children under 18y with cholestatic liver disease. There were no language limits. Two reviewers performed screening and data extraction independently. Data were synthesised narratively.
Results: Following title/abstract screening (1202 studies) and full-text review (40 studies), 24 studies were included comprising three small RCTs (n = 19 patients), one non-randomised controlled trial (n = 2), seven uncontrolled trials (n = 83) and thirteen case series/reports (n = 211). Seventeen studies were published before 1994. Outcomes included absorption, growth and nutritional status. MCT supplementation was associated with greater fat absorption (9/9 studies) and improved growth in some children (2/4). Higher percentage MCT was associated with greater magnesium and calcium absorption (1/1), essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency (4/4), but not growth (3/3).
Conclusions: The limited, mostly observational evidence from >30 years ago points to greater fat absorption on MCT and EFA deficiency on very high percentage MCT. High quality RCTs are required, particularly examining the impact of MCT at different percentages on growth, nutritional status and clinical outcomes.