Treatment For MCAD Deficiency

MCAD (Medium chain acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase) is a genetic disorder that is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. It is most prominent among infants who are between the ages of 3 months and 3 years. If your baby has the MCAD deficiency, it means that they are unable to break down fats into energy. This is usually as a result of absence or improper working of the enzyme, Medium chain acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase. The main source of energy in the body is glucose; however, it also runs out after being consumed for hours. The body then relies on fats for energy, and if the fats cannot be broken down to provide the body with energy, complications arise. The main aim of treating MCAD deficiency is to ensure that complications do not arise and that your baby leads a normal life and gets to grow and develop like other normal kids.

Treatment For MCAD Deficiency

Treatment For MCAD Deficiency

How can MCAD deficiency be treated? To ensure that there is constant energy production from the main source (glucose) in the body, it is important that the baby is fed regularly. At least, within 4 or 6 hours. However, other babies will need to be fed more regularly, and it is important to consult your doctors, on the ideal feeding intervals for your baby. Every baby is different and thus energy consumption is at different levels. Therefore, you should ensure that your primary doctor, metabolic doctor, and dietician provide you with a descriptive feeding plan. In other words, a guideline on the interval of feeding and what foods are best to feed your baby on. In addition to that, you should ensure that your baby does not go for long periods without eating or miss a meal at all. Otherwise, complications such as hypoglycemia and metabolic crisis will arise.

MCAD deficiency can also be managed with a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. Carbohydrates are the main source of sugars (glucose), which is then broken down to produce energy. Therefore, taking plenty of foods that are rich in carbohydrates will ensure there’s a constant supply of glucose to provide energy for the body. Therefore, the chances for the body depending on fats for energy will be lower, furthermore, the diet comprises of a low-fat content. Proteins are also essential for the body, and thus should also be included in the diet.

L-Carnitine can also be administered in the treatment of MCAD deficiency cases. It is recommended due to the biochemical role of carnitine. That is, allowing for the conjugation and release of toxic substances in the body which results from the inability of the body to break down fats. When the Medium chain acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase enzyme is not able to break down fats, it leads to a buildup of toxic substances in the bloodstream. The presence of this toxic substances can lead to further complications if the body is unable to excrete them accordingly. To avoid that, your doctor may recommend L-Carnitine to help release the harmful substances present in the blood. L-Carnitine also helps the body cells make energy.

When To See The Doctor?

In addition to treatment, your doctor will advise that you measure your baby’s glucose levels from time to time and ensure that your baby is following the normal growth curve. So, if there are any issues observed with glucose levels as well as growth and development of the baby, make a trip to the doctor for further testing. Other than that, you should go see the doctor if your baby is not feeding well (poor appetite), has been vomiting and suffering from diarrhea, or experiencing a fever, and has been sleeping longer or showing signs of low energy levels.


In the treatment of an MCAD deficiency, the main aim is usually to avoid a situation where the body will rely on fats for energy. To ensure that this aim is achieved, a young one suffering from MCAD deficiency can be treated by feeding them constantly, and on a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. An infant younger than 6 months should not fast for more than 4 hours, younger than 12 months should not fast for more than 8 hours whereas infants younger than 2 years should not fast for more than 12 hours. To avoid any problems that may arise from possible complications in children with MCAD deficiency can be supplemented with glucose as well as L-Carnitine. However, supplementation is not necessary if the baby has the constant supply of glucose and are able to excrete any harmful toxins secreted as a result of failed fat breakdown.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 12, 2024

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