We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Different Types of Fatty Oxidation Disorders?

Laura M. Sands
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Fatty oxidation disorders (FODs) prevent a person from properly obtaining energy from fats. This is a genetic disorder which can lead to a number of very serious health problems. There are a variety of different types of this disorder, including medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCAD), very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD) and trifunctional protein deficiency (TFP). Without treatment, fatty oxidation disorders in children may cause seizures, brain damage and severe respiratory stress. Episodes of coma and cardiac arrest may even cause death.

Fatty oxidation disorders occur as the result of mutated genes causing a reduction in the number of enzymes needed to break fats down into usable energy. Although fatty oxidation is genetic, a parent may only be a carrier for this disorder group and may be unaware of the possibility of passing it to offspring. It takes two genes, however, for fatty oxidation disorders to occur, which means that each parent must pass this gene to the child in order for a child to be affected. If only one parent passes the gene and the other does not, the child will also be a carrier, but will not be impacted by the disorder’s symptoms.

MCAD occurs as the result of a missing enzyme. Individuals with MCAD will show symptoms in infancy and early childhood, although some are not officially diagnosed until later in life. Symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, the sudden onset of an ear infection, vomiting or a sudden onset of cold or flu symptoms after appearing to be completely healthy. When not detected in infancy, MCAD is sometimes misdiagnosed and may be fatal if not recognized early enough. Historically, doctors were largely unaware of the presence of MCAD, but many children are now routinely tested for this fatty oxidation disorder immediately following delivery.

Like MCAD, TFP will present similar fatty oxidation disorder symptoms in infancy or early childhood. Other symptoms may include a lack of response to pain in infancy, irritability, clammy skin, muscle weakness and delays in walking. While children with these disorders may rely on glucose for sustained energy, a loss of appetite common in children with FODs can bring blood sugars dangerously low and trigger an episode of moderate to severe symptoms.

In VLCAD, symptoms occur as blood sugar levels decline. As a result of this decline, long-chain fatty acids do not break down, which results in too many of them being present in the body. This overpopulation can cause heart muscles to weaken and enlarge. These symptoms create a chain reaction by also interrupting the heart’s rhythm and causing damage to other vital organs, such as the kidney and the liver, which are wholly reliant on optimal blood circulation for functioning.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Laura M. Sands
By Laura M. Sands
Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing to her work. With a background in social sciences and extensive online work experience, she crafts compelling copy and content across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a skilled contributor to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
Laura M. Sands
Laura M. Sands
Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.