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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Medium-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency

Other Names for this Disease
  • ACADM deficiency
  • Acyl-CoA dehydrogenase medium chain deficiency of
  • MCAD deficiency
  • MCADH deficiency
More Names
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Your Question

I have two sons with MCAD deficiency. I was recently told by the doctor that my sons will not be able to consume any alcohol when old enough to do so because it could lead to death. I would really like more information on this.

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What information is available on alcohol consumption in medium-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency?

The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation lists alcohol as a substance that people with mitochondrial disease should avoid, because alcohol has been known to hasten the progression of some mitochondrial disorders.[1] In 2009, Lang reviewed several cases of MCAD deficiency diagnosed in adulthood.[2] Many of these cases had alcohol consumption as a precipitating factor for an episode of metabolic crisis. Alcohol inhibits the breakdown (oxidation) of fatty acids in the liver, which can lead to the toxic accumulation of fatty acids within cells. In the cases reviewed by Lang, the consumption of alcohol also led to vomiting, which may have caused symptoms due to a period of fasting.

To learn more about the dietary guidelines for MCAD deficiency, we recommend that you contact the following organizations:

United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation
8085 Saltsburg Road, Suite 201
Pittsburg PA 15239
Toll-free: 1-888-317-UMDF
Telephone: 412-793-8077
Fax: 412-793-6477
Web site:

FOD (Fatty Oxidation Disorder) Family Support Group 
PO Box 54
Okemos, MI 48805-0054
Telephone: 517-381-1940
Fax: 866-290-5206
Web site:
Last updated: 4/5/2010