Essential fatty acids
- The human organism can desaturate a fatty acid molecule at the 9th carbon position at most.
- If the double bond is further away, the body cannot create it, and we must take in such fatty acids in food and call them essential fatty acids.
Linoleic acid[edit | edit source]
- Linoleic acid is made up of eighteen carbons and two double bonds. The cis double bond is in positions 9 and 12 and is therefore designated as ω-6.
- It is mainly found in plant-based oils, such as the sunflower oil. It possesses pro-inflammatory properties, like other ω-6 fatty acids, and increases plasma levels of some lipids.
- Linoleic acid is used in the biosynthesis of arachidonic acid.
Arachidonic acid[edit | edit source]
- achidonic acid is made up of twenty carbons and four double bonds, it is also an ω-6 fatty acid. It functions as an important precursor of biologically active substances – eicosanoids (prostaglandins, prostacyclins, leukotrienes and thromboxanes).
α-linolenic acid[edit | edit source]
Alpha-linolenic acid consists of eighteen carbons and three double bonds. The cis double bond is located in positions 9, 12 and 15, therefore it is designated as ω-3. It is mainly found in fish and marine animals. It lowers the level of cholesterol and TAG in the body and thus reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, it also has anti-inflammatory effects.