Essential fatty acid
Essential fatty acids or EFAs) are needed for healthy functioning but cannot be made from other molecules in the body (many other nutrients can be built out of other molecules). However, they can usually be supplied through the diet.
Structure[edit | edit source]
Essential fatty acids have double bonds between adjacent carbon atoms :C=C: which are destroyed during hydrogenation, so hydrogenated oils lack important EFAs. Animal fats naturally are low in such bonds and also lack important EFAs. Fats with fewer of these specific bonds tend to be more solid at room temperature (they stack more closely because the double bonds make the structure more irregular, and less or no double bonds make the structure more regular so the molecules fit more closely together). 
Purpose[edit | edit source]
Essential fatty acids are important for skin integrity, blood clotting, maintaining cell membranes, the brain and nerves, and immune function, and healing wounds, as well as providing materials to build other needed nutrients.
ME/CFS[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
Learn more[edit | edit source]
- Essential Fatty-Acids-Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center
- Vanderbilt student project on essential fatty acids
- Wiley animation (note it hasn't yet loaded for me but the publishers sometimes offer their material online)
References[edit | edit source]
- Holum, John R. (1994). Fundamentals of General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry (5th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 786.
- "Dietary fats explained". MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
- Morley, John B (January 2021). "Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency - Nutritional Disorders". Merck Manuals Professional Edition. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
- McGee, D (April 27, 2005). "Fatty Acids". HOPES (Huntington's Outreach Project for Education, at Stanford). Retrieved March 14, 2021.
cell membrane A very thin membrane, composed of lipids and protein, that surrounds the cytoplasm of a cell and controls the passage of substances into and out of the cell.