Essential fatty acids
Human body is unable to synthesize all fatty acids found in the body.
Those fatty acids that are not synthesized in the body but required for normal body growth and maintenance are called as essential fatty acids.
These fatty acids are to be supplied through diet since the human body is not able to manufacture it.
Linoleic and linolenic acids are examples of essential fatty acids
Arachidonic acid is essential but it can be synthesized by the body from linolenic acid. It is also present in the meat
Linoleic acid is grouped under n-6 family because the 6th carbon from methyl end possesses the double bond
Linolenic acid belongs to n-3 family because the third carbon from the methyl end possess the double bond
The organs and tissues that perform the more routine and generalized functions such as adipose tissue, liver, muscle, kidney and the reproductive organs tend to have membranes in which n-6 family of polyunsaturated fatty acids predominate.
You may also like to read –
Nervous tissue and retina of the eye have a larger proportion of the longer chain acids with 5 or 6 double bonds predominantly of the n-3 family.
Fish oils and spirulina are rich in fatty acids of n-3 family.
Arachidonic acid serves as precursor for the synthesis of prostaglandins,thrombaxanes and prostacyclins.
examples of esential fatty acids is given in the table below