Health A-Z

Fatty Acids

Clinical Definition

Fatty acids are chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms with an acid group at the end. They combine to form lipids, such as triglycerides. The number of bonds between fatty acids dictates whether the resulting compound is saturated or unsaturated.

In Our Own Words

Fatty acids are one of the building blocks of fats. They are manufactured by the body and are also considered a macronutrient. The human body cannot create some types of fatty acids, called essential fatty acids, good fats, or EFAs, and these need to come from the diet for optimal health. Both linoleic acid (omega-6’s) and linolenic acid (omega-3’s) are EFAs. Saturated fats often come from animal fat while trans fats are found especially in partially hydrogenated food items; both are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Symptoms and Side Effects

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