Essential Fatty Acids and Indispensable Fatty Acids. Fatty acids can lead to many deficiency disorders if they are not supplied to the body in sufficient quantity. They are present in different proportions, depending on the nature of the vegetable oil. They were long referred to as vitamin F. Now they are called fatty acids instead. These fatty acids help prevent or cure certain diseases.
Nutritionists call essential fatty acids fatty acids that the body is unable to synthesize on its own. These fatty acids must therefore be provided by food. They are two in number:
-Alpha linolenic acid
Each of them belongs to a different family. One is from the omega 6 family and the other from the omega 3 family. From each of them the body is then able to synthesize the other fatty acids, which the body needs to function. These last fatty acids that can be synthesized take the name of Essential Fatty Acids. For chemists, on the other hand, fatty acids are said to be essential if the body needs them to live and if it is not able to synthesize them itself. These are actually what nutritionists call essential fatty acids.
The other acids are simply called fatty acids by chemists while nutritionists call them essential fatty acids. Thus, it will always be necessary to be careful in the naming of fatty acids, that is to say whether one places oneself from a chemist or nutritionist point of view.
The role of fatty acids
– Energy function: All fatty acids are a good source of energy, because they have bonds that are rich in energy.
When these are broken down by enzymatic action, this releases energy which is then available to the cells.
– Function at the cell level: Fatty acids have a structural role in the cell membrane because they are incorporated in position 2 in membrane phospholipids. They ensure membrane fluidity and maintain the balance between the external and internal exchanges of the cell.
Unsaturated fatty acids have a structural role since they are the direct constituents of membrane lipids.
Fatty acids have two roles:
1- Ensure membrane fluidity.
2 – Cellular mediators (prostaglandin, leukotriene and thromboxane).
If they are mediators, this means that they are intermediaries in the control of certain cellular functions.
Two enzymes are needed for this:
– Cyclo-oxygenases: They are specific for cyclic mediators to synthesize prostaglandins and thromboxanes.
– Lipo-oxygenases: They are specific for non-cyclic mediators to synthesize leukotrienes.
Bad Fatty Acids
They stiffen the membrane and are most often saturated or unsaturated acids with Trans bonds. These fatty acids are solid at room temperature. They are found in animal fats or vegetable fats after saturation by hydrogenation. This is the case for many industrial lipids (pastries, biscuits, margarines, etc.). Fried foods are also very bad, because heat destroys fatty acids. Such fats therefore cause cardiovascular disorders and can even alter brain activity.
Good Fatty Acids
They fluidify the cell membrane and they are unsaturated, ie they are liquid at room temperature. These are Unsaturated Fatty Acids with Cis double bonds and which help to regulate cholesterol levels. They are found in plants (C18) and even in fish (C20, C22). The balance in the family of w 3 and w 6 is important. The ideal proportion is 1/5 (w 3 / w 6).
Fatty acids and especially those of the omega 6 family are essential for the growth of the child, for the regeneration of skin tissue and even at the level of nerve endings. They are also prostaglandin promoters.
fatty acid requirements
The adult finds its fatty acids rather in vegetable oils. Deficiencies can lead, for example, to cardiovascular disorders. That is to say that the body does not have enough fatty acids to ensure the metabolism of saturated fats contained in margarines, meats and eggs. Evening primrose, which is rich in fatty acids, restores the PE1/PE2 balance.
In pregnant and breastfeeding women:
Fatty acids are necessary for the development of the fetus and placenta. They must also end up in the milk, otherwise it can be a triggering factor for atopic dermatitis.
Signs of essential fatty acid deficiencies
Fatty acid deficiencies can lead to disruption of the cis linoleic acid metabolic pathway by enzymatic decrease or deficiency.
Fatty acid deficiency syndrome causes:
° A decrease in growth rate accompanied by weight loss.
° Eczema, scaly appearance (rough and scaly skin).
° Reproductive disorder (sterility)
° Bleeding disorder.
° Immune system disorder.
° Reduced prostaglandin biosynthesis.
° Appetite increases.
Sometimes, even if the supply of linoleic fatty acid is sufficient in the diet, it is possible that its metabolism is disturbed by an enzymatic deficiency such as a too low quantity of D 6 desaturase. Vitamin deficiencies can even cause abnormalities in the D 6 desaturase mechanism, which is controlled by zinc and magnesium. Dysfunctions occur in subjects with old age or diseases.
In men affected by old age:
D 6 desaturase gradually disappears, which leads to the reduction of FAs which are normally synthesized from Linoleic Acid. In a person whose D 6 desaturase is abnormally inactive When the D 6 desaturase is inactive, this causes platelet hyperaggregation in the patient. There are still other diseases, which cause the inactivity of D 6 desaturase, such as diabetes.
The best way to prevent these deficiencies would be to eat vegetable fats rich in linoleic acids. But the problem is that this contribution alone is not enough because it is necessary to synthesize other acids such as gamma linolenic acid thanks to D 6 desaturase. If the latter does not work well, it is therefore interesting to find GLA directly in the diet, hence the powerful interest of Evening Primrose oil rich in fatty acids.
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