Fatty acids

Organic acids, containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, that are constituents of fats and oils. There are more than 40 fatty acids, which are found in nature and which are distinguished by their constituent number of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Certain fatty acids cannot be synthesized by the body and must be provided by the diet. These are linoleic, linolenic, and arachidonic acids, sometimes collectively termed essential fatty acids. Strictly speaking, only linoleic acid is essential, since the body can make the other 2 from linoleic acid obtained from food. (See also nutrition.)


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