Fatty acids
Molecules that are long chains of lipid-carboxylic acid found in fats and oils and in cell membranes as a component of phospholipids and glycolipids. (Carboxylic acid is an organic acid containing the functional group -COOH.) Fatty acids come from animal and vegetable fats and oils. Fatty acids play roles outside the body; they are used as lubricants, in cooking and food engineering, and in the production of soaps, detergents, and cosmetics. Related terms include the following: Essential fatty acid: An essential fatty acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid needed by the body that is synthesized by plants but not by the human body and is therefore a dietary requirement. Free fatty acids: By-products of the metabolism of fat in adipose tissues. Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are a class of fatty acids found in fish oils, especially in salmon and other cold-water fish, that lowers the levels of cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoproteins) in the blood. (LDL cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol.) Trans fatty acid:Trans fatty acids (trans fats) are made through hydrogenation to solidify liquid oils. They increase the shelf life of oils and are found in vegetable shortenings and in some margarines, crackers, cookies, and snack foods. Intake of trans fatty acids increases blood LDL-cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) levels and raises the risk of coronary heart disease..

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • fatty acids — Chemically R COOH where R is an aliphatic moiety. The common fatty acids of biological origin are linear chains with an even number of carbon atoms. Free fatty acids are present in living tissues at low concentrations. The esterified forms are… …   Dictionary of molecular biology

  • fatty acids — lipid lip id n. [Gr. li pos fat.] (Chem., Biochem.) Any of a variety of oily or greasy organic compounds found as major structural components of living cells; they are insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents such as alcohol and ether,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • fatty acids — organic carbon compound occurring naturally in animal and vegetable fats and oils …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Fatty acids,omega-3 — A class of fatty acids found in fish oils, especially from salmon and other cold water fish, that acts to lower the levels of cholesterol and LDL (low density lipoproteins) in the blood. (LDL cholesterol is the bad cholesterol.) Omega 3 fish oil… …   Medical dictionary

  • saturated fatty acids — fatty acids without double bonds in their chains; they occur predominantly in animal fats and tropical oils and can be produced by hydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids. Fats composed of saturated fatty acids increase serum low density… …   Medical dictionary

  • unsaturated fatty acids — fatty acids containing one (monounsaturated) or multiple (polyunsaturated) double bonds; they predominate in most plant derived fats. The number and position of each double bond can be specified, as in the systematic names, or the position of the …   Medical dictionary

  • polyunsaturated fatty acids — fatty acids with 18 or more carbon atoms and two or more double bonds, very important in the early development of marine fish larvae. Also important in human nutrition and health. Abbreviated PUFAs …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • long-chain fatty acids — fatty acids with a chain length of 14–18 carbon atoms …   Medical dictionary

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