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essential fatty acid

essential fatty acid
one of a group of unsaturated fatty acids that are essential for growth but cannot be synthesized by the body. These essential fatty acids are linoleic, linolenic, and arachidonic acids; of these, only linoleic acid need be included in the diet as the other two can be synthesized from it in the body. Large amounts of linoleic acid occur in maize (corn) oil and soya bean oil; smaller amounts in pork fat.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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