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I. Frequently Asked Questions about Fatty Acid Metabolism

Importance of Fatty Acids Importance of Fatty Acids: Answer     Role of CoA Role of CoA: Answer     Essential Fatty Acids Essential Fatty Acids: Answer     Fatty Acid Structure Fatty Acid Structure: Answer     Fatty Acid Nomenclature Fatty Acid Nomenclature: Answer     Fatty Acyl Chain Growth Fatty Acyl Chain Growth: Answer     Fatty Acid Mobilization Fatty Acid Mobilization: Answer     Fatty Acid Activation Fatty Acid Activation: Answer     Transport into Mitochondria Transport into Mitochondria: Answer     Synthesis <I>vs.</I> Beta-Oxidation Synthesis <I>vs.</I> Beta-Oxidation: Answer     Ketone Bodies Ketone Bodies: Answer     Regulation of Ketone Body Production Regulation of Ketone Body Production: Answer     Previous Page Next Page

Importance of Fatty Acids: Answer

Why are fatty acids important?

  1. They are major sources of energy. Most diets contain a great deal of fatty acid in the form of triacylglycerol (esters with glycerol). Some of our dietary carbohydrate is converted to fat -- stored as triacylglycerol in adipose tissue. Subsequently the fatty acids from this fat are released to provide energy for various aerobic tissues.
  2. They are precursors of essential substances in the body (structural and metabolic). For example, phospholipids are essential components of all cell membranes and of plasma lipoproteins, and the essential fatty acids are precursors of prostaglandins and related regulators.
  3. Defects in fatty acid metabolism are involved in diseases. Defects in the mitochondrial acyl CoA dehydrogenases, for example, prevent normal fatty acid oxidation.

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