Omega Fatty Acids


Related Posts:

The molecular structures of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid is shown. Alpha-linolenic acid has three double bonds located eight, eleven, and fourteen residues from the acetyl group. It has a hooked shape.
Alpha-linolenic acid is an example of an omega-3 fatty acid. It has three cis double bonds and, as a result, a curved shape. For clarity, the diagram does not show the carbons. Each singly bonded carbon has two hydrogens associated with it, which the diagram also does not show.

Source: OpenStax Biology 2e

Omega Fatty Acids (OpenStax Biology 2e)

Essential fatty acids are those that the human body requires but does not synthesize. Consequently, they have to be supplemented through ingestion via the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids fall into this category and are one of only two known for humans (the other is omega-6 fatty acid). These are polyunsaturated fatty acids and are omega-3 because a double bond connects the third carbon from the hydrocarbon chain’s end to its neighboring carbon.

– What are fatty acids that contain more than one double bond in their backbone?

The farthest carbon away from the carboxyl group is numbered as the omega (ω) carbon, and if the double bond is between the third and fourth carbon from that end, it is an omega-3 fatty acid. Nutritionally important because the body does not make them, omega-3 fatty acids include alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), all of which are polyunsaturated. Salmon, trout, and tuna are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of sudden death from heart attacks, lower triglycerides in the blood, decrease blood pressure, and prevent thrombosis by inhibiting blood clotting. They also reduce inflammation, and may help lower the risk of some cancers in animals.

– What is the synthesis and degradation of lipids in cells, involving the breakdown or storage of fats for energy and the synthesis of structural and functional lipids, such as those involved in the construction of cell membranes?

Like carbohydrates, fats have received considerable bad publicity. It is true that eating an excess of fried foods and other “fatty” foods leads to weight gain. However, fats do have important functions. Many vitamins are fat soluble, and fats serve as a long-term storage form of fatty acids: a source of energy. They also provide insulation for the body. Therefore, we should consume “healthy” fats in moderate amounts on a regular basis.

The strongest evidence for a beneficial effect of omega-3 fats has to do with heart disease. These fats appear to help the heart beat at a steady clip and not veer into a dangerous or potentially fatal erratic rhythm.


Clark, M., Douglas, M., Choi, J. Biology 2e. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at:


Related Research

Research Article: Selective Enrichment of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Oils by Phospholipase A1

Date Published: March 15, 2016 Publisher: Public Library of Science Author(s): Tushar Ranjan Moharana, Avinesh R. Byreddy, Munish Puri, Colin Barrow, Nalam Madhusudhana Rao, Andrea Motta. Abstract: Omega fatty acids are recognized as key nutrients for healthier ageing. Lipases are used to release ω-3 fatty acids from oils for preparing enriched ω-3 fatty acid … Continue reading

Research Article: Differential Ratios of Omega Fatty Acids (AA/EPA+DHA) Modulate Growth, Lipid Peroxidation and Expression of Tumor Regulatory MARBPs in Breast Cancer Cell Lines MCF7 and MDA-MB-231

Date Published: September 1, 2015 Publisher: Public Library of Science Author(s): Prakash P. Mansara, Rashmi A. Deshpande, Milind M. Vaidya, Ruchika Kaul-Ghanekar, Clarissa Menezes Maya-Monteiro. Abstract: Omega 3 (n3) and Omega 6 (n6) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been reported to exhibit opposing roles in cancer progression. Our objective was to determine whether different … Continue reading

Research Article: The Omega-3 Fatty Acid Eicosapentaenoic Acid Accelerates Disease Progression in a Model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Date Published: April 19, 2013 Publisher: Public Library of Science Author(s): Ping K. Yip, Chiara Pizzasegola, Stacy Gladman, Maria Luigia Biggio, Marianna Marino, Maduka Jayasinghe, Farhan Ullah, Simon C. Dyall, Andrea Malaspina, Caterina Bendotti, Adina Michael-Titus, Christoph Kleinschnitz. Abstract: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive fatal neurodegenerative disease characterised by loss of motor neurons … Continue reading

Research Article: The Omega-3 Fatty Acid Eicosapentaenoic Acid Is Required for Normal Alcohol Response Behaviors in C. elegans

Date Published: August 27, 2014 Publisher: Public Library of Science Author(s): Richard C. Raabe, Laura D. Mathies, Andrew G. Davies, Jill C. Bettinger, Wolf-Hagen Schunck. Abstract: Alcohol addiction is a widespread societal problem, for which there are few treatments. There are significant genetic and environmental influences on abuse liability, and understanding these factors will … Continue reading