Fatty Acid Synthesis: Understanding This Necessary Cycle

At first it may seem difficult to understand how fatty acid synthesis functions. But, if you break it down into simpler terms, it really isn’t that difficult to understand how this necessary cycle works and how it is necessary to our health. First, begin by taking the words fatty acids. You probably know that fatty acids are acids that are broken down from fat that we eat.

Some fats, such as unsaturated fats, are good for our bodies and contain Omega3 fatty acids, such as fish oil. Other fats, like saturated fats and trans fat, are not. The definition of the word synthesis is the process of producing a chemical compound, usually by the uniting simpler chemical compounds.

How Does Fatty Acid Synthesis Work?

As you probably know, fatty acids are a source of energy for our bodies. Often this energy is stored as triglycerides, which is the most common type of fat found in our body. Higher levels of triglycerides, though, is not considered healthy and can often be found in people with high cholesterol levels, heart problems, and weight issues.

Your intestines cannot absorb triglycerides. Instead, they are broken down into free fatty acids by a substance known as pancreatic lipase. Then they will make their way passed the intestine barrier and form back into triglycerides and packaged as liposomes. These liposomes and triglycerides then are released into the capillaries of your lymph system into your blood.  From your blood they will go on to begin binding with membranes throughout your body. They will now either become stored or oxidized for energy. An amino acid called carnitine can help the body with this fatty acid synthesis process by helping to transport the fatty acid correctly throughout our tissues and begin the oxidation process.  Carnitine can be found in your body, in your kidneys and liver.   

The Role of Lipids and Your Body

Lipids are a diverse group of compounds that are grouped together because they all are insoluble in water. There are three most common types of lipids:

  • fats (which are formed from fatty acid and glycerol)
  • phosphoipids 
  • steroids 

Lipids have three basic functions: 

  • to help energy storage
  • to help form membranes around our cells
  • to help regulate hormones and vitamins

Lipids are often thought of during any discussion of fatty acid synthesis because of their functions.

Why is Fatty Acid Synthesis a Necessary Cycle?

The various steps that are involved in the completion of fatty acid synthesis are necessary to help us have the energy we need to function daily. They are also necessary for the body to help break down or absorb fat, which will begin to form into harmful cholesterol.They also convert triglycerides into free fatty acids when our blood sugar is low, protect our cells, help regulate our hormones and vitamins, and help to store energy until our body needs it.


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