Fatty Acid Metabolism

The two families of essential fatty acids give rise to separate sets of LCPs, and there is no interconversion between families. If an excess of omega-6s exist, for example, the excess cannot be converted into omega-3s. Furthermore, the same set of enzymes must convert both linoleic (omega-6) and linolenic (omega-3) fatty acids into their respective LCPs. If more dietary omega-6s than omega-3s are available, the enzymes will generate more gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), dihomogamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) and arachidonic acid (AA). If the diet is high in saturated fats and low in oils--that is, high in animal fat, butter, margarine and other hydrogenated fats--more AA will be directly produced, bypassing GLA and DGLA formation. This can have serious consequences for immune and cardiovascular function.

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