Long chain fatty acids are a significant class of lipids that are produced endogenously in humans and are present in many dietary sources. They are mostly found in phospholipids and triglycerides. Palmitic acid (16:0), stearic acid (18:0), oleic acid (18:1n-9) and linoleic acid (18:2n-6) are examples of common LCFAs. In addition to being important energy sources, LCFAs are also essential for bioactive chemical synthesis, cell signaling, and membrane structure.
LCFAs are primarily metabolized through mitochondrial beta-oxidation, where the fatty acids undergo successive cycles of reactions to produce acetyl-CoA units and generate ATP. Additionally, LCFA metabolism is linked to other metabolic pathways, such as ketogenesis and glucose metabolism. Dysregulation of LCFA metabolism can lead to metabolic disorders and contribute to conditions like obesity and insulin resistance.
The primary metabolic pathway for LCFAs is mitochondrial beta-oxidation, in which the fatty acids go through multiple cycles of reactions to create acetyl-CoA and ATP. In addition, additional metabolic processes like ketogenesis and glucose metabolism are connected to LCFA metabolism. Dysregulation of LCFA metabolism can cause metabolic abnormalities and have a role in diseases including insulin resistance and obesity.
A category of inherited metabolic abnormalities known as long chain fatty acid oxidation disorders (LCFAODs) prevent long chain fatty acids from being broken down into acetyl-CoA during beta-oxidation. Long chain acyl-CoA esters build up as a result of deficiencies in LCFA metabolism-related enzymes such carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT1), carnitine palmitoyltransferase II (CPT2), and very long chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD). Severe symptoms, such as hypoketotic hypoglycemia, muscular weakness, cardiomyopathy, and even sudden death, may ensue from this. To avoid potentially fatal consequences, LCFAODs must be diagnosed and treated promptly.
LCPUFAs are a subset of LCFA with multiple double bonds in their carbon chain. These fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are crucial for brain development, visual function, and overall health. They are primarily obtained from dietary sources, especially from marine fish and certain plant oils. LCPUFAs are extensively researched due to their potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective effects.
LCFA diseases encompass a range of disorders caused by abnormal metabolism or transport of LCFA. One of the well-known examples is X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD), a genetic disorder characterized by the impaired breakdown of very long chain fatty acids (VLCFA) in peroxisomes. This condition affects the nervous system, adrenal glands, and other organs.
Very long chain fatty acid disorders (VLCADs) are a group of rare metabolic disorders that affect long chain fatty acid breakdown. These disorders result from the deficiency of specific enzymes involved in fatty acid metabolism. VLCADs can lead to fatty acids and metabolites accumulation in tissues. They can manifest with various symptoms, including muscle weakness, liver dysfunction, and cardiac issues.
Foods rich in long chain fatty acids are diverse and found in both animal and plant-based sources. The following are some foods that are high in LCFAs.
Particularly EPA and DHA, two types of omega-3 fatty acids, are essential for maintaining cardiovascular health and brain health. Long chain omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods include:
Long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) play critical roles in various biological processes and are essential components of cellular membranes, energy storage, and signaling molecules. Their accurate analysis is crucial for understanding lipid metabolism, health implications, and disease progression. We offer various effective analytical methods for long-chain fatty acid analysis.
Blood tests are performed in order to determine LCFA levels and identify any relevant problems. These tests frequently gauge the blood's levels of particular fatty acids including DHA, EPA, and VLCFA. Results that are abnormal may point to metabolic problems or nutritional imbalances that call for additional testing and treatment.