Essential fatty acid

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Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must eat. The body needs them for good health but cannot make them.[1]

Only two fatty acids are essential for humans.[2] When the two EFAs were discovered in 1923, they were called "vitamin F", but in 1929, research on rats showed that the two EFAs are fats rather than vitamins.[3]

Some other fatty acids are "conditionally essential", meaning that they may become essential under some circumstances.

References[change | change source]

  1. Robert S. Goodhart and Maurice E. Shils (1980). Modern nutrition in health and disease (6th ed.). Philadelphia: Lea and Febinger. pp. 134–138. ISBN 0-8121-0645-8.
  2. alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) Whitney Ellie and Rolfes SR (2008). Understanding nutrition (11th ed.). California: Thomson Wadsworth. p. 154.
  3. Burr G.O; Burr M.M. and Miller E. (1930). "On the nature and role of the fatty acids essential in nutrition" (PDF). J. Biol. Chem. 86 (587). http://www.jbc.org/cgi/reprint/97/1/1.pdf. Retrieved 2007-01-17.