The two essential fatty acids for humans are linoleic and linolenic acid. Because mammalian cells lack the enzymes necessary for their synthesis, these two polyunsaturated fats must be obtained from dietary sources and are therefore termed essential fatty acids (EFAs). Linoleic acid is a member of the omega-6 fatty acid family, whereas linolenic acid is part of the omega-3 fatty acid group. The omega-3 or omega-6 designation (n-3 and n-6 notation is also used) refers to the distance of the first unsaturated bond from the methyl end of the fatty acid.
Was this article helpful?