Recently, the scientific interest trends toward the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in human nutrition because of their multifunctional properties. This study shortly summarizes our knowledge on the metabolism and physiological importance of PUFAs belonging to the n-6 and n-3 families. The main PUFAs of nutritional interest are linoleic (C18:2n-6), alpha-linolenic (C18:3n-3) acids and their derivates, namely arachidonic (C20:4n-6), eicosapentaenoic (C20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic (C22:6n-3) acids, respectively. These fatty acids are incorporated into membrane phospholipids of cells where they support cell membrane integrity and function. Furthermore, arachidonic and eicosapentaenoic acids are precursors for eicosanoids. Eicosanoids, such as thromboxanes, prostacyclins and leucotrienes are important in the regulation of several physiological processes. PUFAs, especially docosahexaenoic acid are essential nutrients in early human development, namely for neural tissues, such as the brain and the retina. According to our study the n-3 PUFAs supply of pregnant women and neonates were inadequate. In conformity with our calculation the same is true for the whole Hungarian population. On the basis of these findings we call attention to the necessity of changing the structure of fat consumption and we commit to a recommendation for it.
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - May 10 1998|
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