Fatty acids: Metabolism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Fatty acids (FA) serve two primary metabolic functions. They are an important fuel source, and are the fundamental structural units of complex lipids like triacylglycerol and phospholipids. FAs are derived either directly from dietary 'fat' (triacylglycerol) or from endogenous synthesis. Mitochondrial β-oxidation is the primary pathway for recovery of energy stored in FAs. Peroxisomal α- and β-oxidation pathways degrade certain toxic FAs but are also important in the synthesis of bile acids and the ω3 FA, docosahexaenoic acid. Saturated and monounsaturated FAs can be synthesized from excess dietary carbohydrate, but polyunsaturated FA synthesis relies on ingestion of dietary essential FAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Human Nutrition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780123848857
ISBN (Print)9780123750839
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Complex lipid synthesis
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Fatty acid activation
  • Fatty acid elongation
  • Fatty acid synthesis
  • Fatty acid β-oxidation
  • Ketogenesis
  • Mitochondria
  • O-Oxidation
  • Peroxisomes
  • Protein acylation
  • ω-Oxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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