In details

Fatty acid

Foods: Fatty Acid Sources

What is Fatty Acid

Fatty acids are formed by chains of carbon atoms that bind to hydrogen atoms with an acid radical at one end.

How they present themselves

Fatty acids can be either in saturated form (where carbons have single bonds) or unsaturated (with one or more double bonds). In the case of only one double bond in the chain, the fatty acid is called monounsaturated. In the case of two or more bonds, it is called polyunsaturated.

Generally, fats have saturated fatty acids in their composition, while oils have unsaturated fatty acids. These differences are perceived in the physical states of these compounds at room temperature. It is noteworthy that the higher the concentration of saturated fatty acids in lipid, the more solid it will be.

Fatty acid function in the human body

It is through food that we consume the fatty acids that will be used as a source of energy for the functioning of our body. Approximately 40% of our total daily fatty acid requirement is obtained through diet.


In some species of living things, such as hibernating animals and migrating birds, fatty acids are their only major source of energy.