Fatty acids are important components of the human body, having biological, structural and functional roles. Besides their role as source of energy, they act as main constituents of cellular membranes. In this case, as part of the membrane phospholipids, they assure the fluidity, flexibility, permeability of the membrane and also assure the passive transport through the membrane and are interconnected with other proteins in intra and intercellular way. Among these fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) seem to be the most important, due to their multiple biological roles, such as influencing the inflammatory cascade, reducing the oxidative stress, presenting neuroprotection and cardiovascular protection. Fatty acid levels have been shown to be altered in different diseases, which is why they have been used to identify potential biomarkers for several pathologies, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Consequently, this chapter synthesizes the most important physiological and pathological implications of fatty acids in human body functioning.
Part of the book: Fatty Acids