About the book
The introduction of double bonds into long chain fatty acids (desaturation) is essential for human health and reproduction. These unsaturated fatty acids play key roles in the immune response and normal cellular processes including membrane structural and functional dynamics, intra- and extra-cellular signaling, and subcellular organization and turnover, including autophagic and apoptotic phenomena. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are necessary for membrane fluidity maintenance and voltage gated ionic transport thus supporting and maintaining polarity and excitation as in neural synaptic action potentials. Essential fatty acid desaturation and elongation are required for glycero- and sphingo-lipid biosynthesis and functional complexity in all aspects of normal physiological states and when corrupted, can be central to devastating cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and cancer. Complementary and alternative medicines often include pre-formed polyunsaturated positional and geometric isomers of fatty acids that have not been thoroughly vetted in human health and longevity thus requiring a careful examination of their wide-scale use. Trans fatty acids have been implicated in human disease but careful examination of the literature does not consistently support this perspective since these positional isomers are common in metabolism and essential complex lipid occur in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Human health and disease are necessarily linked to unsaturated fatty acids.