What is the difference between Alpha-Linolenic Fatty Acids and Linoleic Fatty Acids?
Linoleic and alpha linolenic acids are both polyunsaturates which cannot be produced by the body and therefore must be obtained in our diet. A polyunsaturated carbon chain contains two or more carbon to carbon double bonds. If the double bond starts after the third carbon it is classified as an omega-3 fatty acid; if it starts after the sixth carbon, it is an omega-6 fatty acid and so on. They are called essential fatty acids and are necessary for such functions as cell-building and hormone production. Linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid and is a major component of brain tissue and cell membranes and is required for growth and development of infants. When the diet is low in linoleic acid, virtually all organ systems are impaired. The central nervous system, the eye and platelets in the bloodstream are particularly vulnerable to a deficiency of linoleic acid. Alpha linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that has been shown to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The omeg