ω3 and ω6 Essential Fatty Acid Status in Human Health and Disease

  • Ralph T. Holman
Chapter

Abstract

In 1943 when I began research with Professor George O. Burr on the chemistry of essential fatty acids (EFA), there were no methods to measure individual fatty acids (FA) in tissue lipids. Using the new Beckman (Fullerton, CA) DU spectrophotometer, instrument #6, we explored the use of ultraviolet spectra in the study of auto-oxidation of individual FA, and found that the auto-oxidation of the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) induced drastic elevations of absorption in the ultraviolet range (Holman et al., 1945). Holman and Burr (1948) then exploited the alkaline conjugation reaction, at high temperature, to induce conjugation of the double bonds of the common essential FA. The fully conjugated polyenoic acids had distinctive absorption bands, which made it possible to distinguish and measure the content of the originally nonconjugated, methylene interrupted diene-, triene-, tetraene-, pentaene-, and hexaene-acids present in biological lipids. Using this new analytical method, we learned next that the lack of PUFA in the diet lowered the amount of arachidonic acid in liver lipids, and that a triene acid, not present in animals fed EFA, appeared in those lipids. Supplementation with corn oil elevated the arachidonic acid, but supplementation with cod liver oil elevated the pentaenoic and hexaenoic acids in all tissues analyzed by Rieckehoff et al. (1949). The dietary fat influenced the lipid composition of the animal!

Keywords

Anorexia Nervosa Essential Fatty Acid Retinitis Pigmentosa Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency Linoleie Acid 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

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  • Ralph T. Holman

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