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Linoleic Acid

Linoleic acid chemistry

Essential to the Human Diet

Linoleic Acid is an unsaturated fatty acid, considered essential to the human diet. It is an important component of drying oils, such as linseed oil.

Linoleic acid is a member of the omega-6 family of fats, vegetable oils -- soybean, corn, safflower and sunflower -- among them. Omega-6 fats can reduce blood levels of total cholesterol and LDL's.

Two polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that cannot be made in the body are linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. They must be provided by diet and are known as essential fatty acids.

In the body PUFAs are important for maintaining the membranes of all cells; for making prostaglandins which regulate many body processes which include inflammation and blood clotting. Another requirement for fat in the diet is to enable the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K to be absorbed from food; and for regulating body cholesterol metabolism.

CLA has also been shown in numerous studies to reduce body fat while increasing lean muscle mass.

Good dietary sources of linoleic acid include cereals, eggs, poultry, most vegetable oils, whole grains breads, baked goods, nuts, grains, seeds and margarine.

While the only way to get CLA in food is through meat and dairy products, it has been shown that CLA content in our food has decreased by 60 percent over the past 40 years. This is due to the current feeding practices of cattle farms.

Foods containing Linoleic acid

The RDA for Linoleic Acid is unknown.

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