CAS No.: 463-40-1
α-Linolenic acid is an organic compound found in many common vegetable oils. Systematically, it is named all-cis-9,12,15-octadecatrienoic acid. In physiological literature, it is given the name 18:3 (n−3).
α-Linolenic acid is a carboxylic acid with an 18-carbon chain and three cis double bonds. The first double bond is located at the third carbon from the n end. Thus, α-linolenic acid is a polyunsaturated n−3 (omega-3) fatty acid. It is an isomer of γ-linolenic acid, a polyunsaturated n−6 (omega-6) fatty acid.
Role in nutrition and health:
α-Linolenic acid, an n−3 fatty acid, is a member of the group of essential fatty acids, so called because they cannot be produced within the body and must be acquired through diet. Most seeds and seed oils are much richer in an n−6 fatty acid, linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is also an essential fat, but it, and the other n−6 fats, compete with n−3s for positions in cell membranes and have very different effects on human health.
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