Essential fatty acids
Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that cannot be produced by the human body itself. These are the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid (LA).
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are also polyunsaturated fatty acids and belong to the class of omega-3 fatty acids. They can be produced by the body itself in small quantities from ALA, but must be additionally supplied through nutrition.
Essential fatty acids carry out various metabolic functions and are an important part of all cell membranes. DHA and EPA are also important for the development of the foetal brain and retina, which is why pregnant and breastfeeding women have an increased need for DHA and EPA.
For good health, an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids and a favourable balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids are of particular importance.