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What is PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) ?

  • 6 years ago

What is PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids)

Fatty acids provide necessary calories to the human body, as well as make food savory, increase appetite, palatability, and sense of satiety. It also facilitates lipophilic nutrient such as vitamin A, D, and K absorbed into our body. The fatty acid can be categorized into saturated or unsaturated fatty acid by the structure and it is advised by doctors to take unsaturated fatty acid as it provides many health benefits coping against diseases related to blood pressure, blood lipid, and blood sugar.

PUFA generally can be categorized into two categories: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid. The following diagram shows how PUFA synthesizes in our body and its function.


Omega-3 fatty acids can:

  1. Reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, arthritis and cancer.
  2. Inhibit breast and colon cancer can be modified or their growth.
  3. Protect against neurodegeneration and possibly reduce the chance of developing cognitive impairment.

The lack of Omega-3

  1. limit infants’ development potential

Infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision, brain and nerve problems

  1. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.


Omega-6 fatty acids can:

  1. regulate metabolism, stimulate hair growth and keep the reproductive system healthy.
  2. help reduce the painfully inflamed joints of rheumatoid arthritis.

The lack of Omega-6

  1. may cause eczema or dry, irritated skin, water loss, hair loss, drying eyes, arthritis and high cholesterol.
  2. More serious complications can lead to heart arrhythmias, infection and the inability to heal, kidney damage, sterility, growth problems, behavior problems and miscarriage.


In sum, PUFA is a group of essential fatty acids to human. Microalgae such as chlorella, spirulina, and schizochitrium are wonderful sources of PUFA. Compared to fish oil and plant seed oil, microalgae is free from heavy metals and herbicide.


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