Medical Definition of Essential fatty acid

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Essential fatty acid: An unsaturated fatty acid that is essential to human health, but cannot be manufactured in the body. Abbreviated EFA. There are three types of EFAs: arachnoidic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid. When linoleic acid is obtained in the diet, it can be converted to both arachnoidic and linolenic acid. Linoleic acid is commonly found in cold-pressed oils, especially oils extracted from cold-water fish and certain seeds. Supplementation with EFAs appears to be useful as a treatment for certain neurological disorders. However, arachnoidic acid may lower the seizure threshold. For that reason, it is important to consult a physician before starting a program of EFA supplementation.

CONTINUE SCROLLING OR CLICK HERE FOR RELATED ARTICLE
Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors