Lipids (also known as fats) are nonpolar, insoluble molecules gained within the body trough digestion of food. Triglycerides, a type of lipid that serve as storage units for energy have 3 fatty acid chain tails made up of carboxylic acid and a fatty carbon chain attached to a glycerol backbone. These molecules can be saturated or unsaturated contingent on the bond types and hydrogen number in the molecule. Anytime a fatty acid is removed from a glyceride molecule, dehydration synthesis occurs and a water molecule is taken away. This helps to break the bonds, also called esterase linkages, within the molecule. These bonds house the energy within the triglyceride. After this separation of the fatty acid chain from the glycerol, the glycerol is broken down through the process of glycolysis to produce ATP.
Each fatty acid molecule is changed into many molecules of acetyl-CoA which enter into the citrate cycle within the mitochondria where it is converted into ATP. During the process of respiration, the bonds are broken and energy (ATP) is released to be used within the body. Extra fats are stored in adipocytes that are found aggregated in adipose tissue. When the body recognizes a shortage of glucose and carbohydrates, the adipose tissue releases stored fat to be converted into energy according to the supply and demand for ATP within the body. (Thinkwell Corp., 2000) (Peluso, N.D.)
Saturated and Unsaturated Fats
In a saturated fatty acid, each carbon has a single bond. They are saturated with hydrogen attached to every carbon. They are bound tightly when they are stored therefore solid at room temperature.
Unsaturated fatty acids contain double bonds, making a bend in the fatty acid chain. There are fewer hydrogens in unsaturated fats (thus the name unsaturated).Because of the bend in the chain, the unsaturated fats are not bound together well, making them a liquid at room temperature.
Roles of Fatty Acids
Fatty acids serve many roles in the function of the body such as the following: 1. When broken down they produce ATP, providing the body with an energy source. 2. They make up the plasma membrane of our cells.
3. They protect internal organs and provide insulation to conserve heat within the body 4. They play a large role in vitamin absorption and hormone production.
Components of the Plasma Membrane
Fatty acid molecules are perfect as a cell membrane. Protection is provided by the hydrophilic and hydrophobic parts of the lipid molecule making it harder for other molecules to come in or out of the cell. Other proteins within the membrane are used to transport other molecules. These proteins are attached completely and partially throughout and outside the cell their electronegativity. (Cell Membrane, 2014) The Effects of No-Fat Diets
Fats play a large part in the biochemical functioning of our bodies. It is necessary for growth, immune function, energy, reproduction, vitamin absorption and many other essential body functions. Fats provide protection to our vital organs, insulation and heat, they provide energy and help proteins function. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that cannot be absorbed without fats. Without Vitamin D, Vitamin C and phosphate would also not be absorbed correctly leading to a great deficiency in these important nutrients. This leads to a decrease in bone structure, a deterioration in neuromuscular function and a compromised immune system.
Reproduction within the body will also be effected if fats are not present. Without fat, estrogen, a hormone which needs fat to be absorbed, would not be present to play its role in normal reproduction. Estrogen is responsible for fetal growth and uterine changes during pregnancy. With no estrogen due to an absence of fats, pregnancies would not be possible and human life as we know it would fade into extinction. Without fats, many vital processes would not be carried out and would be detrimental to life as we know it. (Chang, 2013) (National Institutes of Health, 2014)
Cell Membrane. (2014). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_membrane Chang, W. (2013). Body Fat and Exercise. Retrieved from Understanding Fertility: http://www.scrcivf.com/understand-infertility/bodyfat-exercise Coffman, M. A. (N.D.). Three Functions of Body Fat. Retrieved from Healthy Eating: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/three-functions-fat-body-3402.html National Institutes of Health. (2014). Vitamin D. Retrieved from Strengthening Knowledge and Understanding of Dietary Supplements: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/ Peluso, M. (N.D.). How Lipids are Stored in the Body. Retrieved from http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/lipids-stored-body-5236.html Thinkwell Corp. (2000). Lipids: an Introduction. Retrieved from Lipids an Introduction: www.thinkwell.com