Glossary


  • Adrenaline
    Adrenaline is released in response to anxiety, exercise, or fear and acts to provide extra supplies of blood and oxygen in the muscles.
  • Cholesterol
    Cholesterol is a fat-like substance which cannot travel in the blood on its own and so it must group with special proteins to form a lipoprotein. The main groups of lipoproteins based mainly on their different sizes and density are: high-density lipoproteins (HDL), low-density lipoproteins (LDL), very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL). Each group has a different […]
  • Cortisol
    Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands and is involved in several functions including glucose metabolism, insulin release, blood pressure regulation, immune function and inflammation.
  • Cyclooxygenase
    Cyclooxygenases (COX) are enzymes that modify AA, DGLA or EPA to produce prostaglandins. There are two main types: COX-1 is responsible for the baseline levels of prostaglandins, whereas COX-2 produces prostaglandins through stimulation.
  • Desaturase enzymes
    Desaturase enzymes remove two hydrogen atoms from the fatty acid chain, creating a carbon/carbon double bond.
  • Dopamine
    Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which plays a role in the control of behaviour, cognition, sleep, mood, attention, and learning.
  • Eicosanoids
    Eicosanoids are hormone-like substances derived from long-chain fatty acids, which regulate immunity, inflammation and blood clotting, comprising of , and .
  • Elongase enzymes
    Elongase enzymes add carbon atoms to the fatty acid chain, making it longer.
  • Essential fatty acids
    Essential fatty acids are plant-based ‘short-chain’ fatty acids, divided into two families known as and . Once these fats are consumed we have the chemical machinery in the form of enzymes to modify and convert these fats into more useful fats, known as ‘long-chain’ fatty acids. Whilst short-chain fatty acids have a major role in […]
  • Fat
    Fat is an important nutrient that is essential to normal body function. Fat supplies us with energy, it is our means of storing energy and it allows other nutrients such as fat-soluble vitamins to function efficiently. Every cell of our body is surrounded by a fatty layer (called a ‘bi-layer’), otherwise known as a fatty […]
  • Fatty acids
    Fatty acids are composed of carbon and hydrogen molecules in a chain-like formation. The numbers of carbon atoms which form the chain define the fatty acid. Those fatty acids containing carbons 18 carbons are known as short-chain fatty acids and those with 18 or more known as long-chain fatty acids. Short-chain fatty acids can actually […]
  • Leukotrienes
    Leukotrienes are produced from AA and EPA. Leukotrienes are involved in immune response and lung function.
  • Monounsaturated fat
    Monounsaturated fat differs from saturated fat because one of the carbon atoms is missing a hydrogen atom, causing what is known as a double bond. The word mono, meaning ‘one’, tells us that monounsaturated fats have one double bond. The importance of this is that these fats have a bend caused by the double bond […]
  • Neurotransmitters
    Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are released by neurones and signal messages to other cells.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
    Omega-3 fatty acids are so called because the very first double bond occurs at the 3rd carbon from the omega end. The significant omega-3 fatty acids are: α-linolenic acid (alpha-linolenic acid or ALA) – the ‘parent’ short-chain omega-3 fatty acid found mainly in flaxseed, canola and soybean oils. Stearidonic acid (SDA) – a short-chain omega-3 […]
  • Omega-6 fatty acids
    Omega-6 fatty acids are so called because the very first double bond occurs at the 6th carbon from the omega end. The significant omega-6 fatty acids are: Linoleic acid (LA) – the ‘parent’ short-chain omega-6 fatty acid found mainly in flaxseed, canola and soybean oils. g-linolenic acid (gamma-linolenic acid or GLA) is a short-chain omega-6 […]
  • Polyunsaturated fat
    Polyunsaturated fats have many double bonds (implied the name, since ‘poly’ means ‘many’), making them just about the most healthy of all the fats because they are so flexible, which is particularly beneficial for our cell membranes, cells to function optimally. Unlike saturated fat and monounsaturated fat there are certain polyunsaturated fats which cannot be […]
  • Prostaglandins
    Prostaglandins are produced from AA, DGLA or EPA by an enzyme called . Prostaglandins can be inflammatory (derived from AA) or anti-inflammatory (derived from DGLA and EPA). Prostaglandins are involved in the activation of the inflammatory response, production of pain, and fever, muscle contraction.
  • Saturated fat
    Saturated fatty acids are called so because all the carbon atoms molecule of fat are covered in hydrogen atoms. This means that each fatty acid is very rigid and when several saturated fatty acids are put together they fit very efficiently, packing together tightly. Saturated fat is therefore quite solid at room temperature and it […]
  • Serotonin
    Serotonin is a neurotransmitter with two major functions. It is found predominantly in the gastrointestinal tract where it is used to regulate intestinal movements and also synthesised by nerve cells controlling appetite, mood and anger.
  • Thromboxanes
    Thromboxanes are produced from AA, DGLA and EPA. Thromboxanes are involved in blood clotting and the contraction or dilation of arteries.
  • Trans fat
    Trans fats or hydrogentated fats are not real fats but are synthetically made by an industrial process. This process literally fills in the gaps found in liquid unsaturated fats by adding hydrogen atoms to make them saturated and therefore more solid. Trans fats are popular in the food industry and are added to food to […]
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