How are Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) broken down in the body?
Q. How are Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) broken down in the body?
A. EFAs are broken down in the gut (hydrolyzed) and the individual fatty acids are absorbed by the enterocytes lining the GI tract. The enterocytes assemble the fatty acids and glycerol into triglycerides. The triglycerides and other fat soluble nutrients are collected and assembled into chylomicrons, which are absorbed by the lacteals (lymphatic vessels of the small intestines). The chylomicrons flow with the lymph into the blood and reaches every tissue in the body.
In the tissues the triglycerides are absorbed in a similar way as triglycerides are absorbed by the enterocytes. In the tissues the fatty acids can be metabolized into for example local hormones.
The hydrolization process in the gut requires lipase secreted by the pancreas and bile synthesized in the liver and secreted from the gallbladder.