The α-linolenic acid whose name in the official IUPAC nomenclature is: ottadeca-9Z, 12Z, 15Z-trienoic acid and whose brute or molecular formula is: C18H30O2 is an essential fatty acid, which is also identified with the letters ALA, AaL, LNA or 18: 3 (ω3).
Α-linolenic acid (ALA) is an unsaturated n-3 fatty acid of the omega-3 series and, at room temperature, is a colorless liquid.
Chemically, α-linolenic acid is a carboxylic acid with a chain of 18 carbon atoms and three double bonds in cis, the first double bond is found on the third carbon from the end of the methylene chain of the carbon chain.
The isomer of α-linolenic acid is γ-linolenic acid or GLA, a fatty acid of the omega-6 series that presents three unsaturations at the carbons 6 and 9, 12 (18: 3 ω6).
In nature it is contained in linseed, hemp, walnuts, for the vegetable kingdom and by fishery products, along with algae. The alpha linolenic acid content in foods of animal origin is generally less than 1%, while its EPA and DHA derivatives predominate.
Α-linolenic acid is significantly contained in the fat portion of the seeds; this is more abundant in oily ones, but it also abounds in the embryo of cereals, legumes, pseudo-cereals and other lesser-known ones.
Obviously, the oils produced by squeezing these foods are a very concentrated source of alpha linolenic acid.
Α-linolenic acid plays a biological role: the main functions performed by α-linolenic acid are also linked to the role of its derivatives in EPA (eicosapentenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
In particular, omega-3s play a role: structural, anti-inflammatory, anti-aggregating, fluidifying, anti-thrombotic, vasodilating, positive on metabolic pathologies, protective on cardio-cerebro-vascular events and improvement on some brain functions.
Linolenic acid is one of the two essential fatty acids that humans and other animals must take with food to maintain good health; this is because organisms require it for various biological processes, and also because it cannot be synthesized endogenously by the same organisms but it must be taken with food.
Warning: The information given is not medical advice and may not be accurate. The contents are for illustrative purposes only and do not replace medical advice.