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Linolenic acid is a triple unsaturated fatty acid consisting of 18 carbon atoms. It belongs to the group of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
If only linolenic acid is mentioned, then it usually means alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
The term linolenic acid also has many other fatty acids in their names. But structurally they differ significantly from pure linolenic acid. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA), for example, are also essential omega-6 fatty acids.
Alpha-linolenic acid is what is known as an essential nutrient. It is therefore vital for the organism, but can't be produced by the organism itself. ALA is required for the formation of the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
The German Nutrition Society (DGE) guidelines point out how important it is to ensure that there is an adequate supply of high-quality unsaturated fatty acids such as linolenic acid and gamma linolenic acid.
The proportion of fat in the daily diet should be around 30%. However, the actual proportion is around 40% for most people. We usually eat more of the wrong fats.
For example, industrially manufactured food is high in saturated fatty acids and harmful hydrogenated fats. However, the health-promoting polyunsaturated fatty acids are often missing. In particular, the proportion of omega-3 fatty acids such as linolenic acid is far too low.