Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA)


There are two families of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) key, respectively named n-6 and n-3, without metabolic transformation of the one and the other, without functionally substituted from one to the other. To complete the concept of essentiality, you should use the term "essential fatty acids" for both precursors, linoleic acid (18:2 n-6) and α-linolenic acid (18:2 n- 3), because they are essential for normal growth and physiological functions of all tissues, but not synthesizable. These essential fatty acids are derived from precursor essential fatty acids, that during the greater part of the life of man, but with a more or less good efficiency following endocrine metabolic status, age and diet monitoring. Are the two essential fatty acids in vegetable oils mainly in sunflower and maize and linoleic acid in rapeseed and soybean acid α-linoleic.

Finally, it is useful to specify "polyunsaturated fatty acids to long chain" (LC-PUFA) for essential fatty acids that have a carbon chain styrictement than 18 carbons. In our daily diet, fatty acids ployinsaturés long chain n-6 and in particular arachidonic acid (20:4 n-6) are provided by the consumption of animal products of terrestrial origin (meat, eggs and milk) . Fish and marine animals and bring them milk, of greater or lesser amounts of LC-PUFA.

All Sugere studies need to include polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet, but a balanced manner with respect to the ratio of linoleic acid / α-linolenic acid. A value of 5 in this report leads to a level of α-linolenic acid in plasma comparable to that of the Cretans (the highest life expectancy in the western world), but also the Japanese have the best life expectancy world.

Sources of PUFA

CIQUAL DataBase does follow that the total of these polyunsaturated fatty acids, with no distinction between all its components.

See the list of foods that provide the most PUFA


The distribution of fatty acids (SFA, MUFA and PUFA) which are followed with the base CIQUAL should ideally correspond to the following :

  • for Adult Females :
    • PUFA : 10,1 % lipids
  • for adult men :
    • PUFA : 12,67 % lipids

ANC 100% value on the graph of Nutrimeter ® for PUFA is these values that also represent 5% of the energy needs in both cases.

The polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) should not exceed 5% of energy needs, which is the value of 100% on the Nutrimeter ®.

(Source: "Recommended dietary allowances for the French population," the CNERNA-CNRS. Edition coordinated by Ambroise Martin.)