Lipids, most easily termed as Fats, are molecules comprised of hydrocarbons that helps a living cell to form its structure and boost its functions biologically. Lipids are non-polar in nature, which means it won’t be soluble in water. But they are hence soluble in non-polar solvents like chloroforms. Vitamins A, D, E, and K, certain Hormones, fats, was etc are general examples of Lipids. In short, Lipids is one of the most inevitable elements needed for one’s existence.
Lipids contain hydrocarbon in its most reduced form. This favors lipids to be a storehouse of a great amount of energy as reduced hydrocarbon oxidizes energy in a large amount during metabolism. The types of lipids found in fat cells this way, called as triglyceride. Excess carbohydrates that reach our body via our diet is converted into triglycerides which facilitates the synthesis of fatty acids in a process known as lipogenesis. In animals and fungi, a single multi-functional protein handles most of these processes.
Some unsaturated fatty acids can’t be, synthesized directly in our cells and hence the consumption of omega-3 via diet, needed for its synthesis. Although biological lipids are not large macro-molecular polymers (e.g., proteins, nucleic acids, and polysaccharides), many are, formed by the chemical linking of several small constituent molecules. Many of these molecular building blocks are similar, or homologous, in structure. The homologies allow lipids to be classified into a few major groups: fatty acids, fatty acid derivatives, cholesterol, and its derivatives, and lipoproteins. This article covers the major groups and explains how these molecules function as energy-storage molecules, chemical messengers, and structural components of cells.
Bio-Synthesis of Lipids
Fatty acids are synthesized in adipose and liver cells from glucose via a fairly complex pathway in mammals. In essence, the six carbons of a glucose molecule are oxidized to a pair of two-carbon carboxylic acid fragments called acetate. The starting point for biosynthesis is an acetate group chemically, linked to a molecule of CoA (coenzyme A). The process of building up the acyl chain of a fatty acid then begins, basically through the sequential chemical addition of two-carbon fragments from CoA-acetate to generate, for example, the 16-carbon saturated fatty acid palmitate. This process is, catalyzed by a complex enzyme; known as fatty acid synthase. Elongation of the palmitate carbon chain and the introduction of carbon-carbon double bonds, carried out subsequently by other enzyme systems. The overall process is basically the same in organisms ranging from bacteria to humans.
Three Main Functions of Lipids
Until some earlier times, It has been, believed that Lipids facilitates functions like energy storage and cell formations in one’s biological environment. But later as researches, advanced; Lipids were, found as a reason for one living beings most important biological functions such as inter-cellular signaling and hormonal formation. Lipids, synthesized in our body by complex bio synthetic pathways. Still, there are some lipids which are essential for our functioning and should be, included in our diet.
Here, let’s see Three Main Functions Of Lipids:
We all know that our physical, as well as mental functions, executed according to signals sent to our cells and organelles. As Lipids are non-polar in nature and doesn’t easily gets, dissolved in body fluids, what else can facilitate the service of chemical messengers than them? Such lipids are generally termed as signaling lipids. Signaling lipids, infiltrated by membranes carry signals to their, assigned ‘destination cells’. Till they reach their destinations they may act inactive. After reaching appropriate receptors these lipids signal them with what the sender has comprised them off enabling an action or a response. This makes Lipids a solid reason for human reasoning and response system.
Energy Storehouses and Providers
As we already discussed, one main function of lipids is its ability to store energy in large amounts. Triglycerides are generally, called as storage lipids. They are, made of three fatty acids and a glycerol. Non Esterified fatty acids or simply acids that free in nature, released out by triglycerides during the time of fasting to provide energy and to form and maintain the structural nature of a living cell. This makes Lipids a source of a good amount of emergency energy source. Dietary fatty acids of short and medium chain size are not, esterified but; oxidized rapidly in tissues as a source of ‘fuel”. Longer chain fatty acids, esterified first to triacylglycerol or structural lipids.
The layers of lipids or simply fats under our skin help us to maintain our body temperature. It ensures insulation to our body and protection from cold. Maintenance of body fat is mostly, fictionalized by lipids termed as brown fats. The amounts of brown fats are more in the physical structure of babies. Now you can guess how we will end up if we weren’t, comprised of lipids and left out in cold!
These aren’t all! Let us have a look on functions of lipids, such as:
- Cholesterol formation.
- Membrane Lipid layer formation.
- Prostaglandin formation.
- Ensure the inflammation.
- Cell Formation.
Apart from all these, Lipids do enable a good set of lipids metabolism. These activities in the physical structure of one living organism.
Lipids that are once ruled out as a component that had minimal importance in our biological system are later proved to function in multiple ways by ensuring its presence as an inevitable molecule in our body. Hence the intake of Lipids in the form of Omega-3 is much needed for our health maintenance. Still, anything in excess is unhealthy. As lipids are reasons for a lot of metabolic activities that ensure a healthy living such as cell formation, energy storing and liberation, body temperature maintenance etc, the balancing of lipid content in our body is a must and essential.