Essential fatty acids
are lipids that are not metabolized by the body and therefore must be obtained from the diet. These fatty acids are involved in various biological processes, and produce many compounds when they are metabolized.
There are two primary families of essential fatty acids, Omega-3 and Omega-6, with constituent lipids within each group.
Fatty acids within each of these families may be converted from each other, but not across families, and therefore both families must be consumed in food. Western diet typically includes Omega-6 fatty acids in large amounts, and foods like grains, plant-based oils, poultry, and eggs are rich in Omega-6 lipids. However, Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily present in cold-water fish, are not as commonly consumed, and consequently supplementation with Omega-3 has been recommended.