Mead Acid (plasma) is a marker for overall, essential fatty acid status.
It is produced in human tissues from oleic acid and, therefore, is not considered essential. The essential fatty acids, linoleic and alpha linolenic, prevent Mead acid formation in individuals with good dietary fat intake.
In the absence of adequate ALA and LA, oleic acid is metabolized to mead acid.
When essential fatty acids are depleted, higher levels of Mead acid are detected. During essential fatty acid deficiency, Mead acid serves as a structural component in cell membranes as a substitute for the normal polyunsaturated fatty acids derived from essential precursors. It cannot substitute, however, in the critical role of precursor to eicosanoid cell regulators. Mead acid formulation may also be stimulated by high intake of omega 3 fatty acids.
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