Diabetes

Researchers investigate hormonal links between diet and obesity

Obesity is a growing public health crisis, bringing with it many serious risk factors, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. As the number of people who are either overweight or obese now outnumbers those ...

Medical research

Small shrew could make a big difference in dry eye research

Breakthroughs in health care can come from unusual places. Jianzhong Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Optometry, and his colleagues may have discovered a new one for ...

Medications

Bladder drug linked to atherosclerosis in mice

A drug used in the treatment of overactive bladder can accelerate atherosclerosis in mice, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden report in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ...

Pediatrics

Early lipids boost brain growth for vulnerable micro-preemies

Dietary lipids, already an important source of energy for tiny preemies, also provide a much-needed brain boost by significantly increasing global brain volume as well as increasing volume in regions involved in motor activities ...

Genetics

Researchers relate DNA methylation levels to obesity

DNA methylation is a mechanism that regulates whether genes are "on" or "off", and is influenced by hereditary and environmental factors, as well as lifestyle and nutritional habits.

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Lipid

Lipids are a broad group of naturally-occurring molecules which includes fats, waxes, sterols, fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E and K), monoglycerides, diglycerides, phospholipids, and others. The main biological functions of lipids include energy storage, as structural components of cell membranes, and as important signaling molecules.

Lipids may be broadly defined as hydrophobic or amphiphilic small molecules; the amphiphilic nature of some lipids allows them to form structures such as vesicles, liposomes, or membranes in an aqueous environment. Biological lipids originate entirely or in part from two distinct types of biochemical subunits or "building blocks": ketoacyl and isoprene groups. Using this approach, lipids may be divided into eight categories: fatty acyls, glycerolipids, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, saccharolipids and polyketides (derived from condensation of ketoacyl subunits); and sterol lipids and prenol lipids (derived from condensation of isoprene subunits).

Although the term lipid is sometimes used as a synonym for fats, fats are a subgroup of lipids called triglycerides. Lipids also encompass molecules such as fatty acids and their derivatives (including tri-, di-, and monoglycerides and phospholipids), as well as other sterol-containing metabolites such as cholesterol. Although humans and other mammals use various biosynthetic pathways to both break down and synthesize lipids, some essential lipids cannot be made this way and must be obtained from the diet.

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