Hexadecanoic acid/Palmitic acid ΓΈ Calorie Counter
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Hexadecanoic acid/Palmitic acid

Palmitic acid (IUPAC name Hexadecanoic acid) is a saturated fatty acid with the molecular formula CH3(CH2)14COOH.

It is one of the most common saturated fatty acids found in animals and plants. As its name indicates, it is a major component of the oil from palm trees (palm oil and palm kernel oil). The word palmitic is from the French "palmitique", the pith of the palm tree. Butter, cheese, milk and meat also contain this fatty acid.

Palmitate is an antioxidant and a vitamin A compound added to low-fat milk to replace the vitamin content lost through the removal of milk fat. Palmitate is attached to the alcohol form of vitamin A, retinol, in order to make vitamin A stable in milk.

Derivatives of palmitic acid were used in combination with naphtha during World War II to produce napalm (naphthenic and palmitic acids).

The World Health Organization reports "convincing" evidence that dietary intake of palmitic acid increases risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. However, possibly less-disinterested studies have shown no ill effect, or even a favorable effect, of dietary consumption of palmitic acid on blood lipids and cardiovascular disease, so that the WHO finding may be deemed controversial. However, another study showed that palmitic acid has no hypercholesterolaemic effect if intake of linoleic acid is greater than 4.5% of energy. On the other hand, it was shown that, if the diet contains trans fatty acids, the health effects are negative, causing an Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol increase and High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol decrease.

Not normally synthesized by animals. Pentadecanoic acid is found in dairy products/milk fats.


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