Essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), linoleic acid n6 (LA) and linolenic acid (ALA) n3 obtained from the diet are precursors of the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (Lc-PUFAs) arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) respectively.

Consumption of PUFAs is related with a better neurological and cognitive development in newborns. It has been demonstrated that consumption of n-6 and n-3 PUFAs decreases blood triglycerides by increasing fatty acid oxidation through activation of PPARalpha or by reducing the activation of SREBP-1 inhibiting lipogenesis. Dietary PUFAs activate PPARalpha and PPARgamma increasing lipid oxidation, and decreasing insulin resistance leading in a reduction of hepatic steatosis.

Beneficial effects of PUFAs have been observed in humans and in animals models of diabetes, obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. It is important to promote the consumption of PUFAs.

Main food sources of PUFAs n-6 are corn, soy and safflower oil, and for PUFAs n-3 are fish, soy, canola oil and, flaxseed. Finally FAO/WHO recommends an optimal daily intake of n6/n3 of 5-10:1.