What is lipids?
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What Does lipids Mean
The term lipid , which comes from the French word lipide . A French word is that has a very unique etymological origin. And it is the result of the sum of two clearly delimited lexical components:
-The Greek term "lithos", which can be translated as "fat".
-The Latin suffix “-ido”, which is used to indicate “appearance of”.
It is used to refer to the organic compound that is formed from the esterification of alcohols with fatty acids .
Let us remember that an alcohol is a compound that has the hydroxyl group linked to an aliphatic radical or a derivative. A fatty acid , meanwhile, is an organic acid combined with glycerin for the development of fats. The idea of esterification , finally, is linked to the creation of an ester through the union of an alcohol and an acid .
Taking up specifically the idea of lipid , it is an organic molecule composed mainly of carbon and hydrogen . In a lower quantity it contains oxygen and can also contain nitrogen , sulfur or phosphorus .
Lipids, which cannot dissolve in water (they are hydrophobic ), perform important functions in living beings. They serve, for example, as an energy reserve since, through a metabolic oxidation reaction, they produce calories.
In addition to everything indicated, we cannot ignore the existence that there are two clearly delimited types of lipids:
-Unsaponifiable lipids, which have the peculiarity that they cannot be hydrolyzed and that they do not have so-called ester bonds. Among the most significant of this type are steroids, terpenoids, and prostaglandins.
-Saponifiable lipids, which can be hydrolyzed and which do have ester bonds. Within this group we have to establish the existence of two different types: simple and complex. The simple ones are those that have hydrogen, carbon and oxygen. Complexes, on the other hand, are those that, in addition to hydrogen and carbon as well as oxygen, have nitrogen, sulfur or phosphorus, for example.
On the other hand, lipids contribute to the thermal regulation of the body , favor the development of various chemical reactions and even collaborate with the protection and formation of organs.
In addition to the two functions mentioned, lipids carry out some more. Thus, for example, they perform a structural function, with which they not only protect body structures but also give the organs consistency.
In the same way, they are responsible for undertaking another transport task and also another function of regulation or cellular communication. The latter responds to the name of biological function and consists of both regulating metabolism and reproduction.
When grouped together, the cells that are responsible for the accumulation of lipids (called adipocytes ) form adipose tissue . This tissue helps the internal organs and other structures stay in place and also protects them. It also constitutes a lipid reserve.
It is important to note that fats are a specific class of lipids. That is why using both concepts as synonyms is not correct, since there are lipids that are not fat.