free fatty acids (FFA)

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free fatty acids (FFA)

those present in the circulating blood and within cells; aka non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA). Circulating FFA arise from triacylglycerol molecules of adipose tissue and triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins. During endurance-type exercise a considerable amount of the energy released by contracting skeletal muscle is derived from oxidation of both circulating FFA and that provided by triacylglycerol stored in muscle. Theoretically, increasing FFA availability and utilization may reduce reliance on muscle glycogen and therefore delay onset of fatigue. There is therefore interest in strategies designed to enhance FFA oxidation (e.g. high-fat diets, caffeine, carnitine supplementation).