DWQA QuestionsCategory: QuestionsCarbon lengths and how various enzymes process them
Stephanie Harry asked 2 years ago
I was wondering if you could give clarity to fatty acid lengths and how they are categorized, and also if there is any overlap when enzymes (SCAD, MCAD, LCHAD etc) break down certain chain fats.  I ask this because I have come across various journal articles and some literature suggests that short chain fatty acids are 2-4 carbons in length (others say 8 carbons or less),  Medium chain fatty acids are 6-10 carbons long (others suggest 8-12), long chain I have seen 12-18 (others 16plus)…Is it that I am looking at old literature verses new, or is there varying opinion about when a chain becomes long vs med vs short?  And that is where the second part of my question comes in, is there overlap with what the enzymes can process? For example,  can the SCAD enzyme process fatty acids 2-8 carbons long and MCAD processes fatty acids 8-12?  Thank you for the clarification!

1 Answers
Keith McIntire answered 2 years ago
It’s all relevant and depends on the enzymes being discussed. SCAD is active with C4-C7, MCAD WITH C6-12, VLCAD with C12 -22. So yes, some overlap. Usually only an issue when one is deficient. / Dr. Vockley