Lipids, which include glycerides, phospholipids and sterols, constitute a broad spectrum of naturally occurring fatty molecules that are fundamental to the development and maintenances of both cells and tissues through their main biological functions within essential signaling pathways, the storage and transportation of energy, and as the precursors to more complex structures, such as those components constructing the cellular membrane. More importantly, the process of metabolizing those dietary lipids that are normally ingested as complex triglycerides, sterols, and membrane phospholipids, represents the pathway by which these dietary lipids are degraded to free fatty acids that are then small enough to cross the intestinal barrier. Following transportation across the intestinal barrier, these free fatty acids are manufactured into triglycerides that are then packaged for transport and released into the blood stream through the lymph system. Upon delivery to the membranes of hepatocytes, adipocytes or muscle fibers, these triglycerides become the fundamental components of energy storage, accumulating within a region of tissue until energy is required and they are once again broken down into free fatty acids with the activation of the hormone-sensitive enzyme lipase.
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