Palmitic acid is an organic acid belonging to the group of saturated fatty acids. Its physical state at room temperature is solid and it is colourless. The acid got its name from its first extraction from palm oil by Edmond Frémy.
The salts and esters of the acid, which are called palmitates, are also called hexadecanoates. In addition, palmitic acid can also be found under the terms hexadecanoic acid, cetyl acid or as PALMITIC ACID. These are possible synonyms that basically mean the same thing.
Palmitic acid has several important functions in the human body. On the one hand, it promotes the body’s own production of vitamin D, which is important for the immune system and muscle strength, among other things. On the other hand, the acid supports the body in the improved absorption of protein, magnesium and calcium. In addition, palmitic acid serves as part of the protective mantle of the skin and thus protects it from external influences. Furthermore, it is the main store of energy in the body and is also significantly involved in the regulation of body cell function.
In many living organisms, palmitate occurs as a product of metabolism. Here, all other fatty acids are produced from palmitate, which then function as glycerides for building up fat reserves. To illustrate, superfluous carbohydrates are converted into energy reserves and stored as depot fat in the body. Thus, palmitic acid occurs as an acid residue in many animal, human and vegetable fats. As the name suggests, it is found in palm oil, but also in cocoa butter, butterfat, lard and avocado oil.