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Enteral absorption in man of eicosapentaenoic acid in different chemical forms

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After administering the equivalent of 1 g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in four different chemical forms, the kinetics of EPA incorporation into plasma triglycerides (TG) were compared by gas liquid chromatography on a capillary column following separation of the lipid fraction by thin layer chromatography.

EPA incorporation into plasma TG was markedly smaller and later when EPA was administered as an ethyl ester rather than as EPA free fatty acid, EPA arginine salt or 1,3-dioctanoyl-2-eicosapentaenoyl glycerol (2-EPA). Our results and the data in the literature are compatible with the hypothesis that 2-EPA is absorbed with minimum hydrolysis and escapes random distribution between the other positions of the glycerol molecule during the absorption process.

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polyunsaturated fatty acids


arachidonic acid


eicosapentaenoic acid


1,3-dioctanoyldonic acid


eicosapentaenoic acid


1,3-dioctanoyl-2-eicosapentaenoyl glycerol






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Boustani, S.E., Colette, C., Monnier, L. et al. Enteral absorption in man of eicosapentaenoic acid in different chemical forms. Lipids 22, 711–714 (1987).

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