Omega-3 fatty acids
Accession Number
Small Molecule
Approved, Nutraceutical

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) with a double bond at the third carbon atom from the end of the carbon chain. The three types of omega-3 fatty acids involved in human physiology are α-linolenic acid (ALA) (found in plant oils), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (both commonly found in fish oil that originally come from microalgae that is further consumed by phytoplankton, a source of diet for fish). Omega-3 fatty acids play a critical role in metabolism and cellular function and they are available as daily supplements. On September 8, 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave "qualified health claim" status to EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Therapeutic products containing omega-3 fatty acid and its derivatives for treatment of hypertriglyceridemia include Lovaza, Omtryg, Epanova, and Vascepa.

  • n-3 fatty acids
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Omega-3
  • Omega-3 acid
  • Omega-3 acid triglycerides
  • Omega-3 fatty acid
  • Omega-3 phospholipids
  • Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Omega-3 polyunsaturates
  • Phospholipids
  • ω-3 fatty acids
External IDs
NDI 441
Active Moieties
Product Images
Mixture Products
NameIngredientsDosageRouteLabellerMarketing StartMarketing End
Smoflipid 20%Omega-3 fatty acids (3 g/100mL) + Medium-chain triglycerides (6 g/100mL) + Olive oil (5 g/100mL) + Soybean oil (6 g/100mL)EmulsionIntravenousFresenius Kabi2013-05-08Not applicableCanada
Unapproved/Other Products
NameIngredientsDosageRouteLabellerMarketing StartMarketing End
Animi-3Omega-3 fatty acids (500 mg/1) + Cholecalciferol (1000 [iU]/1) + Cyanocobalamin (500 ug/1) + Doconexent (250 mg/1) + Folic acid (1 mg/1) + Icosapent (35 mg/1) + Pyridoxine hydrochloride (12.5 mg/1) + Soy sterol (200 mg/1)CapsuleOralPbm Pharmaceuticals Inc.2011-06-01Not applicableUs
Animi-3 with Vitamin DOmega-3 fatty acids (500 mg/1) + Cholecalciferol (1000 [iU]/1) + Cyanocobalamin (500 ug/1) + Doconexent (250 mg/1) + Folic acid (1 mg/1) + Icosapent (35 mg/1) + Pyridoxine hydrochloride (12.5 mg/1) + Soy sterol (200 mg/1)CapsuleOralPbm Pharmaceuticals Inc.2011-06-01Not applicableUs
Bal-Care DHAOmega-3 fatty acids (430 mg/1) + Ascorbic acid (120 mg/1) + Beta carotene (2850 [iU]/1) + Calcium carbonate (219 mg/1) + Cholecalciferol (840 [iU]/1) + Cupric oxide (2 mg/1) + Cyanocobalamin (.012 mg/1) + DL-alpha tocopheryl acetate (3 mg/1) + Folic acid (1 mg/1) + Iodine (.223 mg/1) + Iron sucrose (1.35 mg/1) + Magnesium oxide (25 mg/1) + Nicotinamide (20 mg/1) + Pyridoxine hydrochloride (50 mg/1) + Riboflavin (4 mg/1) + Sodium feredetate (25.65 mg/1) + Thiamine mononitrate (1.8 mg/1) + Zinc oxide (25 mg/1)KitOralPru Gen Pharmaceuticals2012-05-01Not applicableUs
Bal-Care DHA EssentialOmega-3 fatty acids (374 mg/1) + Ascorbic acid (120 mg/1) + Beta carotene (2850 [iU]/1) + Calcium carbonate (219 mg/1) + Cholecalciferol (840 [iU]/1) + Cupric oxide (2 mg/1) + Cyanocobalamin (.012 mg/1) + DL-alpha tocopheryl acetate (3 mg/1) + Folic acid (1 mg/1) + Iodine (.223 mg/1) + Iron sucrose (1.35 mg/1) + Magnesium oxide (25 mg/1) + Nicotinamide (20 mg/1) + Pyridoxine hydrochloride (50 mg/1) + Riboflavin (4 mg/1) + Sodium feredetate (25.65 mg/1) + Thiamine mononitrate (1.8 mg/1) + Zinc oxide (25 mg/1)KitOralPru Gen Pharmaceuticals2012-05-01Not applicableUs
BumP DHAOmega-3 fatty acids (300 mg/1) + Cobamamide (500 mg/1) + Flavin adenine dinucleotide (1 mg/1) + Flavin mononucleotide (2 mg/1) + Iron (15 mg/1) + Leucovorin (1 mg/1) + Levomefolate magnesium (1 mg/1) + Magnesium oxide (125 mg/1) + NADH (25 ug/1) + Potassium Iodide (250 ug/1) + Pyridoxal phosphate (5 mg/1) + Pyridoxine hydrochloride (20 mg/1) + Zinc glycinate (15 1/1)CapsuleOralCenturion Labs2017-03-242017-04-17Us
C-Nate DHAOmega-3 fatty acids (200 mg/1) + Ascorbic acid (100 mg/1) + Cholecalciferol (400 [iU]/1) + Cupric sulfate pentahydrate (1 mg/1) + Cyanocobalamin (15 ug/1) + Ferrous fumarate (28 mg/1) + Folic acid (1 mg/1) + Magnesium (30 mg/1) + Pyridoxine hydrochloride (20 mg/1) + Riboflavin (3 mg/1) + Thiamine mononitrate (3 mg/1) + Vitamin E (30 [iU]/1) + Zinc oxide (20 mg/1)Capsule, gelatin coatedOralCenturion Labs, LLC2013-01-01Not applicableUs
Cavan AlphaOmega-3 fatty acids (300 mg/1) + Ascorbic acid (120 mg/1) + Beta carotene (3000 [iU]/1) + Calcium carbonate (230 mg/1) + Cholecalciferol (800 [iU]/1) + Cupric oxide (2 mg/1) + Cyanocobalamin (12 ug/1) + DL-alpha tocopheryl acetate (3 mg/1) + Folic acid (1 mg/1) + Iodine (220 ug/1) + Iron (27 mg/1) + Magnesium oxide (25 mg/1) + Nicotinamide (20 mg/1) + Pyridoxine hydrochloride (50 mg/1) + Riboflavin (4 mg/1) + Thiamine mononitrate (1.8 mg/1) + Zinc oxide (25 mg/1)KitOralSeton Pharmaceuticals2010-07-012013-09-30Us
Cavan-EC SOD DHAOmega-3 fatty acids (440 mg/1) + Ascorbic acid (130 mg/1) + Beta carotene (3000 [iU]/1) + Calcium (230 mg/1) + Cholecalciferol (410 [iU]/1) + Copper (2 mg/1) + Cyanocobalamin (12 ug/1) + Folic acid (1 mg/1) + Magnesium (25 mg/1) + Nicotinamide (20 mg/1) + Pyridoxine hydrochloride (28 mg/1) + Riboflavin (4 mg/1) + Sodium feredetate (30 mg/1) + Thiamine mononitrate (1.8 mg/1) + Vitamin E (30 mg/1) + Zinc (26 mg/1)KitOralSeton Pharmaceuticals2010-01-102014-07-15Us
Cavan-EC SOD DHAOmega-3 fatty acids (440 mg/1) + Ascorbic acid (130 mg/1) + Beta carotene (3000 [iU]/1) + Calcium carbonate (230 mg/1) + Cholecalciferol (410 [iU]/1) + Cyanocobalamin (12 ug/1) + DL-alpha tocopheryl acetate (30 mg/1) + Folic acid (1 mg/1) + Magnesium oxide (25 mg/1) + Nicotinamide (20 mg/1) + Pyridoxine hydrochloride (28 mg/1) + Riboflavin (4 mg/1) + Sodium feredetate (30 mg/1) + Zinc oxide (26 mg/1)KitOralPhysicians Total Care, Inc.2010-08-242013-01-15Us
Duet DHAOmega-3 fatty acids (430 mg/1) + Ascorbic acid (120 mg/1) + Beta carotene (2825 [iU]/1) + Calcium carbonate (200 mg/1) + Cholecalciferol (800 [iU]/1) + Cupric oxide (2 mg/1) + Cyanocobalamin (12 ug/1) + D-alpha-Tocopherol acetate (3 mg/1) + Folic acid (1 mg/1) + Iodine (220 ug/1) + Iron (25 mg/1) + Magnesium oxide (25 mg/1) + Nicotinamide (20 mg/1) + Pyridoxine hydrochloride (45 mg/1) + Riboflavin (4 mg/1) + Thiamine mononitrate (1.8 mg/1) + Zinc oxide (25 mg/1)KitOralWh Nutritionals, Llc2011-09-092014-03-31Us
CAS number
Not Available
Chemical Formula
Not Available
InChI Key
Not Available
Not Available
Not Available
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Provided as daily supplements. Aa preparation of omega-3-acid ethyl esters is licensed in UK for prevention of recurrent events after myocardial infarction in addition to treatment of hypertriglyceridaemia.

Associated Therapies

Omega-3 fatty acids are triglycerides that get broken down into smaller fatty acid units. They act to reduce plasma triglyceride levels however increase the cholesterol levels and are thought to possess potent antiarrythmic effects. Polyunsaturated fatty acids including eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid mediate important cellular function such as inhibition of platelet function, prolongation of bleeding time, anti-inflammatory effects and reduction of plasma fibrinogen. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are components of the phospholipids that form the structures of the cell membranes and also serve as energy source. They form eicosanoids which are important signalling molecules with wide-ranging functions in the body's cardiovascular, pulmonary, immune and endocrine systems. DHA tends to exist in high concentrations in the retina, brain (via uptake by Mfsd2a as a transporter), and sperm.

Mechanism of action

Omega-3 fatty acids mediate anti-inflammatory effects and increased levels of EPA or DHA has shown to decrease the levels of PGE2 and 4 series-LT. Eicosapentaenoic acids compete with constitutive levels of arachidonic acid in cell membranes for the same desaturation enzymes and produce 3-series prostaglandins and thromboxanes, and 5-series leukotrienes which have low pro-inflammatory potential. The alteration in leukotriene biosynthesis due to higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids compared to arachidonic acid underlies the anti-inflammatory effects. EPA and DHA also give rise to resolvins and related lipid signalling molecules such as protectins via cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase pathways, which have anti-inflammatory effects. They inhibit transendothelial migration of neutrophils and inhibit TNF and IL-1β production. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease adhesion molecule expression on leukocytes and on endothelial cells and decrease intercellular adhesive interactions. Omega-3 (or n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and their metabolites are natural ligands for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma that regulates inflammatory gene expression and NFκB activation. PPAR alpha activation is also associated with induction of COX-2 expression. The role of EPA and DHA in reducing triglyceride levels include inhibition of acyl-CoA:1,2-diacylglycerol acyltransferase, increased mitochondrial and peroxisomal-beta-oxidation in the liver, decreased lipogenesis in the liver, and increased plasma lipoprotein lipase activity. They also may reduce triglyceride synthesis because they are poor substrates for the enzymes responsible for TG synthesis, and EPA and DHA inhibit esterification of other fatty acids.

APeroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma
UPeroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha
USterol regulatory element-binding protein 1
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After ingestion, dietary lipids are hydrolyzed in the intestinal lumen. The hydrolysis products—monoglycerides and free fatty acids—are then incorporated into bile-salt– containing micelles and absorbed into enterocytes, largely by passive diffusion. The absorption rate is about 95%. Within intestinal cells, free fatty acids are primarily incorporated into chylomicrons and enter the circulation via the lymphatic system where they are delivered to various tissues for metabolism, oxidation and storage.

Volume of distribution

Vd of EPA is aproximately 82L

Protein binding
Not Available

ALA, DHA and EPA are metabolized and oxidized in the liver, which is the site of biosynthesis of n-3 fatty acid intermediates, synthesizing VLDL that transport fatty acids in the plasma to tissues. Major enzymes that generate lipid signalling molecules from EPA, DHA and ALA are lipoxygenases and cyclooxygenase.

Route of elimination
Not Available
Half life

Approximate half-life values in a compartmental study of ALA, EPA and DHA are 1h, 39-67h and 20h, respectively 8,10.


Clearance of EPA is approximately 757mL/h 9.


Some adverse effects experienced in patients include gastrointestinal disturbances such as vomiting and constipation, metabolic disorders and skin reactions.

Affected organisms
Not Available
Not Available
Pharmacogenomic Effects/ADRs
Not Available


Drug Interactions
This information should not be interpreted without the help of a healthcare provider. If you believe you are experiencing an interaction, contact a healthcare provider immediately. The absence of an interaction does not necessarily mean no interactions exist.
(R)-warfarinOmega-3 fatty acids may increase the anticoagulant activities of (R)-warfarin.
(S)-WarfarinOmega-3 fatty acids may increase the anticoagulant activities of (S)-Warfarin.
4-hydroxycoumarinOmega-3 fatty acids may increase the anticoagulant activities of 4-hydroxycoumarin.
AbciximabOmega-3 fatty acids may increase the antiplatelet activities of Abciximab.
AcenocoumarolOmega-3 fatty acids may increase the anticoagulant activities of Acenocoumarol.
Acetylsalicylic acidOmega-3 fatty acids may increase the antiplatelet activities of Acetylsalicylic acid.
AlteplaseOmega-3 fatty acids may increase the anticoagulant activities of Alteplase.
AmediplaseOmega-3 fatty acids may increase the anticoagulant activities of Amediplase.
AnagrelideOmega-3 fatty acids may increase the antiplatelet activities of Anagrelide.
AncrodOmega-3 fatty acids may increase the anticoagulant activities of Ancrod.
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Food Interactions
Not Available


General References
  1. Calder PC: Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Nutrients. 2010 Mar;2(3):355-74. doi: 10.3390/nu2030355. Epub 2010 Mar 18. [PubMed:22254027]
  2. Mahaffey KR, Sunderland EM, Chan HM, Choi AL, Grandjean P, Marien K, Oken E, Sakamoto M, Schoeny R, Weihe P, Yan CH, Yasutake A: Balancing the benefits of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the risks of methylmercury exposure from fish consumption. Nutr Rev. 2011 Sep;69(9):493-508. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00415.x. [PubMed:21884130]
  3. Ito MK: A Comparative Overview of Prescription Omega-3 Fatty Acid Products. P T. 2015 Dec;40(12):826-57. [PubMed:26681905]
  4. Forbes SC, Holroyd-Leduc JM, Poulin MJ, Hogan DB: Effect of Nutrients, Dietary Supplements and Vitamins on Cognition: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Can Geriatr J. 2015 Dec 23;18(4):231-45. doi: 10.5770/cgj.18.189. eCollection 2015 Dec. [PubMed:26740832]
  5. Burckhardt M, Herke M, Wustmann T, Watzke S, Langer G, Fink A: Omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment of dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Apr 11;4:CD009002. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009002.pub3. [PubMed:27063583]
  6. Marsen TA, Pollok M, Oette K, Baldamus CA: Pharmacokinetics of omega-3-fatty acids during ingestion of fish oil preparations. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1992 Jul;46(3):191-6. [PubMed:1387231]
  7. Dobson EP, Barrow CJ, Kralovec JA, Adcock JL: Controlled formation of mono- and dihydroxy-resolvins from EPA and DHA using soybean 15-lipoxygenase. J Lipid Res. 2013 May;54(5):1439-47. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M036186. Epub 2013 Mar 7. [PubMed:23471029]
  8. Pawlosky RJ, Hibbeln JR, Novotny JA, Salem N Jr: Physiological compartmental analysis of alpha-linolenic acid metabolism in adult humans. J Lipid Res. 2001 Aug;42(8):1257-65. [PubMed:11483627]
  9. Braeckman RA, Stirtan WG, Soni PN: Pharmacokinetics of Eicosapentaenoic Acid in Plasma and Red Blood Cells After Multiple Oral Dosing With Icosapent Ethyl in Healthy Subjects. Clin Pharmacol Drug Dev. 2014 Mar;3(2):101-108. Epub 2013 Oct 22. [PubMed:26097787]
  10. Pawlosky RJ, Hibbeln JR, Salem N Jr: Compartmental analyses of plasma n-3 essential fatty acids among male and female smokers and nonsmokers. J Lipid Res. 2007 Apr;48(4):935-43. Epub 2007 Jan 17. [PubMed:17234605]
  11. Nguyen LN, Ma D, Shui G, Wong P, Cazenave-Gassiot A, Zhang X, Wenk MR, Goh EL, Silver DL: Mfsd2a is a transporter for the essential omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid. Nature. 2014 May 22;509(7501):503-6. doi: 10.1038/nature13241. Epub 2014 May 14. [PubMed:24828044]
  12. Chene G, Dubourdeau M, Balard P, Escoubet-Lozach L, Orfila C, Berry A, Bernad J, Aries MF, Charveron M, Pipy B: n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids induce the expression of COX-2 via PPARgamma activation in human keratinocyte HaCaT cells. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 May;1771(5):576-89. Epub 2007 Mar 16. [PubMed:17459764]
  13. 23. (2012). In Rang and Dale's Pharmacology (7th ed., pp. 291-2). Edinburgh: Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone. [ISBN:978-0-7020-3471-8]
  14. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements: Omega-3 Fatty Acids Fact Sheet for Health Professionals [Link]
  15. Lovaza FDA Label [Link]
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Not AvailableRecruitingTreatmentMale Infertility Due to Hypospermatogenesis1
Not AvailableRecruitingTreatmentSchizophrenia1
Not AvailableRecruitingTreatmentTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI)1
Not AvailableTerminatedPreventionChest Pain1
Not AvailableTerminatedTreatmentCardiovascular Heart Disease1
Not AvailableUnknown StatusNot AvailableCoronary Artery Disease1
Not AvailableUnknown StatusHealth Services ResearchAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder1
Not AvailableWithdrawnTreatmentSubstance Abuse / Substance Dependence / Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)1
Not AvailableWithdrawnTreatmentTotal Parenteral Nutrition-Induced Cholestasis1


Not Available
Not Available
Dosage forms
Tablet, coatedOral
Capsule, gelatin coatedOral
Capsule, liquid filledOral
Capsule, coatedOral
Tablet, chewableOral
Not Available
Not Available


Not Available
Experimental Properties
Not Available
Predicted Properties
Not Available
Predicted ADMET features
Not Available


Mass Spec (NIST)
Not Available
Not Available


Not classified


Pharmacological action
General Function
Zinc ion binding
Specific Function
Nuclear receptor that binds peroxisome proliferators such as hypolipidemic drugs and fatty acids. Once activated by a ligand, the nuclear receptor binds to DNA specific PPAR response elements (PPRE...
Gene Name
Uniprot ID
Uniprot Name
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma
Molecular Weight
57619.58 Da
  1. Varga T, Czimmerer Z, Nagy L: PPARs are a unique set of fatty acid regulated transcription factors controlling both lipid metabolism and inflammation. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Aug;1812(8):1007-22. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2011.02.014. Epub 2011 Mar 5. [PubMed:21382489]
  2. Edwards IJ, O'Flaherty JT: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and PPARgamma in Cancer. PPAR Res. 2008;2008:358052. doi: 10.1155/2008/358052. [PubMed:18769551]
Pharmacological action
General Function
Zinc ion binding
Specific Function
Ligand-activated transcription factor. Key regulator of lipid metabolism. Activated by the endogenous ligand 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycerol-3-phosphocholine (16:0/18:1-GPC). Activated by oleyleth...
Gene Name
Uniprot ID
Uniprot Name
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha
Molecular Weight
52224.595 Da
  1. Rudkowska I, Garenc C, Couture P, Vohl MC: Omega-3 fatty acids regulate gene expression levels differently in subjects carrying the PPARalpha L162V polymorphism. Genes Nutr. 2009 Sep;4(3):199-205. doi: 10.1007/s12263-009-0129-2. Epub 2009 Jul 8. [PubMed:19585164]
  2. Liu M, Montgomery MK, Fiveash CE, Osborne B, Cooney GJ, Bell-Anderson K, Turner N: PPARalpha-independent actions of omega-3 PUFAs contribute to their beneficial effects on adiposity and glucose homeostasis. Sci Rep. 2014 Jul 2;4:5538. doi: 10.1038/srep05538. [PubMed:24986106]
Pharmacological action
General Function
Transcriptional activator activity, rna polymerase ii core promoter proximal region sequence-specific binding
Specific Function
Transcriptional activator required for lipid homeostasis. Regulates transcription of the LDL receptor gene as well as the fatty acid and to a lesser degree the cholesterol synthesis pathway (By sim...
Gene Name
Uniprot ID
Uniprot Name
Sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1
Molecular Weight
121673.6 Da
  1. Patterson E, Wall R, Fitzgerald GF, Ross RP, Stanton C: Health implications of high dietary omega-6 polyunsaturated Fatty acids. J Nutr Metab. 2012;2012:539426. doi: 10.1155/2012/539426. Epub 2012 Apr 5. [PubMed:22570770]


Pharmacological action
General Function
Prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase activity
Specific Function
Converts arachidonate to prostaglandin H2 (PGH2), a committed step in prostanoid synthesis. Constitutively expressed in some tissues in physiological conditions, such as the endothelium, kidney and...
Gene Name
Uniprot ID
Uniprot Name
Prostaglandin G/H synthase 2
Molecular Weight
68995.625 Da
  1. Vecchio AJ, Simmons DM, Malkowski MG: Structural basis of fatty acid substrate binding to cyclooxygenase-2. J Biol Chem. 2010 Jul 16;285(29):22152-63. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.119867. Epub 2010 May 12. [PubMed:20463020]
Pharmacological action
General Function
Iron ion binding
Specific Function
Catalyzes the first step in leukotriene biosynthesis, and thereby plays a role in inflammatory processes.
Gene Name
Uniprot ID
Uniprot Name
Arachidonate 5-lipoxygenase
Molecular Weight
77982.595 Da
  1. Calder PC: Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Nutrients. 2010 Mar;2(3):355-74. doi: 10.3390/nu2030355. Epub 2010 Mar 18. [PubMed:22254027]

Drug created on December 03, 2015 09:51 / Updated on March 01, 2020 20:47

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