The absorption of equivalent doses of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids was compared in rats when administered as the ethyl ester concentrate, ethyl ester concentrate plus olive oil, free fatty acid or triacylglycerol (menhaden oil). Lymph was collected from a thoracic duct cannula for 24 hr after dosing via an indwelling duodenal catheter.

After 24 hr, the absorption of eicosapentaenoic acid was greater for the free fatty acid and menhaden oil than for the ethyl ester form, but docosahexaenoic acid absorption was comparable for all forms.

Other rats had greater plasma levels of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids 5 hr after oral gavage dosing with menhaden oil than did rats dosed with the ethyl ester form.