We provide state-of-the-art fatty acid analysis

in any sample type.

Fatty acid analysis from a CLIA-certified lab

Fatty acid analysis is appropriate for a variety of study designs. We have analyzed samples from epidemiological and cohort studies, randomized controlled trials, experimental and animal studies, and work with clients from nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and academic institutions.  We have over 200 publications on fatty acids and unlike other analytical labs, we will collaborate on papers with you, providing the expertise on fatty acids.

  • Routinely measure 24-26 different fatty acids (C10 – C24), but can measure more upon request.
  • Whole blood – liquid or dried blood spot
  • Blood cells – erythrocyte, white blood cells, platelets
  • Plasma and serum – percent composition and concentration
  • Lipid classes – Triglyceride, phospholipid, cholesterol ester, free fatty acids
  • Lipoproteins – VLDL, LDL, HDL
  • Breast milk – liquid or dried milk spot
  • Food and supplement samples
  • Tissues- Human Biopsies and Experimental Animals
  • Short chain fatty acids (C2-C6)

Standardized. Validated. Methods you can trust.

OmegaQuant has measured fatty acids in hundreds of studies with our standardized, validated methods. Why does that matter? First, OmegaQuant, LLC is a CLIA-certified lab (#43D1105229), which means we are certified to accept human samples for diagnostic testing. Second, you can compare blood fatty acid levels to thousands of other people and other studies. Below we provide the fatty acid norms from several specimen types that are the most common, but we can measure the fatty acid profile in the specimen type that best fits your research question. Third, although our methods are proprietary, we can provide relevant validation data upon request for potential research clients. We can even run some validation studies specific to your work if required. Please contact us at info@omegaquant.com for a quote or for more information.

Fatty Acid Norms

Common Fatty Acids

These are the fatty acids we regularly measure in blood, with the exception of C10:0 and C12:0 which are included only in our milk analyses.

Shorthand Abbreviation Name
C10:0 capric acid
C12:0 lauric acid
C14:0 MA myristic acid
C16:0 PA palmitic acid
C16:1n7 PO palmitoleic acid
C16:1n7t t-PO trans palmitoleic acid
C18:0 SA stearic acid
C18:1n9 OA oleic acid
C18:1n9t t-OA trans oleic acid
C18:2n6 LA linoleic acid
C18:2n6t t-LA trans linoleic acid
C20:0 arachidic acid
C18:3n6 GLA gamma linolenic acid
C20:1n9 eicosenoic acid
C18:3n3 ALA alpha linolenic acid
C20:2n6 eicosadienoic acid
C20:3n6 eicosatrienoic acid
C22:0 docosanoic acid
C20:4n6 AA arachidonic acid
C24:0 lignoceric acid
C20:5n3 EPA eicosapentaenoic acid
C24:1n9 nervonic acid
C22:4n6 DTA docosatetraenoic acid
C22:5n6 DPAn6 docosapentaenoic acid n6
C22:5n3 DPAn3 docosapentaenoic acid n3
C22:6n3 DHA docosahexaenoic acid
EPA+DHA Omega-3 Index

Red Blood Cell Fatty Acids (% of total fatty acids)
Fatty Acid Mean 99% Range
C14:0 0.32% 0.10-0.73%
C16:0 22.40% 19.60-26.61%
C16:1n7 0.23% 0.05-0.80%
C16:1n7t 0.14% 0.05-0.23%
C18:0 17.83% 14.40-20.29%
C18:1n9 14.39% 11.98-17.60%
C18:1n9t 0.84% 0.40-1.63%
C18:2n6 11.84% 7.81-18.10%
C18:2n6tt 0.30% 0.10-0.98%
C18:3n3 0.15% 0.08-0.40%
C18:3n6 0.11% 0.00-0.26%
C20:0 0.14% 0.07-0.20%
C20:1n9 0.23% 0.10-0.40%
C20:2n6 0.27% 0.18-0.41%
C20:3n6 1.65% 0.93-2.90%
C20:4n6 15.15% 10.11-19.00%
C20:5n3 1.16% 0.29-4.30%
C22:0 0.16% 0.04-0.40%
C22:4n6 3.32% 1.30-5.40%
C22:5n3 2.96% 1.70-5.10%
C22:5n6  0.52%  0.20-1.00%
C22:6n3 5.19% 2.25-8.72%
C24:0 0.38% 0.09-1.10%
C24:1n9 0.37% 0.07-1.10%
Omega-3 Index 6.36% 2.66-12.20%
Total n-3 FA 9.47% 5.09-16.73%
Total cis monounsaturated FA 15.21% 12.61-18.71%
Total n-6 FA 32.86% 24.90-38.80%
Total saturated FA 41.22% 37.53-45.22%
Total trans FA 1.28% 0.60-2.42%
n-6:n-3 ratio 3.81 1.52-7.25
AA:EPA ratio 20.93 2.62-62.00
Trans Fat Index 1.14% 0.50-2.28%

*from 59,028 subjects

Whole Blood Fatty Acids (% of total fatty acids)
Fatty Acid Mean 99% Range
C14:0 0.7% 0.1-2.3%
C16:0 21.5% 17.6-27.1%
C16:1n7 0.9% 0.2-3.2%
C16:1n7t  0.1% 0-0.3%
C18:0 11.3% 8.1-14.6%
C18:1n9 19.4% 13.9-28.9%
C18:1t  0.6% 0.1-2.2%
C18:2n6  23.2% 14.3-31.6%
C18:2n6t 0.3% 0.1-1%
C18:3n3  0.5% 0.1-2%
C18:3n6 0.3% 0-0.7%
C20:0 0.3% 0.1-0.7%
C20:1n9 0.3% 0.1-0.9%
C20:2n6 0.2% 0.1-0.5%
C20:3n6 1.4% 0.6-2.6%
C20:4n6 10% 5.1-15.4%
C20:5n3 1.1% 0.1-6.6%
C22:0 0.6% 0.2-1.7%
C22:4n6 1.3% 0.3-2.6%
C22:5n3 1.2% 0.5-2.7%
C22:5n6 0.4% 0.1-0.9%
C22:6n3 2.9% 0.9-6.4%
C24:0 0.8% 0.2-2%
C24:1n9 0.8% 0.2-2.2%
Omega-3 Index 5.9% 2.7-15.1%
Total n-3 FA 5.7% 2.4-15.1%
Total cis monounsaturated FA 21.4% 15.6-31.5%
Total n-6 FA 36.7% 24.6-45%
Total saturated FA 35.2% 30-42.1%
Total trans FA 1% 0.3-2.9%
n-6:n-3 ratio 7.47 1.8-15.4
AA:EPA ratio 18.57 1.1-87

*from 7,599 subjects

Plasma Total Fatty Acids (% of total fatty acids)

Fatty Acid Mean Standard Deviation
C14:0 0.85% 0.33%
C16:0 21.24% 1.96%
C16:1n7 1.59% 0.77%
C16:1n7t 0.16% 0.06%
C18:0 7.30% 0.76%
C18:1n9 19.6% 2.8%
C18:1n9t 0.69% 0.32%
C18:2n6 32.8% 4.3%
C18:2n6t 0.36% 0.11%
C20:0 0.13% 0.04%
C18:3n6 0.49% 0.19%
C20:1n9 0.14% 0.05%
C18:3n3 0.63% 0.22%
C20:2n6 0.27% 0.06%
C22:0 0.20% 0.08%
C20:3n6 1.67% 0.44%
C20:4n6 7.72% 2.14%
C24:0 0.18% 0.07%
C20:5n3 0.69% 0.56%
C24:1n9 0.27% 0.11%
C22:4n6 0.26% 0.10%
C22:5n6 0.20% 0.08%
C22:5n3 0.56% 0.14%
C22:6n3 1.96% 0.82%

*from 653 US adults

Plasma Total Fatty Acids (ug/ml)
Fatty Acid Mean Standard Deviation
C14:0 29.8 19.7
C16:0 718.0 261.3
C16:1n7 57.0 43.7
C16:1n7t 5.3 2.5
C18:0 241.2 64.1
C18:1n9 669.2 276.9
C18:1n9t 23.3 14.7
C18:2n6 1079.7 267.6
C18:2n6t 12.0 5.5
C20:0 4.2 1.7
C18:3n6 16.5 8.8
C20:1n9 4.7 2.1
C18:3n3 21.4 11.2
C20:2n6 9.1 3.4
C22:0 6.6 2.6
C20:3n6 55.7 21.4
C20:4n6 250.6 77.9
C24:0 5.9 2.5
C20:5n3 22.6 18.8
C24:1n9 8.9 3.8
C22:4n6 8.8 4.2
C22:5n6 6.6 3.4
C22:5n3 18.6 6.9
C22:6n3 63.6 29.0

*from 653 US adults


Omega-3 Index Method

Our premier test, the Omega-3 Index, is the EPA+DHA content of red blood cells membranes, expressed as a percent of total identified fatty acids. It is measured using a proprietary methodology developed over several years of research, but we are able to provide the following information regarding our in-house validation studies.

  • We have verified that the Omega-3 Index can be estimated using our dried blood spot technology. Click here for a copy of the published methods.
  • We have compared Omega-3 Index results from 4 other laboratories to those from OmegaQuant for the analysis of a single blood sample.
  • We have performed several studies to define the correlations between EPA+DHA measured in RBC and dried blood spots with EPA+DHA in plasma (as a % of total fatty acids and as a concentration) and in plasma phospholipids.
  • We have shown that the fatty acid composition of RBCs and of plasma can be derived from frozen whole blood samples by separation of membranes from plasma lipids in an ultracentrifuge.
Tests Validated by FDA Guidelines

Assays for concentrations of EPA, DHA and AA in both total plasma/serum and in the non-esterified (i.e., unbound) fraction have been validated per FDA Guidelines for Industry. This includes data on

  • Linearity
  • Precision (CV’s are between 5% and 8% for all 3 fatty acids)
  • Sensitivity (lower limits of detection)
  • Specificity
  • Freeze-thaw stability
  • Short-term (plasma stored 1 week a room temperature or 4 weeks at -80°C)
Red Blood Cell Method Validation

Our red blood cell fatty acid assay has been evaluated for

    • Linearity
    • Precision (CV’s are between 5% and 8% for all 3 fatty acids)
    • Sensitivity (lower limits of detection)
    • Specificity
    • Freeze-thaw stability
    • Short-term stability
    • Biological stability
    • Effects of fasting/fed state
    • Stability over time under several storage conditions (-80°C, -20°C, 4°C and room temperature)
    • Stability of both plasma and RBC fatty acids after storage in EDTA blood tubes at both room temperature and at 4°C
    • Accuracy of extrapolation to the Omega-3 Index from dried blood spot EPA+DHA
    • Preservation of samples dried on filter paper using our proprietary antioxidant mixture FAPS®
    • Effects of exposure of dried and liquid samples to high heat conditions
Stability of Sample Types

We have tested the following sample types in for stability under several storage conditions (-80°C, -20°C, 4°C and room temperature).

  • Liquid breast milk
  • Dried milk spots
  • Whole blood
  • Dried blood spots
  • Plasma (composition and concentration)

From study design to publication.

You will receive your data in an Excel file for easy analysis. The interpretation of your results, however, can be more difficult. We will work with you to provide fatty acid expertise if you would like. Below are just some of the over 200 manuscripts that we have contributed to from collaborating institutions.



Seattle Primary Cardiac Arrest Study

University of Washington Patients who were having a primary cardiac arrest were much more likely to have low Omega-3 Index than healthy subjects.

The Omega-3 Index and Risk for Fatal CHD

Stanford Univeristy Data from 10 prospective cohort studies including >24,000 subjects showed that an Omega-3 Index of 8% or greater was associated with the lowest risk for fatal CHD.

Total Mortality and the Omega-3 Index: Heart and Soul

University of California San Francisco People with the highest Omega-3 Index levels lived longer than those with the lowest levels.

The Omega-3 Index, Brain Size and Cognitive Function: Framingham Heart Study

Framington Heart Study Participants in the Framingham Heart Study with the lowest Omega-3 Indexes had smaller brain volumes and performed worse on mental function tests.

Depression and the Omega-3 Index

Ludwig Depressed patients had an Omega-3 Index 24% lower than healthy controls.

Greater Longevity with a Higher Omega-3 Index

Women's Health Initiative Postmenopausal women with an Omega-3 Index over 8% were 30% less likely to die than those with an Index under 4% over 15 years.

Recovering from a Heart Attack with Omega-3s: The OMEGA-REMODEL Study

Harvard Patients who had recently had a heart attack and were then treated with omega-3 fatty acids for 6 months had healthier hearts if their Omega-3 Index reached 11% compared to those with lower levels.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This test is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, prevent or mitigate any disease. This site does not offer medical advice, and nothing contained herein is intended to establish a doctor/patient relationship. OmegaQuant, LLC is regulated under the Clinical Laboratory improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) and is qualified to perform high complexity clinical testing. The performance characteristics of this test were determined by OmegaQuant, LLC. It has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.