Definition of eicosapentaenoic acid in US English:

eicosapentaenoic acid


  • A polyunsaturated fatty acid found especially in fish oils. In humans it is a metabolic precursor of prostaglandins.

    Chemical formula: C₁₉H₂₉COOH

    • ‘Oils from deep sea fish are a rich source of omega - 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid.’
    • ‘According to a new book, eicosapentaenoic acid is a substance that can ‘significantly alleviate the symptoms of depression, even in its most severe forms.’’
    • ‘Fish is the recommended source of omega - 3s because only marine life contains eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, the two most accessible forms of the fats.’
    • ‘Fish provide varying amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid.’
    • ‘Your brain needs long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids to function properly and two types - eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid - have come up trumps.’


1960s: from Greek eicosa- ‘twenty’ (the number of carbon atoms in the molecule) + penta- ‘five’ (the number of unsaturated bonds) + -ene + -oic on the pattern of methanoic.


eicosapentaenoic acid

/ˌīkōsəˌpen(t)əˌnōik ˈasəd/