Comparative Bioavailability of Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid from Triglycerides, Free Fatty Acids and Ethyl Esters in Volunteers. The bioavailability of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from triglycerides, free fatty acids and ethyl esters was investigated in 8 female volunteers in a randomized triple cross-over trial with baseline control. EPA/DHA was administered in capsules in form of triglycerides (1.68/0.72 g), free fatty acids (1.35/1.065 g) and ethyl esters (1.86/1.27 g). The resulting EPA/DHA plasma levels were determined and evaluated. The mean relative bioavailability of EPA/DHA compared to triglycerides was 186/136% from free fatty acids and 40/48% from ethyl esters. Maximal plasma levels were about 50% higher with free fatty acids and about 50% lower with ethyl esters as compared to triglycerides. The tolerability of the free fatty acids was much worse than that of triglycerides and ethyl esters. The main side effect was eructation.