Intravenous Lipid Emulsions in Parenteral Nutrition

Adv Nutr. 2015 Sep 15;6(5):600-10. doi: 10.3945/an.115.009084. Print 2015 Sep.


Fat is an important macronutrient in the human diet. For patients with intestinal failure who are unable to absorb nutrients via the enteral route, intravenous lipid emulsions play a critical role in providing an energy-dense source of calories and supplying the essential fatty acids that cannot be endogenously synthesized. Over the last 50 y, lipid emulsions have been an important component of parenteral nutrition (PN), and over the last 10-15 y many new lipid emulsions have been manufactured with the goal of improving safety and efficacy profiles and achieving physiologically optimal formulations. The purpose of this review is to provide a background on the components of lipid emulsions, their role in PN, and to discuss the lipid emulsions available for intravenous use. Finally, the role of parenteral fat emulsions in the pathogenesis and management of PN-associated liver disease in PN-dependent pediatric patients is reviewed.

Keywords: fatty acids; lipid metabolism; parenteral nutrition; parenteral nutrition-associated liver disease; ω-3 fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Coconut Oil
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / administration & dosage*
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / chemistry
  • Fish Oils / analysis
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / etiology
  • Liver Diseases / pathology
  • Olive Oil / analysis
  • Parenteral Nutrition Solutions / chemistry*
  • Plant Oils / analysis
  • Safflower Oil / analysis
  • Soybean Oil / analysis


  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous
  • Fish Oils
  • Olive Oil
  • Parenteral Nutrition Solutions
  • Plant Oils
  • Soybean Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Coconut Oil