What is Heneicosanoic Acid? High and low values | Lab results explained

Heneicosanoic Acid is an odd-numbered saturated fatty acid.

Fatty acids with odd numbers of carbon atoms are produced primarily by initiating the synthetic series with the three carbon compound, propionic acid. Vitamin B12 is required for the conversion of propionate into succinate for oxidation in the central energy pathways. Deficiency of vitamin B12 results in accumulation of propionate and subsequent buildup of the odd numbered fatty acids, such as heneicosanoic acid.

The bacteria in the gut of ruminants (grazing animals like cows and sheep) produce large amounts of propionate, which is absorbed and enters the metabolism of the animal. High intake of animal and dairy products favor high levels of these fatty acids. Alternatively, it is possible that the bacteria in the human gut could produce sufficient amounts of propionate to lead to elevation in the odd-carbon fatty acids. This would only occur under conditions of significant gut dysbiosis.

Carnitine is required for fatty acid oxidation. In carnitine insufficiency, fatty acids are oxidized via an omega oxidation pathway that creates odd chain units. Therefore, odd chain fatty acid accumulation may indicate carnitine deficiency and the need for carnitine supplementation.

Higher values:

Treatment options:

– Reduce intake of animal products / follow a whole foods plant based diet.

– Add B12 and/or carnitine



Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.

The information on is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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