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Cetylated Fatty Acids


Cetylated fatty acids is a mixture of fats that are made in a lab. It has been used to ease swelling and pain in muscles and joints. Cetylated fatty acids can be taken as a pill or applied to the skin as a cream.


1,000 to 2,000 milligrams daily.

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • Electrostimulation —Stimulates specific nerve pathways to produce saliva.

May Not Be Effective

  • Knee osteoarthritis —may ease pain and improve range of motion and function A1-A3
  • Neck pain —may ease pain when used with standard treatment B1

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Obesity C1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to use cetylated fatty acids on the skin and to take it orally in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.



A. A. Knee Osteoarthritis

A1. Hesslink R Jr, Armstrong D 3rd, et al. Cetylated fatty acids improve knee function in patients with osteoarthritis. J Rheumatol. 2002;29(8):1708-1712.

A2. Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA, et al. Effect of a cetylated fatty acid topical cream on functional mobility and quality of life of patients with osteoarthritis. J Rheumatol. 2004 Apr;31(4):767-774.

A3. Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA, et al. Effects of treatment with a cetylated fatty acid topical cream on static postural stability and plantar pressure distribution in patients with knee osteoarthritis. J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Feb;19(1):115-121. Obesity

B. B. Neck Pain

B1. Sharan D, Jacob BN, et al. The effect of cetylated fatty esters and physical therapy on myofascial pain syndrome of the neck. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2011;15(3):363-374.

C. Obesity

C1. Fragala MS, Kraemer WJ, et al. Influences of a dietary supplement in combination with an exercise and diet regimen on adipocytokines and adiposity in women who are overweight. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2009 Mar;105(5):665-672.

Last reviewed May 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated:6/2/2020