Facts and Food Sources of Behenic acid (C22)


Behenic acid also commonly known as docosanoic acid, is a normal carboxylic acid which is a saturated fatty acid having C21H43COOH. It comprises of white to cream color crystals or powder with boiling point of 306 °C and melting point of 80 °C. It is a valuable constituent of behen oil i.e. from seeds of Ben oil tree. The name is entitled from Persian month Bahman when roots of this tree were harvested.

Behenic acid is found in some oils and oil-bearing plants which includes peanut oil or skins and rapeseed (canola) oil. It has been estimated that one ton of peanut skin contains 13 pounds of behenic acid. Behenic acid is commercially used to provide smoothing properties to moisturizers and hair conditioners. It is also found in eye liner, deodorant, styling gel and cleanser.

It is used as a solvent evaporation retarder in paint removers and also used in lubricating oils. Amide is used as anti-foaming agent in detergent, dripless candles and floor polishes. Behenic acid’s reduction allows behenyl alcohol. Pracaxi oil obtained from Pentaclethra macroloba seeds has highest content of behenic acid and used in hair conditioners.

Dietary Sources

Food name Weight (g) Behenic acid (g)
Macadamia nuts 134 0.825
Peanut Butter 32 0.554
Sunflower seeds 135 0.513
Peanut oil 13.5 0.378
Peanuts 28.35 0.345
Margarine 232 0.237
Tempeh 166 0.188
Bacon 15 0.021
Sesame seeds 150 0.106
Pine nuts 135 0.092
Coleslaw 191 0.065
Chicken 133 0.064
French fries 164 0.061
Quinoa 170 0.051
Pistachio 123 0.049
Cashew 28.35 0.049
Canola oil 14 0.046
Kielbasa 370 0.044
Amaranth grain 193 0.035
Onions 87 0.026


Health Benefits of Behenic acid

  1. Benefits to skin

This saturated fatty acid is obtained from seeds of Pentaclethra macroloba. It is required to provide protective barrier against environment for maintaining good quality of skin. It has emollient, lubricant and soothing properties that restores skin’s natural oil and promote overall hydration levels. Moreover this fatty acid is soluble against skin’s surface which makes it a suitable ingredient to infuse into skincare formulas. Behenic acid is used to provide soothing relief for sensitive and dry skin. It has a role in maintaining integrity of skin barrier by enhancing skin hydration and promotes moisture retention.






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