Examples of Lipids

Lipids are a group of naturally-occurring molecules that are insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents. Examples of lipids include fats, waxes, sterols, triglycerides, phospholipids, sphingolipids, and glycolipids.

Examples of Lipids image

Common Examples of Lipids

Here are some examples of Lipids :


Glycerolipids are special fats made up of glycerol and fatty acids.

Triglycerides is common example of glycrolipids. They consist of three fatty acids attached to a glycerol backbone.

Triglycerides are found in animal and plant oils and fats, and they serve as a way for organisms to store and release energy as needed.


Phospholipids are essential building blocks of cell membranes. They have two parts: a “head” that loves water (hydrophilic) and a “tail” that dislikes water (hydrophobic).

These parts help form the protective barrier around cells.

Examples of phospholipids include phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylinositol, and they are found in every living cell, ensuring proper cell structure and function.


Sphingolipids are fats with a unique structure, consisting of a backbone called a “sphingoid base” and attached sugar molecules. They play important roles in cell signaling and maintaining cell stability.

Cerebrosides and gangliosides are examples of sphingolipids, and they are commonly found in nerve cells and brain tissues, helping with proper nerve function.


Sterols are important fats that have a ring-like structure. Cholesterol is a well-known example of a sterol lipid. It is present in cell membranes, where it helps keep the cell membrane stable and maintains cell shape.

Cholesterol also serves as a starting material for making hormones that regulate various body functions.


Prenols are a type of lipid formed from specific building blocks inside the body. They include compounds like carotenoids, which give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors.

Carotenoids are essential for human health, as they act as antioxidants and help protect cells from damage.

Other Lipids

Besides the mentioned lipids, there are also saccharolipids and polyketides. Saccharolipids are fats attached to sugar molecules, found in some bacteria and plant cell walls.

Polyketides are complex lipids made up of smaller units and are often found in fungi, where they serve various roles, including producing antibiotics.

Examples of Simple Lipids

Here are the 9 examples of simple lipids:

  1. Triglycerides (also known as triacylglycerols)
  2. Steryl esters
  3. Wax esters
  4. Phospholipids
  5. Lysophosphatidic Acid
  6. Glycerol
  7. Fatty Acid
  8. Biomembrane
  9. Bilayer Membrane

Examples of Complex Lipids

Here are the examples of complex lipids:

  1. Phospholipids
  2. Glycolipids
  3. Lipoproteins
  4. Lipopolysaccharides

Examples of Derived Lipids

Here are the examples of derived lipids:

  1. Free Fatty Acids
  2. Diacylglycerols
  3. Monoacylglycerols
  4. Sphingolipids
  5. Eicosanoids
  6. Prostaglandins
  7. Leukotrienes
  8. Plasmalogens
  9. Cerebrosides
  10. Gangliosides
  11. Terpenes
  12. Steroids
  13. Carotenoids
  14. Glycerol
  15. Alcohols (other than glycerol)
  16. Fat-soluble vitamins

Examples Of Saturated Lipids

The chain length can vary slightly depending on the source. Here are some more examples of saturated fatty acids:

Common NameSources
Butyric Acid (4 carbon)Butter
Lauric Acid (12 carbon)Breast milk, coconut oil, and palm kernel oil
Myristic Acid (14 carbon)Dairy products and cow milk
Palmitic Acid (16 carbon)Animal lipids and olive oil
Stearic Acid (18 carbon)Cocoa butter and animal lipids
Capric Acid (10 carbon)Goat milk and palm kernel oil
Caprylic Acid (8 carbon)Coconut oil and palm oil
Pentadecanoic Acid (15 carbon)Dairy products and ruminant fats
Arachidic Acid (20 carbon)Peanuts and vegetable oils
Montanic Acid (28 carbon)Montan wax and lignite deposits

Examples Of Unsaturated Lipids

Here are 10 examples of unsaturated fatty acids along with the number of carbon atoms in their chains and sources:

Common NameSources
Myristoleic Acid (14 carbon)Oils from nutmeg, coconut, and palm kernel
Palmitoleic Acid (16 carbon)Macadamia oil, herring, and sea buckthorn oil
Oleic Acid (18 carbon)Olive oil, canola oil, and avocados
Linoleic Acid (18 carbon)Vegetable oils such as soybean and safflower oil
Alpha-Linolenic Acid (18 carbon)Flaxseed oil and chia seeds
Arachidonic Acid (20 carbon)Meat, poultry, and eggs
Erucic Acid (22 carbon)Rapeseed oil (Canola oil)
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA, 22 carbon)Fatty fish and algae-derived supplements
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA, 20 carbon)Fatty fish and algae-derived supplements
Palmitoleic Acid (16 carbon)Macadamia oil, herring, and sea buckthorn oil