Dietary fucoxanthin (FX), a carotenoid compound from brown algae, was found to increase docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) and arachidonic acid (ARA, 20:4n-6) in the liver of mice. DHA and ARA are known to be biosynthesized from the respective precursor α-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3) and linoleic acid (LNA, 18:2n-6), through desaturation and chain elongation. We examined the effect of FX on the fatty acid metabolism in HepG2 cells (Hepatocellular carcinoma, human). In the first experiment, cells were co-treated with ALA (100 μM) and FX (0–100 μM) or vehicle for 48 h. FX increased eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, 22:5n-3), DHA at concentrations of ≥50 μM. To clarify the change in the metabolism of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), in the second experiment, cells were co-treated with universally-[¹³C]-labeled (U-[¹³C]-) ALA (100 μM) and FX (100 μM) for 0.5, 3, 6, 24 and 48 h. [¹³C] labeled-EPA, DPA and DHA content in HepG2 cells were all increased by FX after 48 h treatment. Furthermore, estimated delta-5 desaturase (D5D) but not delta-6 desaturase (D6D) activity index was increased at 48 h. These results suggested that FX may enhance the conversion of ALA to longer chain n-3 PUFA through increasing D5D activity in the liver.