This present study was designed to investigate the combined modulatory effect of garlic oil (GO) and fish oil (FO) on the antioxidant and drug metabolism systems. Rats were fed either a low-maize oil (MO) diet (50 g MO/kg), high-MO diet (235 g MO/kg) or high-FO diet (205 g FO+30 g MO/kg) and received different doses of GO (0–200 mg/kg body weight) three times per week for 6 weeks. Fatty acid analysis showed that 20: 5n−3 and 22: 6n−3 were incorporated into serum lipid at the expense of 18: 2n−6 and 20: 4n−6 in rats fed the high-FO diet. GO dose-dependently increased hepatic glutathione S-transferase (GST), glutathione reductase, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) activities, but decreased glutathione peroxidase and N-nitrosodimethylamine demethylase (NDMAD) activities (P<0·05). With the exception of glutathione peroxidase, the activities of glutathione reductase, SOD, GST, EROD and NDMAD were modulated by the dietary fat. The high-FO group had greater SOD and EROD activity than either MO-fed group; it also had greater NDMAD activity than the low-MO group (P<0·05). GST activity was higher in rats fed high-FO or high-MO diets than rats fed the low-MO diet. Change in erythromycin demethylase activity, however, was not caused by either dietary fat or GO. Immunoblot assay showed that GO dose-dependently enhanced the protein level of the Ya, Yb1, Yc isoenzymes of GST and cytochrome P450 (CYP) 1A1 and 3A1, but GO suppressed CYP2E1 expression. Regardless of the dosage of GO, the high-FO diet increased CYP1A1, CYP3A1 and CYP2E1 levels compared with the high- and low-MO diets. Accompanying the changes observed in immunoblots, CYP1A1 and CYP3A1 mRNA levels were increased by GO in a dose-dependent manner and also increased additively in combination with FO feeding. These present results indicate that co-administration of GO and FO modulates the antioxidant and drug-metabolizing capacity of animals and that the effect of GO and FO on drug-metabolizing enzymes is additive.