The term Omega-3 fatty acids are describing 3 fats: ALA, EPA & DHA. Omega-3s are considered essential fatty acids, meaning that they cannot be synthesized by the human body – except for a limited ability by mammals. Omega-3 fatty acids are all polyunsaturated fatty acids – today we are going to talk about possibly our bodies most important omega, EPA.
Often sought after in fish oils, fish do not naturally produce EPA, but obtain it from the algae they consume. EPA is usually not found in higher plants and very limited in mammals – the key primary producers are found in ocean phytoplankton.
The body is able to convert ALA into EPA, however it is very inefficient (see part 1 of this series). EPA is produced primarily in marine algae, and can be found up the food chain of animals that eat it, such as Krill and fish oil. Doctors generally recommend eating between 3-5 servings of fish each week. Fatty fish like mackerel, herring and sardines are best with the highest amounts of EPA. If you are not eating this amount or type of fish, then it is highly suggested you supplement it from another source.
Absorption from supplements and food are the most effective way to meet your daily dosage requirements. EPA is also extremely important because it is a precursor to synthesize the omega DHA, which we will discuss in ‘part-3’ of this series. The EPA omega is required to create the final omega, DHA – the most difficult to find naturally occurring in nature.
EPA makes up to 30% of the mass of phytoplankton which have just started being produced as live supplements! Jordan Markuson explains, “As the EPA moves up the food chain into krill and fish, it becomes encapsulated in the oil within their liver. Metabolizing oil requires our body to work harder to reach and may cause undue inflammation. Phytoplankton, or marine algae, is the most pure way to obtain EPA.” Experts suggest taking between 600-1200mg of EPA/day in order to maintain a healthy balance of both EPA and DHA.
The research on all omega-3’s, but especially EPA’s, is very exciting! The five major areas it helps are improving cardiovascular health, preventing disease such as cancer, increasing joint mobility, and improving aging stiff veins. EPA has been show to be as effective as Prozac in treating major depressive disorder.
Per Cancer.org, one 2010 study tested EPA and other methods to improve cancer-related weight loss, …a drug with anti-inflammatory effects–along with EPA showed improved body mass, better appetite, and less fatigue.
- Bipolar Disorder
- Improves major depressive disorder
- Beneficial effects in rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Improves oxidative stress and lipid profiles
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves cardiovascular system
- Reduces cardiac deaths
- Increases oxygen to eyes
- Decreased inflammation
- Repairs fibrous tissue
- Improves skin radiance
- Prevents wrinkles
EPA is an incredible omega given its ability to balance your bodies needs and synthesize into DHA when needed. Ensuring that you get your full daily dose of EPA is significant to living a long and healthy life. In the ‘typical American diet’ most people get far too little EPA. If you aren’t eating your fish then supplementing it today from live phytoplankton is highly suggested!
Featured @ Natural News Blogs