EPA and DHA are two types of Omega-3 fats.
Your body MUST HAVE them to survive. That’s why they’re called Essential Fatty Acids.
- EPA stands for Eicosapentaenoic Acid.
- DHA stands for Docosahexaenoic Acid.
But for now we’ll just call them EPA DHA.
EPA DHA Omega-3 fats can only be obtained from the foods that you eat. Oily fish like salmon, anchovy and mackerel are excellent sources of EPA DHA Omega-3.
Of course, most of us don’t eat these fish three to four times a week like we should.
It’s a lot easier to eat fish oil supplements.
Not eating enough EPA DHA Omega-3 has serious consequences.
Why is EPA DHA deficiency so dangerous?
Well, because our bodies need both Omega-3 even before we are born!
More than half of the fat in the brain is DHA.
That’s why it is so important for pregnant women to get DHA.*
Even after birth, the baby needs a lot of DHA.
DHA needed by a child: 300 mg a day*
Average American kid eats: 19 mg a day
What does this mean?
This means children’s brains may not be well nourished with low DHA consumption. This means their brains and eyes are not developing, as they should.
This affects their general health.
Because of DHA’s role in the brain and eyes, DHA seems more important than EPA. But that’s not true. EPA has its own unique benefits.
What about EPA Omega-3?
Average American eats about 50 mg EPA a day. But we need at least 10X as much.
EPA is part of every cell in our body. Without it, the cells don’t communicate with each other, as they should.
Both EPA & DHA have slightly different functions. But they both help protect your heart.
EPA also helps support healthy inflammation response. So EPA is especially important if you are over the age of 50 and concerned about your heart, joints and mood.*
So how much EPA DHA should you take?
The American Heart Association says you need at least 1000 mg Omega-3 per day.
As a nation, the average American is far, FAR off that target!
Is there EPA DHA in Flaxseed oil?
Nope. Not a bit. Flaxseed has a different Omega-3 called ALA.
And ALA has some other benefits, but it is not the same as EPA DHA. Some animals are good at converting ALA to EPA DHA, but not humans.
So don’t waste your money on flaxseed oil. Flax seeds themselves are great – they have lots of nutrients and they can be added into salads and cereals. But just don’t rely on Flaxseed oil to give you any EPA DHA.
Latest scientific data says some DHA can be converted to EPA in the body. But EPA does not appear to be converted to DHA.
This means that you really need both EPA DHA Omega-3.
Which fish oil has the most EPA DHA?
Most fish oil pills sold in drug and grocery stores have only 30% EPA DHA combined. They usually have about 18% EPA and 12% DHA.
It is normal have a bit more EPA than DHA. The ratio of EPA DHA depends on the type of fish.
Tuna, for example, has a lot more DHA than EPA. Tuna oil typically has 25% DHA and 5% EPA. But don’t rush out and buy Tuna oil, especially if you’re pregnant. Because Tuna is a big, long-lived fish and big fish tend to have more mercury and other pollutants.
Let’s look at regular fish oil (retail-grade) from
- 1000 mg retail-grade fish oil pill: will have 180 mg EPA and 120 mg DHA. That’s not bad. But you need 3 or 4 pills every day to meet the minimum recommendations for general health.
- 1200 mg retail grade fish oil pill: will have 216 mg EPA and 144 mg DHA.
You need a lot more EPA DHA Omega-3. This means you could be popping a dozen fish oil pills daily! That’s crazy!
That’s why you need high potency, high purity Ultra-concentrated fish oils.
Look for fish oils that have over 85% Omega-3. That’s the unofficial line in the sand that distinguishes regular fish oil from Ultra-concentrated fish oil.
There are several excellent brands that I recommend:
- Nordic Naturals
- Minami Nutrition
All of them are available online. They all have different levels of Omega-3.
GNC has a product called Triple Strength Fish Oil, which is made from 60% Omega-3 fish oil. While it is a good product, 60% does not make the cut because the other 40% is unhealthy non-omega-3 fats.
You always want to reduce the percent of non-omega-3-fats.
Bottom-line: EPA DHA Omega-3 are absolutely crucial to your health. Make sure you are getting enough through your diet or through supplementation.
SCIENCE: EPA DHA Cellular Uptake
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.