Why OmegaVia has so much more EPA than DHA.
And why that’s important for your health.
How much EPA or DHA your fish oil has matters.
But it depends on what your age and health goals are – if you’re 25 and pregnant or 60 and achy.
You need a high-DHA formula if you’re:
- recovering from concussion
I recommend OmegaVia DHA 600 you fall in the above categories.
However, the rest of us need more EPA than DHA.
If you are trying to:
In this post, I will explain why EPA is the right natural choice for managing healthy inflammation response*.
EPA Omega-3 is Key to Managing healthy inflammation response*
Bear with me on the science for just a bit.
EPA inhibits the Omega-6 Arachidonic Acid (AA). Whoa, Skippy, you lost me at EPA!
OK, this goes back to why I rant about Omega-6 at every chance I get.
Your body breaks down Omega-3 into health-promoting substances. And on the flip side, Omega-6 breaks down into substances that are opposing to Omega-3.
If you eat a regular American diet, you have an artificially high need for EPA.
If you eat a strictly ‘paleo‘ diet with only leaves, tubers, wild caught fish and game (yes that includes liver and brain,) your Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio will be hunky dory.
Then, you won’t need much supplemental EPA. Or supplemental anything.
But if you eat even an occasional french fry or a peanut, you’ve paved the path for an artificial need for EPA. The reality is that our diets contain 10 to 20 times more Omega-6 than they should.
The OmegaVia Formula: when we were formulating OmegaVia, we could have just as easily made a high-DHA formula. But we didn’t. After surveying the American nutritional landscape, it was clear and obvious that what Americans needed was a high-EPA product. So we made one that we could take ourselves.
Back to how EPA Omega-3 acts as a ‘inhibitor’ to the Omega-6, Arachidonic Acid (AA)
We care about this because AA is a source of several cytokines. Easy with the big words, Jack!
It just so happens that EPA and AA compete for the same enzyme in your body – it’s called delta-5-desaturase.
The more EPA you have the less enzyme you have for producing AA. So more EPA means the more you inhibit or suppress the production of AA. And and that keeps your body in balance.
EPA nips it in the bud, so to speak. I’ve called it musical chairs before. If EPA gets the chair, AA loses.
Wouldn’t DHA work just as well?
No. DHA does not inhibit AA. Why? Because DHA is a larger molecule and its structure simply won’t allow it.
All this has to do with what’s called the Eicosanoid pathway. See nifty diagram below. And Omega-3 and Omega-6 can affect these same enzymes.
(This stuff is mind-bogglingly complicated and even with my chemistry background, it makes me cross-eyed.)
But wait! There’s more! If you read this now, I’ll tell you about TWO ways EPA helps for the price of one!
AA is typically stored in cell membranes. To release it from storage, you need a different enzyme called phospholipase A2 (PLA2).
Once again, there is competition between EPA and AA for this enzyme. Having high levels of EPA reduces the chance of AA being released and converted to pro-inflammatory substances.
So, once again, EPA reduces supports healthy inflammation response by keeping a little more AA locked up in the cell membrane.
Most doctors don’t spend much time thinking about the eicosanoid pathway, delta-5-desaturase or phospholipase A2 and how EPA can help.
May be that’s one reason why Dr. Oz is always pushing DHA supplements. His across-the-board recommendation of 600 mg of DHA per day is misguided and ignores the facts above. But I applaud the intent and the focus he’s brought to Omega-3.
Taking Mega Doses of EPA is Cheating
Taking high doses of EPA works. But it’s cheating and somewhat unnatural. If you’re OK with that sorta thing…
The right thing to do is eat less Omega-6.
- Stop cooking with vegetable oils.
- Stop eating out – restaurants cook with Omega-6-rich soybean oil. Yes, even fancy ones.
- Stop eating processed foods – they are also cooked with soybean oil or corn oil.
There is a damn good chance that anything fried outside your house is dripping with Omega-6.
But soybean is a vegetable and has no cholesterol, Jack!
Once you get your Omega-6 intake under control – this may take several months – you will be less inflamed. Then you will be able to achieve balance without mega-doses of EPA Omega-3.
What do I mean by mega-doses?
You can actually get your AA to EPA ratio measured. Not many labs offer this service, but some do. More on that in another blog.
The balance of AA to EPA in your blood determines the level of eicosanoid imbalance that you have.
AA/EPA ratios vary depending on diet. Fish-eating older Japanese have very favorable AA/EPA ratios and also good heart health. The two facts could be connected. An American would have to eat 5 to 7 grams of Omega-3 to match the Japanese in their AA/EPA levels. More here.
If you’re wondering, that’s between 4 to 6 OmegaVia capsules per day. That’s more than we recommend.*
I am not comfortable recommending more than 3 OmegaVia pills per day. If you need more, for whatever reason, that tells me that a drastic diet makeover is in order – starting with cutting back Omega-6 and sugar.
No supplement can outrun a bad diet. Jack!
Unless you’re pregnant, nursing, or a child, it’s time to start taking more EPA (and less Omega-6.). Regardless of what Dr. Oz tells you.
In part 2, we’ll discuss more reasons why you may need more EPA than DHA. Including a study that revealed the shockingly low levels of DHA that an adult human brain absorbs every day.
*Individual results may vary. 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. Clinical research suggests the omega-3 dosage needed to help maintain healthy triglycerides is 2000-3000 mg per day when used as part of healthy diet and exercise.