What is the EPA and DHA in fish oil?

Published December 2, 2014

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EPA and DHA stand for eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid respectively, and refer to the long chain omega 3 fatty acids found in fish and other marine sources. These fats play many important roles in the functioning of our bodies and are responsible for the health benefits of fish oil.

Research suggests that the roles of these omega 3’s in the body include:

  • Manage general health and wellbeing – EPA and DHA are important structural components of cells throughout the body and are required for normal growth and cell function.
  • Assist in the development and function of the brain – Omega 3 fatty acids, mostly DHA, make up a significant portion of the brain where they’re responsible for maintaining brain structure and function, and supporting memory and cognitive processes.
  • Regulate inflammation – Both EPA and DHA play various roles in helping regulate inflammatory responses in the body via numerous mechanisms.1
  • Support joint health and pain management – By helping modulate inflammation, EPA and DHA help reduce joint swelling and tenderness, and provide temporary relief of joint pain.
  • Assist in visual development and function – DHA is an important part of the retina of the eye, and both EPA and DHA can help maintain healthy eye function as we age.
  • Manage heart and cardiovascular health – EPA and DHA from fish oil help maintain normal triglyceride, cholesterol and blood pressure levels in healthy people, and support the flexibility of blood vessels to promote healthy blood flow.
  • Maintain normal mood – EPA and DHA from fish oil may provide temporary relief of fatigue, irritability and mild anxiety.

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