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EPA vs DHA: Which Type of Omega-3 Is Best?

January 9th, 2017

When it comes to promoting brain health and longevity, EPA and DHA work better together.

Sometimes, the deeper you delve in to anti-aging nutrition, the more complicated things get. A perfect example is omega-3 fatty acids. The first level of knowledge is understanding that you need to be taking in more omega-3s (from fish) than omega-6s (from cooking oils, red meat, eggs, and poultry). Then, you may learn that there are different types of omega-3s, the most important of which are EPA and DHA. At this point, different “expert” sources will be telling you to focus on supplementing one type or the other. Specifically, you may hear that DHA is the best form of omega-3 to take for brain health.

The reality is…

Both EPA and DHA are important for healthy aging.

EPA and DHA work together synergistically in the body and you need to be taking both in order to reap their full health benefits.

Benefits of DHA

The highest concentration of DHA is found in the eyes and brain, where it plays important roles in brain development and function and helps to maintain strong cellular structure and membranes. DHA has been shown to help support brain health, prevent brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and protect against cognitive decline. When adults are low on DHA, they exhibit decreased retinal function, but with healthy DHA, eye tissues are healthier and nerve transmission from the eye to the brain is enhanced.

Another important function of DHA is to reduce blood pressure and triglycerides while increasing healthy cholesterol. This can help prevent heart attacks.

Benefits of EPA

EPA is extremely important for fighting inflammation. It is especially effective in neutralizing inflammatory compounds called eicosanoids, which are derived from omega-6 fatty acids. EPA actually works to prevent the production, release, and metabolizing of the precursor compound needed to make eicosanoids. The end result is decreased inflammatory activity in the body. Decreasing inflammation is essential for reducing the risk of chronic disease, improving health, and promoting longevity.

Inflammation also affects the brain and has been linked to Alzheimer’s. So by decreasing inflammation, EPA helps support brain health in a way that is just as important as the role of DHA.

EPA also works in concert with DHA to support heart health. EPA reduces platelet activation in the blood, which helps reduce platelet aggregation and therefore reduces clotting. This helps lower the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Best Sources of EPA and DHA

It is important to understand that not all foods that are high in omega-3s will provide the EPA and DHA your body needs. Many plant sources of omega-3s actually contain a different compound called ALA. This can be converted to EPA and DHA in the body, but the process is not very efficient. Therefore, it’s best to get your EPA and DHA from fatty fish or from a supplement.

The most common type of omega-3 supplement is fish oil. However, krill oil is a better alternative. The omega-3s in krill oil are easier for the body to absorb and studies show that krill oil provides a bigger anti-inflammatory effect than fish oil. Plus, krill oil contains a powerful antioxidant called astaxanthin and has no fishy taste.

To learn more about omega-3s or to order Renew Youth’s™ krill oil supplement, please contact us today.

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