EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is the most important of the omega-3 fatty acids to reduce cellular inflammation.
The more EPA in your diet, the less arachidonic acid (AA) you will produce. Arachidonic is a necessary ingredient for the production of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids likeprostaglandins, thromboxanes, leukotrienes; basically the building blocks that create inflammation.
When your focus is to deal with diseases that are caused by inflammation like: heart disease, cancer, athlerosclerosis, diabetes, and even aging a supplement higher in EPA is a good choice.
EPA and your brain
Interestingly, because there are not high levels of EPA in the brain, it is often assumed that EPA is not important in healthy brain function.
Actually that is not true.
EPA is key for reducing neuro-inflammation by again competing with arachidonic acid for the same enzymens needed to produce those annoying inflammatory eicosanoids. Once EPA enters the brain, it is rapidly oxidized so that we don’t see high levels within the brain. But it is a mistake to think EPA is not important for healthy neuro function.
Both EPA and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are equally beneficial in reducing triglycerides. They do not however directly reduce cholesterol.
EPA and DHA do different things so you need them both, especially for the brain.
EPA or DHA?
If your primary goal is reducing inflammation then you need more EPA.
If you are more focused on brain health, cardiovascular health, or eye health, then you need more DHA. In my opinion, it is best to take both in ratio based on what your primary goal may be.
Probably my favorite DHA/EPA supplement would be Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega with EPA 650mg and DHA 450mg.
If you are looking for a supplement higher in EPA, I would recommend Nordic Naturals Pro EPA Xtra which has EPA 1060mg and DHA 300mg.
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