What are EPA and DHA?

Closeup of two bees on a honeycomb half filled with honey

EPA and DHA are an essential fatty acid which stands for docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. This essential fatty acid is an Omega 3 fat, which is found in cold water fish. EPA DHA are highly unsaturated fat because of they contain 6 and 5 double bond s on their long structural chain. These polyunsaturated fats play a very important role with the function of our bodies.

EPA and DHA are vital nutrients and may be taken to maintain healthy function of the following: Brain and Retina- DHA is a building block of tissue in the brain and retina of the eye. It helps with forming neural transmitters, such as phosphatidylserine, which is important for brain function. DHA is found in the retina of the eye and taking DHA may be necessary for maintaining healthy levels of DHA for normal eye function.

Cardiovascular system – EPA and DHA are converted into hormone like substances called prostaglandins, and they regulate cell activity and healthy cardiovascular function.

Human growth and intellectual development – DHA plays a very important role during fetal development, early infancy, and old age. High concentrations of DHA are found in the brain and increases 300-500% in and infant’s brain during the last trimester of pregnancy. Adding DHA to a pregnant mothers diet may be beneficial for the fetus’s brain development. Elderly people should also take EPA DHA, because as we get older, our bodies form less DHA and EPA, which may cause less mental focus and cognitive function. Taking EPA DHA may also help with mental abnormalities, such as Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.

There are other benefits to taking EPA and DHA because it also plays as a source of energy, it insulates the body against heat loss, prevents skin from drying and flaking, and cushions tissues and organs.

Who should take epa dha? Most people can benefit from taking EPA and DHA.


Dr. Ronald Hoffman is recognized as one of America’s foremost complementary medicine practitioners. He is founder and Medical Director of the Hoffman Center in New York City, author of Intelligent Medicine : A Guide to Optimizing Health and Preventing Illness for the Baby-Boomer Generation and numerous books and articles for the public and for health professionals, and is host of the popular nationally-syndicated radio program Intelligent Medicine, and the Internet podcast of the same name. – See more at: http://drhoffman.com/about/about-dr-hoffman/#sthash.gNSMZWUO.dpuf

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