Many of the illnesses that emerge after a certain age (bone problems, respiratory and metabolic problems, allergies, headaches, etc.) are caused by nutritional disorders incurred over the years. Science has discovered that the lack of some nutrients and, as a consequence, bad eating habits, can generate illnesses that tend to become chronic therefore reducing the quality of life.

Until recently their causes or treatment were unknown, but today we know that consuming essential fatty acids like omega 3, present in high doses in fish, it is possible to reduce omega 6 found in human tissue which provokes inflammation, reducing suffering many of these illnesses.

It is thought that EPA and DHA have also identical benefits in prevention of diseases, but there are a series of studies that show many differences between these two similar fatty acids. However, as the most commercial products have more EPA content, it is a common thought that this fatty acid provides more benefits to our health.

Both DHA and EPA are necessary to prevent degenerative diseases:

  • EPA and DHA are essential component from the structure of the cellular wall.
  • DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain and retina, being necessary for a good development of the brain, central nervous system and the eye.
  • EPA contributes to the maintenance of a normal immune, reproductive, respiratory and circulatory systems.

1.- CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES

  • REDUCTION OF TRIGLYCERIDES: although EPA and DHA helps reduce triglycerides, it has been verified that at this case the DHA is more favorable than the EPA.
  • CHOLESTEROL: in this case, DHA rich oils show more consistent improvements in the increase of HDL which is called “the good cholesterol”.
  • HYPERTENSION: Omega 3 fatty acids have demonstrated modest improvements on pressure and endothelial functions, particularly in hypertensive patients. Studies in animals and humans have been shown that, both fatty acids EPA and DHA, improve pressure and endothelial function, but DHA has a more significant impact on reducing blood pressure as soon as diastolic and better improvement in the endothelial function in these patients.
  • HEART FREQUENCY: comparative studies between EPA and DHA have been performed to demonstrate their capacity to affect the heart rate. In these studies the DHA has shown a slight superiority against the EPA in the reduction of the heart rate in men with overweight.
  • PLAQUETARY AGGREGATION AND ANTITHROMBOTIC EFFECTS: currently, no differences have been found between EPA and DHA effects, either in aggregations as is antithrombotic effects.

Both fatty acids are benefit and recommended for the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases, but in general the higher benefits are obtained using products with a high content in DHA than in EPA.

2.- INFLAMMATION

Both fatty acids have important anti-inflammatory effects, it means, no differences have been found in the influence of EPA and DHA in inflammatory processes.

3.- MENTAL DISORDERS

Omega 3 fatty acids are important components of nerve cell membranes, helping them to communicate between what is an essential step to maintain good mental health.

More specifically, DHA is implicated in several processes on the nervous central system.

4.- EYE DISORDERS

Some eye disorders are Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Cataracts.

Retina has the highest content of DHA of our entire body, which is crucial for formation in the fetus and in the kids. Several studies have demonstrated that those who have received adequate levels have greater visual activity and process better images.

Based in the fact that the photoreceptors of our eyes are renewed each day, and adequate DHA supplementation is recommended in the adult age.

The subjects affected with pigmentary retinitis can not convert linolenic acid to DHA (HOFFMAN), therefore a supplementation is recommended.

5.- COGNITIVE DISORDERS/DEMENTIA

Although more studies are still needed, some investigators have highlighted that patients with dementia or Alzheimer were presenting low levels of DHA in the brain.

6.- GESTATION, BREASTFEEDING AND CHILDHOOD

The highest DHA concentrations are found in the central nervous system and in the brain. 60% of the brain are structural fat, in which 25% is DHA.

The WHO (World Health Organization), the Foundation for British Nutrition and the Pediatric Society of European Gastroenterology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) recommend that neonate formulas must be enriched with DHA, to ensure a correct development of the brain.

The brain’s fast growth is produced during the last quarter of pregnancy and the first months after birth. The maternal need for DHA is higher during these months since the metabolism of fatty acids of the fetus and the newborn is insufficient to provide proper levels of DHA for the development of the brain.