Health Benefits And Uses Of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)

Support for Heart Health

EPA Background

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is also known as icosapentaenoic acid and timnodonic acid. Its chemical structure is 20:5(n-3), which indicates that an EPA molecule is a chain of 20 carbon atoms with 5 double bonds. The first double bond is on the third carbon atom from the omega end.

The most significant dietary source of EPA is fatty fish such as herring, mackerel, menhaden, salmon and sardines. These fish don’t biosynthesize EPA, which is actually produced by plankton that the fish eat. EPA then becomes more concentrated in fish the higher up the food chain they are. Microalgae are the primary plant source of EPA in humans, and they are also the most important commercial source of EPA. Humans can biosynthesize EPA from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), although this process is much less efficient than simply absorbing it from food.

EPA is a precursor for several substances that are important in human nutrition, especially the fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Additional substances that require EPA include leukotriene-5, thromboxane-3 and prostaglandin-3, which affect the aggregation of platelets in the blood. EPA also has direct biochemical uses, many of which involve joint conditions. It may also be able to support against low moods.

Uses and Benefits of EPA

Many people take EPA fatty acid supplements to support good heart health. Additional uses of EPA include support for joint health, weight management and child development.

Heart health support

Regular intake of EPA supplements may provide a variety of cardiovascular benefits, especially the support of arterial wall elasticity. EPA may also maintain healthy circulation, heart function and blood clotting.

Joint health

The support of joint health is a common reason to take EPA. It may be helpful for managing discomfort, tenderness and morning stiffness of the joints.

Support for development

EPA may be useful in the mental development of children, since EPA is an essential component of brain cells.

Weight management

Omega-3 fatty acids containing EPA may be useful for burning excess fat before it gets stored.

Signs You May Need EPA

An EPA deficiency can cause many specific symptoms due to the large number of functions it performs. The most common general signs that you may need an EPA supplement include chronic pain, joint discomfort and fatigue, especially when they don’t have an obvious cause. A compromised immune system is also a sign that you may need to supplement your EPA intake. Specific signs of an EPA deficiency often include hair loss, dry skin, eczema, poor circulation and mood swings.

All of Xtend-Life’s supplements containing EPA (Omega 3 / DHA Fish Oil, Omega 3 Premium and Omega 3 / QH Ultra) feature unique formulations of EPA, DHA and Omega 3 nutrients sourced from the pristine waters of New Zealand that help promote a healthy heart, brain and nervous system. 

Synonyms and Similar Forms of EPA

Omega-3, fish oil


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