Omega-3s: What’s the difference between DHA and EPA?

Nutrition

By pH health care professionals

Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their brain and heart health benefits, but then you see terms like DHA and EPA thrown around in the same sentence. These types of omega-3s each serve unique functions. So what is the difference between DHA and EPA?

In a nutshell, DHA is more of the “neck-up” omega-3 (although it also supports a healthy heart), whereas EPA is more of the “neck-down” omega-3 (although it also supports a healthy mood).

DHA is needed in fatty areas of the body that require speed, like the brain, heart and eyes, and may be the better choice for people with neurological challenges. EPA circulates to support a healthy immune response, and may be the better choice for people with aches, pains and swelling.

The good news is you get both DHA and EPA from fish. The American Heart Association recommends you enjoy two servings of fish per week. While fatty fish are good sources of DHA and EPA, you don’t want to eat too much of the larger predatory fish, like mackerel and tuna, which may have high mercury levels. You can get your DHA and EPA from salmon, herring, lake trout and sardines. Talk to a doctor before trying a supplement.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, health care attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.

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