Health Benefits of Consuming DHA and EPA

September 29, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF


DHA and EPA are essential for brain and nerves. In fact the brain is 60% lipid (or fat) and 60% of that is DHA. So DHA is very important for fetal and toddler brain development through the 2nd year of life. In youth and adults DHA and EPA intake is associated with:

  • Good eyesight (increased visual acuity)
  • Reduced triglycerides in the blood
  • Reduced fat accumulation in the liver (fatty liver disease)
  • Regulation of heart arrhythmias (irregular heart beat)
  • Lower blood pressure (slight)
  • Lower levels of inflammation, such as joint pain
  • Reduced incidence of some cancers, such as colon and breast
  • Reduced blood clotting time (blood thinner)
  • Retarded growth of atherosclerotic plaques
  • A possible reduction in the number and severity of psychotic episodes, when taken in high dosages (3g/day)

Some health benefits of taking EPA and DHA that are NOT well supported by experimental evidence include:

  • Significantly lower blood cholesterol
  • The prevention or delay of macular degeneration (taking these supplements will not reverse this disease)

Cautionary notes: The information above relates only to certain benefits of DHA and EPA over ALA. Apart from these two omega-3s, numerous additional benefits are provided by consuming foods rich in other polyunsaturated fats, like ALA from nuts and seeds. These foods should also be part of any healthy diet plan.

For more information about specific health conditions click on the following links:

  • Omega-3s and Triglycerides
  • Omega-3s and CVD
  • Omega-3s and LDL
  • Omega-3s for Young Adults
  • Omega-3s and Type 2 Diabetes
  • Omega-3s and Metabolic Syndrome
  • Omega-3s and Arthritis
  • Omega-3s During Pregnancy and Lactation
  • Omega-3s and Infection
  • Omega-3s and Insulin Sensitivity
  • Omega-3s and Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Omega-3s and Immunity
  • Omega-3s lower inflammatory factor secretion from body fat

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.