Which is better in fish oil... EPA or DHA?

January 2011, Warren Matthews

Summary

Hi Mr Matthews I have a quick question for you. I have recently read a story about Dr. Barry Sears (Zone Diet). He is claiming that EPA is more beneficial the DHA. I was curious on how he can make this statement and why.

This is a question that comes up from time to time, so I thought that I would share it with you here.

Kiko asks:

"Hi Mr Matthews I have a quick question for you. I have recently read a story about Dr. Barry Sears (Zone Diet). He is claiming that EPA is more beneficial the DHA. I was curious on how he can make this statement and why. This was an article I read no more than a month ago. My entire family uses the regular DHA/Fish oil and we are all very happy with it. I know that he sells fish oil high in EPA and I am assuming this is why he would say this. I was just curious about you opinion.

Thanks for a great product."


My Response:

Dr Sears started promoting the idea that EPA was better than DHA quite a few years ago.  Fish oil with high EPA is cheaper to produce than DHA and most of the research up until about 5 or 6 years ago was centred around EPA for that reason.

However over recent years more and more research has been done on DHA and the findings have substantiated what we believed eight years ago and that was DHA is biologically more effective than EPA.  But, DHA has one other important benefit over EPA.  DHA can be easily converted by the body to EPA as it is a more complex molecule and just needs to drop off some bonds to become EPA.

On the other hand it is very difficult for the body to convert EPA to DHA. If the body needs more EPA it can easily get it from DHA so that has always been our main rationale for going to the extra effort and focusing on DHA.

Also keep in mind that there is more to fish oil than just the Omega 3 content (DHA and EPA).  There are some other factors present that can help reduce inflammation. Science is still not sure what they are but we have demonstrated that when the fish oil is concentrated it loses something that is present in the natural fish oil. This is why we use a blend of both.

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