EPA stands for Eicosapentaenoic acid, and it is one of many Omega-3 fatty acids needed by the human body. The body can't make EPA fatty acid, and must get it from food or supplement sources. There are many benefits to consuming a healthy amount of EPA.
How to Eat EPA
Although EPA is available in some vegetarian foods, such as nuts, beans and dark, green leafy vegetables, they are present in small amounts. The best food source of EPA is fatty fish, such as mackerel, anchovies, sardines, salmon, tuna and hoki. Getting adequate EPA nutrition from fish sources can be tricky, as it is important to eat fish from a clean source. Fatty fish carry residues of the pollution they swim in. If you intend to get the bulk of your Omega-3 fatty acid nutrition from fish, make sure you know the source of your food. You may also want to consider providing your body with needed Omega-3 fatty acids through supplements or fish oil capsules.
EPA and Depression
Recent studies have produced evidence that the fatty acid pure ethyl EPA reduces the symptoms of depression. In one study, blood samples taken from people around the world showed a corollary between depression and low levels of EPA. Other studies divided sufferers of depression into two blind groups, one receiving EPA supplements and the other receiving placebos. The majority of the recipients of the EPA reported an ease of their depression symptoms not reported among the placebo group. It is concluded that EPA plays an intrinsic role in nerve stimulation responses inside the brain.
Reducing Heart Disease
Studies have shown that those who are prone to heart attacks are less likely to have them while taking EPA. One large study shows that people with high cholesterol who took EPA supplements were 20% less likely to suffer cardiac episodes than those who did not. Cardiac episodes include heart failure, angina, and all types of heart attacks. It is believed that EPA works to keep plaque from rupturing, which prevents cardiac arrest.
EPA for a Better Pregnancy
EPA fatty acids are an important part of pre-natal development. They contribute countless benefits to the developing fetus's health. They are instrumental in retinal development, and are particularly beneficial in areas of brain development. Prenatal EPA has been linked to encouraging a fully developed nervous system, increased intelligence and better behavior in a child. However, many doctors do not recommend mothers eat the amount of fatty fish necessary to reap the benefits of EPA. Fish can be dangerous during pregnancy due to the possibility of high metal content. Instead, it is recommended expectant mothers consult their doctors about taking a pre-natal supplement containing a suitable level of EPA.
The full benefits of EPA are still being studied, but the majority of the medical community agrees that it is an important part of human nutrition. Consult your doctor about increasing your consumption of EPA, as part of your health maintenance regime.