DHA and EPA intake and their benefits

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DHA and EPA Sea food
Why should we take Omega Fatty Acids?

The most popular health beneficial omega-3 fatty acids are Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Those fatty acids are isolated from mainly marine algae and fish oil. Nutritious foods are the most important part of our lives. Because now-a-days the human beings have to want such effort to find and buy that kind of food from the market. It is little harder with the huge development of the science and technology and the environmental pollution.

With the rareness of the carbonic green vegetables, non-fresh and non-polluted sea foods and other types of natural food items, people are addicted to take multivitamin supplements. It is rather than seeking fresh foods to fulfill their essential nutritious. Among such multivitamins Omeg-3 fatty acids takes top place. Among the polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are very important to the human being. Because they are essential fatty acids so they cannot be produced inside the human body like non-essential fatty acids. They only can be taken to the body by eating the food sources of them.

When considering the health benefits of the Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), they are used to treat for the heart diseases, high cholesterol, depression. Thus they are use to treat anxiety, low immunity, cancer, diabetes, inflammation, arthritis, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, eye disorders, macular degeneration and ulcers. There are numerous dietary supplements available in the marketplace in different commercial names. They are cod liver oil, contain fish oil with the omega-3 fatty acids.

Why DHA is very important than EPA?

Among them, DHA is commonly used as an ingredient of the several products. Those are the food products of infants including milk powder, cereal, biscuits and other instant foods. People take them to enhance the brain development and eyesight of the children and multivitamins for children, pregnant or lactating women. From the tablet or capsule in oral administration, we can take Omega-3 fatty acids as multivitamins. And they can be used as an ingredient for various food products. The multivitamins may be a one of essential prescribed medicine by a doctor. Those medicines are for various nutrition deficiencies in different stages of our day today life.

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DHA and EPA containing Multivitamins
Theoretical introduction to DHA and EPA

When considering the long chain fatty acids (LCFA), they can be with 10-30 carbon atom chain and they are also in saturated or unsaturated mode. Thus the unsaturated fatty acids are in three main groups; they are monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) which contains one double bond, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which contains two or more double bonds. And eicosanoids which are derivations of the polyunsaturated fatty acids. According to the fatty acid classification, both of them are poly-unsaturated fatty acids.

Why are they called as OMEGA-3?

They are also called as Omega-3 fatty acids due to their chemical structures. Because the final double bond of the structures are on third carbon with respect to the position of methyl group. Chemically DHA and EPA are (4E,7E,10E,13E,16E,19E)-docosa-4,7,10,13,16,19-hexaenoic acid. And (5Z, 8Z, 11Z, 14Z, 17Z)-eicosa-5,8,11,14,17-pentaenoic acid respectively. Both of these fatty acids play a vital role inside our body. Because it is in every cell in the body. It is very important for the brain functions leading other functions during the pregnancy and infancy.

Why mammals should take OMEGA-3 fatty acids from foods?

DHA and EPA are essential fatty acid to the body as an Omega-3 fatty acid because mammals cannot synthesis Omega-3 fatty acids during the metabolism. And it is very important fatty acid to the wealth of the main body functions.  According to the literature in nutritious sciences and health sciences, there are various food sources of them. Those foods are the ingestions for DHA and EPA requirement for the biological processes. The foods are Salmon, eggs, walnuts, flaxseeds, leafy green vegetables like spinach, grass-fed beef. Fishes like rainbow trout, lake trout, halibut, herring, sea bass and Seaweeds and phytoplankton aslo have these fatty acids. For a good healthy life, 200-500 mg of both of them is enough. The term DHA is always with EPA because, most of time both of them can take together through the food intake.

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Chemical structures of DHA and EPA
Healthy importance of DHA and EPA

DHA and EPA are unsaturated fatty acids with six double bonds. They are very flexible due to this structure. They are mainly located in cell membranes where they make the membranes and gaps between cells more fluid. This fluidity can achieved an easier signal sending and receiving mechanism in their way of communication. Therefore an efficient nerve communication can be get from an adequate amount of both of them inside the body.

DHA and EPA are basically important for prevent heart diseases Alzheimer’s disease, depression, rheumatoid arthritis and certain cancers when they are in chronic conditions. Thus a proper intake of DHA and EPA containing food for daily dietary can maintain the sperm health, healthy pregnancy. It can also reduce the risk of preterm births and the proper development of the eyes and brains of the babies. They can improve the vision decreasing contact lens discomfort and reducing eye pressure by preventing the risk of glaucoma.

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How can these OMEGA-3 fatty acids help to ADHD?

When considering the Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), both DHA and EPA help to prevent that condition. That condition basically starts in childhood but often continues into the adulthood. So the mothers who are in pregnant and breastfeeding stages must eat DHA and EPA containing foods. However, many clinical studies have demonstrated that EPA and DHA provide numerous cardiovascular benefits. Both EPA and DHA reduce serum triglyceride and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C) levels by 30% or more. Both of them have also been shown to modestly raise high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and lower total cholesterol. It is especially in individuals with high triglyceride levels who are taking statins. With adequate levels of DHA in our body can make and maintain a healthy prostaglandin production profile and good immune modulating properties.

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How do DHA and EPA function inside our body
DHA and EPA metabolism from Omega-3 fatty acids

When considering the metabolism of them, the alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is the main precursor of the DHA and EPA conversion. The first step is the conversion of ALA to the EPA. There are some additional conversions need to create DHA. The conversion efficiency can be varied with respect to the gender categories and the health status.

That means according to some studies, the conversion efficiency of ALA to EPA and DHA is higher in healthy young women than that of the healthy young men. In men, it is 8% of ALA is converted to EPA and just 0-4 % as DHA. The women have over double the conversion efficiency; 21 % of ALA is converted to EPA and 9 % as DHA. This may be due to the estrogen vs. testosterone levels. The low levels of the estrogen can affect to the conversion efficiency. The recommendation of the fish or vegan DHA and EPA supplements is along with the age-related cognitive decline. The conversion process undergoes most processes. That is the reason for the people used to take DHA and EPA supplements. That is to fulfill the DHA and EPA intake.

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DHA and EPA metabolism
Pro-resolving mediators metabolism from DHA and EPA

However when DHA and EPA come inside the body via supplement or the fatty acid conversion, the synthesis of specialized pro-resolving mediators are produced. EPA causes to produce Resolvin E1 and Resolvin E2 (RvE1 and RvE2) via 18R-hydroperoxy-EPA and 18R-hydroxy-EPA. Thus it produces Aspirin-triggered Resolvin E1 and Aspirin-triggered Resolvin E2 (AT-RvE1 and AT-RvE2). That process occurs via 18S-hydroperoxy-EPA and 18S-hydroxy-EPA. DHA mainly produces Maresin1 (MaR1), Protectin D1 (PD1) and Aspirin-triggered-protectin D1 (AT-PD1). That process occurs via 14S-hydroperoxy-DHA, 17R-hydroperoxy-DHA and 17S-hydroperoxy-DHA respectively.

Accordingly, the Resolvin D1, D2, D3, D4, D5 and D6 are produced by using DHA. That is via both 17S-hydroperoxy-DHA and 17S-hydroxy-DHA. The rest of pro-resolvin mediators. These mediators are Aspirin-triggered Resolvin D1, D2, D3 and D4 are created. They create via both 17R-hydroperoxy-DHA and 17R-hydroxy-DHA. These specialized pro-resolving mediators have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation. So they play a crucial role in switching off the inflammatory response. Thus these specialized pro-resolving mediators are cell signaling molecules. They can form inside the cells.

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Specialized pro-resolving mediators metabolism of DHA and EPA
Can we get DHA and EPA as Multivitamin Supplements?
DHA and EPA Extraction from the Marine Micro Algae

We cannot only take those fatty acids via the food sources. But we also can take via supplements. Because now a days the industry started to prepare multivitamin supplements including them. It is for the wealth of the people. Most of doctors prescribe these multivitamins for the pregnant mothers and the people who are doing sports to improve the functions inside the body. That is due to the reason there are no very freshly vegetables and the fishes in the markets. Fresh vegetables and fruits consist full of nutrition, is essential for the daily requirement. The main source of DHA/EPA is marine algae in the aquatic systems. Some marine micro-algae consist of high levels of EPA or DHA. When considering the process of DHA/EPA extraction from the micro-algae, it consists of several steps. They are:

  • Algae broth fermentation
  • Algae oil extraction and recovery
  • Refining
  • Bleaching
  • Cold filtration
  • Odor removal
  • Standardization and anti-oxidant addition
  • Filtration and packaging.

These extractions are used to produce the multivitamin supplements in the industry with combination of the other nutrients. Other than the supplement capsules, DHA/EPA is a special ingredient in some infant food products. Those products are milk powder, cereals, biscuits and probiotic yoghurts.

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