Dr. Low Dog describes the difference between EPA and DHA in fish oil.
Dr. Low Dog:
The world’s a rage right now with omega-3s and almost everybody knows about it. They are everywhere. It’s in dog food; it’s in eggs, milk, now omega-3 milk. So we know that these omega-3 fatty acids that you can find in certain plants and in fish are very important for us.
The type of omega-3 that’s found in plants is what we call alpha linolenic acid – ALA and it’s not, you have to convert that now in your body to these other more usable forms of omega-3, which is EPA and DHA, and these are found already pre-made in fish oil. So you don’t have to make them. You just eat the fish or take the fish oil and they are preformed.
Now DHA is very, very important for developing baby inside the mother’s womb. DHA is important for neurological development. It’s very important for the fetal brain. So moms need to make sure that they are getting a prenatal with DHA or that they are taking an omega-3 supplement, or that she is eating low mercury fish a couple of times a week, meaning she is staying away from shark, tile, king mackerel – things like that. Pesticides, mercury’s, heavy metals concentrate when you go up the food chain so the bigger the fish is; the more concentrated, the more problems.
Now EPA seems to be more important possibly for mental health and for things such as depression when we get older. So DHA critical in the young developing brain, EPA more important in our mental health and for depression as we get older.
I would say that one of the big, big reasons for using omega-3s though is it’s powerful effects on the cardiovascular system. We do know that omega-3s can reduce the risk of sudden death, sudden cardiac death – big problem. If you’ve had a heart attack your risk of dieing from sudden cardiac death within the first year or two after that heart attack is very real and we know that fish oil can help reduce that risk or eating fish.
About Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.:
Dr. Tieraona Low Dog’s extensive career in studying natural medicine began more than twenty-five years ago. She studied midwifery, massage therapy, and was a highly respected herbalist, serving as President of the American Herbalist Guild and running a teaching clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico before receive her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. She currently serves as the Director of the Fellowship at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.