Health Benefits of Omega-3 EPA
The omega-3 fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) derives
from fish. Although it can be obtained by eating oily types
like mackerel and salmon, one would have to consume huge quantities
to acquire the amounts of EPA needed for a sustained health
benefit. Unfortunately this could also mean exposure to pollutants,
dioxins and PCBs. Every care is taken, however, to ensure
that the EPA in omega product is free from unwanted impurities.
Several important factors - the type of fish from which the
EPA derives, the waters the fish inhabit, the position of
the fish in the food chain and the part of the fish the EPA
is extracted from - have all been considered by the Igennus
team, not to mention the rigorous purification process.
For various reasons, some people are unable to obtain the
level of EPA they require from their diet. Deficiencies in
this important fatty acid may lead to a number of health problems.
Sourcing this long-chain fatty acid from the diet is essential
because while it is necessary for health, the body is not
able to produce EPA itself, and therefore relies on dietary
intake. Leading medical researchers Professor Puri of Hammersmith
Hospital, London, and Dr Alex Richardson of Oxford University,
both suggest that deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids may
be responsible for increases in the rates of emotional problems,
difficulties with the circulatory system, obesity, skin problems
and inattention in children.
Research has shown that EPA may:
Improve cardiovascular health. Omega-3 helps
maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, improving blood
flow and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. A study
published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition[i]
focussed on the Inuit population, who consume unusually high
amounts of marine food rich in omega-3. The researchers concluded
that their diet was likely to be responsible for the low mortality
rate from heart disease.
Lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol[ii].
Not all cholesterol is bad - there are actually two types:
low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad" cholesterol)
and high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good" cholesterol).
High amounts of LDL cholesterol presents serious health risks
- it can build up on the inner walls of arteries, forming
a stiff plaque, which can cause clogging; in extreme cases
this is termed atherosclerosis. If a clot forms in a narrowed
artery it can instigate a heart attack or stroke. Indeed a
high LDL level indicates an increased risk of heart disease.
Conversely, HDL (good) cholesterol is associated with a lower
risk of heart disease. Medical experts believe that HDL removes
LDL from the arteries and carries it to the liver where it
is excreted from the body, slowing the build-up of plaque.
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids are positively associated
with high concentrations of HDL and lower levels of blood
triglycerides (fatty deposits in the blood).
Alleviate rheumatoid arthritis. The body
can convert EPA into prostaglandins and leukotrienes - hormone-like
compounds that decrease inflammation and pain.
Maintain a balanced mood. Omega-3 may help
to regulate one's mental state by improving cell signalling
in the brain, keeping thought processes, reactions and reflexes
running smoothly and efficiently.
Improve concentration, attention and coordination.
Research by Dr Richardson and Professor Puri suggests that
EPA-high supplements are effective for this.
Promote refreshing sleep. In Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome: A Natural Way to Treat M.E, Professor Puri explains:
"EPA is converted into natural sleep mediators. After
a few days to a few weeks of taking pure EPA [no DHA] even
people who do not suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome find
that they experience sleep that is much deeper and more refreshing"[iii].
Enhance brain function and the performance
of all organs.
EPA, with its mood-balancing properties, may alleviate the
emotional symptoms associated with menstruation.
EPA is also positively associated with concentration,
which may help "scatter-brain" tendencies that can
affect some women during their period. EPA can be converted
by the body into natural sleep mediators
- vital when feeling tired and low as so many women do during
their periods. EPA is also converted into prostaglandins and
leukotrienes, which regulate inflammation and pain and therefore
may ease period pains.