Eicosapentaenoic acid useful for heart and mental problems


Eicosapentaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid and shorthand name 20:5(n-3). It has trival name timndonic acid. EPA is a carboxylic acid in chemical structure with five cis double bonds and 20 carbon chain. The first double bond is placed at the third carbon from omega end. It is a polyunsaturated fatty acid which acts as a precursor for thromboxane-3, prostaglandin-3 and leukotriene-5 eicosanoids. It is both a precursor and hydrolytic breakdown product of eicosapentaenoyl ethanolamide. This fatty acid is found in flesh of cold water fish that includes herring, mackerel, halibut, tuna, cod liver, salmon, seal blubber and whale blubber.

It is taken by mouth for some heart conditions such as coronary artery disease, treat heart attacks and lowers the levels of blood fats known as triglycerides in people having very high levels. It is also useful for mental problems such as personality disorder, schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It prevents loss of vision which occurs in old people, asthma, psoriasis, diabetes and cystic fibrosis. It is also helpful for prostate cancer, lung cancer and body weight in people with cancer. It lowers symptoms of menopause and high blood pressure during high risk pregnancies.

Food Sources

Food name Weight (g) Eicosapentaenoic acid (g)
Fish oil, menhaden 13.6 1.791
Fish, herring, Pacific, cooked, dry heat 144 1.788
Fish oil, salmon 13.6 1.771
Fish, mackerel, salted 80 1.295
Salmon, red (sockeye), smoked 108 0.977
Fish, sablefish, cooked, dry heat 85 0.737
Fish, trout, rainbow, wild, dry heat 143 0.669
Fish, halibut, greenland, dry heat 85 0.573
Fish, wolffish, Atlantic, cooked, dry heat 119 0.468
Crustaceans, crab, alaska king, moist heat 134 0.395
Crustaceans, shrimp, canned 128 0.375
Fish, tuna, fresh, bluefin, cooked, dry heat 85 0.309
Mollusks, oyster, eastern, moist heat 85 0.3
Mollusks, mussel, blue 150 0.282
Fish, carp, cooked, dry heat 85 0.259
Fish, tilefish, cooked, dry heat 150 0.258
Fish broth 244 0.232
Fish, flatfish 127 0.213
Fish, pompano, florida, cooked, dry heat 88 0.197
Soup, shark fin 216 0.186


Health Benefits of Eicosapentaenoic acid

  1. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Children require omega-3 fatty acids for brain to form properly. Research has shown that fish oil might lower ADHD symptoms.

  1. Depression

Study shows that fish oil lowers symptoms of depression. Other study shows that it might be a type of EPA called ethyl-EPA which lowers symptoms.

  1. Heart disease

Fish oil is found to be helpful for those having heart disease. It lowers the chances of developing heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help lower triglycerides and blood pressure, reduce the risk of blood clots, improve the health of arteries and reduce the amount of arterial plaque, which narrows arteries, and causes heart disease. American Heart Association recommends consuming fatty fish twice a week. Fatty fish includes herring, salmon, sardines, lake trout and albacore tuna. People with heart disease require fish oil supplements in addition to add more fish to diet.

  1. Rheumatoid arthritis

Various small studies show that fish oil helps to lower symptoms and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. But it does not prevent joint damage from getting worse.

  1. Menopause

A study shows that EPA lowered number of hot flashes by 1.58 per day in menopausal women. It did not lowered severity of hot flashes.

  1. Menstrual pain

Fish oil lowers pain due to menstrual cramps when consumed on regular basis.

  1. Raynaud Syndrome

Study have shown that fish oil in high doses can make toes and fingers less sensitive to cold when people have Raynaud syndrome. High doses are recommended only under doctor’s supervision.

  1. Lupus

Small study shows that fish oil lowered joint pain and fatigue from lupus.

  1. Other conditions

EPA have positive effects on kidney and lung diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes, anorexia nervosa, Crohn’s disease, burns, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and early stages of colorectal cancer.


  • EPA should not be used in a child, pregnant or breastfeeding woman.
  • Fish oil increases the chances of bleeding, consult doctor before using EPA if one is on a blood-thinning medicine.
  • Avoid intake of alcohol.
  • It may cause side effects such as nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, belching, itching, skin rash, nosebleed, joint or back pain and muscle pain.







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