ingredient information
Elcosapentaenoic Acid
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA or also icosapentaenoic acid) is an omega-3 fatty acid. In physiological literature, it is given the name 20:5(n-3). It also has the trivial name timnodonic acid. In chemical structure, EPA is a carboxylic acid with a 20-carbon chain and five cis double bonds; the first double bond is located at the third carbon from the omega end. EPA and its metabolites act in the body largely by their interactions with the metabolites of arachidonic acid; see Essential fatty acid interactions for detail. EPA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that acts as a precursor for prostaglandin-3 (which inhibits platelet aggregation), thromboxane-3, and leukotriene-5 groups (all eicosanoids). It is obtained in the human diet by eating oily fish or fish oil—cod liver, herring, mackerel, salmon, menhaden and sardine. It is also found in human breast milk. However, fish do not naturally produce EPA, but obtain it from the algae they consume.[1] It is available to humans from some non-animal sources (eg, commercially, from spirulina and microalgae). Microalgae are being developed as a commercial source.[2] EPA is not usually found in higher plants, but it has been reported in trace amounts in purslane.[3] Microalgae, and supplements derived from it, are excellent alternative sources of EPA and other fatty acids, since fish often contain toxins due to pollution.[1] The human body can (and in case of a purely vegetarian diet often must, unless the aforementioned algae or supplements derived from them are consumed) also convert a-linolenic acid (ALA) to EPA, but this is much less efficient than the resorption of EPA from food containing it, and ALA is itself an essential fatty acid, an appropriate supply of which must be ensured. Because EPA is also a precursor to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), ensuring a sufficient level of EPA on a diet containing neither EPA nor DHA is harder both because of the extra metabolic work required to synthesize EPA and because of the use of EPA to metabolize DHA. Medical conditions like diabetes or certain allergies may significantly limit the human body's capacity for metabolization of EPA from ALA