EPA and DHA work together, however each fatty acid has unique benefits. EPA reduces inflammation, improves cardiovascular and circulatory health, supports healthy metabolism, and is beneficial for autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.
The most beneficial omega 3s are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Fish is the best food source of EPA and DHA, but due to concerns about toxins such as mercury, a purified fish oil supplement is the safest source. In addition people with health issues require a minimum of 2-4 grams per day, which is difficult to obtain from food alone.
What about Flax Oils?
The difference between fish oil and Flax oils is that research shoes that flax is not an efficient source of EPA and DHA. Flax contains another omega 3 named ALA (alpha- linolenic acid). Our bodies can convert ALA to EPA and DHA, but very inefficiently. Only about 15% of ALA converts to EPA, and may not convert to DHA at all.
BENEFITS OF EPA AND DHA FOR FITNESS
Fish Oil Boost Fat Loss
Over 66% of the US population is overweight or obese and it is not getting better due to the average American diet. Fish oil can improve weight-loss efforts. A recent study t=reported that the addition of the daily fish oil supplement of 360 mg of EPA and 1560 mg of DHA to an aerobic activity based weight-loss program improved fat loss compared to exercise alone
Research shows that the anti-inflammatory actions of omega 3s may be therapeutic in conditions involving acute or chronic inflammation. Combining exercise with fish oil supplementation can provide the benefits of physical activity while also keeping inflammation under control.
Enhances Lung Function
A recent study measured the effects of a daily fish oil supplement (3.2 g EPA +2.2 g of DHA) in elite athletes with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). Although diet did not play a role in improving pulmonary function, adding the fish oil supplementation did improve post-exercise pulmonary function in athletes.