Why DHA-EPA are so essential for your brain health

The brain is your body’s command center. It coordinates every movement you make and controls all of your body’s functions.

Inside the soft tissue that makes up your brain are specialized cells called neurons that transmit information to other cells. These cells allow your brain to communicate with other parts of your body, even the organs farthest from it. Your ability to learn, reason, remember and make decisions hinges on the functionality of your brain neurons. 

But unlike the other cells of your body, neurons are not capable of dividing.They cannot renew themselves or regrow damaged parts. Neurons are also very sensitive and can die easily. Although your brain keeps a few stem cells as backup to replace dead neurons with, this supply is not unlimited and dwindles as you age. This is why a decline in cognitive abilities is a normal part of aging. [1][2]

Fortunately, the brain is blessed with the remarkable adaptability to cope with the natural or accidental loss of neurons.

Studies show that the human brain undergoes constant rewiring. Your brain’s neurons continuously form new connections and will keep on doing so for the rest of your life. This process not only ensures that your brain continues functioning in the event of an injury, but it also allows you to keep on learning and acquiring new skills, as well as forming new memories. [3]

How DHA and EPA help maintain healthy brain function

In order for brain neurons to do what they do, they need to be fluid. This is why they need large amounts of fat molecules in their cell membranes. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which you may know as an omega-3 fatty acid, is one of those fats. DHA provides fluidity to the outer extensions grown by neurons so they can reach other cells and form networks. Even the junctions called synapses where neurons exchange nerve impulses are made from membranes enriched in DHA. [4][5]

DHA is also important for nerve communication. The availability of chemical messengers, which neurons use for signaling, depends on DHA levels. DHA also regulates the activities of proteins involved in signal transduction, making it more than just a structural component.

Many studies involving animals have confirmed that DHA and omega-3 fatty acid can support healthy brain functions. [6]

Like DHA, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that’s important for the structure of brain neurons. Although it is present in smaller quantities than DHA, EPA still affects many critical cell functions, including cell signaling and gene expression.

 EPA in the brain serves as a precursor for chemical messengers called eicosanoids. These molecules are particularly important to support healthy immune functions in the brain. [7][8]

Another reason why EPA is so important is that your body naturally converts it to DHA. This conversion primarily occurs in the liver. However, studies have found that the rate by which this happens is very low (less than 15%), so you can’t count on it to increase your DHA levels. The adequate intake (AI) for omega-3s – the amount needed to ensure nutritional adequacy – is 1.1 grams (g) for people 14 years and above. If you wish to meet this requirement and keep your brain healthy, you need to eat quite a bit of food rich in omega-3s or take DHA and EPA supplements every day. However, most seafoods rich in omega-3s are also high in mercury due to biomagnification.  [9][10]

The health benefits of supplementing with DHA and EPA*

Although your brain benefits the most from DHA and EPA, having adequate levels of these healthy fats also does a lot of good for other parts of your body. Here’s a list of the benefits you can expect from DHA and EPA.

  1. They support healthy cognitive function – According to a study published in Lipids in Health and Disease, omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA can support optimal brain health and cognitive performance. This is why health experts recommend supplementing with both, especially to older adults. The study also reported that people with low omega-3 intake have lower levels of cognition than those with adequate intake. [11]

  2. They promote healthy eye function – High amounts of DHA can be found in your retina, which suggests it is also important for the healthy functioning of your eyes. DHA and EPA also support healthy vision.

  3. They support healthy heart function – A recent study published in Lipids in Health and Disease found that EPA and DHA can support healthy cardiovascular systems by maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and healthy blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range. [12][13]

  4. They support healthy liver function – One of the main functions of omega-3 fatty acids is to maintain healthy liver functions. [14]

  5. They promote healthy muscle function – According to a study published in Nutrients, DHA and EPA’s synergistic effects support healthy muscle strength and function.

  6. They naturally uplift mood – DHA and EPA can support a positive mood. A study published in the FASEB Journal suggests that both fats promote healthy levels of serotonin, the nerve messenger that helps balance mood. Low DHA and EPA intake results in low production of serotonin, which can negatively affect mood, sleep, digestion and brain function. [15]

Where to get DHA and EPA supplements that are also suited for vegans

DHA and EPA are naturally occurring fats that you can obtain from your diet. The best sources of these healthy fats are fatty fish like salmon, herring, tuna and sardines. However, most seafoods on the market are contaminated with mercury due to biomagnification. Which is why the Health Ranger Store is bringing you DHA and EPA supplements derived from an excellent alternative source.

Chief Originals Vegan Omegas DHA-EPA Softgels contain DHA and EPA extracted from non-GMO Schizochytrium sp., a marine alga that naturally produces these fats during a specialized fermentation process. According to a study published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, DHA and EPA supplements made from algal oil are efficient, bioavailable sources of omega-3s that are suitable for vegans. [16]

Compared to fish oil supplements, algal oil contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. It is also cleaner because it can be produced in a healthy, controlled environment. What’s more, algal oil is a renewable resource, making it a more sustainable option than fish-based sources.

Chief Originals Vegan Omegas DHA-EPA Softgels are high-quality omega-3 supplements that are packed with DHA and EPA to support the healthy functions of your heart, liver, eye and brain. You can trust that Chief Originals Vegan Omegas DHA-EPA Softgels are vegan, non-GMO, BSE/TSE- free and GRAS affirmed. They also contain no pesticides or residual solvents, and are thoroughly lab tested for glyphosate, heavy metals and microbiology.

Ensure optimal brain performance by boosting your intake of DHA and EPA today!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any diseases.

Know of other health benefits of DHA and EPA supplementation we might’ve missed? Share them in the comments below!

References

[1] https://kids.frontiersin.org/

[2] https://www.sciencedaily.com/

[3] https://qbi.uq.edu.au/

[4] http://archive.foundationalmedicinereview.com/

[5]https://www.nutri-facts.org/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

[7] https://journals.sagepub.com/

[8] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/

[9] https://iovs.arvojournals.org/

[10] https://ods.od.nih.gov/

[11] https://lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/

[12] https://lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/

[13] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/

[14] https://synergies.oregonstate.edu/

[15] https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/

[16] https://www.tandfonline.com/

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