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DPA from Menhaden Fish Oil: The Missing Link in Omega-3 Supplementation

Lee Swanson, President of Swanson Health Products®

Lee Swanson

While most people now recognize the value of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, it turns out there is another fatty acid that may be equally important. It's called docosapentaenoic acid, or DPA, and emerging research suggests it plays a critical role in helping other fatty acids work inside the body while providing its own unique benefits. Many researchers are calling DPA "the missing link" that is essential to successful omega-3 supplementation.

Developing research shows that DPA can have distinct and powerful benefits as a nutritional supplement for cardiovascular and cognitive health support. Through both its independent actions and its role in supporting other EFAs, DPA appears to be just as important, if not more so, than more commonly recognized omega-3s.

DPA in Cardiovascular Health

Dozens of clinical studies point toward DPA's importance in human health. Many relate to the heart and the cardiovascular system. For instance, Finnish researchers have demonstrated a strong correlation between DPA levels and coronary integrity, linking high DPA concentrations within the body to individuals displaying sound, stable heart health over 10 years. A later Japanese study produced similar results, showing that healthy individuals have higher DPA levels than those with cardiovascular-related concerns. Other long-term studies, such as the "Nurses' Health Study," appear to support these findings.

DPA and Cognition

Research into DPA's role in the brain is just beginning, but early results are extraordinarily promising. Last year Irish researchers demonstrated DPA's ability to help maintain healthy brain function over time, helping ward off typical age-related decline in animal models. Their study showed that DPA is active within the hippocampus where it appears to decrease microglial activation and oxidative stress.

DPA Concentrations Vary—Does Your Fish Oil Measure Up?

USDA, 20101; National Nutrient Database, Release 24 (SR24)

Different fish oils contain varying levels of DPA, which may explain the difference in benefits noted in scientific research. Common fish oils used in supplements, such as sardine and salmon oil, contain three percent DPA at most, while others measure less than one percent.

Unlike other supplements, OmegaActiv™ is made with high-DPA menhaden, a little-known fish in the herring family that contains nearly five percent DPA along with clinically relevant levels of EPA and DHA. Swanson® EFAs OmegaActiv is 70 percent omega-3, delivering 450 mg DHA, 85 mg DPA and 45 mg EPA in every 1,000 mg softgel.

If you're taking another fish oil supplement, you could be missing an important part of the omega-3 equation. Make the switch to Swanson® EFAs OmegaActiv™ Super DPA Menhaden Fish Oil for complete essential fatty acid nutrition.