In this health video you will learn the functions of EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (DocasaHexanenoic Acid).
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Raena Morgan: We’re visiting with Dr. Jorn Dyerberg, and we’re talking about good fats/bad fats, for those of us who don’t know all the terms. But Omega 3s are getting a lot of attention and most of us are familiar with that now. Dr. Dyerberg, what are some of the physiological effects of taking the Omega 3s? Dr. Jorn Dyerberg: When we’re talking about taking Omega 3s and the beneficial facts we’re talking about 2 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. The research has been going on for these for a couple of decades and we know a lot of the biochemistry today, but not everything. Let’s start with EPA—it’s a precursor—I mean from that fatty acid you can make prostaglandins, and prostaglandins influences cell to cell communication. And, it seems that adding more EPA to our systems influences this balance of prostaglandins in a favorable way. One example is that it lowers the tendency to blood clotting. It lowers inflammatory responses. Raena Morgan: All right. Dr. Jorn Dyerberg: Inflammatory responses can be good if you get a bacteria in but it can be bad if it’s in rheumatoid arthritis and skin disorders and intestinal inflammation and so on. And, if you increase the EPA you dampen this inflammatory response and you can get improvement in rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and in skin disorders and things like that. The DHA has another—the other long chain—has a lot of other functions. It’s built in, like EPA, into every cell membrane, but some organs are especially dependent on a high amount of DHA, and that goes for our eyes—our vision, and there have been studies—experimental studies in animals—showing that you can a lower visual function if you feed the mothers and the puppies low DHA content, but, maybe even more essential is our brains. Raena Morgan: Okay. Dr. Jorn Dyerberg: I’m trying to use mine now and hoping that there’s DHA enough up there to do the work. But, in our brains there’s a lot of fatty acids—it’s a lot of fatty acids—and half of it is DHA, and it has an essential function in the nervous system. And, it has now been found in several studies, that, for example, the proneness to get dementia seems to be influenced by a low intake of DHA. The famous American Framingham Study quite recently came up with a summary of their findings, and they found that persons who had eaten 180 milligrams of DHA per day, which is not that much, over a period of 9 years had nearly half—47%—lower risk of having dementia. Raena Morgan: That’s very significant! Dr. Jorn Dyerberg: Oh, that’s enormously significant. It’s not an intervention trial—it’s not so that they have given to half of their population—it’s an observational trial, and it has not the same solidity and evidence, but it’s very indicative that there’s something. Other studies around the world come up with nearly the same results. A big study in the Netherlands, a Rotterdam Study, came up with nearly the same results of fish eaters versus non-fisher eaters and the risk of dementia. You should remember that dementia is a huge burden, not only on the person, on the family, but also on the society—it’s a major burden. And, if we go to the other end of our life—the newborns, and the smartness of their brains—there’s been a Norwegian Study giving to mothers the last 3 months before giving birth and the first 3 months after, while lactating, giving breast to their babies, either some corn oil or some cod liver oil, because in Norway you take tarn or cod liver oil, like in Denmark—rich in DHA and EPA. Then they examined the kids at the age of 4 and found that their IQs in the cod liver oil group was higher than in the control group, not dramatically, but significantly. The numbers were actually 106 in the cod liver oil and 102 in the non cod liver. And, well, 102 is okay but I would rather have 106 than 102. It’s a simple as that. It builds into your brain. The newborn builds 30, 35, 40 milligrams in his or her brain per week during the first 3 years. It’s an essential amount of DHA you build