Inflammatory conditions & EPA
The anti-inflammatory effects of EPA are based, to a large extent, on its ability to fight the pro-inflammatory effect generated in our body, by one of the most abundant fats in our diet called arachidonic acid (AA), which is especially abundant in animal foods (ie. meat, sausages, dairy products, fish, salamis, sauces etc.).
While DHA also has important anti-inflammatory properties, EPA exhibits a broader array of mechanisms against inflammation. Some of them resemble those of typical NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, ie. aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen etc.) and corticosteroids, whilst others are anti-inflammatory strategies exclusive to EPA (ie. endogenous transformation in our organism of EPA into E series Resolvins and Protectins, substances with well-known anti-inflammatory effects).
Unlike conventional anti-inflammatory drugs, that produce an effect within hours, the effects of EPA begins to be noticed 7-15 days after taking the appropriate dose (ie. 1-2 softgels/day of NuaEPA®1200), since a certain amount of EPA must be stored in our cell membranes (or fatty boundary surrounding all the cells of our body) before its beneficial effects can be deployed. Therefore, NuaEPA® is especially indicated for people who suffer from chronic inflammatory processes (ie. atherosclerosis, endothelial dysfunction, autoimmune diseases etc.), rather than acute ones.
Experience over the years with NuaEPA®1200 has shown that, once its effects begin to be noticed, it is often possible to reduce the intake of conventional anti-inflammatory drugs or even stop taking them. This would certainly contribute to reduce undesirable secondary effects derived from the chronic use of such type of drugs. In addition, due to its characteristics, the effects of EPA last throughout most of the day.
The recommended dose to exploit the potential of EPA at its maximum is of 2 g/day (approx. 2 NuaEPA®1200/day). Below this dose, the range of improvement that an omega-3 can offer in inflammatory conditions is lower.
The safety profile of NuaEPA®1200 at the recommended dose is very high.
Some inflammatory conditions where EPA can be helpful are:
- Joint or muscle problems (ie. arthritis, muscle stress due to sports practice, musculoskeletal traumatism etc.)
- Respiratory inflammation (ie. bronchitis, pneumonia, COPD-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, allergic asthma etc.)
- Brain inflammation (ie. trauma, concussion, autoimmune diseases etc.)
- Skin inflammatory conditions (ie. psoriasis, eczema etc.)
Tissue damage, whether of infectious or sterile (non-infectious) origin, always results in an inflammatory process where pro-inflammatory substances are released into the surrounding tissues (ie. cytokines, prostaglandins etc), contributing even further to the damage of the affected tissues. If we include in our diet a high concentrate of EPA (ie. NuaEPA®1200), once the body has incorporated sufficient amount of EPA into the damaged area, it will be possible to activate mechanisms that can reduce significantly the production of pro-inflammatory substances and thus, to contain the damage to tissues and cells.
In a way, EPA can be viewed as an ‘inflammatory debris scavenger’ that will result in a less hostile terrain and thus, enable a better assimilation of other active substances that one may wish to take. As an example, if a person has an inflamed bronchial tree, it would make sense to first reduce the inflammation of the lining of the air conducts (ie. with EPA) and then provide nutrients to strengthen the actual area (ie. betacarotene, reishi, perilla, vitamin C etc.) or in the case of a damaged joint, reduce the local inflammation and then, take a supplement to reinforce the local tissues (ie. collagen, hyaluronic acid etc.).
Cardiovascular health & EPA
EPA, like DHA, has been shown to reduce blood triglycerides (2-3g EPA/day) a type of fat which, in excess, poses a risk to cardiovascular health. In addition, EPA can reduce LDL cholesterol to some extent and partly prevent its oxidation. Moreover, in atherosclerosis, EPA has shown to stabilise the atherosclerotic plaque.
Likewise, given its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a very interesting fatty acid as a support in any cardiovascular problem where inflammation is present. Recently, EPA has received significant media attention in the world of science after the results of two important studies that brought out its relevance in improving the cardiovascular health of patients with severe cardiovascular disorders. More specifically, through the JELIS (1,8 g EPA/day) and REDUCE-IT (4 g EPA/day) studies, it has been shown that taking EPA together with statins provides greater benefits than taking statins alone.
IMPORTANT REMARK: those who are taking anticoagulants, should be cautious with the use of EPA since, doses beyond 2.5-3 g of EPA / day, could have a summatory effect and thin the blood in excess. However, this effect is not significant nor widespread and does not increase the bleeding time.
According to several studies, an interesting potential of EPA in neuropsychiatric disorders (ie schizophrenia, bipolar illness, depression, etc.) has been confirmed, either alone or in combination with psychotropic drugs.
Dosage of approx. 2.5 g of EPA (approx. 2 softgels of NuaEPA®1200), can offer interesting support in people with schizophrenia, bipolar disease etc. The intake of EPA in these cases is always compatible with that of DHA (1-2 g / day), since this last fatty acid by itself, has important attributions in the brain that will undoubtedly contribute to a greater well-being.