May 6, 2016

Epa (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)

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What other names is Epa (eicosapentaenoic Acid) known by?

Acide Eicosapentaénoïque, Acide Éthyle-Eicosapentaénoïque, Acide Gras Essentiel, Acide Gras d'Huile de Poisson, Acide Gras N-3, Acide Gras Omega, Acide Gras Oméga 3, Acide Gras Polyinsaturé, Acide Gras W3, Acido Eicosapentaenoico, EPA, E-EPA, Eicosapentanoic Acid, Essential Fatty Acid, Ethyl Eicosapentaenoic Acid, Ethyl-Eicosapentaenoic Acid, Ethyl-EPA, Fish Oil Fatty Acid, N-3 Fatty Acid, Omega Fatty Acid, Omega 3, Oméga 3, Omega-3, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid, PUFA, W-3 Fatty Acid.

What is Epa (eicosapentaenoic Acid)?

EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is a fatty acid found in the flesh of coldwater fish, including mackerel, herring, tuna, halibut, salmon, cod liver, whale blubber, or seal blubber.

EPA is used for high blood pressure in high-risk pregnancies (eclampsia), age-related macular degeneration (AMD), heart disease, schizophrenia, personality disorder, cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer's disease, depression, and diabetes.

EPA is used in combination with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in fish oil preparations for a variety of conditions, including preventing and reversing heart disease, and decreasing irregular heartbeats; as well as asthma, cancer, menstrual problems, hot flashes, hay fever, lung diseases, lupus erythematosus, and kidney disease. EPA and DHA are also used in combination for migraine headache prevention in adolescents, skin infections, Behçet's syndrome, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, psoriasis, Raynaud's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis.

EPA is also used in combination with RNA and L-arginine after surgery to reduce infections, improve wound healing, and shorten recovery time.

Don't confuse EPA with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and fish oils, which contain EPA and DHA. Most available data involving EPA are from research and clinical experience with fish oil products containing variable combinations of EPA and DHA. For more information, see the separate listings for Fish Oil and DHA.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Treating depression, when used with conventional antidepressants.
  • For healing wounds after surgery and shortening recovery time, when used with RNA and L-arginine.
  • Psoriasis.
  • Treating borderline personality disorder, a mood disorder. EPA seems to lower aggressiveness and to relieve depression somewhat in women with this disorder.
  • Reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death in people with coronary artery disease (clogged heart arteries). The reduction of the risk of death is small unless high cholesterol is present in addition to coronary artery disease. In that case, taking EPA can reduce the risk of having a heart attack or other major event by up to 19%. However, taking EPA doesn't seem to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death, which is due to an electrical malfunction in the heart.
  • Symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Treatment of type 2 diabetes.
  • Treating symptoms of cystic fibrosis.
  • Pregnancy-related high blood pressure (eclampsia).
  • High blood pressure.
  • Treating asthma.
  • Relieving hayfever symptoms including wheezing, cough, and nasal symptoms.
  • Preventing an eye disease called AMD (age-related macular degeneration), when EPA is consumed as part of the diet.
  • Reducing growths in the uterus.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Prostate cancer. It appears that a higher level of EPA in the blood is linked with a lower risk of getting prostate cancer.
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some research shows that low blood levels of EPA and other fatty acids are linked with ADHD in children. However, it's not known yet if taking EPA supplements can treat or prevent ADHD.
  • Schizophrenia. Studies to date show conflicting results about the effectiveness of EPA in treating schizophrenia.
  • Alzheimer's disease. Research so far suggests that EPA doesn't help to prevent Alzheimer's disease.
  • Menstrual disorders.
  • Lung diseases.
  • Lupus.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate EPA for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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