Most Fish Oil Supplements Contain More EPA Than DHA
If you take fish oil, there's a good chance you're using one that's better suited for women.
We all know that omega-3 fatty acids, or more specifically, the fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), play a big part in human health. While each of the fatty acids has its benefits, they're rarely taken individually. Instead, we take them together in supplements like fish oil or krill oil for the following reasons:
- Decreased systemic inflammation (thus possibly warding of heart disease, asthma, arthritis, macular degeneration, and a host of other diseases or maladies).
- Significant decreases in levels of body fat through increased insulin sensitivity and increased metabolism. (This increased insulin sensitivity may also prevent Type II diabetes.)
- Decreased muscle soreness and tendonitis.
But the benefits of fish oil don't end there. In fact, if you were to Google almost any disease or condition known to man, along with the words, "fish oil," you'd almost certainly get a long list of articles attesting to the usefulness of fish oil in treating that disease or condition.
There's a problem, though. Even though fish oil supplements contain both DHA and EPA, almost all of them contain a lot more EPA than DHA. That's fine... if you're a female.
More Inflammation and More Heart Attacks
The human body makes a lot of its own omega-3 fatty acids. We derive alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) mostly from plants and our body converts it to DHA and EPA.
However, women have a greater capacity to convert ALA to DHA than men do, and this conversion is largely determined by estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. A strong stimulus of estrogen causes a sharp increase in DHA production. Likewise, a sharp stimulus of testosterone causes a decrease in DHA production.
That means that men have much lower DHA blood and tissue values than women, despite taking in the same amount of ALA. DHA is particularly important because it plays a huge role in reducing blood pressure, increasing HDL (good cholesterol), and keeping heart beat in electrical rhythm.
Men of course have a far greater incidence of heart disease than women (and presumably other inflammatory conditions), and one of the reasons for this might well be their difference in blood and tissue DHA levels.
What's needed is for men to get more DHA in their diet. Unfortunately, almost all available fish oils contain, by a wide margin, more EPA than DHA.
Clearly, men need a fish oil supplement that takes their specific needs into consideration. Biotest's Flameout® was designed with men in mind and bucks the trend by containing significantly more DHA than EPA.
Women can still benefit from Flameout, though. The product easily meets their needs for EPA and the extra DHA can only help them.