Why the hype over EPA? It dramatically differs from ALA in several ways, including structure and role in health of multiple body systems. EPA has a 20-carbon chain and five double bonds. This potent fatty acid is involed in heart rate, blood circulation, learning, behavior, and mood regulation. Also, it plays a major role in chronic disease prevention due to its role in inflammation.
The modern Western diet mainly made up of refined carbohydrates, trans fats, saturated fats, and vegetable oils sets most people up for EPA deficiency. Most Americans consume plenty, if not excessive, amounts of omega-6 fats. Don't get us wrong, omega-6 fats are essential, too. Our diets would be incomplete without them. However, "essential" does not mean "unlimited". Too many o-6's not only compete with o-3's for metabolizing enzymes, but they also produce pro-inflammatory metabolites once metabolized.
Of the three o-3's, research has found EPA to be the most influential on mood and behavior. In fact, EPA has demonstrated a beneficial role in AD/HD, autism, dyslexia, and aggression as well as bipolar disorder, shizophrenia, and major depressive disorder.
Getting all the EPA your body needs helps protect against coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and high triglyceride levels in the blood.
An excellent way to get your EPA for the day is to consume fish twice per week. The oiler the fish, the more EPA. Compared to farm-raised fish, wild caught fish is richer in o-3's and lower in mercury and other PCB's. Some marine sources of EPA include fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, and tuna. Fish get their EPA content from algae they consume. These plant sources, including seaweed such as kelp, laver, and wakame, are another way to meet your EPA needs.
Another great way to get EPA is through supplementation. The most common fish oil capsules available in the US usually only provide about 180 mg of EPA. One would need multiple capsules just to meet the daily requirement. OmegaEnergy fish oil capsules, however, contain 400 mg of EPA per Softgel capsule, making it easier to get your EPA for the day.