Dr. Fuhrman's DHA+EPA Purity is a vegan source of healthful long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. DHA and EPA have many crucial functions and health benefits; for example, they are crucial for the health of the brain, eyes, and cardiovascular system, from fetal development all the way into old age. Even with an ideal plant-based diet, DHA and EPA status may be suboptimal because the body has a limited capacity to elongate shorter omega-3 fats into EPA and DHA. Until recently, a plant-based source of supplemental EPA was unavailable, but Dr. Fuhrman is now able to offer this comprehensive vegan omega-3 supplement. DHA+EPA Purity is third-party certified for purity and freshness; produced in the United States from lab-grown algae, it is a clean, safe, and environmentally sound source of valuable omega-3 fatty acids.
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids from fish are known to have a variety of health benefits, but eating fish is not the healthiest method for getting these valuable fats.
There are three major omega-3 fatty acids that we get from our diets. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a short-chain omega-3 found in flaxseeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and other plant foods. ALA is an essential fatty acid—this means that the human body cannot synthesize it. When we take in ALA from plant foods, the body can elongate it into long-chain omega-3s: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), most commonly obtained by eating fish, whose tissues accumulate these fatty acids from algae or algae-consuming marine life. EPA and DHA are important for human health, especially our brain. Insufficiency of these valuable fats can cause a multitude of health issues.
Health benefits associated with long chain omega-3 fatty acids:
- DHA is a structural component of the brain at all ages
- DHA is crucial for fetal and childhood neurological and visual development
- EPA and DHA may promote healthy cognitive function, memory, and mood
- EPA and DHA may help to maintain proper regulation of the inflammatory response
- EPA and DHA may help to maintain normal lipid levels and cardiovascular health
- Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
For vegetarians and vegans, are omega-3 supplements necessary? Or are walnuts and flaxseed enough?
EPA and DHA are considered “conditionally essential” fatty acids; even though the body is capable of making them from ALA (the “parent” omega-3 fatty acid), they may be essential under some conditions because of inefficient conversion from ALA or insufficient ALA intake.1 Conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA varies based on dietary omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, other dietary fats, alcohol consumption, gender, age and individual genetic differences.2,3 On average, less than 4% of ALA is converted to DHA in men and approximately 9% in women; less than 8% of ALA is converted to EPA in men and up to 21% may be converted in women. Much of the ALA we take in from our diet is burned for energy, not converted to EPA and DHA.4 Because only ALA, not pre-formed DHA and EPA, is present in plant foods, vegans commonly have lower circulating levels of DHA than non-vegans.3,5,6 Unless eating lots of fatty fish, the typical modern diet is low in pre-formed EPA and DHA for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans alike. Most people eat a diet rich in omega-6 fats, but deficient in omega-3s. Many vegetarians who consume sufficient flax, hemp, chia, walnuts, and greens as a source of ALA may manufacture sufficient long-chain omega-3s on their own. However, even with an ideal diet, conversion efficiency may not be sufficient for many people to achieve optimal long-chain omega-3 status, especially for DHA.
The low long-chain omega-3 blood levels found in vegans also indicate that conversion from ALA may not produce sufficient EPA and DHA to achieve their health benefits.3 It is often the case that consuming more ALA does not guarantee sufficient DHA. For example, ALA supplementation of 2 grams/day (Adequate Intake of ALA recommended by the Institute of Medicine is 1.1 grams/day for women and 1.6 grams/day for men) was shown to produce only a very slight increase in long-chain omega-3 blood levels.7 Dr. Fuhrman has found similarly when testing fatty acid levels in his patients that deficiencies of these fatty acids frequently exist, even in those who eat excellent diets with plenty of ALA-rich foods.
Dr. Fuhrman's formula contains EPA in addition to DHA
DHA is certainly the most important omega-3 fatty acid to supplement, because conversion of ALA to DHA is much lower than that of EPA. However, EPA has vital functions as well, and adding a small amount in a supplement helps to assure adequacy. EPA is an important precursor to eicosanoids, molecules that regulate the inflammatory response.8,9
Why take algae-derived supplements instead of fish or fish oil?
Fish is an unfavorable source of EPA and DHA because most fatty fish contain harmful pollutants, such as dioxin and mercury. People also report difficulty digesting fish oils because of the fishy taste and foul odor. The bad taste, indigestion, and burping from rancid oils is not healthy. Purified fish oils are an option, but our oceans are in crisis. The claims about fish benefiting heart health have increased the demand for both fish and fish oils, and this demand cannot be met by the world’s current supply. In 2003, it was estimated that the world’s large predatory fish populations had declined 90% since the 1950s.10 Farmed fish are also problematic — they are fed a diet of smaller, wild fish, driving wild fish stocks down and adding chemicals and pollutants to local waters.11 Algae-based DHA+EPA is a more sustainable option, and it is free of the environmental pollutants that accumulate in the fatty tissues of fish.
Since EPA and DHA have so many crucial functions and health benefits, it is imperative to maintain adequate levels of these fatty acids.
Storage and Shipping
Dr. Fuhrman has tested other DHA and EPA products on the market and found them all to be shockingly high in rancidity scores. Rancid oils can cause burping, indigestion and a foul taste. Consuming rotten oil is not healthful so it is important to purchase a product that begins fresh and without oxidation. Special care is taken in the manufacturing and storage of Dr. Fuhrman’s DHA+EPA Purity to ensure that the oil does not become rancid or oxidized. You will certainly taste the freshness of DHA+EPA Purity when it hits your tongue.
Note: Upon receipt of product, keep refrigerated to maintain freshness.
1. Higdon J: Essential Fatty Acids. In An Evidence-Based Approach to Dietary Phytochemicals. New York, NY: Thieme; 2006: 78-99
2. Harnack K, Andersen G, Somoza V: Quantitation of alpha-linolenic acid elongation to eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid as affected by the ratio of n6/n3 fatty acids. Nutr Metab 2009;6:8.
3. Davis BC, Kris-Etherton PM: Achieving optimal essential fatty acid status in vegetarians: current knowledge and practical implications. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78:640S-646S.
4. Arterburn LM, Hall EB, Oken H: Distribution, interconversion, and dose response of n-3 fatty acids in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;83:1467S-1476S.
5. Sanders TA: DHA status of vegetarians. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2009;81:137-141.
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7. Fokkema MR, Brouwer DA, Hasperhoven MB, et al: Short-term supplementation of low-dose gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), or GLA plus ALA does not augment LCP omega 3 status of Dutch vegans to an appreciable extent. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2000;63:287-292.
8. Anderson BM, Ma DWL: Are all n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids created equal? Lipids in Health and Disease 2009;8:33.
9. Chapkin RS, Kim W, Lupton JR, et al: Dietary docosahexaenoic and eicosapentaenoic acid: emerging mediators of inflammation. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2009;81:187-191.
10. Myers RA, Worm B: Rapid worldwide depletion of predatory fish communities. Nature 2003;423:280-283.
11. Jenkins DJA, Sievenpiper JL, Pauly D, et al: Are dietary recommendations for the use of fish oils sustainable? Can Med Assoc J 2009;180:633-637.