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DPA: The "Other" Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Question:
Is DPA an important omega-3 fatty acid? It's been promoted as more "powerful" than EPA and DHA.

Answer:
DPA (docosapentaenoic acid) is often the third most prevalent omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil -- although it typically occurs in much lower concentrations than EPA or DHA. Many fish oil supplements contain at least small amounts of DPA, even if it's not listed on the label, and more substantial amounts can be obtained by consuming certain types of fish. ConsumerLab's tests of canned tuna and canned salmon found as much as 80 mg of DPA per 2-ounce serving, with the highest concentrations in salmon (particularly sockeye) as opposed to tuna. In fact, DPA was not detectable (i.e., below 11 mg per serving) in two popular brands of canned tuna.  

Some studies have found an association between higher blood levels of DPA and healthier aging, including lower risk of heart disease, but it is not clear that taking a supplement containing DPA would have this benefit, as explained in the DPA section of the Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Review.

Learn more about fish oil and omega-3s:



Is fish oil safe? Is it contaminated with mercury and PCBs? >>

Lovaza, a prescription omega-3 fish oil, is very expensive. Can I get the same omega-3 oils from a supplement that costs less? >>

What are omega-7 fatty acids? Do I need to take these if I already take fish oil? >>

Is it better for a fish oil (or krill oil) supplement to have more DHA than EPA? >>

I've tried a number of fish oil supplements, all of which make me nauseous. What is the best non-fish alternative? I am primarily interested in getting EPA. >>

I drink organic milk with added DHA Omega-3, but it is expensive. Is it worth paying extra for the added DHA?  >>

I'm a vegan but my doctor wants me to take fish oil with EPA and DHA. Is there something I can take that would be as good as fish oil capsules but would satisfy the needs of a vegan? >>

Can taking too much fish oil be dangerous? >>

Coromega Max claims it is uniquely emulsified to provide 300% better absorption than standard fish oil softgels. Is this true? It's more expensive than many fish oils but could potentially provide better overall value.  >>

See other recent and popular questions >>
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This CL Answer initially posted on 6/19/2018. Last updated 10/23/2018.
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