What is it?
Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (thankfully commonly shortened to EPA and DHA respectively) are long-chain omega-3 fatty acids generally found in cold water fish. They are unsaturated fats, meaning they are good for us and have a wide variety of associated health benefits that aid us throughout the entirety of our lives, right from assisting with foetal development in the womb to warding off Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly.
Why is it useful?
Fish oils are, as you might expect, not produced naturally within the human body, but that does not lessen the importance of them to ensure good health. It does however mean that we must get our recommended intake solely via our diet or (particularly if you are not fond of eating fish) through supplements, typically found in capsule form.
They have a myriad of benefits, with DHA in particular used in the formation of tissue in the retina, meaning it is vital in maintaining healthy vision. It is also used in a similar manner to produce tissue in the brain, as well as to form neural transmitters (which send signals throughout the brain and allow it to function correctly).
In terms of muscles, EPA and DHA are thought to increase the level of glucose and fatty acid uptake, which provides our body with more fuel and results in less fatigue during a workout.
They also assist in sustaining the condition of our heart and blood flow, important for everyone but especially important for those who partake in vigorous exercise, who repeatedly put their heart under immense pressure and risk cardiac arrest if not in good health.
How much should you take?
2-4 grams of fish oils per day is considered a healthy, manageable amount. Many have speculated that the best time to consume it is with a meal, as it is absorbed into the system better.