The omega – 3 fatty acid EPA is the direct precursor for the prostaglandins E1 and E3, whereas DHA is of primary importance for the structural integrity of neuronal membranes. DHA is essential for brain and visual development and is vital throughout pregnancy to support fetal brain growth and formation o f the retina and visual cortex. † As the most abundant fatty acid in the brain, adequate amounts of DHA are needed throughout infancy and adulthood for ongoing optimal function. Low levels of DHA ma y adversely influence behavior and mental performance, and have been correlated with changes in disposition, memory, and vision and other neurological conditions.
Studies have shown that DHA, along with EPA may play an important role in cardiovascular health. One landmark study, the GISSI – Prevenzione Trial, involved over 11,000 people . This was the first large scale trial that showed supplementation of essential fatty acids supporting cardiovascular health. † The exact reasons for such dramatic benefits with respect to heart health remains unknown, but may be related in part to the ability of fish oil to support healthy physiological processes. † Some researchers believe that the body’s response to certain factors, along with a fatty diet, can lead to metab olic risk factors . Studies indicate that EPA and DH A can act as precursors for the prostaglandins E1 and E3, and decrease the formation of prostaglandin E2 and thromboxane A2. Omega – 3 fatty acids may be able to modify sodium channels by binding to the cha nnel proteins. This could then help support healthy heart rhythms.