Lipids

Example of oil

Also known as : eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid

Very long-chain omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are especially known for their anti-inflammatory role. There is a high concentration of EPA and DHA in the retina: supplementation during gestation and the first weeks of life increases the animal’s visual acuity.

Enriching the food with EPA and DHA has many other benefits however:

  • they protect cardiac and kidney functions (blood thinning and anti-hypertensive action)
  • they limit the risk of tumours.

A little background information

DHA is sometimes known as cervonic acid, because the brain is the organ with the highest concentration. Wild carnivores, especially felines, consume DHA when they eat the brains of their prey.

Its role in the body

Present in maternal milks, EPA and DHA are indispensable to the development of the embryo’s and the fetus’s brain and retinas. The higher the DHAconcentration in the maternal milk, the greater the maturity of the developing animal’s nervous system.

Natural sources

Very long-chain omega 3 fatty acids are concentrated in the oils of deep sea fish (such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, herring and capelin). EPA and DHA are present in phytoplankton and single cell algae. EPA and DHA concentrate in the adipose tissue of fish as they pass through the food chain.