Why do we remove the DHA?
There are several reasons why we remove the DHA from our products.
Firstly, our understanding of the significant health benefits associated with fish oil supplementation has progressed significantly since it was discovered, quite by chance, back in the 1950s that fish oil was a rich source of fatty acids and offered many health benefits. Omega-3 from fish oil contains two major fatty acids – EPA and DHA – and it is only really in recent years that these important fatty acids have been investigated individually, rather than together under the same label of omega-3.
Whilst EPA and DHA are both considered to be important regulators of immunity, platelet aggregation and inflammation, their influencing bi-products arise from very different pathways and it is therefore not surprising that their effects in the body will differ. It is true that DHA is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in cell membranes, present in all organs and most abundant in the brain and retina, playing an important structural role. In contrast, EPA is present in minute quantities, constantly being utilised and under constant demand to be replaced. Increasing scientific research is comparing the effects of EPA and DHA and the merging evidence shows marked differences between how these two fatty acids affect us, not just at the cellular level but also the body as a whole.
Whilst DHA provides mainly a structural role it is becoming evident that EPA may be the dominant functional fatty acid out of the two. Removing DHA from our products simply allows us to increase the concentration of EPA in each capsule. If the body takes in large amounts of EPA the body is capable of converting some to DHA so a DHA -free supplement doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t get DHA! Remember that EPA stocks need constant replenishment whereas DHA levels remain pretty stable. The average long-chain fatty acid supplement tends to contain generic fish oil (by which we mean simply filtered and not molecularly distilled or concentrated), constituting approximately 180mg EPA and 120mg DHA per 1000mg of fish oil). To get the 2 grams needed for treating certain conditions such as depression or ME you would need to take around 22 capsules of generic fish oil (capsules usually are 500mg each with 90mg EPA in each capsule).
To summarise why we remove DHA:
1. Many conditions benefit from taking pure EPA without DHA – particularly depression, ADHD & dementia
2. You can get more EPA in a capsule meaning you can take less capsules and less unnecessary fat!
3. Molecularly distilling the oil to remove DHA makes it purer than combined oils.
4. Taking EPA will provide DHA in vivo (the body will make it according to its needs!)