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Importance of EPA and DHA Blood Levels in Brain Structure and Function

Omegametrix, Martinsried, Am Klopferspitz 19, 82152 Martinsried, Germany
Academic Editor: Paolo Brambilla
Nutrients 2021, 13(4), 1074;
Received: 25 February 2021 / Revised: 24 March 2021 / Accepted: 24 March 2021 / Published: 25 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Omega-3 Supplementation and Human Behaviour)
Brain structure and function depend on a constant and sufficient supply with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) by blood. Blood levels of EPA and DHA reflect dietary intake and other variables and are preferably assessed as percentage in erythrocytes with a well-documented and standardized analytical method (HS-Omega-3 Index®). Every human being has an Omega-3 Index between 2 and 20%, with an optimum of 8–11%. Compared to an optimal Omega-3 Index, a lower Omega-3 Index was associated with increased risk for total mortality and ischemic stroke, reduced brain volume, impaired cognition, accelerated progression to dementia, psychiatric diseases, compromises of complex brain functions, and other brain issues in epidemiologic studies. Most intervention trials, and their meta-analyses considered EPA and DHA as drugs with good bioavailability, a design tending to produce meaningful results in populations characterized by low baseline blood levels (e.g., in major depression), but otherwise responsible for many neutral results and substantial confusion. When trial results were evaluated using blood levels of EPA and DHA measured, effects were larger than comparing EPA and DHA to placebo groups, and paralleled epidemiologic findings. This indicates future trial design, and suggests a targeted use EPA and DHA, based on the Omega-3 Index. View Full-Text
Keywords: eicosapentaenoic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; omega-3 index; biomarker eicosapentaenoic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; omega-3 index; biomarker
MDPI and ACS Style

von Schacky, C. Importance of EPA and DHA Blood Levels in Brain Structure and Function. Nutrients 2021, 13, 1074.

AMA Style

von Schacky C. Importance of EPA and DHA Blood Levels in Brain Structure and Function. Nutrients. 2021; 13(4):1074.

Chicago/Turabian Style

von Schacky, Clemens. 2021. "Importance of EPA and DHA Blood Levels in Brain Structure and Function" Nutrients 13, no. 4: 1074.

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