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Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA or also icosapentaenoic acid) is an omega-3 fatty acid. In physiological literature, it is given the name 20:5(n-3). It also has the trivial name timnodonic acid. In chemical structure, EPA is a carboxylic acid with a 20-carbon chain and five cis double bonds; the first double bond is located at the third carbon from the omega end.
Additional recommended knowledge
It is obtained in the human diet by eating oily fish or fish oil—cod liver, herring, mackerel, salmon, menhaden and sardine. It is also found in human breast milk.
It is available from some non-animal sources—spirulina and microalgae. Microalgae are being developed as a commercial source. EPA is not usually found in higher plants, but it has been reported in trace amounts in purslane.
The US National Institute of Health's MedlinePlus lists a large number of conditions in which EPA (alone or in concert with other ω-3 sources) is known or thought to be effective. Most of these involve its ability to lower inflammation.
Among omega-3 fatty acids, in particular EPA is thought to possess beneficial potential in mental conditions, such as schizophrenia. Several studies report an additional reduction in scores on symptom scales used to assess the severity of symptoms, when additional EPA is taken.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Eicosapentaenoic_acid". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|