Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid.
What does EPA stand for? EPA is the abbreviated form for eicosapentaenoic acid, one of the 3 types of omega-3.
There is some hierarchical order to these types of omega-3.
ALA can be thought of as the initial building block of the omega 3's. Within the body ALA can be converted into EPA, and to a lesser degree DHA.
For example, studies show that once consumed, between 0.2% to 21% of ALA may be converted into EPA, and up to 9% of ALA is converted into DHA .
Not all omega-3's sourced from the diet are ALA. For example, fish , a potentially rich dietary source of omega-3 can contain high levels of EPA and DHA.
A well known benefit of omega-3 is that when taken direct from food or from supplements, it can help prevent or reduce further complications associated with both coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Other omega-3 benefits which may require more evidence, include cognition and concentration enhancement, joint maintenance and blood pressure reduction.
Structurally, omega-3 fatty acids are a carboxylic acid with a long chain of carbon and hydrogen atoms in formation.