What is DPA Fish Oil? The New Omega-3 You Should Know About

DPA Fish Oil is a new omega-3 that’s about to change the fish oil market. Primarily sourced from a small, sustainable fish found in the Atlantic called menhaden, DPA may actually be responsible for many of the health benefits that have previously been attributed to the more popular fish oil omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. In addition to its powerful anti-inflammatory and brain-boosting benefits, DPA fish oil absorbs faster than EPA and is both mercury- and toxin-free, making it one of the cleanest, healthiest fish oils you can buy.

Read on to discover everything you need to know about getting started with DPA fish oil.

In this article, you will learn:

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What is DPA Fish Oil?

DPA fish oil is a fish oil supplement that contains a higher concentration of the beneficial omega-3 fatty acid, docosapentaenoic acid (or DPA for short).

Until recently, there have been three main types of omega-3 fatty acids. The first, A-linolenic acid (ALA), comes from vegan sources like hemp hearts, chia seeds, and flax seeds and has relatively few benefits. The next two, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found in fish like salmon. Of the omega-3s, EPA and DHA have typically been known to supply the most benefits.

But, as of recently, another omega-3 in fish oil has been found to play a major role in imparting health benefits that have previously always been attributed to EPA and DHA. Docosapentaenoic acid, or DPA for short, is the intermediate polyunsaturated fatty acid between EPA and DHA.

DPA is absorbed into the bloodstream and red blood cell lipids 22% better than EPA and DHA, meaning the body may be able to absorb more of its benefits. Fish oils rich in DPA can also act as a reservoir to help the body retain its omega-3 fatty acids. 

A two-week study in Copenhagen showed that omega-3 levels increased in the bloodstreams of the participants’ by 63% who had taken supplements rich in DPA in addition to EPA and DHA. This compares to just a 41% improvement in the participants who took supplements with only EPA and DHA.

The Benefits of DPA Fish Oil

Omega-3s are known for their health benefits like mood improvement, eye health, memory enhancement, bone health, anti-inflammatory benefits, and improved sleep. Though these benefits were once attributed to EPA and DHA, it turns out that DPA may actually be responsible for many of omega-3’s benefits, specifically:

  • Highly Anti-Inflammatory. DPA helps to rebalance the ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s, which lowers inflammation in the body.
  • Improves Memory. This fatty oil can aid in long-term memory retention, especially with age-related declines in learning. Once consumed, DPA is able to improve cell membrane structure which in turn boosts brain function.
  • Anti-Cancer. Numerous studies have reported that DPA has a high anti-cancer potential, particularly when it comes to reducing tumor growth in breast, colon, and prostate cancer. DPA is able to increase the absorption of DHA omega-3 in the blood. This is helpful since high levels of DHA in red blood cells has been linked to lower risks of cancer. 
  • Relieves Arthritis Pain. Due to its highly anti-inflammatory effects, taking DPA may reduce pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. 
  • Improves Mental Health. DPA can improve mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Schizophrenia patients have been found to have lower levels of DPA in their blood, meaning a daily dose of this fatty acid may reduce symptoms. 
  • Anti-Aging. DPA supplementation may improve cognitive decline due to aging. Studies have also found a link between higher blood levels of DPA and improved wellbeing in aged men and women.
  • Improves Cardiovascular Health. DPA can decrease the risk of heart disease, prevent arterial blockage, and strokes by as much as 40%. A Harvard study of more than 30,000 participants also showed higher concentrations of DPA in the bloodstream were associated with a lower risk of a heart attack.
  • Lowers Cholesterol. Taking DPA can reduce non-HDL cholesterol by 50%.

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How Much DPA Do You Need?

According to numerous studies, low levels of DPA in the blood can predict a broad range of negative health conditions. To ensure optimal health over the long term, it’s important to consume at least 150 mg of DPA per day, which is the minimum recommended dose for people over 12 years old. 

However, a more potent daily dose upwards of 300mg of DPA is ideal to actively support brain development, eye health, and maintain an optimal nervous system.

What is the Best Fish Oil With DPA?

The best fish oil with DPA is one made exclusively from wild-caught menhaden fish, is free of mercury and other toxins, and is safely packaged in a UV-blocking bottle to ensure freshness.

If you haven’t heard of menhaden fish before, they are a small fish, native to the western Atlantic Ocean, that are packed with more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. They’re also a highly-sustainable and environmentally-friendly source of DPA omega-3 fatty acid. The adult female menhaden fish produces up to 360,000 eggs per year, ensuring this species flourishes. While they’re not highly known today, menhaden have been called “the most important fish in the sea” because of the ecological role they play in the marine ecosystem. Menhaden are filter feeders that regulate the population of phytoplankton, which helps prevent the overgrowth of algae in the Atlantic. They’re also a food source for many fish like cod, bass, mackerel, and tuna.

Not only do menhaden fish make a sustainable DPA fish oil, but because they’re so low on the food chain, their oil is also very clean and toxin-free

In a recent study on the levels of contamination of popular fish oils on the market, twelve of the thirty-three products exceeded the safety limit of toxic polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) and dioxins. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), once dioxins and PCBs are ingested, they’re absorbed by fatty tissues in the body, where they can last for 7-11 years. Because many popular fish oils are made from fish like salmon and cod (fish that are higher up on the food chain), they can be teaming with dioxins and PCBs. 

The best way to avoid these contaminations is by choosing a DPA fish oil that is not only made with menhaden fish, but is also rigorously tested to ensure the absence of mercury, dioxins, PCBs, and other harmful toxins.


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