EPA and DHA Omega-3 important for immune health

Published: 4-Nov-2020

Most Americans know that vitamin C supports immune health; most consume the daily intake recommendation in their diet and know to increase intake when their immune system is challenged

If polled, most Americans would not attribute EPA and DHA omega-3 as valuable nutrients for healthy immune function. While understandable, this lack of knowledge is costly, says Wiley Companies.

The company says, most Americans are not meeting their daily intake recommendations for EPA and DHA Omega-3 from their diet and most are not aware of the need for EPA and DHA for healthy immune function.

From EPA and DHA the body produces compounds (e.g., prostaglandins, leukotrienes, resolvins) used to support healthy respiratory function, body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and resolve inflammation. Metabolites of EPA and DHA balance immune system modulators such as B-cells, cytokines, and lymphocytes.

“EPA and DHA omega-3s are integral nutrients for healthy immune function”, said Gretchen Vannice, Director of Nutrition Education and Research at Wiley Companies. Vannice added, “I admit, we’ve been so focused on the well-documented benefits of omega-3s for heart and mental health, maternal and child health, even healthy vision, that we lose sight of the role of EPA and DHA as essential nutrients. While more is better, at its core, the greatest need for EPA and DHA is to support normal, healthy metabolism, lung function, immune response, and other life-sustaining functions. The tragic reality is that most Americans fall far short of meeting their essential intake needs for EPA and DHA omega-3.”

EPA and DHA omega-3s are essential nutrients because, like vitamin C, humans need them but cannot produce them; their only natural source is fish, seafood, and fish oil supplements. Wiley claims recent data shows the vast majority of Americans consume 100 mg EPA and DHA per day; 60% short of the global minimum intake recommendation of 250 mg per day. With renewed focus on immunology, scientists are reportedly recommending more EPA and DHA omega-3 (2,000 mg/day) to replenish the chronic lack, fuel an immune system on high alert, and fortify heart health, brain and mental health, and healthy metabolism.

Prof Phillip Calder, Head of Human Development & Health and Professor of Nutritional Immunology within Medicine at the University of Southampton added, “Getting nutrition right is vital for the immune system to function properly. Many nutrients are involved, including omega-3. EPA and DHA (Omega-3 from fish and from supplements) are important in controlling the activity of the immune system especially inflammation. It is unfortunate that many people do not get enough EPA and DHA in their diet."

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