Interviewer: You mentioned getting Omega-3s from a food source which comes from...
Dr. Dyerberg: The Sea.
Interviewer: ...marine animals.
Dr. Dyerberg: Fatty fish.
Interviewer: Can people get enough through food?
Dr. Dyerberg: Yeah, they can get enough. Certainly. If you eat three fatty fish meals per week, then you will in general take 500 milligrams, half a gram of these essential long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids which we by shorthand may call EPA and DHA.
You will get enough, but not very many Americans do eat three fatty fish meals a week and if we look at the amount that Americans take through their food, it's an average of 150 to 200 milligrams and we say at minimum you should have 500 milligrams and 25 percent of Americans have an intake of zero. There are, as I said, food deficiencies in that area.
Interviewer: You mentioned EPA and DHA, can you explain what those are, because when people see supplements those are listed on there. Explain those.
Dr. Dyerberg: These are the two polyunsaturated Omega-3, marine Omega-3 fatty acids that influences body function. They have different ways of working, but they are built into cell membrane, both of them.
When we, for example, take EPA the one that we first focused in on is a 20 carbon fatty acid with 5 double bonds so that's a bit of chemistry, but nevertheless that's how it is. This fatty acid has influence on blood clotting. It dampens blood clotting; thereby it has a beneficial effect of risk of getting coronary artery diseases. It also dampens inflammatory processes so it works in Rheumatoid Arthritis and things like that.
The other guy, the DHA. It's a longer guy. DHA has 22 carbon atoms and 6 double bonds. Forget about the chemistry, but that's how it is. It has a broader spectrum of effects. It is the fatty acid that is built into our brains. Our brains consist, to a very high degree, of fatty acids and half of them are DHA and as you remember you cannot make it, you have to eat it.
There are symptoms related to DHA deficiency that are related to brain function, both in newborns and kids and in the elderly we getting the cognitive deterioration.
Then another area is the eye, because the retina, the back side, or the background of your eye that catches up the light when it has been focused in by our lenses are packed with DHA is part of the photo sensing system that sends light into impulses that goes to your brain and makes you able to look at me and me able to look at you.
DHA have effects on brain function, on eyesight and also on inflammatory reaction like EPA body in a broader way, so if you should compare them they are both essential, but our need for DHA exceeds that of EPA.