You want to boost your brain to peak performance? Then EPA and DHA can be invaluable. We’ll show you what they are and what’s behind the abbreviations.
When it comes to cognitive performance and your brain, DHA and EPA are often mentioned together. Behind these mysterious abbreviations are docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid – two omega-3 fatty acids that can improve your concentration and memory. They are also credited with positive effects on the cardiovascular system. Unfortunately, your body cannot produce these fatty acids on its own, so you need to regularly supply them through your diet.
1. DHA and EPA: Powerful Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If you think that all fats are unhealthy, you haven’t heard of EPA and DHA. These are two omega-3 fatty acids that belong to the polyunsaturated fatty acids. When people hear the term omega-3 fatty acids, they often immediately think of fish, although you can also obtain these two fatty acids from plant-based foods. However, in plant-based sources, they are not present as docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, but as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which your body needs to convert into EPA and DHA.
So, your body has an intelligent mechanism that can convert two of the most important fatty acids into a digestible form, making it possible for vegans to easily obtain omega-3 fatty acids – provided they consume enough omega-3 fatty acids through their diet.
Did you know that these two fatty acids have great potential? They are believed to not only improve your cognitive performance but also your physical performance – not to mention the positive effects that omega-3 fatty acids have on heart health.
Therefore, it is important to ensure regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Otherwise, a deficiency can lead to communication problems between brain cells, which in turn can result in concentration problems and memory gaps.
2. What is DHA?
This is docosahexaenoic acid – a polyunsaturated fatty acid that belongs to the omega-3 fatty acids. It is mainly found in fatty sea fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, but it is also present in tiny crustaceans and marine algae.
The fact that this fatty acid accounts for 30 percent of the dry weight of the brain underscores its importance for your body and cognitive performance. Until now, it has been attributed „only“ positive effects on heart health, but many studies now show that it is equally important for brain function because DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function.
Why? Docosahexaenoic acid is believed to help improve your concentration and focus in everyday life by enhancing brain activity. Regular consumption of these fatty acids through diet is said to boost your mental power without relying on coffee, which can be beneficial for anyone looking to benefit from the unlimited possibilities of their mental performance.
3. What are the benefits of Docosahexaenoic acid?
DHA can have many benefits for your body. Primarily, it is attributed benefits for cardiovascular health, but it is also believed to be of great importance for your brain, as it can influence many processes here.
Docosahexaenoic acid for cognitive performance & mental power
DHA is believed to have a significant impact on cognitive performance by enhancing memory cells and neurological activity in your brain. This can not only affect your memory but also your cognitive abilities, especially if you spend many hours in front of the computer.
Docosahexaenoic acid for reaction time
Scientists currently believe that DHA can improve reaction time, which means that omega-3 fatty acids can enhance learning and retrieval of information.
Docosahexaenoic acid for heart health
The fact that this fatty acid is attributed positive effects on heart health could be of great importance for biohackers as well. As a biohacker, you want to give your best every day and maximize your potential both mentally and physically. Docosahexaenoic acid is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and strengthen the immune system.
4. What is EPA?
EPA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is also derived from fatty fish. However, it often fades into the background in many sources, although it is equally important for your health. As an essential fatty acid, it is considered indispensable for the heart, which is why it is not unfoundedly recommended by many sports doctors.
Interestingly, this fatty acid is also believed to have a positive effect on mood, which can be advantageous for people who occasionally experience depressive moods.
5. Eicosapentaenoic Acid or Docosahexaenoic Acid: Which one is better?
As a biohacker, you are probably wondering which omega-3 fatty acid is better. This question can be easily answered: Both fatty acids can be of great advantage to you as they can improve your physical and mental performance, helping you push your limits both physically and mentally.
6. Can these fatty acids improve muscle building?
If you engage in a lot of sports, you probably often push your limits and constantly seek new ways and challenges to improve your performance. The claim that omega-3 fatty acids may help with muscle building may be particularly interesting for biohackers.
While this claim has not been proven yet, researchers believe that these essential fatty acids can indeed contribute to muscle building. This can be especially important as you age and experience a gradual decline in muscle mass.
7. What are the best sources of DHA and EPA?
As mentioned before, these fatty acids are primarily found in fatty fish. Alongside salmon and mackerel, herring and sardines are considered the best sources of DHA and EPA. However, as a proponent of a plant-based diet, fish rarely ends up on your plate. Therefore, you may wonder which plant-based foods can fulfill your need for omega-3 fatty acids.
When it comes to plant-based sources of DHA and EPA, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil are often mentioned. Indeed, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil are rich sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which your body must convert into DHA and EPA. It’s worth noting that chia seeds, hemp seeds, and hemp oil are also high in ALA.
Despite the variety of plant-based foods that can serve as EPA and DHA sources for the body, you might think that you can adequately meet your omega-3 fatty acid needs as a vegan. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as your body can only convert about five percent of the consumed alpha-linolenic acid. This is clearly insufficient, especially if you’re a biohacker who is highly physically and mentally active.
The solution is to use algae oil, a plant-based oil derived from algae that is enriched with omega-3 fatty acids and considered an excellent alternative to conventional fish oil.
8. Vegan Omega-3 as a source of DHA and EPA
If you follow a strictly vegan diet and are therefore looking for a plant-based alternative to fish oil, you can support your intake of omega-3 fatty acids with algae oil. Compared to fish, algae oil is believed to be equally effective since it contains high concentrations of the essential fatty acids, making it one of the best plant-based sources of DHA and EPA.
This oil is derived from microalgae, which are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids just like fish. By incorporating algae oil into your diet as a vegan, you can perfectly complement your nutrition to obtain these valuable fatty acids. Algae oil offers two advantages: it is easily digestible and does not leave an unpleasant taste, which is often a concern for non-vegans who seek plant-based alternatives due to the distinctive taste of conventional fish oil capsules.
Our algae oil contains both essential fatty acids in highly concentrated form. These fatty acids are perfectly balanced to provide you with a well-rounded supply of omega-3 fatty acids. The capsules are completely vegan and free from lactose, gluten, and other additives.
9. Conclusion: Algae oil is the ideal source of DHA and EPA
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for us, and therefore, we should regularly incorporate them into our diet. Experts recommend consuming fish at least twice a week as it has been considered one of the best sources of EPA and DHA. While there are some plant-based alternatives, with flaxseeds and flaxseed oil being prominent examples, these foods contain the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which the body can only utilize as a source of EPA and DHA after converting it.
However, the yield of omega-3 fatty acids from this conversion process is very low, which can affect your mental and physical performance in the long run. Omega-3 fatty acids are not only essential for your brain but also for your immune system and heart health.
To ensure sufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids as a vegan, many biohackers turn to algae oil, which contains an equally high proportion of essential fatty acids as fish. Algae oil is highly digestible and leaves no unpleasant aftertaste.