Eicosapentaenoic Acid

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Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) is a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid with 20 carbons and five double bonds, which is commonly notated as C20:5n-3 or simply 20:5n−3. It can be found in fish, fish oils, and other marine sources[1] and to a lesser extent in the milk of pastured ruminants (see Sources of EPA below for more).

Sources of EPA

A 2013 study by Washington State University research Charles Benbrook (who is also on the Science Advisory Board of the Organic Center) and others found that "organic milk contained 25% less ω-6 fatty acids and 62% more ω-3 fatty acids than conventional milk, yielding a 2.5-fold higher ω-6/ω-3 ratio in conventional compared to organic milk (5.77 vs. 2.28)" and that "dairy products supply far more α-linolenic acid than seafoods, about one-third as much eicosapentaenoic acid, and slightly more docosapentaenoic acid, but negligible docosahexaenoic acid."[2]

Articles and Resources

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External Resources


  1. DHA/EPA Omega-3 Institute, Dietary Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, organizational publication, accessed December 2013.
  2. Charles Benbrook, Gillian Butler, Maged A. Latif, Carlo Leifert, and Donald R. Davis, Organic Production Enhances Milk Nutritional Quality by Shifting Fatty Acid Composition: A United States–Wide, 18-Month Study, PLoS ONE 8(12): e82429, December 9, 2013.
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