EPA and DHA: The Best Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Cognition, Behavior, and Mood

EPA and DHA: The Best Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Cognition, Behavior, and Mood

Brain health is vital in human development. The ability to think, memorize, solve problems, and create new ideas is necessary for you. The brain must develop to handle these tasks.

Eating proper diets with the right supplements can boost our immune system. It can also enhance body growth and development.

Fatty Acids are necessary nutrients for the body. These nutrients enhance cognitive functions and improve the behavior and mood of a person. This article will discuss the benefits you can derive from omega-3 fatty acids. The report further discusses the constituents of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. These constituents are beneficial for your Cognition, Behavior, and Mood.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and the Human Brain

As a human, the brain is a vital organ necessary for survival. From the fetal stage to childbirth, your brain begins to develop and grow with the help of your mother's right supplements. At birth, your brain performs involuntary actions like sleep, hunger, pain, joy, etc.

As you grow into childhood, weaning starts; there is a need to feed on essential diets for you to grow and develop. Your brain will also need this diet for proper coordination of the body. Your brain will also assign internal functions for building up your internal systems.

Omega-3 is a type of Fatty Acid which helps in brain development. This fatty acid helps in processing information and improving memory. Omega-3 fatty acid also brings balance to behavior and a positive mood in a person.

The brain does not produce this fatty acid. Yet, omega-3 Fatty Acids also help in neurodevelopment. Neurodevelopment is essential for a person of any life stage. Studies show that deficiency of these fatty acids in diets can cause brain problems. It can also promote violent tendencies among children as they grow into adulthood.

What are EPA and DHA?

Omega-3 has two essential constituents: Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). These two constituents make up Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs). These nutrients influence cognitive functions in humans. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) are vital for brain development.

DHA is essential for improving brain functions. The brain starts to function at childbirth and continues till adulthood. The brain uses DHA to better cognition and helps develop the retina in the human eye for better vision. DHA concentrations reduce with increasing age in humans. Yet, DHA has the right amount needed in the brain's neural pathways to function. DHA also promotes effective communication between neurons in the brain. For EPA, it handles the prevention of inflammation.

Children at childbirth enjoy high amounts of Omega-3 DHA and EPA through breastfeeding. But, as they grow older, their diet has to provide the needed amount of PUFAs. This provision is necessary as children begin to learn and memorize. As they become adults, the required amount of PUFAs is essential to cut the risks of brain disorders.

Food Supplements rich in EPA and DHA

Your brain is made up of fat. Most of the fat in your brain comprises Omega-3 fatty acids. Your brain needs these fatty acids to boost learning and improve your memory. Yet, the brain does not produce these fatty acids. It is encouraging to take in the right food rich in EPA and DHA. Supplements of fatty acids are recommended. These nutrients are necessary for your brain to function. They also help to reduce the risk of brain-related diseases.

Oily/Fatty Fish

Fish are a primary dietary source of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs). Related Studies associated with PUFAs show positive results in fish consumption. Higher intake of fish results in lesser cognitive disorders. Also, it reduces the risk of dementia in adults. Consider the following five types of fish rich in EPA and DHA.


  1.     Mackerel: a small fatty fish that is best enjoyed when smoked. A serving of Mackerel contains 0.59g of DHA and 0.43g of EPA.
  2.     Salmon: is a very nutritious fish, and it is available in the fish market. There are two kinds of Salmon: Farmed Salmon and Wild Salmon.

A serving of farmed Salmon contains 1.24g of DHA and 0.59g of EPA. A serving of wild Salmon contains 1.22g of DHA and 0.35g of EPA.

  1.     Oysters: Oysters are shellfish served in restaurants as appetizers. A serving of Oysters contains 0.23g of DHA and 0.30g of EPA.
  2.     Sardines: are oily fish stored in cans. It can be served for breakfasts or used as snacks. A serving of Sardines contains 0.74g of DHA and 0.45g of EPA.
  3.     Shrimp: Shrimp consumption is a delicacy worldwide as a constituent of meals. A serving contains 0.12g of DHA and 0.12g of EPA.

These fish are available in fish markets. You may consider adding fish portions to your meals daily or weekly. It will provide vital fatty acids to your brain for proper cognition, behavior, and mood.


If you are vegan or wish to include vegetable supplements in your diet, there are meals to enjoy. Seaweed and algae are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. There are various kinds: Nori, spirulina, and chlorella. Humans enjoy these kinds for different health benefits. Yet, they are rich in EPA and DHA, and you can find them at local food stores or shop online.


As adults, it is imperative not to consume too much. To meet your daily diet requirements, you can consider omega-3 fatty acid supplements. They vary in size, quantity, and quality. Most supplements come in soft gel capsules for easy passage from your mouth to your stomach. Several types of Omega-3 supplements include:

  1.     Fish Oil is the most popular and available omega-3 supplement. It offers high content in both DHA and EPA
  2.     Cod liver oil is rich in EPA and DHA omega-3. It is also rich in vitamin A for good vision.
  3.     Krill oil is a seafood oil rich in EPA and DHA.
  4.     Algae Oil is an excellent choice if you opt for a vegan diet. But it contains a lower dosage than other omega-3 supplements available. It is recommendable you take in more of this supplement.

EPA and DHA in Cognition

The relationship between Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid and human cognition is fascinating. Without the brain, the human body is dead. Scientists around the world have studied the connection and discovered varied results. Research shows that both Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) are necessary for the human brain. These PUFAs form the building blocks of the brain. They help promote the proper function of the human brain.

Yet, the human brain has information to process, tasks to handle, problems to solve, and ideas to create. Adults need to ensure their daily diet is sufficient with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 can help keep the brain intact despite aging. It can also help reduce the risks of brain disorders and diseases common among adults.

It is of note that most diets worldwide are deficient in omega-3 PUFAs. In developing countries with meals rich in omega-3, the consumption is low. This low consumption has led to several cases of Brain disorders. Deficiencies of omega-3 in meals have resulted in brain-related diseases around the world. Olesen and his fellow associates made a report about the costs of Brain Disorders in Europe in 2011. They found that mental and neurologic disorders cost more than €700 million. These patients are expensive to take care of their needs.

In children, the brain helps to better understand the world around them. Their brains process learning new words, solving basic arithmetic, and creating ideas. Their young brains cannot produce EPA and DHA, but they can enjoy these in a diet that includes omega-3.

The human brain develops before the age of 25 years. It is vital to ensure that your children's brain has higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. These Polyunsaturated fatty acids help coordinate neurons to send information faster.

As noted earlier, the amount of DHA and EPA reduces as aging sets in adults. Adults run the risk of having dementia as they grow older. Studies link fish consumption to reducing the risk of dementia. A particular study showed that older persons who included fish in their diet weekly minimized their risk of having dementia by 41%. Yet another study proved otherwise. In a case of 5000 persons researched, irrespective of how much fish they consumed over the years, there was no change in risk of having dementia.

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects cognition. Persons with schizophrenia suffer hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking and behavior. This disorder affects the sufferers' daily activities.

Studies show schizophrenia patients have low levels of polyunsaturated Fatty Acid. A 2007 study showed the impact of introducing omega-3 supplements in treating schizophrenia. The results showed that these patients showed fewer symptoms of schizophrenia. They also did not need to rely on their antipsychotic medications.

Another Brain disorder is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). This disorder is common in children. If left unchecked, it goes on into the adult stage of the person with ADHD. The study shows that the higher severity of ADHD results from low Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) levels in the brain. A leading cause of ADHD in kids is their mothers not taking enough seafood or supplements rich in omega-3 during their pregnancies. This disorder can affect motor coordination, verbal communication, and social development in adults.

Despite scientific breakthroughs, medications such as methylphenidate and atomoxetine used in treating ADHD are not effective in all patients. Introducing omega-3 supplements and diets has significantly improved children who have ADHD.

EPA and DHA in Behavior and Mood

Behaviors and moods are necessary for human development. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital in ensuring proper mental health. Recent studies show that several cases of self-harm and suicide happen. Studies prove these cases occur due to low amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids in the brain. EPA has a unique role in maintaining healthy moods. With the aid of DHA, EPA helps stabilize good mood and promote proper behavior in humans.

Depression and anxiety are common today, and these two affect humans' mental health. Cases of depressed patients have risen over the years. Different studies connect depression and anxiety with the intake of omega-3 fatty acids. These studies' results show an inverse relationship between these two. This result means low intake of DHA and EPA results in high rates of depression and vice versa.

A clinical study treated a patient with depression and suicide attempts. The study showed that the intake of fatty acids (DHA and EPA) acts as "antidepressants" in this patient's body. This evidence pointed to the fact that including omega-3 in the diet of patients helps with mood.

Not all studies could hold for the positive effect of omega-3 fatty acids in diets. There are differences in the approach of each survey. The quality of polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) in the meals, the ratio of EPA to DHA in the diet, and the placebo used. These differences in several case studies gave different results. Fatty Acids supplements (from fish oil or seaweed oil) have helped depressive patients.


Eating fish or vegetables containing omega-3 fatty acids is essential for brain development. Yet, results are relative when it comes to brain-related disorders or diseases. The effectiveness of EPA and DHA varies from one individual to another. Still, preventing risks relating to the brain is better than curing such troubles.

In your feeding plan, you may consider diets or meals rich in omega-3 fatty acids. After weaning, children can enjoy a fish diet and vegetables rich in EPA and DHA. These are essential for brain development. It is recommended you take 1000mg - 2000mg of omega-3 fatty acid in your daily diet.