The human microbiome is the ever-changing and diversifying collection of microorganisms (microbes) that include bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and other one-celled organisms in and on the body. We aren’t just single individuals walking the planet; we are walking ecosystems. Researchers are most interested in the microbes that live in the intestinal tract (the gut!), as they collectively function as an extra organ affecting key bodily functions. Each person’s microbiome is as unique as a fingerprint and responds to factors such as dietary and lifestyle habits. Think of the microbiome as the central hub to total body wellness.
Ongoing studies of the human microbiome are expected to improve the understanding of nutritional requirements to promote microbial diversity and gut health. Omega-3 supplementation has become a popular opportunity in the U.S. to help support the growth of healthy microbes in your gut.
Omega-3s are a type of polyunsaturated fat that is necessary for health but cannot be made by your body, so we have to get them from our diet. Rather than being stored and used for energy, they provide fuel for nearly all functions of the human body, including brain health, heart health, mood and digestion.* Previously, the emphasis with omega-3 ingredients has been placed on EPA, DHA and ALA. Both EPA and DHA are mostly found in seafood, including fatty fish and algae. ALA is found in many plant foods, including kale and spinach, as well as seeds, such as chia and flax.
But before you order another plate of salmon, there is a less prominently discussed fatty acid that at the forefront of research for having a unique role in the body.
Docosapentaenoic Acid (DPA) is a long chain omega-3 fatty acid that plays a critical role in how our bodies use EPA and DHA. It is similar to EPA, except our bodies can store twice as much in our blood because it is less actively oxidized (burned as energy). It works as both a standalone fatty acid and an intermediate essential fatty acid between EPA and DHA. DPA can be converted into either EPA or DHA, depending on what our bodies need, and vice versa. EPA, DHA, and DPA may offer important benefits individually, but our omega-3 metabolism relies on having all 3 present for best results. Known as the “Missing Omega”, this fatty acid is present in human tissues and breastmilk, providing scientists with clues to its significance in overall human health. Despite this, investigations into DPA and its benefits have remained limited compared to the celebrated consumption of EPA and DHA.
Luckily, this approach is fast-changing, and more evidence is being discovered supporting the prominent role DPA plays in our overall health. Studies have shown that it may be able to help support cardiovascular and eye health and has a direct effect on lipid metabolism.* Much focus has also been placed on its role around cognitive function, helping to promote a positive mood.*
Even more important is the role DPA plays in gut health, and more specifically, how it influences our gut microbiome. Our microbiome is KEY because it is responsible for nearly all aspects of total body wellness, directly affecting everything from energy levels to weight and digestion. The microbiome is like a little planet made up of over 50 trillion inhabitants or “microbes.” Some are good: protecting our gut, taking indigestible food and converting into hormones and chemicals (thus influencing our mood) for example. They also regulate our immune function. Having a diverse, varied microbiome is crucial for overall health and wellness.
Studies at The National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) show that a higher intake of omegas EPA, DHA, and DPA are critical in promoting microbial diversity and producing improvements in the gut microbiome, such as decreased digestive irritation.
The benefit of DPA consumption is clear: not only in regard to brain and heart health but also in the all-important role in the gut and microbiome. Unfortunately for us, our bodies are only capable of producing small amounts of DPA and consumption through food high in omega-3 is not enough to receive these impressive health benefits. Similarly, modern-day lifestyle and poor diet have a negative effect on our microbiome, stripping the gut from essential microbes we need for optimum health.
We must provide our bodies with a helping hand by increasing our overall consumption of DPA. But what is the best way to do this?
As well as researching DPA and its role in microbial diversity, the US National Library of Medicine (NIH) also tested the effects of an omega-3 rich diet that included fish oil supplements. They concluded that by adding these supplements, we are actively contributing to the health-related benefits associated with the dietary patterns of healthy diets such as the Mediterranean diet.
Despite these beneficial findings, many fish oils on the market choose to focus solely on the EPA omega—meaning we are missing out on the health benefits DPA consumption provides.
To optimize what science is unveiling about the microbiome and DPA, Enzymedica has created a different kind of fish oil. Aqua Biome is the first fish oil of its kind—not only does it include DPA, but it uses a different ratio of omega-3s. Think of it as ALL the omegas, ALL the benefits.
Yes, that includes focusing on that all-important diverse microbiome! We believe that since this is key to total body wellness, our supplements should fully support your microbe diversity. Recent studies have demonstrated that as DPA can convert into DHA or EPA to support gut health, a 2:1 balanced approach of DHA: EPA (rather than focusing specifically on EPA) not only provides greater benefits to the microbiome but is also the same ratio found in Wild Alaskan Salmon. Our supplements are designed to help your microbiome flourish!
Finally, what would be the point of demonstrating impressive scientific facts and the omega-3 benefits if we didn’t apply the same formula to our products? That’s why we ensure that an optimal ratio of omegas DHA, EPA and DPA are in Aqua Biome fish oil supplements. We are the first Clean Label Project Certified fish oil – this means we have been tested for heavy metals, pollutants and contaminants, leaving you with one of the purest, cleanest, most sustainable fish oils on the planet. We truly believe you will only experience the health benefits associated with DPA and the other omega-3s if you are consuming the best fish oil out there—and Aqua Biome offers that.
To find out more about Aqua Biome and how we are the world's first fish oil to support a healthy microbiome, you can visit our website here.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.