Different effects of EPA versus DHA

A comparison of the proposed differential effects of consuming the long-chain fatty acids EPA versus DHA is shown in the table below:

Comparison between eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)



• Greater reduction in hs-CRP

• Longer hydrocarbon length, promoting conformational changes in the membrane of vascular smooth muscle cells and macrophages

• Inhibits oxidation of ApoB-containing particles

• Increases LDL-C levels

• Greater induction of nitric oxide release

• Does not decrease ApoB levels

• Greater lowering of linoleic and arachidonic acid plasma levels

• Favors reduction of platelet aggregation in females

• Induces endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation and enhances endothelial function

• Greater anti-thrombotic effect

• Favours reduction of platelet aggregation in males

• Greater increase in adiponectin levels [unclear relevance]

Also see this figure of opposing effects of EPA and DHA regarding the risk of myocardial infarction (MI) in Bäck 2023:


Fig. 1. Meta-analysis (A) and meta-regression (B) with 15 ω3-PUFA trials illustrating the relationship between treatment and non-fatal MI risk. Reproduced from Sarajlic et al., “Dose-Dependent Risk Reduction for Myocardial Infarction with Eicosapentaenoic Acid: a Meta-analysis and Meta-regression Including the STRENGTH Trial. Reproduced from Cardiovasc Drugs Ther 35, 1079–1081 (2021) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ "


ApoB: apolipoprotein B; hs-CRP: high-sensitivity C-reactive protein; LDL-C: LDL cholesterol


Quispe et al.: Controversies in the Use of Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Prevent Atherosclerosis. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2022 Jul;24(7):571-581. doi: 10.1007/s11883-022-01031-9. Epub 2022 Apr 30.

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