What Is Eicosapentaenoic Acid, EPA (20:5 n-3) & What Foods Can I Find It In?

3D-model of Eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA (20:5 n-3) (src)

Eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA 20:5 n-3, also called icosapentaenoic acid. It's a polyunsaturated and omega-3 fatty acid.

EPA has many beneficial effects on human health. For instance, a variety of positive effects on disease in the central nervous system.

The major sources of EPA are oily fish such as salmon, trout, herring, mackerel, sardines, and albacore tuna, as well as a variety of nuts and seeds.

Table of Contents

Eicosapentaenoic Acid, EPA, In Food

You get eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA from your diet by eating oily fish or fish oil. Like cod liver, herring, mackerel, salmon, menhaden and sardine, and various types of edible algae.

It is also found in human breast milk.

Omega-3–Fortified Foods

The growth of omega-3–fortified foods available in the marketplace has skyrocketed in recent years.

In most cases, the form of omega-3 you find in these foods is alpha-linolenic acid ALA.

But a growing number do contain marine omega-3 sources. (source )

EPA For Your Heart

Studies have indicated that Inuit populations in Greenland whose diets contain a high level of fish, high levels of EPA, and also DHA.

Have lower cases of cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis, conditions with a significant inflammatory etiology. (source )

A recent study on a prescription drug containing only EPA showed to reduce heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death by 25% relative to placebo in those with statin-resistant hypertriglyceridemia. (source )

Benefits Of Eicosapentaenoic Acid

EPA has many beneficial effects on human health.

It is beneficial for the treatment of a number of conditions.

Eicosapentaenoic acid are considered to have anti-inflammatory effects, and may be of benefit in cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, and diabetes.

It is incorporated into cell membranes and is necessary for cell signalling, growth and maintenance.

You can find some researched-backed benefits of eicosapentaenoic acid in Eicosapentaenoic Acid, EPA (20:5 n-3): 8 Research-Backed Benefits .

Foods You Can Find Eicosapentaenoic Acid, EPA, In

You find eicosapentaenoic acid mostly in oils from american indian and alaska native food, and seafood products.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated, top ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most eicosapentaenoic acid, we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top ranked list of foods that contain Eicosapentaenoic Acid, EPA (20:5 n-3).

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

Author Image of Sara Niemelä

Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.