Food and Behaviour Research

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Eicosapentaenoic acid and arachidonic acid: collaboration and not antagonism is the key to biological understanding.

Horrobin DF, Jenkins K, Bennett CN, Christie WW. (2002) Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids.  2002 Jan; 66(1) 83-90 PMID: 12051959 DOI: 10.1054/plef.2001.0338

Web URL: View this and related abstract via PubMed here.


Much of the literature on omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids suggests that desirable effects of omega-3 fatty acids are in part related to depletion of arachidonic acid (AA). However, in rats and humans, we have found that low doses of EPA actually elevate membrane AA phospholipid concentrations.

In patients with schizophrenia, treatment with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) produced clinical improvement, but that improvement was greater at a dose of 2 g/day than at 4 g/day. The improvement was not significantly correlated with changes in either EPA or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) but was highly significantly positively correlated with rises in red cell membrane AA. We suggest that elevation of concentrations of both AA and EPA in cell membranes may be important for health.