Cold water fish are a good source of the essential fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These essential fatty acids feed into the essential fatty acid pathways in humans and animals and allow the production of important compounds that regulate cell function and inflammation. Increasing dietary intakes of EPA and DHA is associated with a number of positive health outcomes including a reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Sprat is a cold water fish with high levels of EPA and DHA. However as with all cold water fish the EPA and DHA content varies between fish. For example, studies have shown that the size of the fish, the amount of lipids it contains, and the year the fish was caught, can all influence the essential fatty acid content. However, both male and female fish both produce consistent amounts of EPA and DHA. Therefore while sprat is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, the levels may vary between batches of fish.
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