Platelets are cells that help the blood clot normally and begin the wound-healing process. Too little platelet activity leads to excess bleeding, but too much can impair healing, block blood flow, and lead to heart attack or stroke. Researchers said earlier lab studies suggested DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) may help normalize platelet activity in women more than men. In one study, 15 women took EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA or a placebo. Doctors measured platelet activity before and several times during the next 24 hours. While EPA was not effective for women, DHA reduced platelet activity 14 percent after 24 hours. Study authors concluded DHA effectively interacts with female sex hormones to normalize platelet activity, reducing chances of heart attack and stroke.
In a similar study of men, DHA was not effective, but EPA reduced platelet activity 11 percent after 2 hours and 20 percent after 24 hours. Study authors concluded EPA effectively interacts with male sex hormones to normalize platelet activity, reducing chances of heart attack and stroke. EPA and DHA are essential omega-3s found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements.