Omega 3 is celebrated as an incredibly important supplement. You may have even heard of omega 3 associated with DHA. But, what is DHA? And is there a limit to how much omega 3 you should be taking? The answers may surprise you.
Here’s what you need to know about omega 3, including how much you should be taking:
What Is Omega 3?
Omega-3 is a class of fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). While there are many subclasses of omega 3s, EPA and DHA are considered the most useful omega 3 fatty acids and are the most studied omega 3 fatty acids.
What Are the Benefits of Omega 3?
There are many potential benefits of including omega 3 in your diet. In fact, because fatty acids are important for cell building, a proper amount of omega 3 is thought to be good for your brain, eyes, and even your heart. Omega 3’s are also thought to be beneficial for depression and anxiety.
Where Is Omega 3 Found?
The best way to get your daily intake of omega 3 is through your diet. Foods, such as fatty fish, are among the best sources of omega 3. In fact, just eating fatty fish, such as salmon or cod, twice per week provides you with substantial omega 3s. Other sources of omega 3 include nuts, such as walnuts, and seeds such as flax seeds, which contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)- a compound that can be converted to EPA and DHA.
What About Fish Oil?
Fish oil supplements can also be a great source of omega 3. If you feel like you’re not getting enough omega 3 from your diet, a supplement is worth considering. However, not all health supplements are made alike, and you’ll want to make sure to do your research to find a quality supplement. For instance, Revive AE Omega 3 supplement is designed with plenty of DHA and EPA and no fillers.
How Much Omega 3 Per Day?
While there are some generalized recommendations, there is no agreed-upon standard of how much omega 3 should be included in a healthy diet. In general, most healthcare organizations recommend at least 250-500 mg of EPA and DHA per day for adults, which translates to around 1000 mg of omega 3 or fish oil. However, these recommendations are for healthy adults and not children or adults with certain conditions.
Here is a bit more information about specific omega 3 recommendations for special situations. :
Adults with Heart Disease
According to the American Heart Association, people with heart disease should take 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA per day, and people with high triglycerides can benefit from taking 2,000-4,000 mg per day.
Per one study, taking even 850 mg of EPA and DHA every day for 3.5 years decreased heart attacks by 25% and reduced sudden death by 45%. However, other studies have not shown a significant benefit of increased omega 3 intake.
Adults with Depression and Anxiety
Adults with depression and anxiety are thought to benefit from high doses of omega 3, around 200 to 2,200 mg per day. Some studies also suggest that individuals with mood and mental disorders can also benefit from higher EPA and DHA intake.
Adults with Cancer
Increased omega 3 has been linked to a decreased risk of prostate, colon, and breast cancers. However, not enough data exists to support the relationship between omega 3 and cancer risk at this time.
Omega 3 for Children
Around 50-100 mg per day of EPA and DHA is considered ideal for children and infants.
Omega 3 in Pregnancy
Fatty acids, especially DHA, are very important during pregnancy. In fact, those who are trying to conceive should also consider increasing their DHA intake to up to 200 mg per day.
Omega 3 for Dry Eye Disease
Certain individuals with dry eye disease may benefit from increased omega 3 intake. However, current research is underway for how DHA and EPA can significantly alleviate dry eye signs and symptoms.
The Omega 3 and Omega 6 Relationship
The amount of omega 6 in your diet may influence the amount of omega 3 you need in your diet because omega 3 and 6 require the same enzymes for processing. Most experts recommend a 2:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3.
Omega 6 is a very common part of the Western diet and comes primarily from vegetable oil. If you want to optimize your intake of omega 3s, you will want to decrease the amount of omega 6 in your diet to allow for processing.
Is Too Much Omega 3 Bad?
Most things that are good for you can also be bad when taken in excess, and the same is true for omega 3. However, just as there is no consensus on the ideal doses of EPA and DHA, there is also no agreement on the maximum dose. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends taking no more than 3,000 mg of omega 3 supplements per day, the European Food Safety Authority considers it safe to take up to 5,000 mg per day.
Taking too much omega 3 can cause excessive bleeding in people prone to bleeding or already on blood thinners. This is also why most health professionals recommend that you stop taking omega 3 supplements 1-2 weeks before any scheduled surgery.
Some omega 3 supplements, such as cod liver oil, also contain vitamin A, which is toxic when consumed in high amounts.
When to Speak to Your Doctor
You should always inform your doctor of any supplements in your diet, especially if they ask you about any new supplements or medications. If you’re thinking of increasing your omega 3 intake because you’re pregnant or to help alleviate a condition, we recommend talking to your doctor first. Your doctor may recommend an ideal, minimum, or maximum dose, depending on your age and health status.
In some cases, a doctor may recommend increasing your omega 3 intake as part of a treatment plan for a specific condition.
- Omega 3s are actually a group of fatty acids.
- There is no set standard for how much omega 3 a person should consume in general. The specific recommended amount will vary individually.