November 1, 2019
How Much Omega-3 Do I Need Daily, You Ask?
Let’s talk recommended omega-3 intake. While we know just how important omega-3 fatty acids are for reducing inflammation and supporting heart health, it’s important to know exactly how much we need to be getting each day.
Getting enough omega-3’s from both diet and through supplementation helps ensure that we are getting enough to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease.
Let’s take a look at how much omega-3’s you really need to be getting each day, and how you can go about getting enough.
How Much Omega-3s Do You Need?
According to the National Institutes of Health, the Adequate Intakes (AIs), which is the measurement used to determine nutritional adequacy for omega-3’s for adults is as follows.
- Male: 1.6g
- Female: 1.1g
- Pregnant: 1.4g
- Nursing women: 1.3g
- Male: 1.6g
- Female: 1.1g
Keep in mind that ALA is considered essential, and using it is the only way the body can produce EPA and DHA. It’s also important to note that ALA isn’t active in the body until it is converted to EPA and DHA. However even when it is converted in the liver, the conversion is very limited. Only about 15% or less is actually converted to EPA and DHA, which is why it’s essential that we consume foods with EPA and DHA, or supplement appropriately in order to increase our levels of these fatty acids.
Are You Getting Enough Omega-3’s?
According to the NHANES Survey, most of us are getting enough omega’s in the form of ALA through diet. For adults, the average intake from foods is estimated to be 1.59g in women, and 2.06g for men.
However, omega-3 intake in the form of DHA and EPA is much lower. While there is no official dietary recommendation for EPA and DHA, it is generally recommended that we aim to get 250-500 mg of combined DHA and EPA per day to support health according to the US Department of Agriculture and European Food Safety Authority.
Food Sources of Omega-3’s
Omega-3’s can easily be obtained from a well-balanced diet rich in fatty acids. Here is a list of foods that are rich in ALA, DHA, and EPA, as well as how much you would need to consume to reach the adequate intake level.
Foods Rich in ALA
Flaxseeds (1 Tbsp): 2.35g ALA
Flaxseed oil (1 Tbsp): 7.26g ALA
Chia seeds (1 ounce): 5.06g ALA
English walnuts (1 ounce): 2.57g ALA
Foods Rich in EPA & DHA
Wild-caught Atlantic Salmon (3 ounces): 1.22g DHA, 0.35g EPA
Atlantic Herring (3 ounces): 0.94g DHA, 0.77g EPA
Atlantic Mackerel (3 ounces): 0.59g DHA, 0.43g EPA
Canned Sardines (3 ounces): 0.73g DHA, 0.45g EPA
If you aren’t consuming enough omega-3 rich foods, then taking a supplement is going to be your next best option. A high-quality fish oil supplement can help make sure you are getting enough omega’s, especially if your intake is not high enough from the foods you consume each day.
Optimize Your Intake For Better Health
Omega-3’s have been found to support overall health in more than one way. By optimizing your intake, you can help reduce chronic inflammation, support heart health, and brain health.
Want to know where your current omega-3 levels are at? You can now test your own omega-3 index using Newtrition’s omega-3 index test kit. This will let you know where you stand when it comes to how much more you may need to be adding to your diet or through supplementation.