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Omega 3 Supplements: How Much is Too Much?

Supplements provide an excellent means of guaranteeing that your daily nutritional requirements are met. As awareness grows regarding the significance of omega-3 and the desire for convenient solutions to fulfill our daily nutritional needs, omega-3 supplements have gained widespread popularity. Nonetheless, it is crucial to understand that these supplements can only bridge the nutritional gaps if consumed in the correct dosage. Do you include omega-3 supplements in your daily regimen? It is essential to ensure that you are consuming the appropriate amounts. If you are uncertain, continue reading to discover the optimal dosage for your needs.

Why do we need Omega 3 fatty acids?

Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3, are those that the body cannot make on its own and must be acquired through food or supplements. They are naturally available in marine (fish) and plant forms and are essential in maintaining body cells and promoting heart, brain, immune, and endocrine functions.

Types of omega-3 fatty acids

They are classified into three types:

  • Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA): It is commonly found in plant sources such as canola oil, flaxseed, and walnuts.
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA): Fish and fish oil contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
  • Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA): Just like EPA, DHA is found in marine sources like fish and fish oil.

DHA and EPA from dietary sources and supplements are considered the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. While ALA can be converted into DHA and EPA, this process is also not very efficient.

Role of omega-3 fatty acids

Here is a list of a few vital functions that require omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Supports cell membrane health:

Omega-3 fatty acids aid in the proper functioning of all cells in your body. They support cell connections and aid in the formation of structure in your cell membranes, which is essential. Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, are major components of the retina (eye), brain, and skin cells. It helps in preventing retinal cell (photoreceptor) death. DHA also provides neuroprotective benefits and is important for cognitive development in kids.
  • Keeps the heart healthy:

Both DHA and EPA have been shown to decrease blood pressure and triglyceride levels and prevent blood clots, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It is also proven to improve heart health in those with an existing heart condition.
  • Boosts immunity:

Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to prevent disease by reducing inflammation. Fish oil, rich in EPA and DHA, was seen to enhance white blood cell (antibody) activity, thereby enhancing immunity. This could be extremely beneficial for people with compromised immune systems.
  • Improves lipid and hormonal profiles:

Omega 3 fatty acids were seen to be effective in lowering triglyceride levels along with a slight improvement in HDL (good) cholesterol levels, thereby improving the lipid profile overall. Similarly, Omega 3 fatty acids were seen to decrease testosterone levels in women, thus regulating their menstrual cycle and improving symptoms of hormonal imbalance disorders such as PCOS.

    The need to supplement omega-3 fatty acids in the modern era

    Just like Omega 3, Omega 6 fatty acid is another essential fatty acid that cannot be produced in the body and needs supplementation. A balance of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is needed for overall health. A healthy, balanced ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is between 1:1 and 2:1. Humans in the past evolved on a diet with such a healthy ratio, which has now been distorted to 15/1–16.7/1 due to Western diet culture. This means Western diets that include junk, processed, and fast foods are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and high in omega-6 fatty acids. Due to these imbalances, there is a rise in heart disease, inflammatory diseases, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. In order to maintain the balance, it is necessary to supplement our current diets with omega-3 fatty acids.

    Different sources of omega-3 fatty acids

    Wondering if you are getting your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids? Here are a few common sources you probably didn’t know about.

    1. Marine Sources of omega-3 Fatty Acids

    • Salmon
    • Mackerel
    • Tuna
    • Herring
    • Sardines

    2. Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids

    • Algae
    • Canola Oil
    • Chia seeds
    • Edamame
    • Flaxseed Oil
    • Walnuts
    • Soyabean oil

    3. Foods fortified with omega-3 fatty acids

    • Eggs
    • Bread
    • Yogurt
    • Juices
    • Milk
    • Soy
    • Beverages
    • Infant Formulas

    Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids

    Apart from natural sources like marine life, plants, and fortified foods, they are also available as supplements in the form of pills or fish oils. The market is flooded with omega-3 supplements, which makes it difficult to pick the right one. To make your search a bit easier, look for those that contain pure-grade fish oil with 95% omega-3 content. These are usually tested for heavy metal levels, and you also needn't worry about an aftertaste or fishy burps.

    How much is too much?

    The American Heart Association recommends 2 servings of omega-3-rich fish per week for people with no history of heart ailments and around 1 serving per week for people with coronary heart disease.

    Recommendations for omega 3 fatty acid supplements.

    Although there is no standard recommendation for dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Supplements of omega-3 fatty acids have a recommendation:

    • Supplements with 1000 mg of fish oil generally provide around 180 mg of EPA and 120 mg of DHA, but these dosages may vary.
    • Doses of 2 -15 g of EPA and/or DHA may cause bleeding by delaying blood clotting.
    • FDA states that dietary supplements should not have a dosage of omega-3 fatty acids greater than 2000 mg (2 g) per day.
    • FDA states that the total daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed more than 3g/day, with no more than 2g/day coming from supplements.

    Wrapping up

    Omega 3 benefits are many, and taking Omega-3 supplements in addition to your diet is a great way to fill in the nutritional gap. However, it is always advisable to avoid going overboard. If you are unable to obtain omega-3 fatty acids through natural food sources, you may opt for triple omega supplements that have just the right amount of dosage you need and are sourced from clean and toxin-free sources. But before you make any new additions, like supplements, to your diet, make sure to get them approved by your doctor first.

    References

    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/

    https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2020-01/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25277697/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7049091/

    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/#en

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12442909/

    https://draxe.com/nutrition/how-much-omega-3-per-day-should-you-take/

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