The Omega-3 Index Plus Test measures fatty acid levels in the blood and reports omega-3, omega-6 and trans fat blood levels.
This test measures:
- Omega-3 Index
- Trans Fat Index
- Omega-6:Omega-3 Ratio
- AA:EPA Ratio
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Omega-3, omega-6 and trans fats all play a role in your health and are related to risk for a variety of issues. Tracking these numbers can help you optimize them for your health.
The Omega-3 Index, Trans Fat Index, Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio and AA/EPA ratio all can be changed by what you eat. But everyone responds differently to dietary changes, so the only way to know is to test. We recommend testing every 4-6 months to confirm you are getting the right mix of fats in your diet.
Modify Your Fatty Acid Status in 3 Easy Steps
Supported by science.
Fatty acid levels start changing as soon as you change your diet and lifestyle and stabilize in 3-4 months.
Personalized recommendations based off your test results.
Samples are processed in our CLIA certified laboratory.
The same validated and standardized sample processing methodology used in over 200 research studies.
Reference ranges show you how you compare to your peers.
It is important to remember that while dose matters, your blood levels of these important nutrients matters most. Once you have established a dietary routine that gives you the right balance of fats, then you need to maintain that dietary regimen to keep your levels in the optimal range.
Fish is the best dietary source for the omega-3s, EPA+DHA. Dietary intake of EPA+DHA directly influences Omega-3 Index. “Fatty,” “oily,” and “cold-water” are terms used to describe fish with higher levels of EPA+DHA. A full list of fish and their EPA+DHA levels is included in your report.
Fish oil supplements are a safe and potent source of EPA+DHA. The source and form of the omega-3s in the supplements affect how well you absorb the omega-3s, as well as whether or not you take them with food. There are also vegan/vegetarian supplements which contain omega-3s produced by algae and yeast. It is important to look at the label for the amount of EPA+DHA, specifically, that the supplement contains. For example, many supplements are 1,000 mg of fish oil but only contain 300 mg of EPA+DHA. There are some examples of the EPA+DHA levels in supplements included your report.
Plant-sources of omega-3s, such as walnuts, flaxseed oil and chia or flaxseeds, contain the omega-3 ALA. To a small extent, this omega-3 can be converted into EPA (and to an even smaller extent, DHA) in the body, but it is much less effective at raising Omega-3 Index levels when compared to taking pre-formed EPA+DHA. Plant-based omega-3 sources are still healthy food choices, but they will not raise your Omega-3 Index.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults consume 6-8 grams per day of polyunsaturated fats, which include both omega-3s (~1 gram) and omega-6s (6-7 grams). These recommendations are related to avoiding an essential fatty acid deficiency, not for “optimal” health. The Omega-6/Omega-3 and the AA/EPA ratios are largely determined by the omega-3 or EPA level, respectively. So, the easiest way to improve your ratios is to improve your Omega-3 Index by eating more omega-3s! See the Omega-3s tab for more information.
The primary dietary sources of omega-6s are vegetable oils, but they are also present in nuts, poultry, eggs and cereal grains. The level of the primary omega-6 in your blood, linoleic acid, is influenced by the amount you eat averaged over many months. Blood levels of other omega-6s, like arachidonic acid, are mostly determined by your body’s metabolism rather than your diet. In other words, it isn’t easy to alter your blood levels of most omega-6s, and making significant changes in linoleic acid levels takes months to years. Most experts recommend somewhere between 12 and 24 grams per day of linoleic acid, with the average intake in America being around 15 grams per day.
Eating less trans fats is the only way to lower trans fat blood levels. Sometimes you may be eating trans fats without even knowing it! Since 2006 food manufactures have been required to list the trans fat content per serving on the Nutrition Facts Panel, however this a bit misleading. If a serving size has less than 0.5 g of trans fat, food manufactures are able to claim 0 g of trans fat per serving. So, food manufactures can make sure their servings are small enough so that they don’t need to list any trans fat on the nutrition label, and they might even advertise as 0 g trans fat on the front of the product! Since the Nutrition Facts Panel may not tell you the trans fat whole story, you can look for the term “partially hydrogenated oils” in the ingredients list. If this is listed, you can bet that the food contains some amount of trans fat. Foods that likely contain trans fats are cookies, cakes, pies, microwave popcorn, margarines, coffee creamers, and biscuits. This issue should be resolved with the complete removal of trans fats from the US food supply but that process won’t be complete for (at least) 3 years (2019); until then, you can follow these aforementioned tips to avoid trans fats.
Omega-3 Supplement Calculator
The Omega-3 Supplement Calculator builds on the results from the Omega-3 Index Calculator to help you achieve your Omega-3 Index goal. Finding the right omega-3 supplement for you can be very confusing. The most important thing in any omega-3 supplement is the amount of EPA and DHA per serving. It’s important that these values are listed on the Supplement Facts panel on the back of the bottle, instead of the general term “omega-3s.” There are other things to consider when buying a supplement, like price, source, vegetarian, fatty acid form, etc., but dose outweighs all of these when it comes to changing your Omega-3 Index.
If your supplement does not have specific values for EPA and DHA separately, do not buy the supplement! You cannot make an informed decision without the right information. Also, you can’t use the calculator without that information.
You can use the Omega-3 Supplement Calculator to compare different omega-3 supplements before buying. You can access the Supplement Facts panel for most omega-3 supplements online so you can compare how many capsules you’ll have to take with different supplements.
Fish Intake Calculator is in the works… Stay tuned!