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 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2 servings of fish per week (see Table below), averaging out to 250 mg/day EPA+DHA. Other countries, such as Canada and Australia, recommend 400-500 mg/day EPA+DHA. The FDA has also ruled that intakes of up to 3,000 mg/day of EPA+DHA combined from foods is “Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)” and may be consumed without concern of adverse effects by all adults. There are also recommendations for specific health conditions, such as:
- Patients with coronary heart disease – 1,000 mg/day EPA+DHA
- Patients with high triglycerides – 3,000-4,000 mg/day EPA+DHA