Omega-3 fatty acids have many health benefits.
The best way to reap them is by eating fatty fish at least twice per week, but if you don’t eat fatty fish often, you should consider taking a supplement.
However, it’s important to make sure your supplement contains enough eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are the most useful types of omega-3 fats, and they are found in fatty fish and algae.
You can also get omega-3 from seeds and nuts, like flax seeds and walnuts. These foods contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a small part of which can be converted into EPA and DHA in your body .
This article reviews how much omega-3 you need for optimal health.
should get each day.Various mainstream health organizations have released their own expert opinions, but they vary considerably.
Overall, most of these organizations recommend a minimum of 250–500 mg combined EPA and DHA each day for healthy adults .
However, higher amounts are often recommended for certain health conditions.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for alpha-linolenic acid is 1.6 grams per day for men and 1.1 grams per day for women .
The following health conditions have been shown to respond to omega-3 supplements.
One study followed 11,000 people who took an 850-mg dose of combined EPA and DHA every day for 3.5 years. They experienced a 25% reduction in heart attacks and a 45% reduction in sudden death .
The American Heart Association, among other organizations, recommends that people with coronary heart disease take 1,000 mg of combined EPA and DHA daily, while those with high triglycerides take 2,000–4,000 mg daily .
However, several large reviews have not found any beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids on heart disease .
Depression and anxiety
Studies suggest that high doses of omega-3, ranging from 200–2,200 mg per day, can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety .
In cases of mood and mental disorders, a supplement with higher amounts of EPA than DHA may be optimal.
A high intake of fish and omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to a reduced risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancers .
However, correlation doesn’t equal causation. Controlled studies need to confirm whether your intake of omega-3 fatty acids affects your cancer risk.