Experts Weigh In About To Get Too Many Omega III Fatty Acids

When it comes to healthy fats, omega-3s are the talk of the town, so we’re sure you’ve already heard about the support they provide for the heart, brain, and more.* But the recommended amounts of omega-3 fatty acids can be complicated (especially in terms of EPA and DHA), and the maximum levels are not as clear as other nutrients. So, what exactly is the perfect amount of omega-3 — and how do we know if we have reached our limit?

What is the daily goal of omega-3?

While omega-3 fatty acids offer many incredible benefits for the health of the whole body, the suggestions of how much omega-3 fatty acids each person should get are a little confusing.*

ALA daily recommendations.

About ala, omega-3 fatty acids in plants (think walnuts and flaxseed, hemp, chia, etc.), the recommendations are clear: according to the Council on Nutrition and Nutrition of the national Academies, women should receive at least 1, 100 milligrams of ALA per day, while men should receive 1, 600 milligrams per day. However, there is (yet) no official recommendation from the national academies for EPA, DHA or omega-3 fatty acids combined.

Get enough EPA and DHA.

Although there are no official recommendations for the daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids, many health organizations certainly provide useful guidelines for the amount of EPA and DHA that we should receive daily. As the name suggests, these omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA come from marine sources such as seafood (especially fatty fish), crustaceans (krill) and algae.

The dietary guidelines for Americans recommend eating two servings (about 8 ounces) of fish per week to support heart health, which is about 250 to 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA per day.* Most American diets are severely lacking in these important marine omega-3 fatty acids—so much so that only 10% of U.S. matures reach 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA per day.

Most of the research on the health benefits of omega-3 shows that EPA and DHA are most useful for achieving cardioprotective benefits — not to mention the work they do for eye health, brain, and more.*

In addition to recommending two servings of fatty fish and more fat per week, the most important organization for the health of the heart of our country, the American Heart Association, states that 1,000 milligrams (i.e. 1 gram) or more of EPA plus DHA per day provides benefits cardio protecteurs important.* During this time, the FDA considers products containing 800 milligrams or more of EPA and DHA per serving to help reduce the risk of hypertension and coronary artery health issues.†

Although a small amount of consumed ALA (i.e. omega-3 of plant origin) can be converted into EPA and DHA in the body (i.e. only 1-12%), research has shown that this process is very variable and inefficient. Therefore, the most effective way to increase your EPA and DHA levels is to consume foods and supplements that contain these dynamic omega-3 fatty acids.

Is it possible to have too much omega-3?

It is important to point out first that there is no upper limit to the amount of omega-3 you consume, so pack your meals with these healthy fatty acids!

mbg Director of Scientific Affairs, Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, puts it this way: “Just as there is no ‘CAPS’ on carbohydrates or proteins, omega-3 fatty acids are a healthy fat for which a cap on the general population is not common sense. According to science, there is no reason to bypass omega-3 fatty acids on tiptoe, just as you can not around avocados or olive oil. These are healthy fats that deserve a prominent place in all diets.”

When it comes to supplements, there’s technically a cap on the amount of EPA and DHA we should be getting — but that’s much, much higher than you might think (and no problem at all at clinically effective doses).

Clinical research has shown that it is safe to take up to 10 grams (10,000 milligrams) of EPA and DHA per day, which is more than 20 times the recommended minimum intake (i.e. two servings of fish per week is equivalent to about 500 milligrams of EPA plus DHA per day). For context, most fish oil supplements offer 250 to 1,800 milligrams of EPA and DHA per daily serving, which means you have to take 10 to 40 servings per day to reach potentially peril levels (i.e., a silly high amount).

Speaking about the alleged health problems surrounding omega-3, let’s address the fright that taking a fish oil supplement could lead to blood thinning and a reduction in blood clotting. While the evidence shows that omega-3 fatty acids naturally have a biological effect that has a positive effect on platelets, the thinning of the blood is not the concern about the dosage provided by dietary supplements containing omega-3 and also the intake of surprisingly high (but safe) of 10 grams per day, by the way.

Ferira strives to address this folklore of fish oil and explains that the last 30 years of epidemiological research and clinical studies, based on several systematic reviews and meta-analyses, show that there is no increased risk of bleeding.

“Even if you wanted to be incredibly conservative and apply a random safety factor of two, and make a maximum of 5 grams (5,000 milligrams) of EPA plus DHA every day, these are not omega-3 levels that supplements provide. The end point,” notes Ferreira.

Nevertheless, anyone who has personalized bleeding considerations and/or is taking blood-thinning medications should talk to their doctor about it before adding an omega-3 supplement to their daily routine (out of caution).

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