Omega-3 Index Calculator
How much Omega-3 do I need to reach a desirable blood level?
This recommendation is meant to be a guide for how much EPA+DHA you may need in your diet to reach your Omega-3 Index target, based on research by Walker et al. 2019. Up to 3,000 mg per day of EPA and DHA is considered safe and is set as the upper limit in the calculator. We recommend you retest after 3-4 months to see if your diet changes are working for you. Please consult your healthcare provider before making any major changes to your diet.
Examples of how to increase EPA+DHA levels
Connor has an Omega-3 Index of 4%, doesn’t eat fish and sometimes takes a multivitamin. The Omega-3 Index Calculator estimates that he should aim to take 2200 mg per day of EPA and DHA from an omega-3 supplement. If he finds a better quality triglyceride or phospholipid based supplement, a slightly lower dose can be taken.
Claire has an Omega-3 Index of 6%, and she eats fish once per week and takes around 600 mg per day of EPA and DHA in a standard fish oil supplement. The Omega-3 Index Calculator estimates that she should reach 1800 mg per day of EPA and DHA. We would recommend she adds another serving of fish to her weekly diet in addition to increasing her supplemental intake to 1800 mg of EPA and DHA per day.
How Can You Find Out Your Omega-3 blood level?
You will need to take a Omega-3 Blood test to find out your level in order to use the Omega-3 Calculator.
Omega-3 Index Test
The Omega-3 Index Tests measure the amount of EPA and DHA in the blood using a simple finger prick collection method that you can do at home.
The Omega-3 Index Calculator results provide a guide for how much omega-3 you may need to reach a desirable blood level. The best way to know if a supplement or dietary change is working for you is to test and re-test.
European regulatory authorities have set the upper limit at 5000 mg per day of EPA and DHA.
What form of omega-3 in supplements is best?
Triglycerides are one of the forms that Omega-3s are found naturally in fish. Supplements with omega-3s in triglyceride form are usually “reconstituted” to make them even more concentrated in EPA and DHA. Bioavailability of EPA+DHA from re-esterified triglycerides or r-triglycerides, was superior at 124% compared with natural fish oil, whereas the bioavailability from ethyl esters was inferior at only 73%. Omega-3 supplements in r-triglyceride can have up to 3 x the EPA +DHA, a pharmaceutical level Vs ordinary Omega supplements. Fish oil is best taken after a meal containing fats, which could be natural yoghurt in the morning or after a meal in the evening.
Omega-3s in the ethyl ester form can be highly concentrated in a supplement. It’s synthetically derived from ethanol and is the form that many pharmaceutical Omega-3 products are in. These products are often a good value, but studies show that ethyl ester omega-3s are not absorbed as well as the more natural forms and it’s difficult for the body to detox the ethanol. When compared to r-triglycerides Omega-3 Ethyl Esters also have lower efficacy when it comes to increasing your Omega-3 Index levels. There are also restrictions in Ethyl Esters being marketed as a food ingredient in some European countries like Germany and Switzerland.
Phospholipids are one of the forms that omega-3s are found naturally in fish. Supplements with omega-3s in phospholipid form are typically krill oil. They are often a lower dose of EPA and DHA per serving than traditional fish oils. Marketers of krill often claim that it provides better bioavailability vs fish oil due to the phospholipids. This is partly true due to the free fatty acids in krill, however, those are normally only in small percentage at around 20%. Krill oil can be expensive as you need 5 to 6 capsules a day in order to obtain 1000mg of EPA +DHA. This form is well absorbed by most people but should always be taken with food.
What About Fish?
Eating omega-3-rich fish at least 2 times per week is widely recommended as a part of a healthy diet. Having an Omega-3 Index of >8% is normal in cultures where fish is commonly eaten daily.
Fish contains EPA and DHA as phospholipids and triglycerides mainly. Omega-3s are well absorbed when eaten in food.
Is Natural Better?
Ethyl ester omega-3 supplements have been processed from the original fish oil to become more concentrated in EPA and DHA and to remove impurities. To concentrate the Omega-3s, the manufacturer has to strip the omega-3s from the phospholipid or triglyceride backbone where they naturally reside to add an ethyl group to the end of the now free Omega-3 fatty acids. Learn more
Highly concentrated triglyceride omega-3 supplements are also processed to concentrate the omega-3s and remove impurities. Using a similar process as above, once the manufacturer gets to the purified and concentrated omega-3 ethyl esters, they then can take on more step of adding more omega-3s back in. Learn more
Whereas most concentrated fish oils on the market are in the form of ethyl ester, a synthetic fat, Wild Atlantic Health’s formula is produced in true r-triglyceride (rTG) form. Research has shown that the bioavailability, body’s absorption rate of fatty acids, of the r-triglyceride form is of great significance – up to 70% greater than ethyl esters.To guarantee optimum absorption it is advisable to take the fish oil supplement with a meal rich in fat e.g. your main meal prepared using healthy fats such as olive or flax oil.
Use your results and recommendations to make healthy changes to your diet and supplement routine.
Check and ensure your Omega-3 Index level has improved by re-testing in 3-4 months time.
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