You’re aware that fish oils play a role in health. But, there is serious disconnect between how much fish oil you should take and the fish oil dosage you are taking.
First, a little background.
When we talk about “fish oils” we are really referring to two types of fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These are called fish oils because we get them from fatty fish that got these fats in the first place from eating a plant based diet made up of seaweed and algae.
Another common type of omega 3 fatty acid is alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which is the principal form of fatty acids in plants such as walnuts, flaxseed and chia seeds.
This blog post is not going to go into the hundreds of benefits of omega 3 fatty acids. Rather, I need to discuss dosages. I do not believe I have ever had a patient come in who was taking the right amount of omega 3 fatty acids for their specific scenario.
As an example, I had a new patient this week who was a 51 year old diabetic female on 2 different diabetic drugs as well as insulin. Pretty much the only supplement she was taking was fish oil. Her dosage? 1 tablet.
Keep in mind that most fish oil supplements are in a one gram dose. This is NOT 1 gram of omega 3 fatty acids, but rather the total weight of the little capsule. Manufacturers usually use glycerin to make up the difference. Do the math to make sure you know what dosage of omega-3 fatty acids you are taking.
Which brings us to the point of this blog post. Therapeutic dosages of fish oil is almost always higher than what people are taking. In general, it STARTS at 3,000 mg (3 grams).
This particular article confirms the appropriate dosages. Researchers looked at the ability of 3.36 grams (3360 mg) of essential fatty acids to cut down on inflammation created by visceral fat cells.
Overall, the results were positive (as expected), but the take home message here is that the dosages used in clinical studies are much higher than what patients are generally using.
If you are using fish oils supplements, what dosages are you taking?