There are general guidelines in place for fish oil dosage. If you are in good health, then these recommendations may be perfect. If you have existing health conditions, you should discuss the proper dosage of fish oil with your doctor.
Fish oil is a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids. While omega-3 fatty acids are available in some plants and nuts, there are particular components that are only available in fish and fish oil. When you take the proper fish oil dosage, you will get a dose of both docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA. DHA and EPA are the two components that make fish oil such a valuable supplement.
There is a variety of research that shows the many potential benefits of fish oil. While some of the studies are lacking hard science support, other claims are widely accepted as fact. Fish oil is most widely known for support of a healthy heart.
The components of fish oil, DHA and EPA, are believed by many physicians to lower triglycerides, which slows hardening of the arteries. It may also lower blood pressure. Some studies suggest that the proper fish oil dosage, taken by someone afflicted with heart disease, may reduce that person’s risk of death by heart attack, stroke or abnormal heart rhythms.
It is important to know the correct fish oil dosage to take, however. There are drawbacks to taking too much fish oil. High doses of fish oil can increase the risk of bleeding, slow the speed in which your blood clots and increase the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke.
Someone eating a typically Western diet will eat approximately 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids each day. Unfortunately only 10% of this number is made up of EPA and DHA. The rest is made up of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. ALA is common in plants and nuts. It is not known if ALA is as effective as DHA and EPA at treating heart conditions.
Another concern with the levels of omega-3 fatty acids that many Americans ingest is how small they are compared to our levels of omega-6 fatty acids. We get omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils. The two types of fatty oils compete with each other in the body. To get the most benefits from omega-3 fatty acids, you should not only supplement with fish oils, but also reduce the amount of omega-6 fatty acids that you are taking.
The average healthy adult can meet their needs for omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish, particularly fatty fish such as mackerel or salmon, two times a week. If you prefer to supplement your fish oil dosage, look for a brand of fish oil soft gels that contain 0.3 to 0.5 grams of EPA and DHA. To minimize any gastrointestinal problems that may occur, take the soft gels with food and start your fish oil dosage at the lower end, gradually increasing over time.