Before you start taking EPA and DHA supplements do you know how much EPA and DHA should you take? Or are you like thousands of others who just start taking these supplements because of sheer peer pressure.
In this article we will go through information that will help you decide how much EPA and DHA you should take, what are the different sources available and what is the best amongst them.
How much EPA and DHA should you take depends on two factors -
1. Your age and personal health - Intake of omega 3 fatty acids, varies from person to person. It is dependent on your age, if you are 30 years old then the quantity will be less as compared to the amount you will need at the age of 60. Amount may also differ depending on your health conditions. People with bleeding disorders should avoid taking high dosages of DHA and EPA because of its blood thinning properties.
2. Quality of EPA and DHA - I am a firm believer that quality is more important than the quantity. Amount of EPA and DHA you take daily is related with its quality. If the quality of the source is poor you might have to take more quantity in order to compensate the deficiency in the body. There are many sources of omega3 fatty acids; lets discuss all of them here.
Vegetarian food products – Food products like flaxseed and walnuts are good only in ALA form of omega 3 fatty acids. Once eaten, our body converts these ALA into DHA and EPA and this conversion does not always take place efficiently. So it’s good to take DHA & EPA in a more direct form and not to be dependent on the natural conversion done by our body.
Fishes – Fishes are rich source of both DHA and EPA types of omega 3 fatty acids. But since they are caught from ocean water, they contain dangerous heavy metals like lead, PCB’s, and mercury.
Farm raised fishes are also not safe as the pellets fed to these fish are partly made from contaminated fish. This is the reason there are government warnings against eating too much fish.
Omega 3 fish oil supplements – This is the best and safest source of having DHA and EPA. Effective fish oil supplement undergo molecular distillation process. This process helps in eliminating all the ocean contaminants and ensures that end product is the healthy oil needed by our body. Effective supplements have more proportion of DHA as compared to EPA. This is because DHA has greater impact on good health than EPA. Also when our bodies need more EPA, it is produced from DHA.
Now, to answer the long awaited question – how much EPA and DHA should you take, my recommendation to a healthy adult is 1000 mg to 2000 mg per day of omega 3 fatty acids, with more of DHA than EPA. A ratio of at least 2:1 DHA to EPA is best.
For others who are in health conditions, please consult your physician before you start taking any kind of extra supplements.
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