Before we take a look at what the optimal dosage is for fish oil and omega-3, let me tell you a bit more about why this oil is so important for your health.
Essential Fatty Acids: DHA, EPA or ALA?
Omega-3 is a long chain essential fatty acid which consists of fatty compounds known as DHA and EPA. Both of these are essential for good health. DHA is considered the more important of the two.
How much omega-3 per day that you should take is an important question as you need to ensure that you are getting enough while not taking too much of a good thing. Good quality supplements don't come cheap either, so it may be a good thing not to take in more than is necessary to benefit your health.
They are called essential fatty acids because the human body is unable to produce these on its own; you are therefore required to obtain them from your diet. As the main source of these nutrients is fish, a large percentage of people just do not get enough.
Now let's answer a frequently asked question; should you get your omega-3 from supplements of from food sources?
The best source of omega-3 is certainly food. However to get DHA and EPA you will have to consume a lot of cold-water, fatty fish and other seafood. Marine algae mainly have DHA. Plant sources have ALA, which must be converted into DHA, a process that loses much of the "good stuff".
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found primarily in fish oil, this is the ultimate form of fatty acid in humans. Most people get far too little of this all-important fatty acid, especially since the conversion of ALA to DHA is slow and minimally yielding. Dr. OZ
But there is a problem. Eating fish regularly may prove hard to do for most people. Fresh, wild fish is not cheap, and may not be always available. Farmed fish is not something you want to eat on a regular basis either. There is also a risk that fish may contain harmful pollutants that they have picked up from the sea.
Fish oil supplements can provide a safer way to obtain omega-3 without the risk of toxins, assuming you get quality ones. This is the simplest way of getting the fatty acids for most people.
So, How Much omega-3 Per Day?
There is no official recommended daily allowance for omega-3. The FDA along with many health organisations recommend that an average healthy person should take no more than 3000mg (3 grams) per day. This may be because fish oil has blood-thinning properties.
Do not take more than 3 grams daily of omega-3 fatty acids from capsules without the supervision of a health care provider, due to an increased risk of bleeding. University of Maryland
For most healthy people, one pill a day containing 1000mg of fish oil will do. Consulting a doctor about the best dosage for you is a good idea, as body weight, gender, individual health, medications and other factors often come into play.
It is important that the product you choose has high amounts of both DHA and EPA.
The amount of omega-3 fatty acids needed per day to reduce your risk of heard disease can be obtained by eating fish twice a week (above, note serving size) or by taking daily supplements containing 800-1000 mg (0.8-1 gram) of omega-3 fatty acids. If used to reduce triglycerides, higher doses are required and the amount should be determined by your physician and/or nutritionist. University of Massachusetts Medical School
If you are new to taking omega-3 supplements, then it may be best to start off on smaller amounts and build them up. This will ensure that there are no adverse reactions, such as stomach upset or nausea.
Hopefully this has answered your question as to how much omega-3 per day you should take.