Here are the results from the latest Heart Scan Blog poll:
What is your dose of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA + DHA, from fish oil? (Add up the total content of EPA + DHA per capsules; multiply times number of capsules.)
The 479 respondents answered:
Less than 1000 mg per day
1000-1999 mg per day
2000-2999 mg per day
3000-3999 mg per day
4000-4999 mg per day
5000-5999 mg per day
6000 mg per day or more
The poll did not discriminate between who has heart disease, who does not; who is taking omega-3 fatty acids for high triglycerides or for reduction of lipoprotein(a) (which requires high doses), or other indications. So variation is to be expected.
We can say that nearly all respondents are likely receiving sufficient omega-3s to impact cardiovascular risk, since the benefits begin just by consuming fish twice per month. I am especially impressed at the proportion of respondents (53%) who take at least 2000 mg per day of EPA + DHA. It’s clear that people are really embracing the notion that omega-3 fatty acids pack a real wallop of health benefits.
Because different people in different situations and lipid/lipoprotein patterns have different omega-3 needs, there is really no “right” or “wrong” dose of omega-3 fatty acids.
However, there are several factors that enter into knowing your ideal omega-3 intake:
–Higher triglycerides require higher doses
–Lipoprotein(a) can respond to higher doses
–Having coronary or carotid plaque means you desire a “therapeutic” dose of omega-3s, not just a “preventive” dose
Time is a factor, also: The longer you take omega-3s, the higher your blood levels go. You can accelerate the replacement of non-omega-3s with higher doses of omega-3s.
But too much is not good either. Some participants in Track Your Plaque, for instance, have experimented with very high doses of EPA + DHA in the 9000-10,000 per day range and witnessed dramatic increases in LDL.
Much of the uncertainty about dosing will also be cleared up as we get more experience with the Omega-3 RBC Index, i.e, the proportion of fatty acids in red blood cells that are omega-3s. We are currently aiming for an Omega-3 Index of 10%, given the heart attack reductions observed at this level.
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