Are You Sure You’re Getting Enough Omega-3’s?
There’s a good chance you don’t know how much omega-3 fatty acids you’re getting in your diet and don’t feel like you’re getting enough for your health.
Based on survey data collected by the Global Health and Nutrition Alliance (GHNA) and published in the journal Nutrition Today, 78 percent of respondents agree that omega-3 fatty acids are important for overall health. However, more than half (60 percent) reported they did not think their diet was providing adequate amounts of this key nutrient. Among the U.S. respondents only, 65 percent were unsure if they were getting enough omega-3 in their diet. The survey included more than 3,000 adults (ages 18-66) from the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom (1).
You shouldn’t have to second-guess your intake of this essential nutrient, which you know is critical for the health of your heart and cardiovascular system (2, 3). But before we explain how much you should be getting and how to get it, there are a couple things you should know about them—such as the difference between short- and long-chain omega-3s.
What You Need to Know about Omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids come in three main forms. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the most common short-chain omega-3 and is found mainly in plants and grass-fed animals that eat those plants. eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the long-chained versions that are found mainly in fish.
The long-chain varieties are most effective for cardiovascular health (2, 3). The human body is unable to convert ALA to EPA and DHA efficiently, so ensuring adequate intake of the long-chain omega-3s is crucial.
It’s for this reason that dietary and medical organizations recommend getting at least two servings per week of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines.
Don’t Second-Guess Yourself
While getting enough fatty fish in a balanced diet is a great way to get long-chained omega-3s, many people fall short. This is where high-quality fish oil supplements such as Isagenix IsaOmega™ can make up the difference as an effective way to ensure adequate omega-3 intake.
Fish oil supplementation really does work. In fact, research evaluating fish oil supplementation indicates that getting omega-3s from a quality fish oil supplement is more effective at boosting omega-3 status than eating fish twice a week (4).
IsaOmega contains over 1 gram of total omega-3 fatty acids (.6 grams EPA and .48 grams DHA) to help ensure you meet omega-3 recommendations. You’ll also be getting quality fish oil, sourced from deep water anchovies and sardines off the coast of Chile, ultra-refined to produce a superior sensory profile (no fishy burps!).
Choosing a fish oil supplement like IsaOmega also means you’ll know that it’s Friend of the Seacertified, which means it’s sourced in a sustainable way for the fish stock and environment.
Why EPA and DHA?
Apart from being good for your heart, recent findings on EPA and DHA give you more reason to ensure adequate intake—brain health and weight management support.
One study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition involving 768 adults (ages 53-73) found that those with the highest average serum levels of EPA and DHA performed significantly better on neuropsychological tests (5). In the study, authors explain that these omega-3s work by increasing the brain’s content of DHA, which is used for structural support of neuronal tissue and cognitive functional support through brain signaling. The fatty acid is also involved in normal maintenance of the brain in aging.
Other research suggests a potential thermogenic effect of DHA- and EPA-containing fish oil both in mice and in humans (6, 7). In 2015, a randomized controlled trial in women found that 3 grams of EPA and DHA daily for 12 weeks had significantly increased resting metabolic rate, energy expenditure during exercise, and fat oxidation at rest and during exercise compared to placebo (7).
For IsaOmega Supreme, please purchase it on our Isagenix store: www.ChampionsNutrition.com.
Daily Supplements Raise Omega-3 Status More Than Eating Fish Twice a Week
Most health-conscious people know long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are among the best reasons for eating a diet rich in fatty fish including salmon, tuna, mackerel, or sardines. These biologically potent fatty acids contribute to optimal heart, brain, and immune function. Unfortunately, most Americans eat fish rich in these omega-3 fatty acids only sporadically, failing to meet even the 1 to 2 servings per week recommended by dietary and medical organizations.
One question left unanswered by this recommendation, however, is how eating fish rich in omega-3s once or twice a week compares with daily supplementation of omega-3s at increasing circulating and cellular concentrations within the body. Because this question has significant public policy and health implications, researchers from the United Kingdom carried out a 12-month randomized, double-blinded study to evaluate the effects of daily fish oil supplementation versus sporadic supplementation with an identical amount of EPA and DHA that would be consumed by two servings of fish per week.
In the study, researchers divided healthy males and females into one of two groups: the first group consumed 12 capsules per week (either one or two capsules per day) providing 6.54 grams of EPA and DHA combined, and a second group where individuals consumed the same 12 capsules per week providing the same dose of EPA and DHA, but only on two days each week (to mimic what happens when someone eats two oily-rich fish meals per week). So that neither group knew if they were receiving omega-3 supplements daily or only twice a week, the remaining capsules were filled with placebo oil.
To understand how both treatments raised omega-3 fatty acid concentrations over the 12-month study, the researchers measured concentrations in plasma, platelets (cell fragments that stop us from excessive bleeding), and immune cells. The researchers chose these samples deliberately because they provide a good indication of omega-3 fatty acid concentrations over short, medium, and long-term intake, respectively. The results indicated that while both groups had significant increases in cellular concentrations of EPA and DHA, the group that consumed the supplement daily had greater concentrations in their plasma and cells compared to the group that consumed their supplements only two days per week.
According to the authors, “This finding may have implications for the associated health benefits observed in continuous supplementation studies and suggests that the same dose of EPA and DHA achieved through sporadic oily fish consumption may have a lesser impact on EPA and DHA status.”
Take IsaOmega Supreme Daily and Eat More Fatty Fish
So what is the take-home message from this study? One major finding is that even the minority of Americans who consume 1 to 2 servings per week of fish rich in omega-3s incorporate these heart-healthy nutrients into their bodies less than those who take supplements of omega-3s daily. So, while eating more fish is recommended to obtain these fats, as well as other healthy nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals, it also cannot be ignored that fatty fish can be a major source of environmental toxins that accumulate in our bodies over decades, possibly leading to greater obesity and other metabolic dysfunctions (see “Do Toxins Make You Fat”`).
This is why, in addition to a greater dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fish, daily supplementation with IsaOmega Supreme® is an excellent way to significantly increase these fatty acids in the body leading to better brain, immune, and of course, heart health. Beyond the omega-3 fatty acids, IsaOmega Supreme also contains a proprietary blend of other heart-healthy fatty acids from pomegranate, evening primrose, borage seed, and flax seed oils, and, unlike fatty fish, IsaOmega Supreme is rigorously tested and free of toxins such as heavy metals, dioxins, and other environmental pollutants.
Double Up on Fish Oil for Your Heart
Doubling your daily dose of fish oil could be better for your heart, especially if paired with exercise and a weight management program, according to a new study.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that daily supplementation with 2 grams of fish oil derived of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids—docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)—provides even greater heart health benefits than 1 gram.
To reach these conclusions, Penn State researchers separated 125 people into five groups. Each group received daily doses ranging from 0 to 1.8 grams of fish oil. After five months, the group supplementing with about 1 gram of long-chain omega-3s (EPA and DHA) per day had improved cardiovascular risk factors, but the group taking the most, almost 2 grams per day, had maximum benefits.
The researchers based their findings on a new method of measurement, known as the Omega-3 Index. When fish oil is digested and broken down in the body, a certain amount of omega-3 is incorporated into red blood cells. The Omega-3 Index measures the level of omega-3 in red blood cells, showing how well a given amount of fish oil is absorbed and used by the body.
Along with showing that more fish oil is better, the new research also found that body weight and exercise influence omega-3 needs. Interestingly, people who exercised more responded better to fish oil supplementation. Compared to more sedentary people, active participants absorbed more fish oil into their red blood cells for any given dose, suggesting that exercise may somehow enhance omega-3 use in the body.
The study also showed that weight should be considered when figuring out fish oil needs, as heavier people were found to need more omega-3 than smaller people. Based on their findings, the study authors estimated that a person weighing about 120 pounds would need only about 0.9 grams of fish oil per day to improve cardiovascular health, whereas 1.2 grams per day would be needed for a person weighing about 165 pounds.
The typical American consumes far short of fish oil recommendations, getting less than 0.1 grams each day. For best cardiovascular protection, recommendations are that a person should consume fatty fish twice per week, exercise regularly, and supplement with at least 1 gram of fish oil daily.
Taking Isagenix IsaOmega Supreme provides 1.2 grams of total omega-3 fatty acids (.6 grams EPA and .48 grams DHA) ensuring that omega-3 recommendations are met. However, based on these scientific findings, you might gain greater heart-health benefits from it by exercising and doubling your dose for 2.4 grams total per day.
- Regan B.L., Denby, N., Haycock, B., Sherif, K., Steinbaum, S., & von Schacky, C. (2015). Perceptions of a Healthy Diet: Insights From a 3-Country Survey. Nutrition Today, 50(6);282-287.
- Soumia P, Sandeep C, Jubbin J. A fish a day, keeps the cardiologist away! – A review of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the cardiovascular system. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2013 May-Jun; 17(3): 422–429.
- Mozaffarian D, Wu JH. Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease: effects on risk factors, molecular pathways, and clinical events. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011 Nov 8;58(20):2047-67.
- Browning LM et al. Compared with Daily, Weekly n–3 PUFA Intake Affects the Incorporation of Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid into Platelets and Mononuclear Cells in Humans. J Nutr. 2014.
- D’Ascoli TA, Mursu J, Voutilainen S, Kauhanen J, Tuomainen T, Virtanen K. Association between serum long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and cognitive performance in elderly men and women: The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2016; doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2016.59
- Kim M, Goto T, Yu R, Uchida K, Tominaga M, Kano Y, Takahashi N, Kawada T. Fish oil intake induces UCP1 upregulation in brown and white adipose tissue via the sympathetic nervous system. Sci Rep. 2015 Dec 17;5:18013.
- Logan SL, Spriet LL. Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for 12 Weeks Increases Resting and Exercise Metabolic Rate in Healthy Community-Dwelling Older Females. PLoS One. 2015 Dec 17;10(12):e0144828. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144828. eCollection 2015.
- Browning LM et al. Compared with Daily, Weekly n–3 PUFA Intake Affects the Incorporation of Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid into Platelets and Mononuclear Cells in Humans. J Nutr. 2014 doi: 10.3945/jn.113.186346
Flock MR et al. Determinants of erythrocyte omega-3 fatty acid content in response to fish oil supplementation: a dose-response randomized controlled trial. J Am Heart Assoc. 2013 Nov 19;2(6):e000513.