Fish Oil: 3 Facts (and a Myth) About Dosing
Deciding how much fish oil to take can be very confusing—especially with all the misconceptions surrounding dosing, and the lack of established dosing guidelines. Here are a few helpful facts to consider when determining your daily dose.
“Omega-3 dosage varies from person to person.”
True. We wish we could provide the magic omega-3 dosage for everyone, but because a number of factors contribute to an individual’s needs, it’s impossible. When considering how much omega-3s to take, it’s important to keep in mind that:
- Unlike most vitamins and nutrients, a standard daily dose of omega-3s has not been established.
- Omega-3 blood testing is the most efficient way to measure your omega-3 blood levels and determine your personal dietary requirements.
- Evidence shows that higher doses are safe, well-tolerated, and better able to increase omega-3 levels (even though research has historically used smaller doses).
Learn more about how much EPA and DHA you should take.
“Children 4-12 years old can benefit from taking 2000 mg of EPA and DHA a day.”
That’s right! Research finds that, on average, American children consume extremely low levels of omega-3s, which may have long-lasting implications for their health. Fortunately, studies suggest that taking 2000 mg of EPA and DHA per day can support children’s physical, cognitive, and social development. Learn more about fish oil for kids.
“Evidence demonstrates larger doses of EPA and DHA are safe and more effective than lower doses.”
Yup, that’s right. Although many trials err on the side of caution by using smaller doses of 250 to 1000 mg per day, accumulating evidence shows that larger daily doses of 3000 to 4000 mg are safe and more effective. Learn more about omega-3 dosing.
“I should take the same amount of omega-3s as my healthy friend.”
That may be a good start, but let’s consider a couple of things. EPA+DHA recommendations should be based on individual omega-3 needs whenever possible. Giving a fixed dose of 1000 mg per day to someone who is wildly deficient in omega-3s may barely increase omega-3 blood levels, whereas giving the same fixed dose to someone who eats a diet rich in fish (and has no trouble metabolizing dietary fats) may be perfectly sufficient for achieving a therapeutic EPA + DHA blood levels. Learn more about omega-3 dosing.