Omega-3 Dose

Omega-3 Dose for High Triglycerides

The AHA recommends that people with high triglycerides take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement with 2 to 4 grams (2000 to 4000 mg) of EPA and DHA. There is no need to take all these omega-3 fatty acids at once; you may find that splitting it up into two daily dosages decreases some of the bothersome omega-3 side effects. The AHA recommends that you take omega-3 fatty acids for this use only under the supervision of your healthcare provider.
 
This dose is much more than most people can obtain through food, which is why the AHA recommends supplementation.
 

Omega-3 Dose to Prevent Heart Disease

The AHA does not recommend omega-3 fatty acid supplements for people who do not have a diagnosis of heart disease or high triglycerides. Instead, it recommends that people eat a variety of fish at least twice a week. Oily fish (such as salmon or trout) are preferred over non-oily fish (such as cod or halibut), since non-oily fish are low in omega-3 fatty acids. If you do not like fish and want to try an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, it is a good idea to check with your healthcare provider first.
 

Omega-3 Dose for Rheumatoid Arthritis

In studies, various omega-3 dosages have been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. One possible dose is 3.8 grams of EPA and 2 grams of DHA daily. It is not known if this is the most effective or safest dose for this use, however.
 

ALA Dosing

As you can see, most of the recommendations focus on DHA and EPA, not ALA. There is more research involving DHA and EPA, compared to ALA, and there is less information about an appropriate dose for ALA. Often, a daily intake of about 2 grams (2000 mg) of ALA is recommended as part of a healthy diet.
 

General Information on Dosing With Omega-3

Considerations for people taking omega-3 fatty acids include the following:
 
  • Since the manufacturing of supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids is not closely regulated, it is important to choose a trustworthy manufacturer of your supplements. It is a good idea to look for the "USP" symbol, since this means that the supplement has been tested and contains the right ingredients in the right amounts.
     
  • Some fish (and, therefore, some omega-3 supplements derived from fish) contain heavy metals and other toxins. Often, these supplements are purified in order to remove these toxins. Make sure to choose an omega-3 fatty acid supplement from a reputable manufacturer. Your pharmacist can help you choose a good supplement.
     
  • You may find that storing fish oil supplements in the freezer helps prevent some of the bothersome side effects of fish oil (such as a fishy aftertaste). This may also prevent fish oil supplements from becoming rancid.
     
  • If you have any chronic health problems or take any prescription medications, you should check with your healthcare provider before taking omega-3 fatty acids.
     
  • If you are unsure about anything related to your omega-3 dose, talk with your healthcare provider.
     
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD; Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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