Many patients are confused about omega-3 supplements…and I don’t blame them. Should you take omega-3 or omega 3-6-9? What amount of DHA/EPA is ideal? What are the best sources of omega-3?
Optometrists will often counsel about omega-3 supplements because clinical research supports the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) to protect against age-related macular degeneration and other eye disorders. The benefits come from their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. Fish has been found to be a predominant source of omega-3 fatty acids, however, many North Americans don’t consume a sufficient amount in their diet.
Here are some important points to consider:
Oily small fish such as sardines, anchovies, and mackeral are recommended sources of fish-oil for omega-3 supplements. Small species of fish tend to have fewer PCBs and other toxins in comparison to larger fish. Some studies are showing krill oil is a good sources of DHA/EPA, but the data is still limited compared to fish oil studies.
The average dietary intake of DHA/EPA in North Americans is only 130-150 mg/day. The recommended dosage by the Dieticians of Canada is about 500 mg/day. Adults with cardiovascular disease are recommended to take 1,000 mg/day.
Buying fish oil in its natural TRIGLYCERIDE form is better than the synthetic ETHYL-ESTER form. Studies show more DHA and EPA is bioabsorbed when the fish oil is in its triglyceride form. Typically, purchasing omega-3 supplements in their triglyceride form will cost more.
Omega-6 fatty acids are abundant in our diet and omega-9 fatty acids are not considered essential in our diet because the human body has a high capacity for naturally biosynthesizing it. Therefore, there is no evidence that an omega 3-6-9 supplement would be more beneficial than a simple omega-3 supplement.
Choose a fish oil in which the amounts of DHA and EPA each comprise of 1/3 of their combined total. This means if the total amount of DHA + EPA is 600 mg, you should see there is at least 200mg of each on the label.
I hope this post has equipped you with helpful information to ensure you choose the right omega-3 supplement for your needs.
Vancouver Kerrisdale Optometrist
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