August 19, 2008

You Ask, I Answer: Omega-3 Supplements

I'm taking fish oil supplements (two 1000mg capsules with my prenatal vitamin, taken with food) because I can't eat fish without getting nauseous.

Am I absorbing even close to the same amounts of EPA/DHA as my body would get from a serving of cold water fish?

-- Anonymous

Via the blog

Fish oil supplements greatly vary.

Remember, the values to be on the lookout for are EPA and DHA.

I have seen 1000 milligram products that offer anywhere from 180 to 1,000 milligrams of DHA and 120 to 400 milligrams of EPA pero two capsule serving.

Since supplements are not regulated by the FDA (a direct result of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act), you'll find that some "1,000 milligram" capsules offer that amount of fish oil per two capsule serving, whereas others contain that in each individual capsule.

In any case, you want to aim for 1.5 to 2 grams grams of combined EPA and DHA per day.

A 3-ounce piece of wild salmon (as large as the palm of your hand and no wider than your pinkie finger) delivers approximately 400 milligrams of EPA and 1.3 grams of DHA.

Remember that as wonderfully protective of cardiac health as Omega-3 fatty acids are, more is certainly not better -- overconsumption can overly thin the blood.

There is a good deal of evidence that absorption of these fatty acids is higher in food, so although supplements are fine for the time being, I encourage you to resume eating fish once the nauseous reaction stops.


jenninat0r said...

Hi Andy, I've got a question I've mulled over for some time already:

What do you think of (modified) corn starch showing up on ingredient lists? I know high fructose corn syrup is extremely concentrated in sugar and causes insulin spikes making one more prone to hunger/consuming more calories... what about corn starch? I see this in a lot of foods and in Asian cuisine it's used as a thickener in a lot of sauces.


Chai said...

I've been wondering, can stress alone cause weight gain? Cause I've been dieting and exercising great but I actually gained weight and I think it could be because I've been under a lot of stress lately.