How Much Fish Oil Should You Take?
Written by Calvin Sun
Just about everyone is convinced that fish oil is the one supplement that you must add to your nutritional regime. Numerous studies have shown supplementing with fish oil has a variety of health benefits including reducing inflammation, improving blood lipid profiles, improving cognitive function, preventing cardiovascular disease, increasing immune function, and reduced risk of cancers. But how much fish oil should you take in order to reap the benefits?
Robb Wolf, along with many other nutrition gurus, recommends 0.5 grams of omega-3 in the form of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (EPA and DHA) per 10 pounds of body weight for healthy individuals. However, if you are recovering from an injury, overweight, stressed, not sleeping well, and/or eating a poor diet, you’ll probably want to increase that dosage to 0.75 – 1.0 grams per 10 pounds of body weight. Keep in mind that not all fish oil products are created equally. Higher quality fish oil supplements tend to have a higher dose of EPA/DHA per serving than their poorly manufactured counterparts.
Here is Robb’s method for calculating required fish oil per day simplified into three easy steps. You’ll need to reference the nutrition label on the back of your fish oil supplement in order to determine your dose.
Step 1 – Calculate grams of fish oil required per day
[Body weight in pounds / 10] * [Fish Oil Factor] = Required dose of fish oil per day
Step 2 – Sean uses the Kirkland Signature Enteric Coated Fish Oil sold at Costco. It contains 410mg EPA and 274mg DHA per serving (1 softgel).
410mg EPA + 274mg DHA = 684mg EPA/DHA per soft gel
Step 3 – And we’ll just plug the values from steps 1 and 2 into our final equation here…
16.125 grams / [684mg / 1000] * = 23.57. We’ll round up to the nearest whole number for a total of 24 soft gels per day for Sean
Now this may seem like large amount of pills, but keep in mind a few things, Sean is a big guy and the last couple months have left him pretty banged up. I told him to switch to a liquid fish oil in order to allow him to get the adequate amount of omega-3s without feeling like a Colombian drug mule. Carlson makes a great fish oil that contains 800mg EPA and 500mg DHA per teaspoonful. That means Sean would only need about 12 teaspoons or 4 tablespoons of the Carlson liquid product compared to 24 Costco soft gels. Ideally, he would split up the dosage evenly over the course of the day and take the fish oil with meals.
Is all of this too much math for you? Not a problem. The folks over at Whole9 have simplified the entire process by creating a fish oil calculator based on the same method. Click HERE to go to it. Simply plug in your body weight, fish oil factor, EPA, DHA, serving size, and you’ll get your required daily dose. Still not sure how much to take? Feel free to consult one of your coaches and we will be happy to assist you.