Omega-3 fatty acids are needed by our body. We cannot produce them ourselves, but must take them through food or supplements. So far so good.
Here, of course, the next questionsarise:
- How much do you need from it?
- How much fish do you need to eat? What if you don’t like any or less fish – how many capsules in what dose are they?
- What about omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid? How much special oil does my body need?
- Do you need to watch out for an overdose?
We will answer all this in the following article.
How much on the day from the good Omega-3? This is how high your omega-3 daily requirement is.
For this purpose, we first distinguish between the three omega-3 fatty acids:
- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
- EPA (eicosapenaetic acid)
The ALA is the fatty acid that can be absorbed via linseed oil, chia oil and other high-quality oils. DHA and EPA, on the other hand, are the well-known “
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is based on the current research situation on the basis of these recommendations:
- At least 250 mg daily for normal cardiac function
- At least 250 mg daily for prevention of cardiovascular disease
- 2 to 4 g daily by EPA and DHA for lowering blood pressure and triglyceride levels
The values can be seen in total and do not have to be extra added up: 2 to 4 g of EPA and DHA daily are sufficient for all effects.
EFSA does not comment on the ALA. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) speaks of 0.5% of the daily energy intake. This equates to approximately 1.3 g per day of ALA.
It is also much more important to pay attention to the right ratio. The DGE recommends as a ratio of 5:1 from ALA to omega-6 fatty acids. This guarantees that your body does not process the wrong fatty acid and only in this way does the alA supplied bring you something.
You don’t need to focus on EPA separately, because this fatty acid is always included in DHA sources anyway.
If you want to cover your daily needs with capsules, you have to pay attention to how much and what oil is contained in the capsules. Depending on the number of capsules you need, you can then calculate the required number of capsules. Usually, however, a directive is also written on the package or in the enclosed description.
Since you can only process the omega-3 fatty acids well if you also eat something high in fat,you don’t have to take the capsules at the rather low-fat breakfast. It can also be quiet lunch or dinner.
In any case, it remains a core principle that you should always bear in mind: If the dosage is higher, you should in any case consult with your doctor.
How much fish would that be to cover the omega-3 daily requirement?
With docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapenaetic acid(EPA)we are actually talking about fish. To cover the lower values, the Consumer Centre gives one to two servings of high-fat sea fish per week. These would be, for example, mackerel, sardines, herring, buckling or tuna
In the case of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) it is rather a high-quality vegetable oil. For linseed oil, this is about 1.7 g per day. Not quite as potent but still good oils would be: rapeseed, walnut or chia oil. You can also snack on a handful of walnuts or almonds.
If you eat vegan, however, you can hardly avoid dietary supplements. Oils from the
Shizochytrium and Ulkenia are the vegan alternative here.
The omega-3 intake in exceptional cases: What about the omega-3 daily requirement in children, sports and during pregnancy?
As you can imagine, the rule values are not quite true in special circumstances. Includes:
- Children and adolescents
In extreme or competitive sports, there are few backed-up receipts. The American nutritionist Artemis Simopoulos, however, puts the daily needs of EPA and DHA higher than in normal life. It speaks of at least 1 to 2 g of EPA and DHA every day.
Meanwhile, she quantifies the necessary intake for normal recreational sports or fitness training at 300 mg OF EPA and DHA daily.
While the normal amount of fish is done with one to two servings of fish per week, 1 to 2 g of EPA is already about four to six times. Four to 12 servings of fish are already difficult to manage via nutrition.
In the case of young children in the first two years of life, there are their own recommendations. Here, the omega-3 fatty acids help to grow the brain properly. It is recommended to supply 100 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily from the sixth month onwards. After that, it remains the same until adolescence: 250 mg omega-3 fatty acids daily.
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, as an incoming mother, you not only supply your body, but also your offspring. Therefore, in addition to the normal recommendations, you should take an additional 200 mg of DHA per day. That’s at least 450 mg daily to meet all the minimum recommendations. Here it proves to be effective in the usual active contact with the family doctor and , if necessary – also to help with dietary supplements.
Too much Omega-3: Can Omega-3 be overdosed?
To quote the scholar Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim, better known as Paracelsus: “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes thata thing is not a poison.”
This also applies, of course, to omega-3 fatty acids. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) warns against excess, as such a risk assessment can increase cholesterol levels. There may also be difficulties in blood clotting. In short, bleeding can occur more often and is more difficult to breastfeed. In addition, the immune system of the elderly can be weakened.
EFSA concluded in 2012 that more than 5 g of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are not recommended daily. There is no evidence yet that the above side effects may occur under this dose.
With the consumption of sea fish you can hardly achieve this. This is also only possible with commercially available capsules if dosage is abusive.
However, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment stresses that foods enriched with omega-3 fatty acids in particular can be problematic here. Manufacturers do not always specify the dosage for these – they do not have to do so in the case of food.
If you take capsules at the same time, you can therefore safely do without enriched foods. Since such foods are often not labelled, which of the fatty acids is contained, they are all the more critical to look at. The BfR therefore also expressly warns against this.
The summary. Omega-3: It’s not just fish
Do you want DHA? Then it’s fish or the famous fish oil capsules.
Do you need ALA? Then a vegetable oilis enough. To do this, you also need to keep an eye on your Omega-6 household.
But even if you don’t get the one or two servings of sea fish per week, not everything is lost. Dietary supplements can help you achieve the necessary care for your body. This goes with the classic fish oil capsules or vegan in the form of microalgae oils.
If you follow the guidelines of the different societies and at least do not exceed 5 g of DHA per day, no side effects are likely to occur, according to studies. If in doubt, your doctor will help you here.