Fish oil supplements are very commonly consumed by millions of people all over the world. These supplements are made from fish oil derived from cold-water fishes, like anchovies, sardines, tuna, mackerel, and trout. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids which are known to offer some health benefits. While you can also consume fishes directly in your diet to get omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil supplements make the process easier, allowing you to consume healthy amounts of these fatty acids on a daily basis.
Right from cardiovascular health, immune function, problems like arthritis, ADHD and even Alzheimer’s, fish oil helps the human body in several ways. However, it is very important to make sure that your body is receiving the required amount of omega-3s on a daily basis to deliver these benefits.
‘How much fish oil should I take?’ is one of the most common queries of people who are just starting with the supplement. In this post, we’ll try to answer this in detail.
EPA and DHA
A lot of people focus on the dosage of fish oil, like 1200mg or 1000mg. But a better and more efficient way to calculate the dosage is by calculating the amount of EPA and DHA in every serving. It is the EPA and DHA that are responsible for the health benefits that the fish oil offers.
Each fish oil supplement has a different amount of this omega-3s in them, and thus, even the dosage of products from various brands can differ significantly. For instance, let us take the Fish Oil Softgels offered by Optimum Nutrition. Each 1 gram soft gel of this supplement contains 300mg of omega-3s (180mg of EPA and 120mg of DHA). The company suggests that you can take 1-2 soft gels up to 3 times in a day.
On the other hand, each soft gel of Deus-Vita Elite Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil supplement contains 1.5 grams of omega-3s (800mg of EPA, 600mg of DHA and 100mg of other omega-3s). The recommended dosage of this supplement from Deus-Vita is a single soft gel in a day.
So, a 1gm or 1.5gm soft gel of fish oil supplement doesn’t mean 1gm or 1.5gm of EPA and DHA. The supplement contains some additional ingredients as well. So, rather than the dosage of the fish oil, focus on the amount of EPA and DHA in every serving to make a better decision.
So, How Much Fish Oil Should You Take in a Day?
As per US FDA, a healthy adult can consume up to 3 grams of EPA and DHA in a day. However, out of these 3 grams, only 2 grams should come from dietary supplements, and the remaining 1 gram should come from natural food sources, like fish.
If you are just starting with the supplement, a safer option is to start with a lighter dose. For instance, if the recommended dose of fish oil supplement is 1 soft gel 2-3 times in a day, start with 1 soft gel in a day. Continue taking a single soft gel for at least a week before starting to take 2 soft gels in a day, followed by 3 in a day after a week.
You should always start with a lighter dose as fish oil overdose is a possibility and you might suffer from some side effects, like upset stomach, diarrhea, acid reflux, and heartburn. With a lighter dosage, you would allow your body to get used to the supplement and the chances of developing side effects when you increase the dosage would be close to none. And if you do suffer from minor side effects like the ones mentioned above, know that it is entirely alright. However, you should consult health care professional if the problems last for more than 3-4 days.
How to Buy the Best Fish Oil Supplement?
Now that you know fish oil dosage let us have a look at how you can buy the best oil supplement from all the different options available on the market.
Remember that it is the amount of omega-3s in the supplement that matters. If you are taking fish oil supplement, make sure that you check the amount of omega-3s in one serving. It is recommended that you should go for a supplement which requires you to consume a lesser number of soft gels in a day as it makes it easier for you to follow the routine. This means that you should look for a supplement with a higher dosage of EPA and DHA as the higher the amount of these fatty acids in the supplement, the lower will be the number of doses.
And most importantly, make sure that you only go for reputed brands, like Optimum Nutrition, Deus-Vita, Cellucor, PacificCoast NutriLabs, etc. Ensure that you check the reviews on the internet before making the purchase to make sure that the product you are buying is safe, reasonably priced and easy to consume.
Fish oil supplements are one of the safest and most efficacious supplements which should not just be consumed by professional bodybuilders and athletes but by everyone. And now that you have a detailed answer to ‘How much fish oil should I take?’ start searching for fish oil supplement from a famous brand to experience the wide range of benefits that this supplement has to offer.
And if you are confused with all the available options, we have reviewed some of the best fish oil, creatine, fat burner and pre-workout supplements to make the decision easier for you.