The American Heart Association Thinks You Should Get More Omega-3s

AdobeStock_193863958

If you follow the news, you’ve probably been getting some mixed messages about whether or not Omega-3 fish oil is good for your heart. Many news stories have reported on the fact that supportive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. But every now and then, a study finding no benefit gets outsized attention. So, it’s good to know the American Heart Association (AHA) is pro-Omega-3. 

The American Heart Association on Fish

Just last month, the organization issued a science advisory on the subject of seafood Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular health. In it, the AHA summarizes the evidence showing the beneficial effects that Omega-3 fatty acids from seafood have on the health of the heart and blood vessels.*[1] 

The advisory also makes a recommendation: If you want to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy, eat 1-2 seafood meals per week. This is consistent with its previous recommendation to eat fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times (two servings) per week. (A serving is 3.5 ounces cooked or about ¾ cup of flaked fish.)

Okay, so the AHA thinks you should eat more fish. But where does it stand on Omega-3 supplements? We’re glad you asked. 

THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION ON omega-3 supplements

In March of last year, the AHA issued another advisory that specifically addressed how Omega-3 fish oil supplements impact cardiovascular health. After reviewing numerous large, randomized controlled clinical studies — the gold standard of scientific research — the AHA concluded that Omega-3 fish oil supplements have specific benefits for heart health, especially among certain populations.*[2]

So how much should you be taking?

Here’s what the AHA recommends:[3]

Population

Recommendation

Patients without documented coronary heart disease

Eat a variety of (preferably oil) fish at least 2x per week. Include oils and foods rich in alpha-linolenic acid (flaxseed, canola, and soybean oils; flaxseed and walnuts)

Patients with documented coronary heart disease

Consume ~ 1 gram of EPA+DHA per day, preferably from oily fish.

 

If you don’t consistently eat fish, or you’re concerned about the mercury levels, consider supplementation. You can get about the same amount of Omega-3s provided by 7 ounces of salmon (3,600 mg) by taking 500 mg of EPA+DHA per day.[4]

References

[1] Rimm EB, et al. Circulation. 2018 May 17.

[2] Siscovick DS, et al. Circulation. 2017 Apr 11; 135(15):e867-e884.

[3] Kris-Etherton PM, Harris WS, Appel LJ. Circulation. 2002 Nov 19;106(21)2747-57.

[4] National Institutes of Health. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Updated March 2, 2018. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/#h3

 

Comments