Omega-3 Index Report
Omega-3 Index Report
An Omega-3 Index in the range of 8-12% is one indicator of better overall health. As a part of an overall healthy lifestyle, an Omega-3
Index in the 8-12% range may help to maintain heart, brain, eye and joint health. The best way to increase your Omega-3 Index is to
eat more omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA. These are found primarily in fish, especially “oily” fish such as those near the
top in the accompanying table. They can also be obtained from dietary supplements (fish, krill, cod liver and algal oils).
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans states, “For the general population, consumption of about 8 ounces per week of a
variety of seafood, which provide an average consumption of 250*mg per day of EPA and DHA, is associated with reduced cardiac
deaths among individuals with and without pre-existing cardiovascular disease.”
The advice fromthe American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is, “Based on recent literature, increasing consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids with a particular focuson increasing omega-3 intake (i.e., striving to consume two or more servings of
fatty fish per week to provide at least 500*mg EPA and DHA perday…) is desirable.”
The FDA has determined that the consumption of up to 3000 mg/day of EPA and DHA is generally recognized as safe.
The amount of EPA+DHA you would need to eat in order to raise your Omega-3 Index into the desirable range cannot be predicted
with certainty. Many factors –your age, sex, weight, diet, genetics, smoking habits, medications you may be taking, and other medical conditions –can all influence your body’s response to EPA+DHA. However, research has shown that on average for most
Americans, weekly consumption of 3 servings of non-fried fish plus taking a supplement should raise the Omega-3 Index into the desirable range.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE OMEGA-6:OMEGA-3 AND THE AA:EPA RATIOS
Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio is calculated by dividing the sum of seven omega-6 fatty acids by the sum of four omega-3 fatty acids. The only two fatty acids included in the AA:EPA ratio are arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3).
The desirable range for the omega-6:omega-3 ratio is 3:1 to 5:1, and the desirable range for the AA:EPA ratio is 2.5:1–11:1.
These ranges were derived from thousands of individuals whose RBC samples were analyzed for the Omega-3 Index and for these
two ratios. Because the Omega-3 Index is so strongly related to each of these ratios, the desirable ranges for these two ratios were
calculated to correspond to the desirable range for the Omega-3 Index.
As described in the Omega-3 Index report, the best way to lower both the Omega-6:Omega-3 and the AA:EPA ratios is to consume
more omega-3 fatty acids. As described below in the Omega-6 fatty acids section of this report, the latest scientific literature
supports higher, not lower, intakes/levels of the principal omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid. Therefore, we do not recommend
lowering your intake of linoleic acid as a strategy to lower these ratios. Raising your intake of EPA+DHA from seafoods and/or omega-3
supplements will, however, decrease both of these ratios (and raise your Omega-3 Index).