Evaluate if Eating Fish Twice Per Week Is Enough for Your Brain & Heart Health
Do you know your nutritional fatty acid status? Is eating fatty fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel) 2x per week enough or is an omega-3 supplement warranted? If you are already supplementing, are you getting enough that is heart-protective or adequate for eye and brain health?
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the critical nutrients for heart health, brain health, eye health and overall health. They are known to be under-consumed in the U.S. diet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2 servings (8 oz total) of fish per week. This averages to approximately 250 mg of DHA per day. Globally, many adults have an Omega-3 Index below the recommendations for cardiovascular protection. Despite adequate knowledge that omega-3s are beneficial for heart and brain health, a 2017 study found that majority of the adults (99%) sampled in the U.S. and Germany were considered at high Cardiovascular Disease risk based on their Omega-3 Index.
Fish oil or algae supplements are a safe and powerful source of EPA+DHA. However, the source, form and whether or not you take them with food all impact how much of the omega-3 supplement is absorbed.
The Omega-3 Index: How do you know if you are getting enough omega-3s?
The only way is to directly measure the long-term, stable marker of omega-3 status, the Omega-3 Index, which is a blood test that measures the amount of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) in red blood cell (RBC) membranes. The information is shown as a percent of total RBC fatty acids.
The target Omega-3 Index is 8% or higher, which is the level that current research suggests is associated with the lowest risk for death from heart disease and better overall health. This level is typically found in Japan, which is where one of the world’s lowest rates of sudden cardiac death is found. In the U.S., the common Omega-3 Index is 4% or lower, which indicates the highest risk.
(For this context, “risk” refers only to that associated with different levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The risks associated with other factors like cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, family history of heart disease, smoking or other cardiac conditions are completely independent of the Omega-3 Index.)
Just because you eat fatty fish and/or take omega-3 supplements doesn’t mean that your Omega-3 Index is above 8%. There is no way to predict the Omega-3 Index simply by knowing how much fish someone eats or how many omega-3 supplements they take. There are individual differences in metabolism, weight, age, sex, absorption and genetics that make it challenging to predict.
Benefits of Knowing Your Omega-3 Index
Unique Analysis Method. Other fatty acid tests do not use the same analysis methods to determine the Omega-3 Index. The unique method used at OmegaQuant (same test used in 200+ research studies) has more research behind it than any other commercially-available test.
Risk for Heart Disease. People with low omega-3 levels have a 10-fold higher risk for sudden cardiac death compared to people with higher omega-3 status.
Brain Health. Omega-3s are critical for brain health during every life stage, especially during early life.
Lifespan Potential. In those with heart disease, people with an Omega-3 Index higher than 4.6% lived longer than those with lower levels.
Food-First or Supplementation? Is eating fatty fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel) 2x per week enough or is an omega-3 supplement warranted? If you are already supplementing, are you getting enough?
Collection: This does not require a full blood draw or a trip to the doctor. It's a simple prick of the finger for a dried blood sample.
Test Results: ~10-12 business days
Follow Up Testing: re-testing every ~4 months ensures that levels stay optimal