Know Your Ω™: Check Your Omega-3 Levels
Adults in most regions of the world have a low to very low status of omega-3 fatty acids – specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), according to a new review published in the journal “Progress in Lipid Research.” The review’s findings aren’t surprising but they are worrying as these healthy fats are essential for health at all stages of life. Low levels of omega-3s in the bloodstream may be associated with a higher risk of brain, eye and heart conditions.
If you suspect your omega-3 intake levels are low, what can you do?
Check Your Levels
If you are wondering if you or a family member are getting enough omega-3s in your diet, a blood test – the Omega-3 Index – can measure the healthy fats in your red blood cells while assessing your risk of heart disease. Blood cells in the body live an average of four months, so the test results reflect eating habits over the previous one to four months.
This isn’t a customary test proactively given by your health care provider, but you can request one during your next visit.
Increase Your Intake
While the body needs omega-3s, it can’t produce them at significant levels on its own, so you need to get omega-3s from your diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish twice a week, so look for creative and fun ways to add more salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines or tuna to your meal plan. If you’re not a fish fan, consider fortified foods for an added omega-3s. Contrary to popular belief, not all omega-3s are created equally, so look for EPA and DHA on the labels.
If you find that your omega-3 levels are low, consult your health care practitioner to discuss changing your diet or adding EPA and DHA dietary supplements.
Why do we need Omega-3s?
EPA and DHA support a healthy body at all stages of life – whether you are pregnant, nursing, a young child or an aging adult.
Omega-3s support maternal DHA status as well as fetal brain, eye and neurological system development during early life. In infants and children, omega-3s have been shown to be important for brain and eye development. There are numerous studies showing the health benefits of omega-3s for adults, including brain and eye function and overall heart health.
Learn more about your omega-3 levels
Know Your Ω™ is a trademark of DSM
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