T Nation

Fish Oil - How Much?

I’m sure this has been discussed to death before, but…
How much fish oil should be taken each day? I’ve heard 6-8 grams. Is this grams of EPA/DHA combined, or is it total grams for the capsules? [e.g. 1 capsule provides EPA=180mg and DHA=120mg but the capsule itself is 1 gram of oil, so do I take 20 caps to get 6 grams of EPA and DHA combined (180+120=300x20=6000mg)or do I take just 6 caps to get 6 grams total fish oil?]

Use the caps to increase your intake of EPA/DHA. The goal generally being to get 6-10g EPA/DHA a day from all sources: fish oil caps, flax oil, fish, omega eggs, etc.

The 6 gram recommendation is for 6 grams combined of epa/dha, so your analogy of 20 capsules is correct. That is why we have been seeing so many posts recently from peoples asking about sources of liquid fish oil so that they may just take a TBS as you would flax oil. Personally, I think the recommendation is for a person who is “worst case” in omega 3 natural deficiency with “worst case” omega 3 needs, such as someone who’s been overtraining while on a restricted calorie cutting cycle. I usually take 12 caps a day unless I start to feel overtrained or on a low calorie cutting diet in which case I’ll up it a bit. I get the rest of my omega 3’s from flax and walnuts.

Your are correct that you want to shoot for 6-10 grams epa/dha but wanted to clarify that flax or omega eggs don’t contain any epa/dha directly - only omega 3 fats which your body uses as the raw material to manufacure its own epa/dha. The reason for the fish oil recommendation is that experts are saying most people’s bodies are very inefficient at converting omega 3 to epa/dha and cann’t produce optimal amounts on its own and therefore recommend supplementing epa/dha directly via fish oil. I don’t know how much epa/dha the body can produce and it varies by person but the general consensus seems to be that we cann’t produce near enough and need to get most of our epa/dha through fish oil supplementation for optimal health. I do agree though that a person should include good sources of omega 3 fats such as flax, walnuts, and omega eggs but will need to rely on fish for most epa/dha to achieve the 6-10 grams.

Heb - I agree with you that we do not get much conversion. Maybe it is just wishful thinking or the fact that I don’t want to swallow 12 fish oil caps a day that makes me believe we get some conversion to EPA/DHA from omega 3 fats. I’m not sure what the exact conversion is, but I’ll usually take in about 5 grams EPA/DHA from fish oil caps as a base and hope that some of the 2 T flax oil and 1 oz walnuts that I usually eat convert to EPA/DHA. BTW, the eggs that I eat (Golden Eggs) contain DHA. I was told 250 mg per egg, but I’m not really sure.