Posts Tagged ‘fatty acids’

Question– Last week you recommended mussels because they were high in omega 3 fatty acids. How much omega 3 should I be getting?

Answer– I’ve received  several similar questions this week  and it actually took a bit of digging  to find an accurate answer.  Unlike nutrients like vitamin C or minerals like iron, there are no universal standards   to support a recommended daily allowance ( RDA).  Rather  boards of scientists have looked at  different nutritional studies to come up with a number  where they can say  offers health benefits.  In most cases, doctors examined  heart disease trials  to see how much omega 3  is needed to protect against cardiac problems.  Most of the experts established that the daily minimum for  health benefits of omega 3 is about 400mg/day.  At the other end,  they recommended  a maximum of 3000mg og daily omega 3, with no more  then 2ooomg coming from supplements.

In terms of real food,  3 ounces of mussels provides 700mg of omega 3, about two days worth– which is the number behind recommendations of 2-3 servings of  fish a week.   I also have new respect for salmon which has 1,800 mg of omega 3 in a modest 3 ounce portion.  Since  most servings of salmon are more  like 6-8 ounces, a single weekly serving of salmon  more than meets  your omega 3 needs for a week.  Done!

Omega 3 supplements provide 500-  1000mg per capsule and certainly get the job done, but I  am concerned about their  potential contaminents.  Some studies have shown  presence of mercury and PCB’s  ( two known cancer causing agents)  in popular brands of  fish oil capsules.  Omega 3 capsules made from  cod and shark livers  seem to have  the highest levels.  This has led some people to focus on the benefits of omega 3 from tiny fish  like Krill.   Another approach has been to  try  to establish  manufacturing guidelines  such as Certificate of Analysis  or International Fish Oil Standards, but  it gets pretty confusing pretty fast. 

For now I’m going to get the  health and beauty benefits of omega 3  from a couple of  servings of  fish a week. Its safe and delicious and I don’t need a degree in chemistry to make the right choice.


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