Omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA have been linked to brain health, cardiovascular health, eye health, and joint health.* Having enough DHA and EPA in cell membranes means improved blood flow, reduced inflammation, and lower blood triglyceride levels. Higher DHA/EPA levels correlate with reduced risk of coronary heart disease(CHD).*
By now most people are well aware they need some omega-3s in their diet. How do we know if we are getting enough though?
The Omega-3 Index
The omega-3 index is a test showing how much EPA and DHA you have in your red blood cell membranes. It’s done by using a finger prick/drop of blood test device similar to diabetes blood sugar tests. Amounts of EPA and DHA in red blood cells act as a marker to represent levels throughout other cells and tissue as well. The result is a percentage, with an ideal score of 8+. Most people are in the 4-6 range. This means most people have 4-6% DHA/EPA in their red blood cell membranes. Fish consumption, omega-3 supplement use, age, genetics, and lifestyle are all factors that can influence your omega-3 index.
A Canadian study found that the mean score for adults (ages 20-79) was just 4.5%. Only 2.6% of Canadians met the Omega-3 Index level associated with low risk of CHD, and 43% were in the high-risk category. This is comparable to other studies like one in Kansas City (mean of 4.9%) and the Framingham cohort study from Massachusetts (mean of 5.6%). Other populations have scored much higher (6.96% in Europe, 11.81% in Korea and 9.58% in Japan).
A 2019 study examined how much omega-3 people should take if they want to increase their omega-3 index into a healthier range. It found that 850 mg of DHA-EPA for 13 weeks was enough for most people to go from 5% to 6.5% and 1750 mg of DHA-EPA was enough to go from 5% to 8%. These amounts were for the naturally occurring triglyceride form of omega-3s – other fish oil forms like ethyl esters required more.
Plant-Based Omega-3 Sources
Based on these studies it seems that the majority of people are not getting enough omega-3s in their diet and would benefit from supplementation. Flora’s Omega Brain+ contains vegan (algae sourced) DHA and EPA. 6 capsules daily will provide 1500 mg of DHA/EPA and help catapult your omega-3 status into a higher index score that supports your brain, eye, and cardiovascular health.*
Other great, plant based sources of omega-3 from Flora include Udo’s Oil 369 and DHA 369 Blend, Flax Oil and DHA Flax Oil and Omega Sport+. Bottled in glass, using certified organic ingredients and cold-pressing of the seed oils, these omega-3 products are made with all the quality you’d expect from decades of Flora experience working with plant-based omega-3s.
Enjoy 15% off these omega-3 products this week using promo code OMEGA3 at checkout.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Robert Dadd is a Master Herbalist (Dominion Herbal College) with a BA in Communications from Simon Fraser University. His areas of research include adaptogens, probiotics, and essential fatty acids. He is currently the Product Information Supervisor for Flora Manufacturing and Distributing.