Naturopath Billie David from Sydney's Alkaline clinic explains everything we've ever wanted to know about fish oil and correct dosage amounts.
Fish oils contain two important components — DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) — making it a highly therapeutic blend of essential fatty acids. This essential fatty acid is an Omega 3 fat, which is found in cold water fish. EPA and DHA are highly unsaturated fats because the fats contain six and five double bonds on their long structural chain. These polyunsaturated fats play a very important role with the function of our bodies. Keep reading.
It is the amount of the active ingredients EPA and DHA that is important, rather that the amount of fish oil. For example, 1000mg of standard fish oil contains 180mg EPA and 120mg DHA. Though practitioner fish oil products are a lot stronger and one capsule of a concentrated fish oil may have over 400mg EPA and 200mg DHA, one teaspoon of liquid fish oil can contain 1.9g EPA and over 900mg DHA. So dosage is based on the amount of EPA and DHA required for a therapeutic effect.
Arthritis Australia recommends 2.7g daily of combined EPA/DHA for pain management. Lower dosages are used for general cardiovascular health. With fish oils, purity is paramount, so the source and type of fish, along with the manufacturing and storage process, play a key role in the amount of heavy metals and other contaminants and the freshness of the oil.
You need to ensure that the fish oil you are taking has minimal levels of heavy metals, pesticides and other contaminants, and low levels of oxidation. Sustainable fishing is also important — you need fish oil that is associated with sustainable fishing practices like Friend of the Sea.