When we consume them, omega-3s are “found in the membranes of every cell in our body, provide energy for the body, and help to build signaling molecules,”* says registered dietitian and mbg Collective member Maya Feller, M.S., R.D., CDN.
While there is an established daily requirement for carbs, protein, fat, fiber, water, vitamins, minerals, and even ALA (which comes from plant sources), there is no official daily recommended intake from the National Academies for EPA or DHA. However, based on decades of scientific research, the robust evidence for these marine omega-3s has led many scientific and nutritional organizations to issue their own guidelines to ensure people are getting their fill of the beneficial fatty acids.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, for example, suggest that people consume eight ounces (or about two servings) of fish per week–that equates to about 250 to 500 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA per day as a baseline intake level.
On top of that, the American Heart Association recommends upping that intake to 1,000 milligrams (aka 1 gram) or more of EPA plus DHA daily to further promote cardiovascular health.*
As mbg’s vice president of scientific affairs, Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, explains: “Practically, this potent one-gram dose of EPA and DHA would mean consuming approximately one serving of fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, anchovies, etc.) each and every day, which not only has cost implications, but also some serious heavy metal and contaminant considerations.”
If you’re not a fan of eating fish that regularly (or you simply find it difficult to consume it multiple times per week), fish oil supplements can help. Just make sure the supplement you’re taking provides a meaningful dose of omega-3s, at minimum 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA–the most beneficial dose for cardioprotective benefits will include 1,000 milligrams or more of the fats.*