Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
May 02, 2008

Enough Omegas?

By Worker Bee
67 Comments

After much discussion some weeks ago about the importance of omegas, we thought it was time to get down and detailed. How exactly can you get enough omega-3s in your diet? We have some answers. As we mentioned earlier, the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 should partly determine your omega-3 needs, but we recommend 1-3 grams of omega-3 a day.

A big part of the nutritional breakdown relates to the type of omega-3. We’ll look at the three prominent members of the omega-3 group: EPA, DHA, ALA. Many of the food sources we’ve included are what we’d consider good or best sources, but we threw some commonly eaten but less beneficial sources in for comparison sake. The amounts are listed in grams per 100 grams (about 3.5 oz.) of food serving. You can find the full list of omega-3 content on the National Library of Medicine site.

Another source of omega-3s is eggs from chickens that are fed omega-3 fortified meal. The omega-3 content varies considerably depending on brand. (We’ve seen everywhere from 30 mg to 175 mg per egg.) Keep in mind that the fortified meal is usually flax fortified, which adds ALA omega-3s but does nothing in terms of EPA and DHA. You can occasionally find eggs from chickens that are fed meal fortified with beneficial algae (the initial source for fish EPA and DHA content) or fish itself. If you’re lucky enough to find them, we’re all jealous.

In terms of daily dose for omega-3s, consider the breakdown of EPA, DHA and ALA in your omega-3 sources. Definitely prioritize DHA and EPA. They are the most beneficial, and your body cannot efficiently convert enough ALA to compensate for a deficiency of DHA/EPA.

What does this mean for your daily diet? Considering a very minimum recommendation of 1 gram of omega-3 per day (more if you consume grain-fed meats and dairy), a good helping of mackerel or salmon certainly gives you a boost, but it likely doesn’t cover your daily needs. Most of us, while we don’t mind fish, aren’t about to eat it at every meal. (And with pollution concerns, it might not be a good idea anyway.) Ultimately, it makes sense for the majority of us to consider fish oil, which means a good, purified supplement of your choosing.

Feedback? Questions? Recipes to share? Let us know how you get your daily omega-3s.

Eva the Weaver Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

How to Eat More Fat

Dear Mark: Saturated Fat

fitsugar – Omega-3 Competition: Fish Oil vs. Flax Seed Oil

Subscribe to Mark’s Daily Apple feeds

Sponsor note:
This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference!

TAGS:  omega 3s

Subscribe to the Newsletter

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

Leave a Reply

67 Comments on "Enough Omegas?"

avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Art
Art
8 years 4 months ago

I heard a good ratio of EPA to DHA is 3 to 2 (3mg of EPA for every 2mg of DHA) but I don’t know how ALA fits in the picture.

Jostein
Jostein
8 years 4 months ago

I have a lot of trouble with birch allergy,I think I have been a little better this year because I have taiking Omega 3.

Scott
Scott
8 years 4 months ago

I understood (I think this was from Loren Cordain), that the O-3’s in chicken eggs include EPA and DHA. The chickens convert the ALA in flax to these, more beneficial O-3’s. Also, I’ve purchased Oakdell brand and the carton states 350mg Omega-3’s per egg, of which 75mg is DHA.

Barry
8 years 4 months ago

Mark, what do you think happens to the omega-3 fatty acids in those eggs when you throw them on the skillet and cook them? Hint: It’s not good!

gkadar
gkadar
8 years 4 months ago

You’ve left out Salvia hispanica. ‘Salba’.

Aside from having a high omega 3 content, there are a whole heap of claims for this seed. I have no information on the dietary availability of the calcium, for example. Is there anything in the seed, which behaves similarly to phytic acid?

Scott
Scott
8 years 4 months ago

Barry,

If broken down by heat, wouldn’t the same happen to the O-3’s in salmon and grass-fed meat? Any references on this idea?

Joe Matasic
Joe Matasic
8 years 4 months ago

Did I read the chart correctly? The farmed salmon was better for you than the wild in terms of omega-3s. Is there something else to this? Does this mean I can quit paying double for wild?

Ed
Ed
8 years 4 months ago

Mark – What are your thoughts on Barry’s suggestion that there is some sort of problem in cooking O-3 enhanced eggs? I’ve seen similar things related to flax seed oil and roasted & toasted walnuts, etc. What is the bottom line on cooking stuff with O-3? Mark? Anyone? Thanks.

Aaron
8 years 4 months ago

Thanks for the questions, Ed. We’ll be sure to address them in an upcoming post. Thanks again for the support and comments!

trackback

[…] to Ed and others who offered up similar questions in response to last week’s Enough Omegas? […]

trackback

[…] are strict adherents to the Primal Blueprint. You’re downing almonds by the bushel, guzzling fish oil, and avoiding grains like the plague, but what are you feeding Fido? Our bodies have had over ten […]

trackback

[…] Omega 3 Food Sources […]

trackback

[…] Omega 3 Food Sources […]

trackback

[…] If you’re interested in the approximate levels of EPA/DHA in various foods, check out the table in a previous MDA post. […]

trackback

[…] If you’re interested in the approximate levels of EPA/DHA in various foods, check out the table in a previous MDA post. […]

trackback

[…] Omega 3 Food Sources […]

FitJerks Fitness Blog
6 years 10 months ago

Just straight up fish oils has enough for me. 5g/day

tom bard
6 years 9 months ago

thankyou for your comments:

would you comment of the omega-3 content of Hemp Oil, veg.powder, and shelled seeds.

thanks

trackback

[…] and DHA levels vary by brand and type of fish. Check the label for yourself, or look at this handy table if you’re getting your fish oil from actual […]

April
April
6 years 4 months ago

Is it possible to get TOO much O-3? I know it’s bad to have too much O-6, but I don’t know about O-3.

Maurice
Maurice
6 years 4 months ago

If anyone needs the correct link to the National Library of Medicine site, here it is:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bookshelf/br.fcgi?book=hserta&part=A184155&rendertype=table&id=A184301

trackback

[…] retinol in the form of liver, eggs, and other animal fats. Don’t take cod liver oil for the DHA/EPA; take half a teaspoon or so for the vitamins. Stick to fish oil for your […]

trackback

[…] and DHA levels vary by brand and type of fish. Check the label for yourself, or look at this handy table if you’re getting your fish oil from actual […]

trackback

[…] 100% of the RDA for zinc, copper, selenium, B12, and half of the RDA for iron. For every 1.5 g of omega-3 they provide, just 0.1 g of omega-6 comes along for the ride. Bay scallops are high in magnesium and selenium, […]

trackback

[…] line: Tuna is tasty, especially the steaks, and it’s a decent source of omega-3s, but the mercury content can’t be ignored. Avoid if you are pregnant, nursing, or a small […]

trackback

[…] ahi and milder.Bottom line: Tuna is tasty, especially the steaks, and it’s a decent source of omega-3s, but the mercury content can’t be ignored. Avoid if you are pregnant, nursing, or a small […]

trackback

[…] 100% of the RDA for zinc, copper, selenium, B12, and half of the RDA for iron. For every 1.5 g of omega-3 they provide, just 0.1 g of omega-6 comes along for the ride. Bay scallops are high in magnesium and […]

trackback

[…] line: Tuna is tasty, especially the steaks, and it’s a decent source of omega-3s, but the mercury content can’t be ignored. Avoid if you are pregnant, nursing, or a small […]

trackback

[…] line: Tuna is tasty, especially the steaks, and it’s a decent source of omega-3s, but the mercury content can’t be ignored. Avoid if you are pregnant, nursing, or a small child, […]

trackback

[…] a great source of quality animal fat (including a modest amount of omega-3s), protein, B-vitamins, and – because the “grass” the cow “fed” on “grew” in […]

trackback

[…] chickens given access to greens, grass, and bugs contain 2/3 more vitamin A, two times more omega-3, three times more vitamin E, and seven times more beta-carotene than eggs from battery farms. I […]

trackback

[…] chickens given access to greens, grass, and bugs contain 2/3 more vitamin A, two times more omega-3, three times more vitamin E, four times more vitamin D, and seven times more beta-carotene than […]

Michelle
Michelle
5 years 24 days ago

I’ve heard that fish oil supplements have to have been processed at high temperatures.. which would destroy the O-3s. Is this true? Are there any supplements that weren’t made that way? What about the fact that it would go rancid quickly while sitting on the shelf?

Here’s a post that mentions it: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/2011/05/top-five-foods-to-never-buy-at-the-healthfood-store/

Mindy1986
Mindy1986
4 years 1 month ago

I would check the sources for that website. Pretty unreliable.

trackback

[…] grass-fed for life contained the most omega-3 fatty acids and CLA, while feeding grain reduced omega-3 and CLA. No surprise there. Grain-finishing decreased omega-3 and CLA content. Also no […]

trackback

[…] grass-fed for life contained the most omega-3 fatty acids and CLA, while feeding grain reduced omega-3 and CLA. No surprise there. Grain-finishing decreased omega-3 and CLA content. Also no […]

trackback

[…] and controlling the quality of his fat intake – but he can’t seem to avoid a 20:1 omega-6:omega-3 ratio. Next, I answer a question about green drinks, those vegan canisters of powdered, dehydrated, raw […]

Peter
Peter
4 years 10 months ago

What about the DHA and EPA from microphytes?

trackback

[…] and controlling the quality of his fat intake – but he can’t seem to avoid a 20:1 omega-6:omega-3 ratio. Next, I answer a question about green drinks, those vegan canisters of powdered, dehydrated, raw […]

trackback

[…] their brain in garam masala and turmeric, they were eating it. Brain is a rich source of omega-3s, especially pastured brain, and it’s likely that landlocked hunter-gatherers satisfied some […]

trackback

[…] their brain in garam masala and turmeric, they were eating it. Brain is a rich source of omega-3s, especially pastured brain, and it’s likely that landlocked hunter-gatherers satisfied some of […]

trackback

[…] measures the EPA and DHA, the two important omega-3 fatty acids, as a percentage of total fatty acids present in your red blood cells. It doesn’t correlate […]

trackback
trackback

[…] measures the EPA and DHA, the two important omega-3 fatty acids, as a percentage of total fatty acids present in your red blood cells. It doesn’t correlate […]

trackback
4 years 6 months ago

[…] nuts are high in Omega 3′s, as are hemp and chia seeds), grass fed meats, and certain oils . Click here for a great primer on Omega 3′s and how much you should be consuming each day.  Of course, supplements can always fill the void if you aren’t getting enough Omega 3′s […]

trackback

[…] For the past 6 months, I have been more consistently including omega 3 sources into my daily diet, fish oil, flaxseed, and more salmon.  A good reference on this topic is Mark’s Daily Apple:  http://www.marksdailyapple.com/omega-3-fish-oil-food-quantities/#axzz1pse9M13F […]

trackback

[…] For the past 6 months, I have been more consistently including omega 3 sources into my daily diet, fish oil, flaxseed, and more salmon.  A good reference on this topic is Mark’s Daily Apple:  http://www.marksdailyapple.com/omega-3-fish-oil-food-quantities/#axzz1pse9M13F […]

trackback

[…] For the past 6 months, I have been more consistently including omega 3 sources into my daily diet, fish oil, flaxseed, and more salmon.  A good reference on this topic is Mark’s Daily Apple:  http://www.marksdailyapple.com/omega-3-fish-oil-food-quantities/#axzz1pse9M13F […]

trackback

[…] devise a pretty decent diet out of the aforementioned choices. You’d have your saturated fat, omega-3s, protein, sea minerals, soluble fiber, and antioxidant needs covered. It might not be optimal, but […]

Orielwen
4 years 3 months ago

I’m not sure about those numbers. My tin of sardines says that it has 3.3g of omega-3 fat per 100g of product, which is more than twice the value given in these tables. Does it depend where you get the sardines from?

Harmen
Harmen
4 years 3 months ago

The list misses herring. Herring is packed with Omega-3, about 2,2- 2,4 gr/ 100 gr.

It also gives you 2 gram of creatine.

wpDiscuz