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  • Writer's pictureKathy Ozakovic

Why you want more than 2 capsules of fish oil daily

Every wonder why there were such big tubs of fish oil available for purchase? It's for when you realise and understand how many capsules daily are needed for clinical benefits. That is not a scientific answer at all. Just my honest opinion. I've noticed the discrepancy in fish oil concentrations and wanted to share with you what to look for in your fish oil capsules. Read more.

Firstly, what are the benefits you are seeking with supplementation of fish oil capsules?

Omega 3s have many benefits. The most researched and most commonly discussed benefits of Omega 3s are Heart Health, Anti-Inflammatory and Mental Health. Omega 3s are also important for Infant Development and Eye Health.

Heart Health

The Heart Foundation (1) recommends all Australians should aim to include 2–3 serves of fish (including oily fish) per week as part of a heart-healthy diet. This provides around 250–500 mg of marine-sourced omega-3s (EPA, DHA) per day. Because the body cannot produce omega-3s they need to be sourced through diet. The scientific evidence supports fish as the best dietary source of omega-3s and found higher fish intake was consistently associated with lower rates of heart disease (heart failure and sudden cardiac death) and stroke. Fish with the highest levels of omega-3: salmon, blue-eye trevalla, blue mackerel, herring, canned sardines, canned salmon and some varieties of canned tuna. So, if you don't like fish and don't have a habit of eating fish 2-3x weekly supplementing is recommended for general health, to decrease your risk of disease!

What if you already suffer from Heart Disease?

Do the above AND consider omega-3 supplementation as an additional therapy. How much? For Heart Disease, consider 1 gram of combined EPA and DHA in addition to eating oily fish 2-3x weekly. For Hypertriglyceridemia (high fats in blood), Consider an additional 4,000–5,000 mg of EPA and DHA per day.

Arthritis and Anti-Inflammatories

Current research suggests omega-3 fats are helpful for people with inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. There is also some evidence that fish oils may help control symptoms of osteoarthritis and lupus.

Arthritis Australia (2) has published that research suggests the dose needed to reduce joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis is 2.7 grams of omega-3 fats (EPA plus DHA) daily. It should be noted that 1000 mg fish oil capsules will usually only contain between 300 mg and 400 mg of omega 3 fats (EPA + DHA).Always check the label first but if this is the case the dose usually requires approximately either:

  • 9 to 14 standard 1000mg fish oil capsules or five to seven capsules of a fish oil concentrate per day, or

  • 15ml of bottled fish oil or 5 - 7 mL of concentrated bottled fish oil per day

Some other benefits of Omega-3s anti-inflammatory properties (in the right dosage!): reduced menstrual pain, improved bone health, reduce fat in liver, reduce asthma in children, help prevent cancers, fight autoimmune diseases.

Mental Health

My favorite benefit of Omega 3s! Research has shown mental health benefits including improved and stabilizing mood even in psychiatric patients (3) (bipolar and depressive disorders), natural anti-depressants, reduced symptoms of ADHD, reduce risk of Alzheimer's disease.

If you're after the mental health benefits of Omega 3s (and we really all should be!), the strongest evidence suggests you want your Omega-3 capsules to be over 60% EPA formulation and providing 2200mg of EPA per day (4).

In Summary, How Many Fish Oil Capsules Daily?

It depends greatly on the fish oil you purchased. So, get out that big tub you have somewhere in the kitchen cupboard and check the label. Look at the EPA and DHA concentrations it has. Also, always go over, never under the clinical dosage required for benefits when it comes to fish oil as there are no adverse effects to having more. Below I'm referencing the average standard 1000mg capsule as well as the Swisse Ultiboost Odourless Super Strength Wild Fish Oil 2000mg capsules

For High Triglycerides +5000mg daily (in addition to eating fish)

Yes, that's going to be an extra 5 standard 1000mg capsules daily or 3x 2000mg daily

Not eating fish, you want to be having 7 standard or 4x 2000mg daily

For Arthritis 2.7g EPA+DHA

Outlined above, 9-14 standard 1000mg fish oil capsules

In the Swisse UB 2000mg fish oil capsules, that will be 5 capsules daily

For Mental Health benefits EPA 2200mg/day and 60% EPA formulation

Do the math, if your fish oil has 360mg EPA per capsule, you're going to want 7 capsules to reach over 2200mg EPA! I calculated this with the Swisse UB, notice it is also spot on 60% EPA (360/600 = 60%) and technically you want it to be OVER 60% (damn it!)

Here's the thing about the directions on packaging's... The Swiss 2000mg Fish oil states the dosages as follows, ADULT DOSAGE:

  • General Health: 1 capsule daily. - assuming you're healthy and eat oily fish 2-3x weekly

  • Heart & Cardiovascular Health: 1 capsule daily. - assuming you're healthy and eating oily fish 2-3x weekly

  • Healthy Blood Lipids: 4 capsules daily - okay, I agree with this as I've shown above

  • Brain Health & Nervous System Support: 1 capsule daily. - not too sure, haven't looked into the research specifically

  • Eye Health: 2 capsules daily. - not too sure, haven't looked into the research specifically

  • Joint Support: 5 capsules daily. - Spot on, as I've calculated above

  • Mood Balance: 3 capsules daily. - Debunked, not enough EPA per capsule! You need 7 capsules daily

My point being, when it comes to supplements and dosages for clinical benefits always ask someone who knows their shit and don't just blindly follow the directions. Your individualized requirements may be very different. No matter what fish oil you get/ got at home doing the math is necessary to determine dosage!

Why I prescribe Metagenics EPA/DHA Fish Oil Capsules or Liquid Oil

Easy dosage and trusted quality of product:

  • Take 6 capsules daily for heart hearth, lowering triglycerides, anti-inflammatory benefits, mental health benefits (EPA 500mg + DHA 200mg) 71% EPA OR

  • Take 6.3ml daily, about 1 tablespoon (the liquid is the same 71% EPA formulation) but I highly recommend you measure the amount with a sensitive scale as tablespoons vary and the Fish oil density is not as per other oils

OTHER BRANDS, Triple Strength

I would highly recommend Metagenics because of the certian formulation for mental health benefits (and I'm their practitioner and love all their products, yes slightly bias only because they are genuinely awesome). If going with Swisse UB Super Strength take 7 capsules daily. The others brands I reviewed were:

  • Blackmores Triple Strength

  • Nature's Way Triple Strength

  • Carusos Triple Strength

Interestingly, they all have the exact same formulation of EPA and DHA (540mg EPA + 360mg DHA) talk about matching the market and competitiveness! This is spot on 60% EPA formulation and the research has shown over 60% for mental health benefits. Some benefits have been observed in over 50% EPA formulation so if you really wanted to grab one of these triple strength products go for gold and make sure you are taking 6 capsules daily for all benefits!





Did you find this blog helpful and informative? Tag & Share with your friends who would love it too! Sign up for my Free NuFit Wellness Newsletter to stay in the loop. Attend my Wellness Workshops. I help clients Achieve & Maintain Wellness through Nutrition for Gut Health so that they can thrive in life. Wellness Dietitian & Holistic Nutritionist, Health Coach, Health Presenter, Gut Health Specialist - Kathy Ozakovic.

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