How much Omega 3 is needed per day?

Omega 3 is a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids, considered essential because your body can’t create  them on its own - you have to consume them, either through food or through supplements.

If you’re vegan, it can be quite difficult to get enough of all the forms of Omega 3, which can potentially lead to an Omega 3 deficiency. There are three different types of Omega 3 molecule: ALA, EPA and DHA. While ALA is commonly found in plant foods like nuts and seeds, EPA and DHA are the more useful, bioavailable forms of O3, and there aren’t many sources of these except for algae and fish (because fish eat the algae). Vivo Life’s ultra-pure Omega 3 is derived from algae, and contains 300mg EPA and 600mg DHA per serving. 

Because there are different molecules of Omega 3, it’s not as simple as asking how much Omega 3 you should take per day - you could eat half a kilogram of flaxseeds daily and get more than enough Omega 3 ALA, but you’d only get about half a gram of DHA  (check out our algae oil vs flaxseed oil article for more on this)! Plus, your Omega 3 requirements are different depending on a range of factors, like gender, activity level and if you’re pregnant - so read on to find out exactly how much Omega 3 you need, and in what forms!

In this guide we will cover:

How much Omega 3 do men need?

Mainstream health organisations have all released their own opinions, but these vary considerably, so there’s no hard and fast amount of ALA, DHA and EPA that an adult male should consume.

However, most of these organisations do recommend a minimum of 250 to 500 mg of EPA and DHA per day for healthy adults. For intake of ALA, most organisations recommend 1.1 grams of ALA per day for men.

How much Omega 3 do women need?

Again, for healthy women, a minimum of 250 to 500 mg of EPA and DHA is recommended daily. However, women are actually recommended a higher intake of ALA per day, at 1.6 grams daily. Studies have found that Omega 3s can help alleviate menstrual pain, so ensuring you get enough of all the Omega 3 molecules is particularly important during menstruation.

How much Omega 3 do bodybuilders need?

This might sound like a random question, as Omega 3 is usually taken for the health benefits of improved heart, brain, eye and joint health. However, many bodybuilders and athletes take Omega 3 supplements for their anti-inflammatory properties, to boost their muscle strength, and to improve their range of motion.

There have been some studies to suggest that having a high amount of Omega 3 in your muscles can help prime you for protein synthesis, making it easier to build and maintain muscle. It’s also thought to speed up the rate at which delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) subsides, because of its anti-inflammatory properties. 

Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all approach to how much Omega 3 you should take per day for bodybuilding. Studies that found a correlation between O3 consumption and improved bodybuilding performance used a high dose of 2000 to 3000 mg per day - but you should consult a professional before making any drastic changes to your diet or supplementation.

How much Omega 3 does a pregnant woman need?

Omega 3s are particularly essential during pregnancy as they are critical building blocks of the brain and retina. To give your baby the best start, expectant mothers need at least 200 mg of DHA daily to support the development of your baby’s brain, eyes and nervous system.b Not only will it help support the healthy growth of your baby, but adequate DHA consumption has been linked to improved depressive moods in the perinatal period. 

How much Omega 3 do children need?

Omega 3 continues to play an important role in a child’s development even after they’ve left the womb! It has been linked to several benefits for children, including improved symptoms of ADHD, reduced asthma, better sleep and enhanced brain health. 

ALA is the only Omega 3 fatty acid with specific dosage guidelines. The recommended daily intakes are:

  • 0-12 months: 0.5 grams
  • 1-3 years: 0.7 grams
  • 4-8 years: 0.9 grams
  • Girls 9-13 years: 1 gram
  • Boys 9-13 years: 1.2 grams
  • Girls 14-18 years: 1.1 grams
  • Boys 14-18 years: 1.6 grams

Nuts, seeds and plant oils are excellent sources of ALA, but it’s also important to ensure your child also gets their daily dose of DHA and EPA. As there are no real risks or side effects associated with moderate Omega 3 intake in children, it’s worth considering supplementation - most studies indicate that 120-1,300 mg of combined DHA and EPA a day is beneficial. 

It’s also worth avoiding fish based supplements in case of shellfish or fish allergies - our Omega 3 is made from algae, so is completely allergen safe. 

How much Omega 3 for weight loss?

Omega 3 might not be the first supplement you think of when it comes to weight loss, but there are several studies to show that Omega 3 can help increase your metabolism, meaning you burn more calories each day and can keep weight off. Research has also suggested that consuming Omega 3 may amplify the number of calories and amount of fat you burn during exercise by helping you switch from using carbs to fat as a source of fuel. Take this information with a pinch of salt though, as more research is needed on these topics. Among the studies that found a positive correlation between Omega 3 consumption and weight loss, dosages of 300 to 3000 mg were used. 

When choosing your Omega 3 supplement, look out for a supplement that has been third-party tested, as some don’t contain much EPA or DHA. Vivo Life’s Omega 3, containing 300mg EPA and 600mg DHA, will have you covered for the day. Like all of our products, our O3 is grown in controlled environments free from pollution, and is third party tested for heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins and other harmful contaminants - so you know you’re getting pure, algae-derived Omega 3, and absolutely nothing else. 

Sources

https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2903/j.efsa.2012.2815

https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2020-01/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324240#omega-3-for-heart-health

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-omega-3#general-guidelines

https://www.nap.edu/catalog/10490/dietary-reference-intakes-for-energy-carbohydrate-fiber-fat-fatty-acids-cholesterol-protein-and-amino-acids

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0271531700001524

https://www.barebiology.com/pages/fish-oil-bodybuilding-and-muscle-growth

https://omegaquant.com/5-ways-pregnant-women-can-get-more-dha-in-the-diet/

https://www.healthline.com/health/dha-and-pregnancy

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/omega-3-for-kids#dosage