There are a few things to take into consideration when deciding how much omega-3 an adult should have per day. First, the current dietary recommendations are 2-3 servings of fatty fish per week. Those fish that qualify under the category are salmon, anchovies, sardines, and halibut. Most Americans don’t meet the required minimum from the foods they eat, so they turn to supplements. Some omega-3s can also be found in nuts and fortified foods such as eggs and bread – read labels to verify if they are in the types or brands you buy.
Most people think that if they take at least 500 mg per day of fish oil capsules, they are getting what they need. And yes, 500 mg combined of the two types of omega-3 oils is the recommended dosage for a healthy adult, but not all fish oil in those supplements is from the omega-3 family.
Omega-3s come in two forms: EPA and DHA, so those using supplements need to check the labels to make sure they are getting at least 500 mg of those (combined). Since 1000 mg fish oil capsules usually have about 300 mg of omega-3 oils, it might be necessary to take more, or use them in addition to having fatty fish for meals 1-2 times per week.
Omega-3s provide support at a cellular level. They strengthen the cell membrane and give it flexibility so it can function at robust levels. This is especially important for heart health as omega-3s allow the cells of the heart to do the massive daily job it needs to, but they are also beneficial to the immune, reproductive, and nervous systems. The area we are most interested in is the eyes and how omega-3s help there. The possibilities are endless!
The retina has a natural concentration of DHA and this is believed to be vital to healthy retinal function. One study from 2001 published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) showed that omega-3s may benefit macular health as well. Omega-3s are also believed to help relieve symptoms of dry eye syndrome, and studies have proven it to be effective.
Not all manufacturers are equal in how they prepare supplements, so checking the label for further information is important. Look for information on the label showing the supplements are made following Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and that they do what is necessary to purify the oil.
For most adults, getting 500 mg of omega-3s per day is sufficient, but those with cardiovascular, immune, nervous, reproductive systems, as well as problems with the eyes, probably want to up the dosage as high as 1000-2000 mg of omega-3s. Remember, that’s not just the fish oil tablets dosage, but the true omega-3s contained in them. Make sure to speak with your doctor if you have any questions about supplement dosing! Have you found omega-3s to be helpful for your dry eye? Let us know by commenting below!
Dr. Jenna Zigler
Other Dry Eye articles by Dr. Zigler: 4 Tips to Stop Waking Up With Dry, Painful Eyes; Which Antidepressants Cause Dry Eye; Fish Oil for Fighting Dry Eye Inflammation; and What Not To Eat If You Have Dry Eye
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