How much omega-3?

Question:

My wife and I aren’t all that into flaxseed oil. If we eat a 1/4 cup of walnuts (or some other amount) every day as well as Deva’s Omega-3 DHA (200 mg DHA), will that substitute sufficiently for the nutritional values of flaxseed?

Answer:

Below and here are my omega-3 recommendations. You only need 3 halves of walnuts if you are taking DHA.

Daily Recommendations

1. 200 – 300 mg DHA.

2. Do not prepare food with oils high in omega-6 (corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, “vegetable,” sesame oil). Instead, use low omega-6 oils like olive, avocado, peanut, or canola. Only cook canola under low heat and for short periods.

3. Add 0.5 g of uncooked ALA to your diet daily (see chart). This would be the equivalent of:

1/5 oz English* walnuts (3 halves)
1/4 tsp of flaxseed oil
1 tsp of canola oil
1 tsp ground flaxseeds

*English walnuts are the typical walnuts for sale in grocery stores. They are distinct from black walnuts.

8 Responses to “How much omega-3?”

  1. Mark Foy Says:

    Jack,

    Thanks for the article.

    Wondered if I could pick your brain about the difference between sunflower oil and so called “High Heat Sunflower Oil” (also called High Oleic Sunflower Oil – Spectrum Naturals sells one) ()?
    Above you mention to not prepare foods with oils high in omega-6 like sunflower oil, but I wonder if the High Oleic Sunflower oil is a better choice (similar to oilve and canola).
    I see from this web page that this high oleic is very high in Omega-9.

    Thanks again!

  2. Jack Norris RD Says:

    The fatty acid profile of high oleic sunflower oil is pretty good in terms of being low in omega-6. It doesn’t have any omega-3s which would give canola oil an edge. I haven’t been able to verify this, but I suspect high oleic sunflower oil is more processed than olive oil and probably contains less antioxidants. For these reasons, I would choose olive or canola. Here is a table listing the components of various oils.

  3. beforewisdom Says:

    It seems like I am always reading that people have the EFAs way out of balance, that they get much more Omega 6 in proportion to Omega 3.

    At what point do you know that you are in this category, short of taking a blood test?

    I eat a minimal amount of process foods, baked goods and fried foods. I take a tablespoon of ground flax seed everyday. I also use 6 Omega 3 Zen capsules per day.

    I’ve started using about a tablespoon a day of cooking oils (seasame, walnut, sunflower ) called for in a cookbook specializing in green leafy vegetable preparation. The improvements in taste these oils brings justifys the extra calories IMHO because I am eating a lot more green leafy vegetables.

    Is one tablespoon a day of omega 6 rich cooking oil enough to throw a persons EFA balance out of whack?

  4. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Taking six Omega-Zen3 tablets a day would put you at 1800 mg of DHA per day. In my opinion, that is way more than you need. I would suggest not taking more than 2 capsules per day (or 600 mg of DHA). If you are taking this much DHA (600 mg or more), one tablespoon of oil rich in omega-6 should not do much to knock your EFA balance out of whack. Short of taking a test, there is no way to know your EFA levels. That doesn’t mean I recommend getting a test – unless you are really concerned about your levels; I’ve never had mine tested. Just following the recommendations should put your EFA balance way ahead of most people’s.

  5. Rick Says:

    New study: Omega-3 reduces BP in people with hypertension.

    Click here.

  6. Rick Says:

    Sorry, I thought that BP study was 2009 but it is 2007!

  7. Nikki Says:

    I currently use the Deva DHA liquid for myself and my son but have recently found this product… and was wondering what your opinion might be.

  8. Jack Norris RD Says:

    It seems fine. Here are my recommendations — it doesn’t matter which brand you use satisfy them.

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