The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older):
Average Americans consume approximately 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily, of which about 1.4 grams (~90%) comes from alpha-linolenic acid, and only 0.1-0.2 grams (~10%) comes from EPA and DHA. In Western diets, people consume roughly 10 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. These large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids come from the common use of vegetable oils containing linoleic acid (for example, corn oil, evening primrose oil, pumpkin oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil, and wheat germ oil). Because omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids compete with each other to be converted to active metabolites in the body, benefits can be reached either by decreasing intake of omega-6 fatty acids or by increasing omega-3 fatty acids.
For healthy adults with no history of heart disease, the American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week. In particular, fatty fish are recommended, such as anchovies, bluefish, carp, catfish, halibut, herring, lake trout, mackerel, pompano, salmon, striped sea bass, tuna (albacore), and whitefish. It is also recommended consuming plant-derived sources of alpha-linolenic acid, such as tofu, soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and canola oil. The World Health Organization and governmental health agencies of several countries recommend consuming 0.3-0.5 grams of EPA plus DHA and 0.8-1.1 grams of alpha-linolenic acid daily. A doctor and pharmacist should be consulted for dosing for other conditions.
Children (younger than 18 years):
Omega-3 fatty acids are used in some infant formulas, although effective doses have not been clearly established. Ingestion of fresh fish should be limited in young children, due to the presence of potentially harmful environmental contaminants. Fish oil capsules should not be used in children except under the direction of a physician.