Focus On: Omega-3

WHAT IT IS: Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that the body needs to work properly. The body does not produce them—we need to consume them through supplementation or natural sources. Almost 99 percent of the US population does not eat enough omega-3s, and deficiency symptoms range from fatigue to depression. EPA, DHA, and ALA are all forms of omega-3; ALA is typically found in plants and converted into omega-3, while DHA and EPA are found in certain fish.

[ Benefits ]

Reduced chance of cardiovascular disease; helps maintain normal metabolism; reduces inflammation, stiffness, and joint paint; lowers elevated triglyceride levels; and helps prevent depression. Omega-3s are important for visual and neurological development in infants and help reduce the symptoms of ADHD.

[ Sources ]

Anchovies, sardines, wild salmon, lake trout, tuna, herring, mackerel, walnuts, flax, oils (flaxseed, canola, olive, and soybean), kale, spinach, salad greens, edamame, wild rice, cloves, grass-fed beef, and beans.

[ Recommended Dosage ]

According to the American Heart Association, a person should eat two fish per week. International experts say to get 500 mg daily of EPA plus DHA to avoid deficiency. For proactive support take 800 to 1,000 mg daily, and to help lower triglyceride levels, take 2,000 to 4,000 mg per day.

[ Warnings ]

Some supplements have been known to cause blood to thin, leading to excess bleeding. Other side effects include indigestion, gas, nausea, and vomiting. Side effects lessen when supplements are taken with food.

[ Omega-3 Picks ]

Nordic Naturals Omega-D3, $29, 60 softgels, nordicnaturals.com // Rainbow Light Everyone’s Omega Fish and Flax, $24, 60 softgels, rainbowlight.com // Terry Naturally Vectomega, $37, 60 tablets, europharmausa.com