This test measures the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids (specifically EPA & DHA) that are attached to the surface of the red blood cells. Over 40 studies have been published using the Omega-3 Index.
Goal – > 8.0%
What to do to improve it – The primary intervention is to improve the Omega-3/Omega-6 ratio. The best way to do this is to increase Omega-3 intake and decrease Omega-6 intake. It is extremely rare that we see patients able to increase their Omega-3 Index to above 8% based on diet alone. It is very easy to do but rare that anyone actually does it. Omega-3 supplementation is the most common, effective, and easy way to get the Omega-3 Index > 8%. The amount of Omega-3’s required will vary from patient to patient but is often between 1 & 4 grams of EPA & DHA.
You can think of Omega-3s as fragile little glass beads because they are very fragile and highly susceptible to oxidation. Many of the good fish oils levels have Vitamin E added to them as an antioxidant. Even still, the oxidative stress can be a real problem especially when some of these supplements are stored in warehouses in over 100 degree heat. These fragile Omega-3s can degrade quickly.
While our Omega-3s are our strong recommendation, some patients choose to get them elsewhere. Sometimes they ask us what we think about the ones they are taking. Most of the time we simply don’t know. However, I’ll usually send them to the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) website.
IFOS is an independent, 3rd-party lab who certifies fish oils. They have several tests that they perform and then rank the fish oil. There is a page on their website with a list of all of the ‘certified’ fish oils along with the testing done on each of them.