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Healthy Living with Omega-3s
by Laurel Sterling, MA, RD, CDN

Omega-3s are very well known, researched, and documented for supporting cardiovascular health, brain and nerve health, vision, the immune system, joint health, and lowering levels of inflammation in the body. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (dicosapentaenoic acid) are the most important and most researched components of omega-3s. There are now over 30,000 clinical trials supporting the evidence of omega-3s and their tremendous health benefits, and the rate of positive findings in human clinical trials has been consistently high. Unfortunately, there are many places around the world that have been found to consume exceptionally low amounts of omega-3s, and the USA is one of them. The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests we eat at least two 3.5-ounce servings of oily fish per week to get the base recommended amount of 500mg/d of omega-3s. Since most of us do not eat the suggested amount, a fish oil supplement is a great option!

For the general healthy adult population and to lower the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) 500mg of omega-3s is recommended by the AHA. For secondary prevention of CHD 1000mg/day of EPA + DHA is recommended. Over 1g/d of omega-3s is supported for a range of additional health conditions like elevated blood pressure and elevated triglycerides. More recent research is leaning toward recommending 1-2g/d of omega-3s for healthy adults. Carlson Labs has a variety of omega-3s supplements to choose from in soft gels and deliciously flavored liquids. Elite Omega-3 Gems® is a professional-strength fish oil concentrated soft gel. A single serving provides 1,600 mg of omega-3s (800mg EPA + 600mg DHA). Carlson also offers a liquid, which is similar in profile to those soft gels, called The Very Finest Fish Oil. This delightfully flavored lemon or orange fish oil delivers 1,600 mg of omega-3s (800mg EPA + 500mg DHA) in 1tsp. It can be used as a finishing oil in various recipes, and you can head on over to our website for a variety of delicious recipes www. For those that have a hard time getting fish sources of omega- 3s into their diet, an even higher potency would be recommended. Carlson's Maximum Omega 2000 provides 2,000 mg of omega-3s per serving, including 1,250 mg of EPA and 500 mg of DHA.

Any of the Carlson fish oil options mentioned would be great choices for increasing or maintaining Omega-3 Index levels. What is the Omega-3 Index you ask? Well, the Omega-3 Index test gives a percentage of the amount of EPA and DHA in your red blood cell membranes, and the desirable range to be in for better overall health based off research is 8-12%. As part of a healthy lifestyle, an Omega-3 Index in this range can promote heart, brain, vision, and joint health. OmegaQuant states that "This recommendation is meant to be a guide for how much EPA+DHA you may need in your diet to reach your Omega-3 Index target, based on research by Walker et al. 2019." They further state that "Most people hover around 6% or below, and unfortunately in the US, most people are at 4% or below - the highest risk zone."

Carlson has teamed up with OmegaQuant and now offers Omega-3 Test Kits to purchase. It is an at-home test kit that requires a simple finger prick which draws a drop of blood. This is then mailed to OmegaQuant and results will be provided within a couple of weeks. OmegaQuant recommends "to re-measure your Omega-3 Index in 3-4 months until you reach the desirable range." Once you reach the desirable range for Omega-3 Index, they recommend to re-test every 6 months. Also they advise visiting their Omega-3 Index Calculator on "to find out your personalized EPA and DHA recommendation to raise your level to the desirable range given your current Omega-3 Index level".

Whatever your preference, soft gels or liquids, Carlson has them! All of Carlson's fish oils are third-party tested for purity, potency, and freshness, and any of the options mentioned will assist you in reaching an appropriate Omega-3 Index level for overall health and wellness.

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The Very Finest Fish Oil - Lemon