Monday, July 28, 2008

Supplements For More Omega-3s?

Q: I don’t like fish but want to get more omega-3s. Should I look to diet or to supplements?

A: The best advice for getting in those ultra-healthy omega-3 fats is to first focus on getting them into your diet from FOOD sources. There are two types of omega-3 fats: the short-chain plant omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and the long-chain varieties known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are more physiologically active in the body. Ideally, you should aim for a daily serving of the plant omega-3 ALA and at least two servings per week of the long-chain varieties.

The best food sources of ALA include flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil and green leafy vegetables. The best sources of EPA and DHA are fatty cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut and herring. Since you don’t eat fish, you may want to consider taking a fish oil supplement. I would recommend discussing this with your personal physician. There is a prescription fish oil medication called Lovaza™ that I like because it is regulated by the FDA as a drug, so you know that what is described on the label is exactly what you are swallowing!

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