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Ask Tufts Experts December 2013 Issue

Q. You continue to sing the praises of salmon as a source of omega-3. I’m not a fan of salmon (or other fish, for that matter). How much omega-3 in capsule form should I take to approximate the benefit of one serving of salmon?

A. The omega-3 content of salmon varies by type, but generally a three-ounce portion contains 1,000-1,725 milligrams of these heart-healthy fats. The American Heart Association and other experts recommend eating fish, especially varieties like salmon high in omega-3s, at least twice a week. To obtain a similar amount (2,000-3,450 milligrams) from fish-oil pills, you might take as few as two or as many as 40 supplements, depending on the amount per pill, which ranges widely. But the jury is out as to whether fish oil from pills is as effective as from consuming fish—and you’ll miss out on the other health benefits of eating fish.

Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory, cautions, “Current recommendations are to eat fish for primary prevention and only take fish-oil capsules for secondary prevention (with some recent data not supporting that).”

Some people who don’t like other fish nonetheless enjoy canned tuna, a versatile and inexpensive source of omega-3s.

Comments (2)

NOT ONLY DO I NOT LIKE FISH, I HAVE A STRONG ALLERGIC REACTION. EATING FISH IS NOT AN OPTION. NO RESAERCHERS SEEM TO CARE. STOP TELLING ME PILLS DO NOT WORK. TELL ME WHAT DOES!

Posted by: John Herper | January 15, 2014 6:32 PM    Report this comment

I have a seafood allergy. I can not eat fish. How could I get the omega-3 oils you seem to think are so useful?

Posted by: John Herper | January 16, 2014 9:37 AM    Report this comment

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