Monday, October 03, 2011
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Tuna, salmon or supplements? The October issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter offers options for choosing omega-3s, the fatty acids which appear to reduce the risk of dying of heart disease.
One way is two 3.5-ounce servings each week of cold-water fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines or tuna. That's the recommendation from the American Heart Association. But some people either don't care for fish or worry about toxins from eating fish regularly.
Supplements offer more options for omega-3s. A daily dose of 250 to 500 milligrams (mg) of the combined omega-3 fatty acid types called DHA and EPA is a good target for most people. A daily dose of 1,000 mg often is recommended for heart attack survivors or people with cardiovascular disease.
Supplement choices include:
Fish oil supplements — This is a low-cost option. A pill with a combined DHA and EPA of 500 mg costs about 10 cents. Studies of fish oil supplements have not detected toxins.
Krill oil supplements — These often cost two to four times more than standard fish oil supplements. One study found that taking about one-third less krill oil than standard fish oil resulted in similar blood levels of DHA and EPA.
Algae-derived supplements — These are reasonably priced but only provide DHA.
Flaxseed or walnut oils — These contain the plant version of omega-3 called ALA, which is probably best in a supporting role to other sources of omega-3s.
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