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BY Anne-Marie Chalmers, MD Sep 13,2012

How Much Omega-3 Fish Oil Daily Will Produce Results?

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Taking fish oil? Are you noticing results?

When it comes to the effectiveness of any omega-3 supplement, there are three key factors you need to address:

1. Proper dosage

2. Freshness of the oil

3. Range of nutrients in the supplement

Please take a moment to go grab your fish oil supplement, if you’re taking one, and then keep reading to find out if your fish oil is working its best for you.

Determining Your Proper Dosage

Omega-3s are made up of a spectrum of nutritional components, including EPA and DHA, two polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). EPA and DHA are the powerful workhorses of the omega-3 family. And to make a noticeable difference in your health, most adults need to get a daily dose of 2000 to 3000 mg of EPA and DHA combined. This level should be taken consistently, with food, for approximately 8 to 12 weeks before the effects will start to kick in.

Now, take a look at your omega-3 supplement. Add together the total number of mgs of EPA and DHA per serving. How many capsules per day do you need to swallow to reach that 2000 to 3000 mg mark? For most brands, the actual dosage that you need is significantly higher than the normal recommendation of 1 or 2 capsules listed on the bottle.

One of biggest misconceptions with taking fish oil is the dose necessary to produce results. In this video, Dr. Bo Martinsen explains the omega-3 dose deception, comparing how many fish oil and krill oil capsules you would need to swallow to equal the amount of EPA/DHA found in a salmon fillet.

Explaining EPA/DHA Efficacy Levels

Why is it necessary to look at the levels of EPA and DHA, as opposed to the total amount of fish oil or the total amount of omega-3? Because in the 1970s, when two Danish researchers went to Greenland to find out why the Inuit people had such low levels of cardiovascular disease (in spite of the fact that over 40% of their total caloric intake was made up of fat), they discovered that the two most abundant molecules behind this fat paradox were: EPA and DHA molecules.

Therefore, the majority of the medical research has focused on EPA and DHA, even though they are not the sole members of the omega-3 family. Later research has found that these fatty acids are not only important for good cardiovascular health, but also for brain, eye, joint, and mental health.

While we still have much to learn about omega-3, the research demonstrates that the benefits of EPA and DHA are dependent on the dose administered. The efficacy level from many of these studies is set between two and four grams (2000 – 4000 mg) per day. Again, remember that we are talking about the mgs of EPA and DHA, not just fish oil. In fact, the anti-inflammatory benefits of the omega-3s doesn’t seem to kick in unless you consume at least 2000 mg each day. For certain conditions, like arthritis, and for people with high triglyceride levels, studies routinely use between 3000 to 3500 mg of EPA/DHA daily to see meaningful results.

Calculating the Right Serving Size

If you are not currently taking an omega-3 supplement, or just don’t feel like walking to the kitchen to get your capsules, never fear! We’ve done the math for you by looking at some common omega-3 products. Of course, products vary depending on the brand and the source of the oil. But, these numbers will give you the approximations for each category:

Product Type

EPA/DHA Dose Per Unit

Servings Needed to Achieve
2000 – 3000mg Dosage

One regular fish oil capsule
~ 300mg of EPA/DHA
 7 to 10 capsules per day
One high concentrate fish oil capsule
~ 600mg of EPA/DHA
3 to 5 capsules per day
One krill oil capsule
~ 75mg of EPA/DHA
 27 to 40 capsules per day
One teaspoon of liquid cod liver oil
~ 1000 mg of EPA/DHA
2-3 teaspoons per day
Serving of wild salmon
~ 2000 to 3000 EPA/DHA*
6 oz fillet


*Level of EPA/DHA depends on the fish species, the time of year, how the fish is prepared, whether it was farm raised or wild caught, etc.

If you look closely at this table, a few facts should jump out. First and foremost, one teaspoon of liquid cod liver oil contains over three times as much EPA/DHA as one fish oil capsule. And, more shockingly, to get as much omega-3 as you would from eating a salmon fillet for dinner, you’d have to consume closer to 10 fish oil capsules daily. In other words, taking one capsule doesn’t give you much more than a bite or two of salmon. No wonder many people experience few benefits from popping fish oil capsules.

Can I get too much?

Most people around the world, and in the USA especially, get far too little omega-3. But if you do go on an omega-3 binge, the European Food Safety Authority has concluded that consuming up to 5000 mg of omega-3 daily is safe. Taking more than 5000 mg doesn’t appear to provide added benefits, so for most people, it doesn’t make sense to use more than that.

How Fresh Is Your Fish Oil?

Now that you know the amount of fish oil you need, let’s turn our attention to the freshness of the oil that you’re taking. This is important because the freshness of your oil will impact its potency and safety.

Unfortunately, rancid omega-3 oil is all too prevalent today, with the majority exceeding industry freshness standards at the time of purchase. Rancidity is common amongst fish oil capsules, and can impact concentrated supplements in particular. When manufacturers artificially pump up the EPA or DHA levels to make high concentrated capsules, they also risk creating trans fats and other unhealthy by-products in addition. A Norwegian research study found that these types of capsules have statistically higher levels of oxidation, an indicator of poor oil quality.

Norwegian government study of rancidity levels - Graph

Oxidized, rancid oil can have damaging effects on your body; the complete opposite of what you are trying to accomplish by taking an omega-3 supplement in the first place. To learn more about the importance of low oxidation levels and freshness, read Why Is Getting a Fresh Fish Oil So Important?

Test for Rancidity

Start by doing a taste and smell test. All oil, regardless of initial quality, will oxidize with time and exposure to oxygen. But, if the oil is not heavily flavored, you will often be able to get a good sense of the quality by using your senses – just like you would fish or milk. Take one of your fish oil capsules and carefully split it open. Smell and taste the oil. Fresh fish oil should have minimal to no smell. Long story short, if your fish dinner smelled and tasted that way, would you eat it? If the answer is no, toss the capsules.

Secondly, check to see if your oil lists a “Peroxide Value” or PV, which is an indicator of freshness in the omega-3 world. While scientists debate the acceptable PV levels, the lower the number is, the fresher the product is. A fresh food product should have a PV below 1 meq/kg. Some researchers suggest that fish oils should always have a PV below 2 meq/kg. If your fish oil has a PV over 5 meg/kg (the omega-3 industry’s standard), it has to go.

Getting the Full Spectrum

Fish and natural fish oil contain a wide range of beneficial fatty acids. Besides featuring a cocktail of omega-3, 6, 7, 9, and 11 in the proper ratios, fish oil also contains at least nine different types of named omega-3s – from the aforementioned EPA and DHA to the lesser known DPA, SDA, and the likes.

All of these fatty acids and their derivatives flourish in natural fish oil and cod liver oil, providing a wide range of nutrients for the body to absorb and enjoy. In its natural state, fish oil should provide the same mix and fatty acid content as fish. But just as drinking filtered orange juice is not as healthy as eating a fresh orange, the more you process the oil, the less nutrients it eventually contains.

So how do you know if your current fish oil is full spectrum or not? Unfortunately, it is hard to determine unless your fish oil manufacturer is honest and upfront about their manufacturing processes. But there may be clues. Read their websites to determine the source of their oil and check the supplement facts. If you see any mention of ethyl esters, concentrates, pharmaceutical grade, or prescription omega-3, then the answer is ‘no.’ For more information about fish oil processing methods and getting a full-spectrum oil, read Full-Spectrum Fish Oil: Why It Matters to Omega-3 Consumers.

Feeling the Difference

For customers taking omega-3 supplements for a condition, such as dry eye, arthritis, depression, etc., strive for a daily dose of 3000 mg of EPA/DHA. However, the average adult can aim for a maintenance dose of 2000 mg EPA/DHA daily. Remember that quality and consistency are key to feeling all the benefits that fish oil has to offer. If you have questions, please contact us or leave a comment below.

Say Goodbye to Fishy Capsules | Omega Cure Extra Strength

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38 thoughts on “How Much Omega-3 Fish Oil Daily Will Produce Results?”

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for listening to people like me who travel. I can’t wait for,the new travel vials to be introduced. How long is the shelf life? Am I right in assuming that they do not have to be refrigerated? Will the green tea be counterproductive to people who cannot ingest caffeine products?

    1. Hi Jane, So happy to hear you are excited about Omega Cure Extra Strength! To answer your questions, we are still testing the shelf life of the vials, and will report back when we have more data. However, our goal is to have them be stable at room temperature for up to one month.

      As for the green tea, the vials will only contain very small amounts of caffeine, so it won’t be noticeable for most people. However, we will also be offering vials that feature just regular Omega Cure (without the green tea addition). This way, if there should be a problem, our customers have an alternative.

    1. For treating dry eyes, if you take 15 ml of a fresh omega-3 fish oil consistently every day (that’s 3000 mg of EPA/DHA), you could see results within 4 to 6 weeks (and sometimes faster). If you are interested in learning more, check out our video blog on how soon you can expect to see results from taking Omega Cure: http://youtu.be/gxt7jr-iKsQ

  2. I take Vitamin Shoppe Omega 3. 600 EPA/240 DHA. Total is 1200 mg per capsule. I take 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening. Is this enough? My numbers have slightly increased but I was hoping for better results. I am 6’2 and weigh 250. My bp is perfect but my good cholesterol is lower and I need to raise it. Just started a better diet and been in the gym 5 out of 7 days starting a month ago. Should I take more?

    1. Hi Donnie! How wonderful to hear that you are working out and improving your diet. Those two things alone will make an enormous difference for your lipid profile, so keep going!

      To answer your question, it sounds as though you are taking a high enough dose of EPA/DHA. If you have been taking this dosage for the last three months and your numbers aren’t changing, I would examine the quality of your omega-3 product. Since you are taking capsules, it’s highly likely that the oil inside the capsules is rancid. The rancidity factor could explain why you are not experiencing the full benefits of the omega-3. To see if the capsules are rancid or not, I would open them up and taste and smell the oil inside. If it’s foul, let it go. For more information about how to assess the quality of your omega-3 product, look here.

      Since your capsules contain 600 mg EPA/240 mg DHA, it also sounds like you are consuming a fish oil product that has artificially high levels of EPA/DHA. We recommend taking a full-spectrum fish oil because it contains all the nutrients of the omega-3 family in the proper ratios. If you are interested, you can read more about full-spectrum fish oil here.

      Hope that helps! Let us know if you have any more questions.

    1. Hi Cindy! Fish oil is indeed safe for both you and your daughter to consume. The FDA has labeled fish oil as a GRAS food (Generally Recognized as Safe), and in Norway, the government recommends infants consume one teaspoon of fish oil starting at the age of one. As long as you consume a fish oil that is fresh and that is purified (which most high quality fish oils are), then you should both benefit.

      Now, while fish oil is not a weight loss cure, it does play a powerful role in promoting weight management. However, the benefits will be greatly improved when coupled with exercise and other nutritious foods, such as whole oats. Hope that helps! Let us know if you have more questions.

  3. Hi, I just brought Nature Made fish oil for the first time and mine is 1000mg-300mg Omega 3. I’m not really sure how to read the EPA or DHA amount on the back of the bottle b/c this is my first time buying them, but it says it has 600 mg total of Omega 3 fatty acid & 500mg of EPA and DHA. How any pills would I need to take per day to help out with depression & anxiety? And also to see for an improvement my skin and hair? Thanks

    1. Hi Nicole,

      Thanks for writing! Determining the amount of EPA/DHA in your omega-3 supplement can be tricky, so we’re glad you asked. In a natural (not chemically modified fish oil), the EPA/DHA makes up between 20 to 30 percent of the oil. If you are taking 1000 mg of fish oil, you will get roughly 300 mg of EPA/DHA in that dose.

      If it’s a chemically modified omega-3 product, you might get a higher amount of EPA/DHA per capsule. But the EPA/DHA dose would come at the expense of the other types of omega-3 nutrients and co-factors, which are also important for achieving health benefits (check out this blog on full-spectrum fish oil for more information). Does your supplement specify the total amount of fish oil per capsule? We’d need a little more information to help you out with reading the label.

      To get clinical effects for mood and inflammation, people typically need more than 2000 mg EPA/DHA per day. It is very important that the oil is not oxidized (rancid) because if it is, it will contain toxic by-products in addition to having low potency. To check for rancidity, cut your capsule open, then smell and taste the oil. Fresh fish oil should have no fishy taste or smell.

      We hope that helps! Please let us know if you have more questions.

      All the best,
      The Omega3 Innovations Team

        1. Absolutely, we have a lot of families who buy Omega Cure for their children who are on the autism spectrum. There are a good number of studies suggesting omega-3 helps reduce impulsiveness and even helps improve verbal skills.

          For more information, you might be interested in taking a look at the following resource page about special needs:

          You might also want to take a look at the following story from one of our customers who has a son with ADHD:

          For children on the spectrum, many of them find that taking unflavored Omega Cure is best – especially if they have food sensitivities. The unflavored Omega Cure has no taste or smell, so you can add it to yoghurts, smoothies, or juices if your child doesn’t like the oily texture.

          Please let us know if you have any more questions and we’re happy to help!

    1. Hi Locke, thank you for your question! We wrote a piece on krill oil a few years ago that you might be interested in reading: http://www.tastyfishoil.com/blog//krill-oil-new-superfood-or-expensive-hype/. We would like to write a follow up blog, however, since the krill oil industry has expanded and we know more about it today. We’ll keep you updated there.

      In brief, our main concern with krill oil is dose and rancidity. The average krill oil capsule contains under 100 mg of combined EPA/DHA – a far cry from the 3000 mg of EPA/DHA found in a salmon dinner and the amount used in research studies on omega-3 and inflammation. A recent study showed consumers achieved no benefits from krill oil when taking the label recommended dose. Other studies comparing fish oil to krill oil show both types of supplements achieve the same effect for the same dose – but krill oil still costs 5 to 10 times more.

      Besides having a low dose, krill oil is also notoriously rancid, which may compromise the effectiveness of the oil (please see our other blog on this subject).

      Omega Cure is the only fresh, full-spectrum fish oil in the world, and when you look at the cost per mg of EPA/DHA, it is a bargain compared to krill oil. We hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any more questions!

  4. Hi I have severe dry eyes and wanted to try out some omega 3 I also don’t eat a lot of fish because I don’t really like it. What would you recommend? Capsules or tea spoon of fish oil? Also what dose? And do you think it would help my dry eyes? And how long would it take to see results thank you

    1. Hi Lindsey! If you have dry eyes, it’s good to hear you are looking to learn more about omega-3 fish oil. There are a number of research studies indicating that omega-3 can make a big difference towards relieving dry eyes (see for instance this study on the subject: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24190233).

      To answer your question, we recommend you take 3 teaspoons of Omega Cure every day. Three teaspoons of Omega Cure provides a safe and solid dose (equivalent to 12 regular capsules) of the only fresh, full-spectrum fish oil in the world. Freshness is crucial for obtaining good results, but unfortunately, encapsulating fish oil seems to make the oil rancid. A truly fresh liquid fish oil has no taste or smell and can easily be added to juices or yogurt. You should start seeing results over the course of about 8-12 weeks if you take the oil consistently.

      Let us know how you do and if you have more questions!

  5. Hi, I have high cholestorl and high blood pressure. Dont want to take statins. How much should I take to lower the cholestrol. I also take soy lecithin. thanks.

    1. If you take 3 teaspoons of Omega Cure every day, it provides a safe and potent dose of the only fresh, full-spectrum fish oil in the world. After 4 to 5 weeks, you can measure the changes of the blood lipids and your blood pressure. Take the triglyceride value and divide by the HDL cholesterol value. If the resulting number is below 2.7, you are in good shape.

      For more information, please review my blog “What Your Cholesterol & Triglyceride Numbers Say About Your Lifestyle.”

    1. We’re glad you liked the article. The number of capsules you need depends on the amount of EPA/DHA found in your specific capsule brand. Most people need between 2000 – 3000 mg of EPA/DHA every day. Your capsule should specify not just how much omega-3 it contains, but also how much EPA/DHA the product gives you.

      However, if we were going to give you a true recommendation, we would suggest choosing a liquid cod liver oil product, as opposed to capsules. Two to three teaspoons will provide a higher dose, you will avoid ingesting all that gelatin, and you will get a much fresher product than you could ever find in a capsule. A truly fresh fish oil, like Omega Cure, does not have any fishy taste or smell, making it quite palatable to drink. We hope that helps answer your question! If you have others, don’t hesitate to let us know!

  6. I had read that a recent study reported a correlation between fish oil supplementation and increased risk of prostate cancer. Is this something I should be concerned about?

    1. Hi Paul,

      Thanks for writing! We understand the concern regarding the increased risk of prostate cancer. The media provided some alarming coverage of that study last year.

      Unfortunately, the mainstream media never covered the scientific community’s follow-up discussion of the study, which is too bad because most scientists regarded the conclusion as quite flawed. The study in question never documented whether the men took omega-3 supplements – just the amount of omega-3 in the blood stream. As Dr. Harris, one of the world’s leading omega-3 specialists wrote in a follow-up article, the study participants’ omega-3 index was so low that it is unlikely the men in the trial even consumed fish oil supplements. In fact, the difference between the men consuming the greatest amount of omega-3 and the least amount of omega-3 in the trial might have been as little as two fish meals a week.

      Furthermore, the study’s results contradict many other studies that suggest omega-3 has a positive impact on preventing cancer and improving the results of cancer treatments, like chemotherapy.

      In the weeks following the release of the study, we put together an Omega-3 and Prostate Cancer Resource Guide for our customers. If you would like to read more about the issue, here it is:


  7. I am taking omega 3 capsules for about four months now it has only 600mg combine is that enough as i am only taking 1 capsule per day as the direction on the bottle recommen

    1. Most omega-3 studies showing measurable health benefits indicate that you need more omega-3 to experience results – typically about 2000 to 3000 mg of combined EPA/DHA. Likely, the current single capsule you are using will not significantly improve your health.

      If you have been using your omega-3 capsule for four months now, ask yourself, “Am I seeing a positive health difference.” Especially if you are taking omega-3 for a specific health purpose, like improving lipid levels or reducing joint pain and stiffness, you ought to be feeling a difference in your body or be able to measure the difference with a blood test. If the answer is no, then you should consider finding a liquid supplement that would allow you to get an effective dose.

      If you’d like more information about what kind of benefits to look for when using an omega-3 supplement, you can read our latest newsletter, which discusses the topic:


      Hope this helps! Let us know if you have other questions.

  8. Hi.
    I am 26 years old.I have started taking one capsule of Blackmores Fish oil (Omega 3) which is 1000 mg & it says it contains 180 mg EPA and 120 mg DHA. How much omega 3 should i take daily for good results ?

    1. Hi Roy! Thank you for writing and sharing your question. To answer you, most omega-3 researchers agree that you need more EPA/DHA every day in order to see results. For instance, in Fish Oil: What the Prescriber Needs to Know, the researchers wrote the following,

      “Although modest increases in intake of n3 LC PUFAs can reduce cardiovascular risk, relatively large doses (≥ 2.7 g/day EPA plus DHA) are required for anti-inflammatory effects. These doses can be taken efficiently and economically as liquid fish oil on juice.”

      In other words, if you are really going to see a positive difference for inflammation, you’ll need at least 2700 mg of EPA/DHA per day (or about 9 times as much as you are currently taking). If that sounds like a lot to swallow, consider getting a fresh liquid omega-3 supplement. A truly fresh oil won’t taste or smell bad, and if you take one tablespoon a day, you’ll easily get 3000 mg of combined EPA/DHA.

      Even if you are not concerned with inflammation and you are looking at other omega-3 benefits (such as for mental health), research there too indicates you need a higher dose than one or two capsules a day. For instance, if you take a look at the dosages used in these studies, you can see that most used at least 1500 mg of EPA or DHA (or 5 capsules) a day to achieve good results.

      Let us know if you have more questions about dosage. We’re always happy to help!

  9. Can you tell me if your product has Reservatol in it? My father has had a stroke paralyzing his left side and causing aphasia. I would like to get him on Omega3 as soon as possible to help not only with brain function but also with muscle loss. However, if Reservaol is an ingredient he will not be able to take it as he is on the highest level of blood thinners possible.

    1. Hi Leann,

      We’re sorry to hear about your father’s stroke. It must be a challenging time.

      Omega Cure does not contain any Resveratrol. If you would like to take a look at the nutrition facts for Omega Cure or Omega Cure Extra Strength, visit the product pages here and here and then click the nutrition facts button. If you’d like more information about the products, you can also call us at 866.414.0188 and ask to speak with either Dr. Martinsen or Dr. Chalmers.

      We also have a blog relating specifically to omega-3 and stroke, if that would be helpful to read: Treating the Injured Brain with Omega-3 Fish Oil.

    1. Hi Lina. Omega Cure is not Halal or Kosher certified. However, as a pure cod liver oil, manufactured with equipment solely used to produce Omega Cure, it should meet all halal and kosher requirements.

  10. I am 35 and my daughter is 13 & 7 years old. Currently our fish oil has 1200mg fishgel capsule contains EPA 396mg , DHA 264mg, total omega 3 fatty acids 660mg, vitamin E 2IU.
    Fish oil sources, coldwater fish( Anchovy, Sardine & Mackeral. Gelatin source, fish.
    How many capsules should we take individually per day? Thank you.

    1. Hi Cindy, Thank you for writing to us. The daily dose necessary for you and your daughters depends a bit on your needs. For instance, for adults with chronic pain and inflammation issues, there’s strong evidence for getting at least 2700 mg of EPA/DHA per day. In terms of your current product, that would mean consuming at least 4 capsules daily to get the correct amount of EPA/DHA. For doses for children, please review this blog for more information.

      Another thing to keep in mind with regards to your omega-3 product is the freshness level of the oil. Many capsules contain old, rancid oil. If your current oil is indeed rancid, it may mean that the product contains less EPA/DHA per capsule than listed on the label. Rancid oil may also cause adverse health effects. That’s why we always recommend breaking open your capsules and tasting and smelling the oil first to assess the quality of your product. It’s important to do this, especially if you are giving the capsules to your daughters.

    1. Hi Judy,

      It’s best to talk with your health care provider about the precise omega-3 dose for your husband. But, to provide you with some advice to assess your current capsules:

      > Look at the amount of EPA/DHA in those 1500 mg capsules. The EPA/DHA usually only makes up a small component of the 1500 mg total fish oil or cod liver oil, but your label should tell you the precise amount.

      > Make sure the oil is fresh by doing a taste and smell check. If the oil inside the capsules is not fresh, get another product for the sake of efficacy and safety.

    1. If you are taking 1750 mg of combined EPA/DHA three times a day (over 5000 mg of EPA/DHA daily), that is quite a heavy dose. It’s likely not harmful, if you are taking a fresh omega-3 product. According to the European Food Safety Authority, consuming 5000 mg of omega-3s “raises no safety concerns for adults.” However, it’s always best to speak with a health professional to see if that is the best dose for you.

  11. Why do you not state the number of mgs of dha & epa per teaspoon ? You only provide a total’combined amount. Consumers want specific info and you intentionally side step this most important info. Lovaza prescription omega 3 has 480mg epa and 360mg dha per capsule. All other otc manufacturers provide this info. This tells me you are hiding something.

    1. Dear Arnold Kiser, We absolutely list the number of mgs of EPA and DHA per serving of Omega Cure on our website. To find it, navigate to a product page (here’s a link to one for Omega Cure: https://www.omega3innovations.com/store/omega-cure/omega-cure-flavored.html), then click on the tab “Nutritional Information.”

      The tab shows our Supplement Facts, which list 1200 mg of EPA, 1800 mg of DHA and 800 mg of other omega-3 per the recommended 15 ml (3 teaspoon) serving. If you want to calculate the amount per teaspoon, divide those values by three.

      Please let us know if you need more help finding the information you are looking for. We know our website is dense, and can be tricky to navigate.

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