How Much Omega-3 Is Recommended Per Day?

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats found in foods like plant oils, flaxseed, walnuts, and fatty fish, as well as in supplement form.

These essential nutrients provide the body with energy, improve heart and brain health, play an important role in vision and nervous system function, and reduce inflammation.

This article discusses the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, foods that contain them, and proper dosages.

A woman eating salmon at a restaurant

Bunlue Nantaprom / EyeEm / Getty Images

Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The three main types of omega-3 fatty acids are:

  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

But First, What Are Omega-3s?

Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that must be obtained through diet to reach optimal intake. Although the body can convert ALA (plant-based omega-3) to DHA and EPA in small quantities, dietary intake and sometimes supplementation is needed.

Omega-3s help with various functions in your heart, lungs, immune system, and endocrine system, and in the production of hormones. These nutrients have been studied for their role in:

  • Reducing heart disease
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving triglycerides
  • Infant and adult brain health
  • Cancer prevention
  • Dry eyes
  • Memory

Optimal Daily Omega-3 Dosage

The amount of omega-3 fatty acids you need daily depends on age, gender, and omega-3 fatty acid levels in your body. Here's the optimal daily dosage in grams (g) for various age groups and if you're pregnant or breastfeeding:

Daily Omega-3 Dosage
Birth to 6 months 0.5 g
7–12 months* 0.5 g
1–3 years* 0.7 g
4–8 years** 0.9 g
9–13 years** 1.2 g (males), 1.0 g (females)
14–51+** 1.6 g (males), 1.1 g (females)
Pregnant people 1.4 g
Lactating people 1.3 g
 *  As total omega-3s
 **  As ALA

For certain populations, supplementation is beneficial. DHA has been studied for its role in supporting the fetus's brain and eye development in the uterus of pregnant women. Researchers found women who were low in DHA and supplemented daily with 1,000 milligrams (mg), equivalent to 1 g, compared with 200 mg experienced lower rates of preterm birth.

However, more isn't always better. One study found people who took more than 1,000 mg/day of omega-3s were at an increased risk of atrial fibrillation (AFib), a common heart arrythmia (when the heart beats irregularly or at an unhealthy speed). This research conflicts with prior research that suggests the intake of omega-3 reduces atrial fibrillation.

The research suggests there could be a dosage effect: Less than 1,000 mg/day is associated with a reduced risk of AFib, and more than 1,000 mg/day is associated with a higher risk. More studies are needed to determine a dosing effect.

Omega-3 Sources: Foods and Supplements 

Omega-3s can be consumed in the diet or via supplementation. There are plant and animal-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Some plant-based sources include:

  • Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Edamame (soybeans in the pod)
  • Plant-based oils (flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil)
  • Fortified products (juices, soy beverages, plant-based milk, margarine, cereal, oatmeal)

Animal-based sources include:

  • Meat (beef, lamb, mutton, with higher concentrations in grass-fed varieties)
  • Fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines)
  • Fortified foods (eggs, yogurt, milk)

Supplements are typically made from fish oil derived from oily fish, krill oil, cod liver oil, and algal oil (a vegan form).

How Many Omega-3s Are Too Much?

No more than 5 g of EPA and DHA from supplements are recommended daily unless a healthcare provider indicates otherwise. The American Heart Association recommends the prescription use of EPA plus DHA or EPA-only of up to 4 g per day for patients with elevated triglycerides. This dosage should be supervised.

How Much Is Too Little?

Adults should consume about 8 ounces of fish per week (based on a 2,000-calorie diet). If you do not eat fish, you need to get omega-3s from plants, but very little will be converted to EPA and DHA. Too little omega-3 fatty acids can result in a deficiency, although it's very rare in the United States.

Meals and Snacks That Contain Omega-3's

A sample meal plan rich in omega-3 fatty acids can include the following:

  • Breakfast: One-half cup oatmeal made with almond milk (or milk of your choice), 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed, three-fourths cups blueberries, and a dash of cinnamon
  • Lunch: A salad with kale and cranberries with 2 DHA-fortified hard-boiled eggs, one medium sweet potato
  • Snack: One-half cup low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, and one-half chopped pear
  • Dinner: Baked salmon with spaghetti squash and shelled edamame
  • Snack: Handful of granola


Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that must be consumed from the diet or via supplementation. Omega-3s can be found in plant-based oils, flaxseed, fatty fish, and more. The optimal daily dosage depends on age, gender, and omega-3 levels. If you have difficulty eating enough omega-3s, ask your healthcare provider for supplement recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is 1,000 mg of omega-3 per day too much?

    No more than 5 g (5,000 mg) of EPA and DHA from supplements should be taken daily unless a healthcare provider indicates otherwise. Various studies show the positive effects of supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids. A minimum intake of 1,000 mg of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids is optimal for most people.

  • What time of day should you take omega-3?

    There is no set time for omega-3s unless you experience digestive issues or take certain medications that might interfere with intake. Talk to your healthcare provider if you take blood pressure medication or blood thinners like Jantoven (warfarin). If you are experiencing increased belching, you may want to consume omega-3s with your largest meal to potentially lessen these effects.

10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Linus Pauling Institute. Essential fatty acids.

  2. National Institute of Health. Omega 3 fatty acids.

  3. Appleton KM, Sallis HM, Perry R, NEss AR, Churchill R. Omega-3 fatty acids for depression in adultsCochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;11.

  4. Swanson D, Block R, Mousa SA. Omega-3 fatty acids epa and dha: Health benefits throughout lifeAdv Nutr. 2012 Jan;3(1):1-7. doi:10.3945/an.111.000893

  5. Carlson SE, Gajewski BJ, Valentine CJ, et al. Higher dose docosahexaenoic acid supplementation during pregnancy and early preterm birth: a randomised, double-blind, adaptive-design superiority trialEClinicalMedicine. doi:10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.100905

  6. Gencer B, Djousse L, Al-Ramady O, et al. Effect of long-term marine omega-3 fatty acids supplementation on the risk of atrial fibrillation in randomized controlled trials of cardiovascular outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysisCirculation. 2021. doi:10.1161/circulationaha.121.055654

  7. Ponnampalam EN, Hopkins DL, Jacobs JL. Increasing omega-3 levels in meat from ruminants under pasture-based systems. Rev Sci Tech. 2018 Apr;37(1):57-70. doi: 10.20506/rst.37.1.2740.

  8. Skulas-Ray A, et. al. on behalf of the American Heart Association Council on Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, vascular biology;council on cardiovascular and stroke nursing; and council on clinical cardiology. Omega-3 fatty acids for the management of hypertriglyceridemia: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2019;140:e673-e691.

  9. Food and Drug Administration. Advice about eating fish for those who might become or are pregnant or breastfeeding and children ages 1 to 11 years.

  10. Bernasconi AA, Wiest MM, Lavie CJ, et al. Effect of omega-3 dosage on cardiovascular outcomes: An updated meta-analysis and meta-regression of interventional trialsMayo Clin Proc. 2021 Feb;96(2):304-313. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2020.08.034

By Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN
Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN, is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist.