A low blood omega-3 level is now recognised to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease as well as a variety of neurocognitive and developmental disorders. Therefore, knowing one’s omega-3 level is essential for managing that risk, both for healthcare practitioners as well as individuals seeking greater control of their own health status. Until recently there have been a myriad of different tests used, primarily in research, to express omega-3 status, but now the Omega-3 Index, is emerging as the best option for widespread use. Like all new prognostic tests, target or “healthy levels” of the Omega-3 Index are evolving, but substantial evidence points to an Index of 8% to 12% as being a reasonable goal. Average levels in most Western countries are well below this target, whereas this is the average level in countries like Japan, where coronary heart disease is rare, and lifespans are long. With knowledge of their Omega-3 Indexes, individuals will be motivated to make the simple and safe changes in their diet and supplementation practices, and they will be able to easily monitor the effects of those changes on their omega-3 status.
- Understand the different types of “omega” fatty acids: omega-6, omega-3 and the individual fatty acids that make up these families.
- Understand what the Omega-3 Index test is and how it is performed.
- Understand what the healthy target levels are and how to achieve them.
- Understand the health consequences of having an Omega-3 Index that is too low.