Capt. Hibbeln, M.D., discusses how you can determine the omega-3 fatty acid levels in your bloodstream.
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Measuring Omega-3 Fatty Acid Blood Level It is very important to know what your omega-3 fatty acid blood status is. It is not really your diet that predicts your risk of disease; it’s your tissue. So as my histology professor used to say, the tissue is the issue. And it’s a complex interaction between fish and these different seed oils and how they interact to get your blood levels. But now there are several companies that provide convenient home tests where you can take a lancet and get one drop of blood on a filter paper and mail it in and they can tell you your omega-3 fatty acid status and your relative risk and some companies even give you advice as to how you can change it. There’s many companies that do this and we don’t endorse any particular one. Among the companies are the Ideal Omega Test, and Metamatrix and Great Smoky Mountain Laboratories has tests and they are all very useful to helping you know what your omega-3 status is. One thing we did do is from the U.S. government and NIAAA, is provide a computer tool where you can enter your diet in and it will tell you the omega-3s and omega-6s that are being delivered by that diet, and then what your tissue composition and cardiovascular and I think even mental health risks are from that diet. So you can model a change. “What if I start eating one tuna fish meal a week and one salmon meal for dinner? What if I start eating sardines regularly for lunch? How far can I get my omega-3s up and how well can I protect myself?” That program is accessible to the public free of charge at EFAeducation.nih.gov and it’s under the “Lifestyle choices” and that program is called “Keep it managed” or Kim.