- Symptoms of an omega-3 deficit
- How long it takes for omega-3 to work
- How and when to take the supplement
So, you just started taking omega-3 supplements, but you are not seeing any difference yet? In this article we want to explain, how long it takes for the fatty acids to take effect in your body and what is important to consider, when taking your fish oil or krill oil supplement to get the maximum benefit from them. Let’s go!
What happens if you have a omega 3 deficit
Why should you take omega-3 supplements you ask? Well, there is a long list of health benefits associated with taking omega-3 supplements in the form of krill oil or fish oil capsules. These capsules contain the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, which work wonders in your body and can for example improve your heart health, help your cognition and contribute to preventing inflammation. Especially for pregnant women and athletes, there are many benefits from taking omega-3 supplements on a regular basis.
EPA and DHA are important building blocks of our cell membranes, which makes them a crucial part of many processes in our bodies. They influence the stability of our cells, which in case of skin cells, can influence the appearance of your skin, and have even been shown to influence messenger cells that are essential for the proper workings of our immune system.
Signs of omega-3 deficiency
But everyone benefits from those fatty acids, because signs of an omega-3 deficiency can be varied and range from dry and brittle nails, hair and skin, to lower levels of concentration as well as more mood swings and even a higher risk of heart disease.
EPA and DHA are called essential fatty acids, because our body cannot produce them ourselves, but we rely on consuming them through external sources. Either in the form of the plant-based omega-3 ALA, or directly as EPA and DHA from fish or other seafoods
How to increase your omega-3 intake
Like we mentioned above, EPA and DHA naturally occur in seafood and especially in oily fish that live in cold water, like salmon, anchovies or mackerels. These types of fish contain high levels of EPA and DHA and are very healthy for you. However, it might not be easy for you to consume fresh fish on a regular basis, so taking an omega-3 food supplement can be a good alternative. There are both fish oil and krill oil capsules available, which contain EPA and DHA (if it is a high-quality product, like the supplements from Omega 3 of Norway!)
So, the easiest way to increase your omega-3 intake is to start taking an omega-3 supplement on a daily basis! But beware that the effects won’t be instantaneous. And here is why.
How long it takes to work
While it takes only three to four hours for the omega-3 fatty acids to reach your blood after taking your supplement, the long-lasting effects can take longer to appear.
This is because the fatty acids first saturate your blood, before starting to slowly build up in your tissues, where they are especially needed. Within 24 hours, DHA and EPA are saturating the red blood cell membranes, which then move them around your body and to the places, which need them most, like your brain and heart.
How long it takes for them to start working also depends on the concentration of EPA and DHA in the fish oil or krill oil, and the overall quality of your supplement.
It can take up to one month for optimal levels of EPA and DHA to be reached in your blood, but in the brain and heart it can take up to 3 months, until the fatty acids saturate more in those areas. When it comes to other symptoms like mood swings or pain, it can take up to 6 months for the supplements to start having an effect.
So, taking omega-3 supplements is not a quick fix, but a long-term solution, which is a more sustainable option and we also encourage to take steps towards a more healthy lifestyle when you start integrating omega-3 into your diet.
How much to take
How much omega-3 you should take depends a lot on your body, lifestyle and needs. Some people, like Olympic rower Barnabé Delarze, Ambassador of Omega 3 of Norway, takes up to 14 capsules of fish oil and krill oil a day. He is training many hours a day and his body has a big need for omega-3 fatty acid, to keep in shape and stay strong while training.
The recommendations from various mainstream health organizations vary between 250 and 500 mg of combined EPA and DHA per day for a healthy adult. Of course, this can translate into different amounts of capsules depending on the volume of the capsules and the concentration of the EPA and DHA.
This is very important. Check the concentration of the fatty acids EPA and DHA in your supplement, because only this will determine how much of these essential fats you will actually ingest when taking the capsules. The best fish oil supplements contain high concentrations of EPA and DHA in their natural triglyceride form, that makes them easier to absorb in our body!
Omega-3 for specific health conditions
Some health conditions have shown promising results in response to omega-3 supplements. People suffering from coronary heart disease or who are at risk of heart attacks, could potentially benefit from taking up to 1,000 mg of combined EPA and DHA daily, according to the American Heart Association. While for other conditions they recommend 2,000 to 4,000 mg per day.
If you are taking omega-3 supplements to help you skin or hair, it can take up to twelve weeks for the effect to show. A small study showed that women who took omega-3 on a daily basis in the form of flaxseed oil, experienced a 39 % increase in skin hydration after three months. The skin was also less sensitive and smoother, than that of the placebo group members.
When to take it
For your body to be able to absorb the omega-3 supplement correctly, it should be taken together with a fatty meal. This is important as our body needs the extra fats to release the correct enzymes, that will break down and absorb the fatty acids.
This is why it might not be the best option to take the supplement with your breakfast, when people typically only eat a small meal. Now that we know that the omega-3 supplement does not show its beneficial effects immediately, it is important to be consistent and take it over a period of at least three months, to see results. The best way to stick to taking your supplement on a daily basis is to make it into a habit, which works best if you integrate it into a routine you already have. This serves as a so-called “habit anchor” and helps you remember to take your capsules.
In this article we wrote in more detail and when, how, and how much omega-3 you should take. The main takeaway is, that it might be beneficial to take it before going to bed and together with a bigger meal, like your dinner. This is because the extra fats are needed, to stimulate the release of the enzymes, that will be breaking down and absorbing the omega-3 fatty acids into your system. The most important thing, however, is that you take the supplement on a regular basis, ideally at the same time every day.
It can take up to 6 weeks for you to notice the first benefits of omega-3 in your body and mood. It is important to take the supplements on a regular basis, take the right amount and to take it at the same time every day.
Here are the main takeaways from this article
- Be patient, it can take from 6 weeks to 6 months for the supplement to show its full impact
- Take the supplement at the same time everyday
- Take the supplement together with a fatty meal for better absorption
- Try to reduce your intake of omega-6
If you would like to learn more about omega-3, check out our blog and browse our shop to discover our range of high-quality fish oil and krill oil supplements.
We also offer subscription pouches, so you can be sure, to never run out of fresh capsules!
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