Health Tips > Vitamin Aisle > Making Sure That You're Getting Plenty of Omega 3 Rich Fish

Making Sure That You're Getting Plenty of Omega 3 Rich Fish

View All Section Pages

Making Sure That You're Getting Plenty of Omega 3 Rich Fish

Our Founder Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, has long supported supplementation and advocates that you “take the right supplements for you” to achieve optimal health. There genuinely isn’t a “one size fits all” supplement, and your habit and specific health circumstances will influence our recommendations if you talk with us about supplements. This is also true when discussing omega-3 fatty acids.

The health benefits of omega-3 are numerous – omega-3 fatty acids support brain, heart and eye health, reduce sudden death risk, support overall general health and act as an overall great inflammation fighter. Because of these benefits, we suggest that everyone consume omega-3s through diet or supplementation.

The three best known types of omega-3’s are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). ALA naturally occurs in plants, such as flax and chia seeds, walnuts, leafy greens and soybeans. While it’s a terrific fat, the body has to convert it to EPA or DHA to use it as an omega-3 fatty acid, and the conversion process is inefficient! For this reason, when we talk about omega-3 fatty acids and diet, we’re talking fish and seafood.

The American Heart Association recommends that we eat at least two servings of fish, particularly fatty fish each week. They define each serving as 3 ½ ounces cooked, or about ¾ cup flaked fish. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report contains a list with levels of EPA and DHA in seafood.

Table 1 shows seafood with higher levels. It was a surprise to see that farmed salmon, which is inexpensive and readily available year round, has more EPA and DHA than wild salmon! While salmon and trout are common on restaurant menus and in grocery stores, mackerel, herring and sardines are not.


Table 1

Fish 3 ½ ounce cooked

EPA/DHA per serving

Atlantic Salmon (farmed)

2,013 mg

Atlantic Salmon (wild)

1,820 mg


1,190 mg


2,000 mg

Rainbow Trout (farmed)

1,140 mg

Canned Sardines (in oil, drained, w/  bones)

970 mg


Table 2 is a list of seafood that is regularly found on restaurant menus and in grocery stores. The level of EPA and DHA in halibut is pretty decent when we compare it against cod, but it’s still pretty low when compared against salmon. And tilapia, the inexpensive, clean tasting white fish that’s on every menu, in every grocery store in the seafood counter and freezer section? It’s not listed as having any EPA or DHA at all!


Table 2

Fish 3 ½ ounce cooked

EPA/DHA per serving


180 mg

Cod (Atlantic)

160 mg


460 mg


310 mg


320 mg


Not listed!


Cooper Clinic recommends a minimum of 1,000 mg (1 gram) of omega-3 from EPA and DHA per day. And, for individuals with high Triglycerides, 2-to 4 grams of EPA and DHA may be recommended. Cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, trout and sardines provide good sources of EPA and DHA through food. If your diet doesn’t include at least two serving of these fatty fish each week, or if your particular circumstances are such that you need more EPA and DHA, omega-3 supplements are a good option.

Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3 supplements contain 1,200 mg EPA and DHA (combined) per two softgel serving.

Cooper Complete Nutritional Supplements are available for purchase at The Coop retail store. For more information click here or call 888.393.2221.

Article provide by Jill Turner, President, Cooper Concepts Inc.


2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report

American Heart Association