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Omega-3’s start working in about 15 minutes

Learn when omega-3 supplements can give you health benefits and how long it will take to see them.

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There’s logic behind the advice to up your fish consumption from nutritionists. Omega-3s are a type of long-chain fat that can be found in abundance in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and others. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reports that these nutrients can reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and protect against cardiac arrhythmias. More so, clinical research published in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology suggests that diets high in omega-3s may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by nearly 40%.

The National Institute of Health recommends these supplements to promote healthy heart and brain function. Additional research is needed to determine the full extent of the potential benefits of omega-3s for those with dry eye disease, cystic fibrosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The question is how long it takes for the benefits of omega-3s to become apparent. When deciding how often or rarely to take these supplements, what is the best practice? What is it?

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Have A Lag Time Of Several Weeks Before They Omega-3 fatty acids are not a quick fix and may take several weeks to become effective. According to research conducted at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, it can take anywhere from two weeks to two months for a person to experience a change in their mood. According to Omega-3 Norway, the effectiveness of the fats depends on the quantity and quality of EPA and DHA present in the products used.

The ailment being treated is also an important factor to think about. A study published in Surgical Neurology found that these remedies were as effective as ibuprofen at alleviating neck and back pain, but had fewer adverse effects. In most cases, patients needed to take omega-3 supplements for about 10 weeks before they noticed a significant reduction in pain, and even then, it wasn’t immediate. The journal Pain reports that there is clinical evidence suggesting that omega-3s may reduce the pain and discomfort of inflammatory bowel disease and dysmenorrhea. According to Omega-3 of Norway, it may take up to six months to feel relief from pain or mood swings when taking these supplements.

Keep in mind that not all supplements are made the same. Krill oil, for instance, was found to raise blood levels of EPA and DHA by a greater amount than fish oil did in a 2011 study, as reported in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease.

Where to Find the Best Omega-3 Pills

Which Vitamin Supplement Should You Take? According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ALA derived from plants does not accumulate in the bloodstream like other omega-3s, suggesting that it may be less effective. The good news for vegetarians is that some of it is converted to EPA and DHA, as explained by the National Institutes of Health. One study in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta suggests that DHA is preferable to EPA, but it still takes longer for blood levels to reach optimal levels.

Keri Gans, a registered dietitian, recommends looking for labels that have been verified as sustainable by groups like the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOED) Voluntary Monograph. She recommended to Forbes readers that in addition to checking the total omega-3 content, they also consider the EPA and DHA content, as they will benefit more from a product with higher levels of these two nutrients. With regards to dosage, Gans suggests 400–500 milligrams of DHA and EPA daily, or up to 1,000 milligrams daily for those with heart disease.