Knowing your Omega 3 levels can reveal your risk for certain health conditions such as heart disease. A level of 8 – 12% is good, while less than 4% is not so good. Pregnant women and people with poor gut health, such as IBS, are also wise to know their Omega 3 status. Growing babies need omega 3’s for healthy brain development and the effects of a leaky gut can be attenuated when omega 3’s are present in the bloodstream. Taking the test is simple. It is called the Omega-3 Index test and is a non-invasive finger prick test. What started out as a research tool, being used as a measure of heart health in research studies, has become a tool that health practitioners can use to help patients see if they are deficient in Omega 3’s. These Omega 3 fatty acids are called Eicosapentaenoic acid and Docosahexaenoic acid – EPA and DHA for short. They are essential nutrients and it is estimated 4 out of 5 people are not getting enough of them. I already eat oily fish – is this relevant for me? How much fish you eat or how many fish oil supplements you take doesn’t predict what your Omega-3 Index will be. As with many aspects of nutrition, individual variances in genetics, absorption and metabolism affect how a person responds to food and supplements. What does the test cost? The test takes about five minutes to complete and is then sent to the lab through the post. Results are sent to your practitioner in 1-2 weeks and the test costs $49.50 (this is what the lab charges to process the sample). If my level is low what do I do? Simple. Increase your intake of EPA and DHA. The amount needed to raise your Omega-3 Index into the ideal range of > 8% depends in part on your starting level. For example, if your results come back at 4%, consuming 1g of EPA+DHA for 6 months is likely to raise your level back into the healthy range. Taking 2g per day would usually lead to a faster result. Again, everyone is different, but these are the suggested timeframes. What about supplements When taking a supplement look for the amount of EPA+DHA in the capsule. Less useful brands may have as little as 300mg of EPA + DHA in a 1000mg capsule. Reading the label will tell you how much EPA+DHA is in one capsule. Quality also matters as you want to avoid heavy metals such as mercury and lead. Having them sneak their way into your body through a supplement defeats the purpose. Jodie also stocks algae-based EPA and DHA supplements for those who want an alternative to fish oil. Taking the test. Jodie offers Omega-3 testing in her clinic. The cost is as mentioned above – $49.50 with no additional fees on what the lab charges.