n-3 Fatty acid dietary recommendations and food sources to achieve essentiality and cardiovascular benefits

Sarah K. Gebauer, Tricia L. Psota, William S. Harris, Penny M. Kris-Etherton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

511 Scopus citations


Dietary recommendations have been made for n-3 fatty acids, including α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to achieve nutrient adequacy and to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease. These recommendations are based on a large body of evidence from epidemiologic and controlled clinical studies. The n-3 fatty acid recommendation to achieve nutritional adequacy, defined as the amount necessary to prevent deficiency symptoms, is 0.6-1.2% of energy for ALA; up to 10% of this can be provided by EPA or DHA. To achieve recommended ALA intakes, food sources including flaxseed and flaxseed oil, walnuts and walnut oil, and canola oil are recommended. The evidence base supports a dietary recommendation of ≈500 mg/d of EPA and DHA for cardiovascular disease risk reduction. For treatment of existing cardiovascular disease, 1 g/d is recommended. These recommendations have been embraced by many health agencies worldwide. A dietary strategy for achieving the 500-mg/d recommendation is to consume 2 fish meals per week (preferably fatty fish). Foods enriched with EPA and DHA or fish oil supplements are a suitable alternate to achieve recommended intakes and may be necessary to achieve intakes of 1 g/d.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1526S-1535S
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • DHA
  • Dietary recommendations
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • EPA
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Fish intake
  • Fish oil
  • n-3 fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'n-3 Fatty acid dietary recommendations and food sources to achieve essentiality and cardiovascular benefits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this