The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends adults consume 8 ounces of a variety of seafood each week for heart health. This would provide an average of 250 mg of EPA and DHA per day. The best dietary sources of EPA and DHA include salmon, anchovies, herring, shad, sardines, Pacific oysters, trout, and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel. However, the average intakes of seafood for males and females in all age groups are below the recommended amounts.Furthermore, many popular types of seafood such as tilapia, catfish, and shrimp, do not contribute significant amounts of omega-3s to the diet.
EPA and DHA are not considered to be essential fatty acids because they can be synthesized from another omega-3 fatty acid, ALA. Essential nutrients are those that cannot be made by the body and must be obtained from dietary sources. However, ALA is an essential fatty acid so if dietary intake is not adequate, EPA and DHA can become conditionally essential. Furthermore, the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA in the body is poor so it is recommended that EPA and DHA are obtained from additional sources such as dietary supplements.