The Omega-3 Index is a nutritional tool that provides feedback on an individual’s omega-3 status.
By recording the percentage concentration of the omega-3s EPA and DHA in red blood cells, the Omega-3 Index provides a useful indication of a person’s long-term intake of omega-3s and has been proposed as a novel biomarker for cardiovascular risk.
An omega-3 index of 8% or above is considered optimal, while a low omega-3 index indicates a higher risk of sudden cardiac death.
In an unpublished clinical study, healthy volunteers took either 2 grams of Superba krill oil for 8 weeks or 2 grams of an omega-3 enriched fish oil.
The goal of the study was to compare the delivery of omega-3 fatty acids — phospholipids, i.e. krill oil vs. triglycerides, i.e. fish oil — to see if the form influences the increase in Omega-3 Index.
The study showed that krill oil increased the Omega-3 Index significantly more than fish oil after 8 weeks of supplementation. In fact, krill oil increased the Omega-3 Index about 70% more than fish oil at the end of study after dose adjustment between the two treatment groups.
Because the Omega-3 Index reflects the incorporation of omega-3s in cell membranes, the Omega-3 Index is suggested to correlate with both the health of the body and its omega-3 status.
In other words, an improvement of the ratio of EPA and DHA to other fatty acids in the cell membrane is a strong indicator of a person’s state of health.