Omega-3 index & ARA:EPA test

Omega-3 index & ARA:EPA test

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• Omega-3 index from red blood cells
• ARA: EPA ratio
• Requires 2 drops of blood

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    A low omega-3 index affects 96% of people in the UK

    Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid and is chronically low.

    • Essential component of the grey matter in the brain
    • Essential for healthy neurones
    • Vital for proper nerve cell function and communication
    • Reduces neuroinflammation
    • Essential for normal skin health

    Understand your inflammatory balance by measuring your ARA: EPA ratio

    The ratio of arachidonic acid (ARA) to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), often referred to as the ARAratio, is an important marker of the balance between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory eicosanoids in the body.

    Image of Dr Geoff Mullan Chief Medical Officer

    Omega-3 index and ARA:EPA ratio

    Dr Geoff Mullan MBBS, BSc. MRCS, DO-HNS, AFMCP

    Chief Medical Director

    what is in this test

    Omega 3 index and ARA : EPA ratio

    Omega 3 red blood cell index

    The gold standard measurement of omega-3.

    The Omega-3 Index is a measure of the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in the membranes of red blood cells (RBCs). It is expressed as a percentage of the total fatty acids in the RBC membranes.

    Why is the Omega-3 index important

    Health Implications:

    • Cardiovascular Health: A higher Omega-3 Index is linked to a reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes, and sudden cardiac death.
    • Cognitive Function: Adequate levels of EPA and DHA support brain health, improving cognitive function and potentially lowering the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
    • Inflammation: Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help manage conditions such as arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

    What is the optimal range of omega-3

    The optimal Omega-3 Index is generally considered to be between 8% and 12%.

    Levels below 4% are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.

    How to Improve the Omega-3 Index

    Increase Omega-3-Rich Foods:

    Eat more fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) at least twice a week.

    Plant-based sources like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are NOT a good way to increase it as only 5% of omega-3 found in plants are converted to those that can be used in the body.

    Consider Supplementation:

    Omega-3 supplements (fish oil, krill oil, algae oil) can help boost levels, especially if dietary intake is insufficient.

    What is the ARA: EPA ratio

    The ratio of arachidonic acid (ARA) to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), often referred to as the ARA ratio, is an important marker of the balance between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory precursor messengers called eicosanoids in the body.

    A high ratio means you are less able to deal with inflammation and a low ratio is GOOD.

    If your ratio is high this can be caused by too little omega-3 or too high a diet of omega-6 foods.

    Arachidonic Acid (ARA)

    Arachidonic Acid (ARA):

    • Type: Omega-6 fatty acid.
    • Sources: Found in meat, eggs, and dairy products.
    • Role: Precursor to pro-inflammatory eicosanoids, which are signalling molecules involved in inflammatory and immune responses.

    Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)

    Type: Omega-3 fatty acid.

    Sources: Found in fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, sardines) and fish oil supplements.

    Role: Precursor to anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, which help to reduce inflammation and promote overall health.

    How do you lower ARA

    Reduce intake of omega-6-rich foods such as processed and fried foods, and limit consumption of red meat and certain vegetable oils (corn, sunflower, safflower).

    Manage your omegas' naturally

    • Industrialisation and Processed Food

      The industrial revolution brought about a surge in the consumption of processed foods, which are often rich in omega-6 fatty acids. These include vegetable oils (such as sunflower, corn, and soybean oil) used in cooking and food processing.

    • Reduced Fish Consumption

      Traditionally, coastal regions might have had diets rich in fish, a primary source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, with urbanisation and changes in dietary habits, the consumption of fatty fish (like salmon, mackerel, and sardines) has declined.

    • Nutritional Education

      There is often a lack of public awareness about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids and the need to balance omega-6 intake. Without targeted nutritional education, many people may not prioritize foods rich in omega-3 in their diet.

    • Two drops of blood

      As omega-3 is measure in red blood cells we need a couple of drops of blood placed on a card to measure it.

    • How long will it take?

      Omega-3 testing is performed in a specialist lab and so results usually take around 2 weeks to return.

      If you are doing other tests at the same time we will update you as soon as each of these are ready.

    • How often should I retest?

      As the measurement is taken from red blood cells which take 3 months to turnover, we recommend waiting 4-6 months before retesting.

    No finger pricks use our needle free home blood collection device

    Track and measure

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    Personal dashboard

    Your results will be uploaded to your personal secure dashboard.

    You can track progress over time and optimise your essential nutrient status.

    Personal recommendations

    Your results will be integrated with your health assessment.

    One of our medical team will review these and make nutrition, lifestyle and supplement recommendations.

    Innovative blood collection device

    Use our innovative home collection device to make blood collection simple and easy to do at home.

    See the video below to see it in action.

    What do we measure?

    Total testosteron

    Test and track

    Track your levels on your personalised dashboard


    Get recommendations based on your results


    Increase your health and longevity

    frequently asked questions


    Does the blood test hurt?

    No, the blood test really is painless. It doesn't even use needles!

    When will I get my results?

    Results are back within 5 working days, but we can often do a lot quicker than that. The exception is omega 3 which needs to go to a specialist lab. and results can take a few weeks.

    Will you really send a video explaining my results at no extra cost?

    Yes! We make it simple to understand your results and recommendations by sending a video of a Doctor explaining them.

    Is humanpeople a registered and regulated company?

    Yes. Unlike a lot of other blood testing companies in the UK. humanpeople is registered with the CQC as a health and diagnostic company.

    That means we are reviewed and must follow strict UK guidelines on giving results and advice.

    The labs. we use are also regulated by CQC.

    You can check out our registration details here.

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