Zone Labs Advantage Customers Show Dramatic Reduction in Cellular Inflammation Score Compared to Average Americans

Dr. Sears' Blog: Zone Labs Advantage Customers Show a Dramatic Reduction in Cellular Inflammation Score Compared to Average Americans
The only way to know if you are consuming adequate levels of omega-3 fatty acids is through your Cellular Inflammation Score. The benefit of an ideal Cellular Inflammation Score is to help support heart health, brain function, behavior and mood regulation, athletic performance, vision and cellular rejuvenation. In other words, everything that constitutes wellness.

An ideal range for the Cellular Inflammation Score is between 1.5 and 3. For comparison, the average Cellular Inflammation Score of the Japanese population (the largest consumers of fish in the world) is about 1.5, whereas the average American has a score of 20. Each person likely requires different dosages of fish oil to get them into the ideal range, but my minimum suggestion is 2.5 grams of EPA and DHA per day.

Cellular Inflammation Score as a Marker of Wellness

There is more than 25 years of published research to validate the use of the Cellular Inflammation Score as a clinical marker of inflammation. But research studies are not always applicable to real-life situations.

That’s why I developed the Zone Cellular Inflammation Test. This simple at-home test requires just one drop of blood to measure two key fatty acids in your blood and tells you with precision whether or not your body can effectively resolve inflammation.

Test, Don’t Guess: An In-House Experiment to Determine Inflammatory Status

I decided to put my recommendations to the test with our Advantage customers who were receiving an automatic shipment of OmegaRx. Since many Advantage customers have been receiving OmegaRx for more than a decade, this was an excellent group to test whether my minimum recommendation of 2.5 grams of EPA and DHA was really enough. I say “minimum” because not everyone is genetically the same. Some people will need even more omega-3s to reach an ideal Cellular Inflammation Score of less than 3. Others might need less.

So I offered a free Cellular Inflammation Test kit to all of our Advantage Customers who regularly order OmegaRx to see what their Cellular Inflammation Score actually was. All results were tallied while maintaining full confidentiality.

The Results: More than Half of our Advantage Customers Are Not Taking Enough Fish Oil

The good news is that 37% of our best customers tested achieved a Future Wellness score within the “Target” range between 1.5 and 3.0.

However, the average score for our Advantage Customers was 4.7. While this is better than about 75% of Americans, it is still not an ideal score as a judge of future wellness. While 48% of our Advantages customers had a Cellular Inflammation Score within the “Target” range or below, 52% scored beyond this range. That means that even among our most committed customers, more than half would still require higher levels of EPA and DHA in fish oil to get their scores into the ideal range.

Conversely, the data also revealed that 11% of our Advantage customers tested scored below the “Target” range of 1.5. In rare circumstances, those who’s score dip as far as 0.7 or less could be at risk of not being able to mount an adequate inflammatory response to microbial invasion.

These data points collectively demonstrate that even among those taking my recommended dosage of 2.5 grams per day, they should take our Cellular Inflammation Score blood test to assure they are taking the right amount of omega-3s.

Zone Labs Cellular Inflammation Score Results Distribution, 2016

Studies Support the Need for More Omega-3s Than Minimum Recommendations

Harvard Medical School was the first to report on the use of the Cellular Inflammation Score in The New England Journal of Medicine1. In this study, high doses of EPA and DHA (5 grams per day, or double my recommended minimum level) were given to healthy subjects for 10 weeks. With this increased intake of EPA and DHA, it was demonstrated that significant reductions of inflammatory cytokines were significantly reduced as their Cellular Inflammation Score decreased by nearly 90% from 21 to 2.5. Once the supplementation with EPA and DHA was stopped, the Cellular Inflammation Score in the subjects returned to its original level along with a corresponding increase in the cytokine markers of inflammation.

This study supports that you have to take adequate intakes of EPA and DHA for a lifetime if you want to manage diet-induced inflammation. How much? It depends, and that’s why you need to know your Cellular Inflammation Score. This Harvard data is consistent that the average American would require about five grams of EPA and DHA per day.

Take Control of Your Health Future Now

Taking adequate levels of EPA and DHA per day remains the fastest way to reduce diet-induced inflammation, which is the underlying cause of why we gain weight, develop chronic disease, and accelerate the aging process.

However taking a lot of fish oil means it has to be incredibly pure. That’s why I pride myself on having establishing the highest standards in the industry for OmegaRx. To maintain our leadership, the next generation of OmegaRx 2 products takes these purity standards to even higher levels than those used by the FDA for prescription fish oil products.

Zone Labs is built upon the concept of Evidence-Based Wellness®. This means that an individual’s blood will indicate whether or not they are well. The Cellular Inflammation Test is a key component to that concept. Once you have your Cellular Inflammation Score, if it is above 3, just follow the anti-inflammatory Zone Diet for a lifetime and take adequate levels of OmegaRx to bring your Cellular Inflammation Score into the target range of 1.5 to 3. Almost half of our Advantage customers are doing so today, and my job is to get that level up to 100%. The next step is to do the same for the rest of America.


  1. Endres S et al. “The effect of dietary supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on the synthesis of interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor by mononuclear cells.” N Engl J Med 320:265-271 (1989).

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About Dr. Barry Sears

Dr. Barry Sears is a leading authority on the impact of the diet on hormonal response, genetic expression, and inflammation. A former research scientist at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Sears has dedicated his research efforts over the past 45 years to the study of lipids. He has published 40 scientific articles and holds 14 U.S. patents in the areas of intravenous drug delivery systems and hormonal regulation for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. He has also written 14 books, including the New York Times #1 best-seller, The Zone, which have sold more than 6 million copies in the U.S. and have been translated into 22 different languages.


  1. Alex Double

    I have been taking Omega Rx capsules for some years and am very happy with the results but I would like to make a point regarding packaging. In an age when disable plastic packaging is threatening our oceans and ultimately our way of life particularly in respect to fish and sea food, isn’t it about time Zone considered a much more environmentally friendly package for its products. Apart from Omega Rx I take Maqui Rx and they come in a plastic bottle about three times larger than necessary. Is it possible to supply the capsules in a paper bubble pack rather than disposable plastic bottles that are just discarded when they are empty? I feel we not only need to look after our individual health but also the health of the planet that we all live on.

  2. phil gash

    After reading a few of the suggestions above my conclusion is that too many of us are behaving in the “car repair mode” of the AMA
    used by Drs. That is to say, we come in with a problem and ask the Dr. to fix it. We do that
    instead of saying ” what can I do to avoid this problem ?” The issue here is getting our AA/EPA in the correct range between 1.5 and 3.0. And as Dr. Sears points out most of us have a AA/EPA ratio which is too high.

    One solution is to increase the EPA. I had a ratio of 2.8 and increased my fish oil by an additional 2 caps, so I was taking 6/day
    and I dropped my ratio to 1.4 slightly too low. And I think a lot of us are increasing our fish oil to lower the ratio.

    Another solution is to reduce our AA which can be reduced by decreasing our omega-6 consumption. Two ways are to (1) avoid fried ( or fat laden meats such as burgers ) food
    & (2) do not use commercial salad oils. So how do you eat salad with some seasoning ? I use balsamic vinegar
    and extra virgin olive oil, and it tastes great !

    A second way of reducing AA is to lower your insulin by sticking to the Zone Diet and using low GI fruits and veggies.
    I tried low GI fruits and veggies ( I buy the frozen veggie bags ) with lunch and it does not take much to fill me up. And I also put balsamic vinegar and EVOO on them too.

    I had no need to increase my poly phenols as I got plenty from my regular eating habits.
    For breakfast I have been eating a few tablespoon full of cottage cheese ( protein ) and about 6 oz of berries.
    They come in 6 oz boxes, I use 1/2 a box of blue berries and 1/2 a box of black or raspberries. It keeps
    me fill up until lunch.

    I have a glass of red wine with lunch and with dinner.

    And ( here is the kicker !) I drink 4 or 5 20 oz flasks of decafe coffee a day…I just like fluids.

    Hope these suggestions or alternatives help.

  3. Susan

    Will The Zone diet and Supplements help the sx and joint erosions from rheumatoid arthritis?

  4. joseph zebroski

    I have high liver enzymes does fish oil help to lower such enzymes. I have recently tested and I’m a 2 on your scale but I take 4 capsules in the morning and 4 in the afternoon for the last year and I’m a 2, should I take more. the only other thing I take is advaclear which my natural path recommends and I eat thistle seed in the nature cereal my doctor has me eat, its got oat bran, flax seed, sun flower seeds, lecithin, oatmeal and thistle seed. Exercise 3 days a week and I’m retired my current age 57 any recommendations.

  5. Betty Little

    We have been ordering both the capsules (for my husband) and the liquid (for me) by the case for many, many years. We did the blood test years ago when it was offered to regular customers free every so many cases ordered. Is that still available? We are wanting to get lined up for testing again. Don’t know how we missed out on this one????

  6. April

    Dr Sears, when I take fish oil my normally minimal carpal tunnel symptoms become unbearable about 3 weeks into supplementation. Same thing with vitamin D supplementation except I have added terrible joint pain with vit D. I’ve tried 3 different times with same result, added magnesium, to no avail. Have you ever heard of this?

    • Barry Sears

      This sounds like a reaction to the gelatin capsule itself. I would recommend taking the liquid OmegaRx 2 to see the effect on the carpal tunnel symptoms.

  7. patricia switzer

    On my bottle of Omega Rx, the recommended daily dose is 4000mg of fish oil.(2 soft gels)This is equivalent to 4g. How is Dr sears coming up with his recommended amount of 2.5 grams in this article?
    How is this even possible? Am I missing something?!
    Thank you,

    • Barry Sears

      The current OmegaRx capsule serving size is 4 capsules, which would supply 4000 mg of fish oil. That fish oil is a minimum of 600 mg of EPA and DHA per 1000 mg of fish oil. Therefore the serving size contains a minimum of 2.4 grams of EPA and DHA. However, the levels of EPA and DHA are always slightly greater than the stated minimum levels, so that a single serving of 4 capsules would provide 2.5 grams of EPA and DHA.

      • patricia switzer

        Thank you Dr Sears. I’m going to perform my own little experiment. I have been taking 2 capsules of Omega Rx for 2 yrs, but at half the dose( 2 caps).
        I am going to submit my blood sample now.
        Then, I am going to take the recommended dose( which I have NOT been doing), for at least 6 mos and retest.
        I’m a 52 yrs old and in relatively good shape and always have. Recently, I have reduced a significant amount of sugar from my diet, so it will be very interesting to see how I do.

        • Barry Sears

          This is continued blood testing is always the best way to determine whether or not a supplement is working. If you see a subjective improvement coupled with a quantitative change in the blood, then you are confident you are moving in the right direction. Ideally, then stop taking the supplement completely and see if your subjective improvement degrades. If so, that becomes the real confirming evidence.

        • gordon james wanless

          Dear Patricia Switzer,

          We normally are (AA/EPA) ca. 1.5.

          We doubled our dosage to see what would happen and wow!! we tested ca. 0.8 !!

          Barry recommended we reduce to earlier dosage!!

          Please let us know whether your experiment confirms this.


  8. Stephen Miller

    Been taking 5 caps a day for years. Last month’s inflammation test was at 3. I believe the fish oil is the reason….

    • Barry Sears

      The closer you get to a ratio of 1.5, the greater potential you have to make the necessary levels of resolvins to promote the resolution of existing cellular inflammation.

    • Scott

      He is recommending that you score between 1.5 and 3.0 on the AA/EPA test. This can be achieved by taking more or less fish oil and compliance with the Zone diet.

      • Barry Sears

        To get to an AA/EPA ratio of 1.5 is not linear the closer you get to 1.5. For that level you will need probably at least 5 grams of EPA and DHA per day.

  9. Richard Fleming

    How many grams per capsule? or how many capsules are you recommending per day?

    • Barry Sears

      My minimum recommendation remains at 2.5 grams of EPA and DHA per day. That would be about three of the new OmegaRx 2 capsules per day. Ultimately, your Cellular Inflammation Score will indicate the ideal dose you should be taking.

  10. Paola

    I have been taking Zone Labs Omega since a decade ago. For the last couple of years, I have been suffering winter itch, severe itching in my sking, legs specially. I would like to know if my Omega intake might have to do with this. Apparently I am healthy, and I have a good lifestyle as well. Is there any scientific research regarding this issue? Thank you

    • Dr. Sears

      The itch that you describe is more likely due to reduced humidity. I would recommend greater hydration during the winter months.

    • Barry Sears

      If one is below 1.5, I would recommend reducing the amount of EPA and DHA being consumed even though the JELIS study indicated a 20% reduction in cardiovascular events when the AA/EPA ratio was reduced to 0,8 although there was a slight increase in bleeding

  11. BJ

    “Since many Advantage customers have been receiving OmegaRx for more than a decade, this was an excellent group to test whether my minimum recommendation of 2.5 grams of EPA and DHA was really enough.”

    I think this also goes to show that even people supposedly dedicated to the Zone principles are not rigorously controlling their insulin – i.e., their diet. They’re just as undisciplined as the rest of America, with an omega-3 supplement thrown in.

    People want magic pills to cure their problems, regardless of education or socioeconomic status. Perhaps in the future we’ll have “smart” drugs to control our insulin, and other biological functions, but for the time being if you can’t get Zone followers to discipline themselves, how are you going to take on the rest of America?

    • Barry Sears

      Insulin control will have little effect on the AA/EPA ratio since the desaturase enzymes that control the production of both AA and EPA are equally effected by insulin. It is the intake of of the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in general that will have greatest impact on the Cellular Inflammation Score. The data indicates that there are a large number of people who will require far more than 2.5 grams per day of EPA and DHA to reach an ideal target zone.

      • BJ

        But isn’t it true that insulin levels that determine the fate of omega-6 fatty acids? And if insulin is under tight control, omega-6 fatty acids tend to accumulate at the level of GLA?

        Additionally, doesn’t tight control of insulin reduce one’s need for omega-3s?

        You say that “the data indicates that there are a large number of people who will require far more than 2.5 grams per day of EPA and DHA to reach an ideal target zone”. No doubt, but I think it would have been more interesting if you had tested people’s fasting insulin levels along with their levels of AA and EPA.


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