Omega-3 is a crucial component of any diet, whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or an omnivore. This substance is known for protecting against inflammation, reducing triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and decreasing your risk for cancer and heart disease. There are three different kinds of omega-3: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The problem is that only ALA is a plant-based omega.
ALA is found in foods like canola, walnuts, flax, and chia seeds. The others are mainly present in fish and eggs. The good news is that there are fish oil alternatives which are safe and useful for vegans. Another great thing is that the body can convert ALA into small amounts of both DHA and EPA. This combined with the fact that vegans have a lower change of heart disease and inflammation may mean that ALA along will fill your need.
Why Supplement with Plant-Based Omega 3
Many vegans choose to supplement with omega-3 to be sure that this essential nutrient is present in high enough levels in the body. However, there are a few questions that inevitably come up when choosing to do so.
- Does the brand of the supplement matter?
- Which supplement is the best for my needs?
- Are there supplements that are wholly vegan?
There are, in fact, many sources of vegan fish oil alternatives. These often come in soft gels or capsules and are very popular.
So, you will not be consuming fish, but the nutrients present in fish originate in algae, which is eaten by smaller fish, which are then eaten by larger fish. There have been studies done that show algae oil can contain more omega-3 than fish. In the case of DHA, you also don’t have to worry about the presence of heavy metals. The supplement is also friendlier to the environment and can be created sustainably. Algae oil, one of many fantastic fish oil alternatives, comes in soft gels or can be used in liquid form via a dropper.
DHA Vegan Supplements
If you prefer a more traditional supplement, these are available in nearly any drugstore, such as Walgreens or CVS, as well as on various online websites. With a soft gel, the coating keeps the pills from dissolving until they reach the small intestine. This has two significant benefits. The first is that the nutrient can be better absorbed. The second is that you will not have the downfall of bad-tasking belching which is common with fish oil alternatives.
When you choose an omega-3 supplement, you want to take a look at the label. Find out what amount of DHA and EPA are contained within the plant-based omega. Even if the label promises 1000 milligrams of omega-3, most of that may be from sources other than DHA or EPA. Another consideration is the source of the omega-3, which should come from a marine source, such as algae.
While you will find many food sources that offer ALA, the same is not true for EPA or DHA. That is why it is essential for many vegans to supplement their diet. It is simple to find a fish-friendly omega-3 supplement that is affordable. Having a little bit of knowledge can go a long way toward ensuring your current and future health.
Written By: Elevate Nutrition Founders, Jillian Salomone and Paul Salomone