Omega 3 Supplements for Vegans and Vegetarians

There are 2 types of Omega 3 supplements for vegetarians and vegans: flaxseed and algae supplements. This article discusses the difference between these supplements and the Omega 3 fats that they contain. Here you will also find an overview of most popular flaxseed and algae supplements and see how they compare.



Omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in human health. They are an integral part of the cell membranes, they contribute to the health of the cardiovascular and nervous system, and decrease inflammation.

There are 3 major types of Omega 3 fatty acids found in the human diet – ALA, EPA, and DHA. Of these three, EPA and DHA are the ones that are the biologically active fats and are essential for maintaining health. EPA and DHA are found mostly in animal sources; the leading dietary source being fatty, cold water fish. ALA, on the other hand, is found in many plant sources, including seed, nuts, and some vegetable oils.

Human body is able to convert a small part of ALA that you consume into the biologically more important EPA and DHA. However, this conversion is very inefficient. Only a small percentage of ALA is converted into the other 2 Omega 3 fatty acids, and the majority is used as fuel for the body. That is why it is recommended that you get at least 4 grams of ALA per day. This should yield you the recommended daily intake amount of both EPA and DHA.

Omega 3 Daily Recommended Intake

There is a wide consensus that the daily recommended intake of Omega 3 fatty acids should be about 500 mgs of EPA and DHA combined. Some organizations and experts recommend that you add to that about 2 grams of ALA.

If you don’t get EPA and DHA directly from food (mostly animal sources), you should aim for consuming at least 4 grams of ALA per day.

Alternatively, you can supplement your diet with Omega 3 supplement. There are 2 types of Omega 3 supplements for vegans and vegetarians available – flaxseed supplements and marine algae supplements.

Omega 3 Flaxseed Supplements

Flaxseed supplements are pure ALA supplements (they don’t contain any EPA or DHA).

Like all the other Omega 3 supplements, they are very susceptible to spoilage. You should keep them refrigerated and protected from light.  After opening the container, you should consume all content within 1 month and throw any remains away. The reason for this is that after a month, rancidity reactions rapidly increase and the supplement becomes detrimental to health.

1.      NatureMade Flaxseed Oil, soft gels

Content per capsule:

Flaxseed oil: 1.000 mg

ALA (Omega 3): 500 mg

Linoleic acid (Omega 6): 110 mg

Oleic acid (Omega 9): 120 mg

Vitamin E: 3%

Nature Made Flaxseed Oil 1000mg

This is certified organic oil, which already contain tocopherols (vitamin E) as protection against oxidation. The capsule contains gelatin.

 

2.      Deva Flaxseed Oil, soft gels

Flaxseed oil: 500 mg

ALA (Omega 3): 267.5 mg

Linoleic acid (Omega 6): 60 mg

Oleic acid (Omega 9): 60 mg

Vitamin E: product contains tocopherols; exact amount N/A

Deva Organic Flax Seed Oil

Deva Flaxseed oil contains natural orange oil, which gives the capsules their taste. The supplement also contains antioxidants (tocopherols) that protect the oil against spoilage. The capsules are made of silica (no gelatin). The whole product comes from non-animal sources. These are smaller sized capsules, so you’ll need to take several to get the same amount of Omega 3-s.

 

3.      NatureWise Flaxseed Oil, soft gels

Content per capsule:

Flaxseed oil: 1.000 mg

ALA (Omega 3): 600 mg

Linoleic acid (Omega 6): 110 mg

Oleic acid (Omega 9): 120 mg

NatureWise OmegaWise Organic Flaxseed Oil

NatureWise capsules contain organic flaxseed oil, without any added antioxidants. The capsule is made of gelatin.

 

4.      Barleans Organic Fres Flax Oil, bottle (liquid)

Content per serving (1Tbsp – 15 ml):

Flaxseed oil: 14.000 mg

ALA (Omega 3): 7.700 mg

Linoleic acid (Omega 6): 2.240 mg

Oleic acid (Omega 9): 2.520 mg

Barlean's Organic Oil (bottle)

Barleans oil contains 100% organic, unfiltered and unrefined flaxseed oil. It is is in liquid form (not capsules), so you need to be extra careful that it isn’t spoiled. Always check the freshness date. Usually it says something like : ‘freshest if used by’. It is essential that you keep it refrigerated once opened.

Omega 3 Algae Supplements

Algae supplements are an excellent option for getting you daily dose of Omega 3 fatty acids. They typically contain much lower amounts of EPA and DHA than fish oil capsules; however, that can be easily fixed by taking more pills per day.

Below, we have presented supplements that contain both DHA as well as EPA. When you are choosing an algae-based Omega 3 supplements be careful as many of these supplements contain only DHA.

1.      Ovega3 Vegetarian soft gels

Content per capsule:

Omega 3 fatty acids from algal oil: 500 mg

EPA: 130 mg

DHA: 320 mg

The rest are other Omega 3 fatty acids (DPA)

Ovega-3 Vegetarian EPA + DHA

Ovega3 contains algal oil from farmed algae.  The supplement also contains a mix of antioxidants, including rosemary extract, tocopherols, and ascorbyl palmitate. The capsule doesn’t contain any gelatin and is made wholly from plant sources.

2.      Deva Vegan Omega 3, soft gels

Content per capsule:

Omega 3 fatty acids from algal oil: 500 mg

EPA: 60 to 80 mg

DHA: 120 to 140 mg

The rest are other Omega 3 fatty acids (DPA)

Deva Nutrition Vegan DHA+EPA softgels

Deva Vegan Omega 3-s are entirely from non-animal sources (the capsule is from cellulose). They contain orange oil for flavor and antioxidants (tocopherols, rosemary, ascorbyl palmitate) to prevent spoilage. Microalgae are grown in closed culture to prevent contamination. The capsules have a delayed release, which help prevents the aftertaste.

Deva also offers another algae-based Omega 3 supplement, which contains only DHA - Deva Vegan DHA (Algae)). So if you are considering a Deva Omega 3 supplement, take care that you choose the one that suits you better.

3.      Nordic Naturals Algae Omega, soft gels

Content per capsule:

Omega 3 fatty acids from algal oil: 285 mg

EPA: 90 mg

DHA: 160 mg

The rest are other Omega 3 fatty acids (DPA)

Nordic Naturals Algae Omega

Nordic Naturals offer a wide range of Omega 3 supplements. They are most well-known for their fish oil products.

The Nordic Naturals Algae Omega are made entirely from plant sources; the capsule is made from carrageenan, glycerin, and cornstarch. The oil comes from marine algae (Schizochytrium species). The supplement also includes natural antioxidants (tocopherols and rosemary extract). 



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