While nuts and seeds are good sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3, the best vegan omega-3 sources are foods that provide the longer chain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) varieties of omega-3.
Many vegans identify flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts as a source of omega-3 fatty acids. This is correct since flaxseeds provide ∼8543mg/cup, chia seeds 7164mg/cup and walnuts 2776mg/cup. However, nuts and seeds provide the ALA type of omega-3, which our bodies can’t use immediately. The human body converts ALA into DHA and/or EPA omega-3 fats before using it for normal body functions. Since our bodies are poor at converting ALA into DHA and EPA, we don’t benefit much from eating ALA omega-3.
What are the best vegan omega-3 sources?
Vegans and non-vegans need DHA and EPA omega-3 fats for healthy vision, healthy skin and nails and proper brain function. Non-vegans easily get this type of omega-3 by eating fish, which is obviously unsuitable for vegans.
What many people don’t know is that fish get their omega-3 by eating sea algae (seaweed). It follows that we can get the omega-3 we need by eating the same seaweed. Since seaweed may not be to everyone’s taste, algal oil supplements are next best vegan omega-3 source. Here are four UK brands that provide algal oil supplements.
- Nothing fishy: They grow their own non-genetically modified algae cultures and make their own sea water in a controlled environment. Their Omega-3 soft gels are packed with 200mg DHA, and they are suitable for pregnant women. Nothing fishy’s omega 3 is free from additives, soy, lactose, gluten, and pesticides. You can purchase it on Amazon. Nothing fishy is a vegan brand.
- Holland & Barrett Vegan Algal oil Omega 3-6-9: This brand of algal oil contains a balanced mix of all the essential fats our bodies need to thrive. The supplement costs £29.99/30 capsules and it is available to purchase directly from their website.
- Together Health Natural algae: This brand’s soft gels contain 352mg of omega-3, of which 207mg is DHA, 123 is EPA, and 22 DA. This brand of algal oil is available to purchase directly from Amazon. The omega-3 is gluten free and free from additives. Together Health is a vegan brand.
- Vertese Algal Omega-3: This brand’s algal oil soft gels contain 557mg omega-3 per capsule, which is made up of 166.8mg DHA and 83.4mg EPA. You can purchase these supplements from Amazon. Vertese is a vegan brand.
All opinion expressed in this post are entirely mine and should not be taken as candid medical advice. Please consult your health practitioner before taking any supplements.