For all of our plant based friends out there of vegan, vegetarian or other varieties research has shown considerable benefits of the plant based lifestyle. We’re talking about lower rates of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease certain cancers and obesity to name a few. However the problem still exists of how to get enough EPA and DHA normally found in seafood in a plant based diet. Multiple organizations, including the USDA in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association, recommend consuming at least 8 oz of seafood per week, especially fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and tuna.,1,2
The benefits of EPA and DHA are significant and research consistently shows that DHA and EPA are some of the strongest natural promoters of a healthy cardiovascular system and supporters of healthy immune function.3 Additional benefits include musculoskeletal support, cognitive health, and skin health and vitality amongst others. For more details on the benefits see our article “The Who, What, When, Where & Why of Omega-3 Fish Oil”.
So how does a plant based person get enough EPA and DHA? The first spot we’d naturally look is food. The amazing bodies we have can take certain foods such as walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, edamame, and certain vegetable oils that contain the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and convert some of that ALA into DHA and EPA. Unfortunately the conversion rate is very poor and its nearly impossible to get the EPA and DHA you need by going this route. So what’s a plant lover to do?
Supplementing EPA and DHA via a plant based source is a great option and EPA and DHA derived from natural algae instead of fish or krill is a great option. Studies so far have suggested that it’s bioavailability and subsequent health benefits are comparable to that of fish based EPA+DHA sources. It’s also completely natural and algae is a major source of where fish get their EPA and DHA to begin with. Most fish that are harvested for fish oil are smaller fish that consume the algae or the fish eat other fish that have consumed the algae. Algae oil is also environmentally friendly as overfishing can be very damaging to global ecosystems.
So what are some popular Algae Omega oils out there? The two most popular with our customers are the following:
Nordic Naturals Algae Omega is the ideal vegetarian alternative to fish oil. Made from microalgae, it offers a plant-based source of beneficial marine omega-3s EPA and DHA without the use of fish. While most algae oils are short on EPA, Algae Omega’s unique combination of EPA and DHA is a pure, safe, and effective source of both of these essential fatty acids.
- 100% vegetarian, suitable for vegans
- One of very few algae oils with significant amounts of EPA
- Made from microalgae, the original source of marine omega-3
- Supports normal vision, heart health, positive mood, and immunity*Sustainably sourced
- Non-GMO and hexane free
- Certified by the America Vegetarian Association
OmegaGenics EPA-DHA 300 Algae by Metagenics features a concentrated, purified, vegetarian source of pharmaceutical-grade omega-3 fatty acids from the microalgae Schizochytrium sp. Each serving provides a total of 180 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 360 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in triglyceride form for easy absorption. OmegaGenics formulas have the Metagenics TruQuality Purity Guarantee and are tested for purity and quality. OmegaGenics is stabilized with antioxidants to maintain freshness and is manufactured with advanced molecular distillation preserving the natural components of the oil.
NOTHING IN THIS WEBSITE IS INTENDED AS, OR SHOULD BE CONSTRUED AS, MEDICAL ADVICE. ANY HEALTHCARE AND/OR NUTRITIONAL MATERIAL CONTAINED IN THIS WEBSITE IS FOR CONSUMER INFORMATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. SUCH MATERIAL IS NOT INTENDED AS MEDICAL ADVICE FOR CONDITIONS OR TREATMENT, NOR IS IT INTENDED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION BY A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL. CONSUMERS SHOULD CONSULT THEIR OWN HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS FOR INDIVIDUAL MEDICAL RECOMMENDATIONS.
1. US Department of Health & Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020: Eighth Edition. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/a-closer-look-inside-healthy-eating-patterns/#callout-seafood. Published January 7, 2016. Accessed August 25, 2017.
2. Eating fish for heart health. American Heart Association website. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Eating-Fish-for-Heart-Health_UCM_440433_Article.jsp#. Updated May 15, 2015. Accessed August 25, 2017.
3. Kelley, D. S., Siegel, D., Fedor, D. M., Adkins, Y., & Mackey, B. E. (2009). DHA supplementation decreases serum C-reactive protein and other markers of inflammation in hypertriglyceridemic men. The Journal of nutrition, 139(3), 495-501.