What is the Best Fish Oil for Vegans?
Omega 3 fatty acids have myriads of benefits for our health. Fish oil supplements are the most popular for getting these important omegas. Since fish oil isn’t vegan, what is the best fish oil for vegans?
Let’s be honest, not all of us are careful with our diets to regularly meet every nutrient intake requirement. Particularly for vegans, getting enough omega 3s and vitamin B12 is often a struggle. You can get certain omega 3s from plant-based foods (think walnuts!), however, deficiencies are pretty common.
A study in Clinical Nutrition found that the vegan group under examination has a lower baseline of omega 3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA).
Contrary to popular opinion, fish oil isn’t your only resort to getting DHA and EPA. There are vegan alternatives to fish oil supplements that contain these important acids obtained solely from plant sources.
Can Vegans Take Fish Oil Supplements?
Fish oil supplements are made of fish oil or fat, which comes from fish tissue. Typically, these fishes include tuna, herring, mackerel, and anchovies (also used for fish sauce). Since vegans, by principle, cannot consume fish, they cannot take fish oil supplements either.
The reason why fish oil supplements are very popular among omnivores and even some vegetarians is that out of the three omega 3 fatty acids, fishes are the main source of two, DHA and EPA. The third acid is ALA, which is pretty common in plant-based foods.
Even though our bodies can convert ALA into DHA or EPA, it may not be enough to meet the requirements. Each omega 3 fatty acid has its unique benefits, so ideally you want all three in your diet.
Those who eat fatty fish regularly, like those following a Mediterranean diet, may not even require fish oil supplements. However, others who don’t consume as much fish resort to supplements instead to reap the benefits.
So where does that leave vegans? Well, vegans don’t have to take fish oil supplements or be deficient in important omega 3s. There are alternatives that can help them get their fix without actually consuming anything that comes from fish or animals.
The Best Fish Oil for Vegans Is… (Vegan Fish Oil Alternatives)
Adding vegan fish oil alternatives (omega 3s) supplements in your diet can ensure that you get all three omega fatty acids daily. While you should still consume foods high in these acids, you can always supplement with these 100 percent vegan oils/capsules.
Here are my top five picks for vegan omega 3 supplements:
The Sports Research Vegan Omega-3 supplements are made from algae oil, which is one of the few plant-based sources of all omega 3s. These are completely safe, independently-tested, non-GMO supplements that surprisingly don’t cost a lot either.
Each soft gel contains 770 mg of omega 3s, of which 420 mg are of DHA and 210 mg of EPA. More importantly, these are vegan certified and free of carrageenan, which is common in supplements.
This is the best value option as well and the bottle contains servings for 30 days. If you take other supplements and want to keep things within budget, these are a viable, affordable option.
These eco-friendly vegan omega 3 supplements from Freshfield Naturals provide an adequate amount of DHA. These supplements also contain DPA (docosapentaenoic acid), as an alternative to EPA. The company claims it can be ten times better for inflammation and can help with the absorption of DHA.
Unlike fish oil supplements, these you only need to take once a day. So a 60-soft gel bottle lasts you two months. The company follows sustainable practices, helping recover nature-bound plastic. So if you’re always trying to go green with every purchase, this is for you!
The Flora UDO’s Choice Omega 3 6 9 Oil Blend combines all essential omega fatty acids, including omega 3s, omega 6s, and omega 9s. This is not a capsule-based supplement but an oil made from natural plant-based ingredients like sunflower, flax, and sesame seeds.
You can consume this as part of your food. Just add the single 15 ml serving to any savory or dessert recipe. It’s certified vegan, kosher, and non-GMO. It’s also ideal for those who may have trouble swallowing pill supplements.
These are the algae-based omega 3 supplements by Nordic Natural. The company also produces regular fish oil supplements, but these are completely vegan (verified by American Vegetarian Association). They are also tested by a third party for purity.
Each capsule contains 715 mg of omega 3s, including DHA (390 mg) and EPA (195 mg). Good for heart and brain health, these supplements should be taken twice a day.
The algae for making these vegan supplements are sourced ethically, following sustainable practices.
The NuTru O-Mega-Zen3 + EPA soft gels are vegan supplements derived from microalgae. These are a little pricier than some of the other options here, but still high-quality. Also, the amount of DHA and EPA is slightly lesser than others, coming in at 300 mg and 150 mg, respectively.
As natural omega 3 supplements, these can help enhance focus, improve mood, and increase overall heart health. You can take two of these daily without worrying about ocean toxins and microplastics that are found in fish.
The 60 soft gels bottle will last you 30 days if you take them regularly.
Just because you’re a vegan doesn’t mean you don’t have any omega 3 supplements. The best fish oil for vegans is actually free of any real fish oil and mostly contains omega 3s derived from plant sources (mainly algae for DHA and EPA).
Other than supplements, make sure to eat walnuts, flax seeds, and sesame seeds, as those are a good sources of AHA omega 3 acids.
Make sure to check that the brand is certified vegan from a reputable organization and that the supplements are third-party tested. Never hurts to be sure!