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The health benefits of taking Omega-3 are widely known. It can reduce the risk of disease, improve cognitive function, help fight mental health issues, and for pregnant women have a massive positive impact on fetal growth.
Today we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about omega-3, looking at some of the world’s most potent algae-based omega-3 supplements and how they can help you.
There are plenty of options for plant eaters who want to ensure an adequate intake of EPA and DHA, without wrecking the fish population and ingesting toxins and pollutants. Just remember that not all supplements are equal and we will be focused on those that aren't packed with questionable ingredients and filler.
Below I've listed the best cruelty-free omega-3 supplements.
Our Top Vegan Omega-3 Supplements (November 2019 Updated)
OUR #1 RATED
Ora Organic Omega 3
OUR #2 RATED
OUR #3 RATED
OUR #4 RATED
OUR #5 RATED
1. Editor's Choice: Ora Organic Vegan Omega-3 Spray
This nice little product features 600mg of DHA per serving, which is more than enough for a vegan looking for their omega-3 fix.
The non-GMO product is algae-based and contains no dairy, gluten, or soy, so you’re in luck even if you’ve got a list of allergies as long as the Magna Carta.
The manufacturers have cleverly decided to cash in on people’s distaste for fishy-tasting omega-3 supplements by writing “nothing fishy here” on the bottle in huge letters. They’ve certainly done their research on these pain points.
Personally, I found the taste to be really decent and the orange flavor really comes through nicely. A handful of customers seem to insist that the product is still fishy-tasting, but I think they need their palates inspected.
2. Nordic Naturals Omega-3
Is fish oil vegan? No, but algal oil is.
Nordic Naturals is a Scandinavian omega-3 vegan product which is derived from algae.
You see, you don’t need to consume fish-derived oil – algae is a potent vegan omega-3 source in its own right.
The nutrient content of these vegan omega-3 supplements is reliable, with this vegan DHA EPA supporting good heart health, vision, immunity, and positive mood.
These essential acids can be otherwise hard to come by for plant-eaters. Live a healthy lifestyle packed with omega 3 with Nordic Naturals.
3. Testa Omega-3
Testa is one of the best vegan omega-3 supplements on the market, featuring more than 250mg of DHA and 125mg of EPA allowing you to lead a healthy and sustainable plant-filled life.
This product is renowned for its purity, featuring no contaminants which can harm your body.
In addition, it doesn’t contain fish-derived oil, a product which is responsible for killing 27% of fish around the world!
Perhaps one of the good things about Testa is that it doesn’t give you that nasty fishy breath that you get with certain algae products.
4. Nested Naturals
Nested Naturals Vegan Omega-3 will take care of your omega-3 needs with ease.
Each serving contains 200 mg DHA, 100 mg EPA, and 67 mg of unspecified forms of omega-3.
What I like about this particular product is the minimalistic approach to the ingredients used. If you look at the nutrition label it's quite uncluttered; there's nothing there that doesn't have to be there (and also free from carrageenan).
I also like that they've opted to use a natural anti-oxidant to preserve the omega-3: each serving contains 100 mg of green tea extract.
The algae oil is derived from marine algae grown sustainably on a farm, not harvested from the ocean, meaning that you get a pure and high-quality supplement. Third-party testing further ensures there's no contamination or other toxins present.
Now on the flip side, the simple ingredient list means there is nothing to mask the fishy/seaweedy/oceany flavor - which might give it a not-so-pleasant smell.
However, if you prefer a no-frills, basic omega-3 supplement, then this is something you should consider.
The pills are quite large, 2.5 cm long and 0.7 cm, wide, which is a downside for those that struggle with swallowing large pills.
Ovega-3 Vegetarian/Vegan Omega-3 is a popular cruelty-free supplement to get your precious plant-based acids.
One of my favorite things about this product is that each serving contains a heaping 270 mg DHA and 135 mg EPA - which is a very good dosage for the long-chain omega-3s.
This supplement delivers high quality, sustainable omega-3s without a fishy aftertaste or the risk of ocean-borne pollutants and toxins. It also contains rosemary extract and antioxidants such as vitamin E and C to prevent oxidation.
However, what makes this product less attractive is that it contains seemingly unnecessary ingredients such as corn starch (?), beta carotene, sorbitol, and caramel color.
It also contains the somewhat controversial ingredient of carrageenan, which may bother some people.
Users report that the pills are quite large but still easy to swallow, with no mention of the "fishy burps" that some products cause.
6. DEVA Vegan
Coming in at an affordable price, DEVA Vegan omega-3 vitamins are soft-gel vitamins containing approximately 200mg of algae each.
These pills contain a large amount of DHA, helping you to consume the fatty acids that your body needs to thrive and survive.
DEVA Vegan is known for making high-quality supplements and their entry for omega-3 is made from clean and safe ingredients.
It is also free from ocean-borne contaminants which may harm your overall health.
7. Amala Vegan
Amala Vegan Omega-3 Supplement provides the important long-chain omega-3s that also suits the vegan lifestyle. Each serving contains 120 mg DHA, 72 mg EPA, and 13 mg DPA.
As this supplement is made from an eco-friendly and sustainable algae-farm, it results in a product free of toxins such as mercury, PCBs, and dioxin.
It features a delayed-release formula and natural lemon and peppermint flavors, helping to avoid the fishy aftertaste and "seaweed" burps. It also contains rosemary extract and antioxidants such as vitamin E and C to prevent oxidation.
This product is free from the controversial carrageenan and presents a relatively clean nutrition label.
Users report overall good experiences and that the peppermint flavor effectively conceals any fishy burps.
One negative is that one serving doesn't provide a particularly strong dose of omega-3s – there’s about half when compared to other brands. However, you do get 90 pills in a container, so you could just up the dosage to 2 pills.
8. Bloom Algae-Based Supplement
Bloom Algae-Based Omega-3 is a great plant-derived supplement that definitely packs an omega-3 punch.
Each serving provides plenty of these crucial nutrients: 336 mg DHA, 158 EPA and, 36 mg of DPA. So what stands out immediately is the large amounts of omega-3s - which is great.
Noteworthy is also the inclusion of docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) - an elongated form of EPA. While the focus often revolves around the health benefits of EPA & DHA, research suggests that DPA can help prevent blood clots and wound healing, as well as reduce inflammation.
Bloom omega-3 is made from farm-raised non-GMO algae and processed in a GMP certified facility which ensures quality and purity. You can rest assured that this supplement is free of any ocean-borne toxins, pollutants, and contaminants.
As they’re derived from farm-raised algae and include natural lemon and peppermint flavorings, these won’t give you the dreaded “seaweed/fish burps."
The ingredient list is also super clean and is one of few algae-based supplements that don't contain carrageenan. Vitamin E is added for its antioxidative powers.
Users report good experiences with no "fish-burps" or any other issues with digestion.
Should Vegans take Omega-3 Supplement?
According to a fascinating article by Vice, it is absolutely essential that vegans take omega 3 pills. In fact, it’s essential that EVERYONE gets enough omega 3 in their diet. You see, the average American diet is absolutely drenched in omega 6, but omega 3 is nowhere to be found (1).
There are 3 kinds of omega-3 – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). EPA, DHA, and ALA each have their own health benefits for the body.
Though some people think of nuts and seeds as a vegan omega-3 source, they only contain ALA which means they’re missing out on the huge health benefits of both EPA and DHA.
As a result, it is crucial that vegans consume algal oil – supplements made from algae. These algae are the sources of DHA and EPA that fish eat and what makes fish-derived oils so rich in omega-3 in the first place!
Health Benefits from Omega-3 Supplementation
As fatty fish and seafood with preformed EPA & DHA are off limits for us vegans, our levels of these long-chain omega-3s are often lower when compared to omnivores, as we mentioned.
This is quite alarming, seeing as EPA and DHA are responsible for some of the profound health benefits of omega-3:
- Reduces risk of heart disease (though emerging evidence suggests ALA to also provide a similar protective effect) (2)
- Positive effects on brain health, structural integrity and function and low brain DHA levels have been associated with smaller brain volumes and cognitive impairment in otherwise healthy individuals (3) (4)
- An increase in EPA intake has been shown to increase neural efficiency i.e reducing "brain effort" relative to cognitive performance. (5)
- EPA & DHA offer potent anti-inflammatory effects and a huge meta-analysis showed that supplementation significantly reduced inflammatory biomarkers such as C-reactive protein, interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor α. (6) (7)
- EPA and DHA are essential for proper fetal development, and supplementation during pregnancy has been associated with multiple benefits for the infant (proper fetal development, including neuronal, retinal, and immune function). (8)
- There is some preliminary epidemiological evidence, as well as clinical evidence, suggesting that EPA & DHA supplementation can help individuals suffering from depression (9).
So what do we do?
Are we vegans doomed to live our lives with poor intakes of omega-3s?
What to Look For in a Quality Vegan Omega-3 Supplement
What Ingredients to Avoid
Why Fish Oil Is a Pretty Bad Idea for Omega-3
Many fish-derived oil supplements on the market are oxidized, or to use the colloquial term, rancid (10).
It’s no wonder seeing as the fish first has to be caught and then transported to shore where it's then fractionated into oil, stored in large tanks, and shipped away to a factory for further refining, this refining process involving several steps including repeated heating at high temperatures and deodorization in order to remove undesirable taste and rancidity.
So as a consumer you've more or less no idea where the oil originally came from, how old it is, and how many steps of refinement and heating it has undergone.
Furthermore, there's one more problem with this oil:
Fat-soluble pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, may biomagnify in marine food chains and may end up in concentrated amounts in your fishy oil supplements (11).
One study conducted on rats found that fish-derived oil (contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides) showed significant negative effects on oxidative stress and antioxidant capacity in rats (12).
Is Vegan Omega-3 as good as fish oil?
Vegan Omega-3 is not as good as fish oil in terms of potency, although algae-derived algal oil is nearly as potent as fish oil and is 100% vegan. This is because fish become rich in omega-3 by eating and digesting these algae, which is rich in EPA and DHA essential fatty acids itself.
How much Vegan Omega-3 should I take?
According to the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids, adults should take 500 mg of vegan omega-3 fatty acids every day. This means that your total consumption of DHA EPA and ALA essential fatty acids should amount to around 500 mg every single day.
Can Vegans take fish oil pills?
True vegans cannot consume fish oil pills as they contain animal-derived ingredients. However, they can take oils derived from algae, which feature very similar levels of omega-3 in its vegan DHA and EPA forms. Algal oil allows vegans to consume their intake of omega-3 without consuming fish products.
Our #1 Vegan Omega-3 Supplement Is...
Out of all these products, I would pick Ora Organic as my recommended vegan omega-3 supplement.
Ora Organic is well-known for producing high-quality natural products that are safe for vegans.
This product has a high potency of DHA (600mg), making it one of the best vegan omega-3 supplements on the market.
It contains no fillers or additives, so you can rest assured that your body is getting the nutrition it needs without being subjected to a load of crap at the same time.
What I love is the non-fishy taste - it's pleasant enough to down and comes in liquid form. It's a little on the pricey side but you're paying for quality. If you subscribe to Ora Organic, you can shave a few dollars off 🙂
Best Vegan Omega-3 Supplement
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