As essential fatty acids, Omega 3 cannot be produced automatically by our bodies, so you need to consume them from food sources or health supplements. While non-vegan sources provide EPA and DHA, vegan sources provide ALA, which is then converted by our body to EPA and DHA.
Since vegans don’t consume supplements from animal sources, taking vegan omega-3 becomes essential for gaining health benefits.
In this article, you’ll learn more about vegan omega-3, its benefits, and uses.
Types of Omega-3 fatty acids:
- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
As only a portion of ALA is converted to EPA and DHA, you need to consume a lot of ALA rich food sources or supplements to meet the adequate intake.
Top Vegan Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Although fish is the best food source for Omega-3, several legumes and nuts contain this essential fatty acid in the ALA form. While EPA and DHA are active forms of omega-3, ALA is converted to EPA and DHA by our body.
Good sources of ALA include flaxseed oil, flaxseed, chia seeds, soy foods, walnuts, etc. Most recently, algae and algae oil have gained popularity as a great source of omega-3.
ALA is popularly found in many nuts and legumes, but some food sources contain it in higher amounts than others.
Here are the top vegan food sources for omega-3 fatty acids.
- Chia seeds
- Algal oil
- Brussels sprouts
- Hemp seeds
- Perilla oil
Supplements are generally created by distilling important nutrients out of these natural food sources.
Vegan Omega-3 Supplements
Our body needs to maintain a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6. So taking a health supplement that contains both of these essential fatty acids may help you in further improving your health.
Vegan omega 3 6 9 supplements has the following:
- Flax Seed Extract (ALA)
- Black Seed Extract
While flax seeds provide omega-3, black seed provides omega-6 and omega-9.
Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
According to research, omega-3 has many health benefits such as improved cardiovascular health, reduced triglyceride levels, and better joint health.
Let’s look at all the benefits provided by omega-3 fatty acids:
Improves Mental Health Disorders
As DHA and EPA play a major role in neuronal membrane, their deficiency can cause mental health issues.
Depression and anxiety lead to stress, sadness, loss of focus, and a general disinterest in life. As leading mental health issues, these conditions can become chronic and ruin a person’s life.
While there are medications to treat depression and anxiety, most of them have short-term and long-term side effects, which make some people quit the medication altogether.
Omega-3 and mental health disorders
Omega-3 fatty acids, with their anti-inflammatory properties, can be effective at relieving symptoms of mild to moderate anxiety and depression.
Further, they can slow down the progression of age related mental decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
While amphetamines are better at treating symptoms of ADHD, omega-3 supplementation may improve literacy and behaviour in children suffering from this condition.
Reduced Risk of Heart Diseases
As heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, focusing on the health of your heart and consuming health supplements for the same can give you great returns.
To improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart diseases, omega-3:
- Improves triglyceride levels
- Reduces levels of bad cholesterol and improves levels of good cholesterol
- Keeps arteries healthy and smooth by preventing plaque formation
Reduces Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is the key reason for many health issues such as:
- Ulcerative colitis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Migraine headaches
- Heart disease
With the health of omega-3 fatty acids, our bodies can reduce the production of reactive oxygen, cytokines, and eicosanoids, lowering the amount of inflammation in our body.
By doing so, omega-3 may:
- Reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases
- Reduce liver fat
- Prevent asthma in children
- Improve eye health
- Ease joint pain
Helps with Brain Development During Pregnancy
Taking DHA is highly recommended to pregnant women by health experts, as it plays an important role in brain development of infants.
During pregnancy, it is generally advised to take 200mg of DHA per day. This is way above the average that women of childbearing age consume.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential and available from vegan sources. You can rely on either natural sources or good supplements that contain flaxseed extract. Consuming omega-3 with omega-6 may have additional health benefits.
- How much omega-3 should I consume per day?
- Doctors recommend consuming fatty fish 2-3 times per week. However, if that’s not possible for you, then you can rely on vegan omega-3 supplements and consume according to the recommendation on the package or by your doctor.
- Is vegan omega-3 effective?
- Yes. vegan omega 3 is effective. It contains omega-3 in the ALA form, which is converted to EPA and DHA.
- Should I consume from natural sources or supplements?
- Since only a fraction of the ALA is properly converted to EPA and DHA, taking health supplements is advisable, as they contain a higher concentration of omega-3.