The amount of omega 3 that you can get from eating a vegan diet can vary significantly depending on many different factors. Omega 3 is not a vitamin, but an essential fatty acid which has to be obtained from the diet, usually from fish. One of the best sources of omega 3 for vegans is plant-based omega 3 supplements.
Since fish is typically not on the menu for vegans, it has to come from somewhere else.
So you might wonder: what are the best sources of omega 3 on a vegan diet?
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp Seeds
If you don’t include any of these in your diet current, it might be a good idea to start adding them.
These foods contain alpha-linolenic acid, which is converted by your body into EPA and DHA. However, unfortunately, the process by which ALA is converted to these fatty acids is poor, especially in males. That’s why it’s a good idea to take an omega 3 supplement from algal oil. They are completely vegan-friendly and research suggests may even be on par or better than fish oil.
If you’re in a bit of a rush and don’t have time to read the whole article, the omega 3 supplement that I recommend most is Testa Algae oil. The others are great choices as well (see more details further down in the article).
List of omega 3 supplements which are suitable for vegans:
- Testa Algae Oil DHA and EPA Omega 3 (link to Amazon)
- OVEGA Omega 3 supplement containing DHA and EPA
- Nested Vegan Omega 3 with DHA and EPA
- BLOOM – Algae Omega 3 with DHA and EPA
- Garden of Life Pure DHA Supplement for Vegans
It’s EPA and DHA which make up what we know as Omega 3.
EPA stands for: eicosapentaenoic acid and has numerous benefits like improving psychological well-being, joint health, skin health and more.
DHA stands for: docosahexaenoic acid is critical for proper brain development, vision, heart function and protection from cardiovascular disease.
The conversion varies from person to person. For men, the conversion of ALA to DHA is more difficult than for women. The reason for this is because men lack a certain enzyme to perform the conversion. It’s simply more important that women can convert ALA to DHA better, because of child brain development.
Why take an omega 3 supplement?
Omega 3, although crucial for our development, health, and psychological well-being, it also has many potential benefits in protecting us from a wide range of diseases and health conditions.
I’ve always taken some form of omega 3 supplements since I was a kid. My dad used to give me “cod liver oil” every day (this was before I went vegan). And it was the original seven seas cod liver oil!
Not the nicest taste in the world. But you get used to it after a while.
So, naturally, I searched out for the best omega 3 supplements for vegans and also looked into where I could get it from my diet.
I’ve noticed some subtle but important beneficial effects of taking omega 3:
- It helped improve my concentration by a lot
- It helped give my skin a nice glow
- I had a dry eye problem (reaction from a medication) for a short while and omega 3 helped reverse the eye symptoms I had. As long as I was taking the supplement, the symptoms went away.
- It made hair feel softer and look shinier
These are just some of the most obvious benefits I’ve noticed from using omega 3 supplements.
Long-term benefits of taking an omega 3 supplement
The immediate and short-term benefits of taking omega can be clear for some people. But what are the main benefits of using an omega 3 over a period of years?
There have been many different studies conducted, especially of the last 20 or so on the use of omega 3 in preventing and even treating various health issues and diseases.
Below are just a few of the ones that omega 3 could help with:
- It can help reduce inflammation in the body
- It can help improve depression and anxiety
- Omega 3 may help prevent heart disease
- Omega 3 may help reduce the development of some types of cancer
- Improves skin conditions
- Omega 3 can improve eye health
- Reduces the risk of diabetes
- Omega 3 may help prevent and even treat autoimmune diseases such as Lupus
- May help improve allergies
That is just a very short list of the things which have been looked at by researchers in the last two decades and studies are still ongoing. The research is not conclusive on everything, but nonetheless, it’s clear that omega 3 can play a vital role in our health.
Best vegan omega 3 supplements with DHA + EPA
Below are three supplements which are all vegan and sourced from Algal oil – which is a vegan-friendly source of both EPA and DHA.
One of the great things about obtaining omega 3 from plant sources is that you avoid the fish burps and it’s more ethical.
#1 Testa GMO DHA + EPA
Throughout the whole process of getting the omega 3 from the plant, to putting it in a capsule, testa ensure that it goes through a strict quality control process in food and pharmaceutical facilities.
And what you’re left with is an omega 3 supplement which won’t give you fishy burps and is without any of the toxins you may get with fish such as dioxins, PCB’s and mercury.
Each testa omega 3 capsule contains these ingredients:
Algae oil: 834 mg
Omega 3: 450 mg (250 mg DHA and 125 mg EPA)
Vitamin E: 9 IU of d-alpha tocopherol
Antioxidants / Vitamins: Rosemary extract and ascorbyl palmitate.
#2 OVEGA Omega 3 Supplement for Vegans
This one has a lot of great reviews and is only slightly different from the omega 3 supplement above.
It’s also sourced from Algal oil and so it’s suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.
The process by which the supplement is cultivated and the processing is done in an FDA inspected facility. So you can expect a pure and safe product from OVEGA.
Each soft gel contains the following ingredients:
Total fat: less than 1 gram
Omega 3: 500 mg of Algal oil (270 mg DHA and 135 mg EPA).
Antioxidants / Vitamins: Rosemary extract, tocopherols, and ascorbyl palmitate. Also contains beta-carotene.
#3 Nested Vegan Omega 3 – DHA + EPA Supplement
Why I really like this product is because not only do they provide a significant amount of both EPA and DHA, but also have included green tea extract to boost the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power of their supplement.
Each vegan capsule contains the following:
Serving size: 1 capsule
Omega 3: 700 mg from Algal oil (Algae). 200 mg DHA, 100 mg EPA. Other omega-3 (67 mg), and 100 mg Green Tea Extract Polyphenols.
This vegan omega 3 supplement has many great reviews, even with some people who say they have a sensitive stomach. One of the main things you need to look out for when choosing an omega 3 supplement is how it affects the stomach and how is the after-taste.
I mean the last thing you want is a bad taste in your mouth for hours after you take a supplement, right?
Again, just like the previous supplement, this one is clean and simple and perfect for those who prefer that over supplements which are really bloated with different ingredients and fillers.
#4 BLOOM – Algae Omega 3 – DHA + EPA Supplement
Compared to many other omega 3 supplements, it has a few ingredients, mainly focused around improving the taste of the product rather than extra fillers.
Each Bloom Omega 3 capsule contains the following ingredients:
Serving Size: 2 capsules – contains 30 capsules per bottle.
Omega 3: 1050 mg from Algal oil. 336 mg DHA, 158 mg EPA and 36 mg DPA
Vitamin E: 17.18 IU
Bloom Omega 3 supplement is also free from GMO, Dioxins, PCB’s, Gluten, Milk, Dairy, Sugar, Salt, and Artificial sweeteners.
For those who like simplicity, this is a great choice for getting your omega 3.
#5 Garden of life DHA Omega 3 supplement for vegans
So, if want a bit extra EPA from a supplement (in addition to the foods above), then the first two products are for you.
But if you think you’re getting plenty, then a better route may be to just simply go for a DHA vegan supplement and so you’ll get a higher dose of this specific fatty acid and more bang for your buck.
Garden of life has strong principles in delivering the highest quality products.
They start with the science. They look at which ingredients to include in their products to have the biggest impact on health. They don’t put in extra ingredients just to make the ingredient list look more impressive. They stick with what is known to work (according to science).
Pure and clean
They go with the purest and cleanest sources to obtain their ingredients. They like to keep it simple, and not have a bunch of ingredients in the product that you can’t even pronounce or have any clue what they are. Simple is sometimes better – and safer!
The whole process monitored
They make a big deal about the fact that their products can be traced right back to their source. From where each ingredient was picked to the end of the manufacturing line. They closely monitor farming practices and even how companies treat farmers who they will get the ingredients from to create the product.
The credentials of a company are very important when picking a good company to buy products from. All their products are certified USDA organic and NON-GMO. To read more about this, you can check out their website.
On their website, they give lots of information from how they source the product, the testing performed to ensure purity, and everything in between.
Garden of life is a popular company among vegans and based on their commitment to providing only high-quality products, it’s easy to see why. If you haven’t tried out any of their products yet, including their DHA supplement, give it a try!
Serving size: 2 soft gels – contains 60 capsules, so you get 30 days of DHA.
Total Omega 3: 500 mg of DHA
Other ingredients: Garden of life supplement also contains many other ingredients such as Astaxanthin (which is great for the brain and eye health), as well as silica, rosemary extract, mixed tocopherols, sodium carbonate and soy.
Does Algal Oil really compare to Fish oil?
Many people will probably tell you that fish oil is the best source of omega 3 and not to waste your time with getting omega 3 from plants. However, there is research to back up the beneficial effects of omega 3 from microalgae oil. So, let’s take a look at the current evidence in humans.
In 2006, researchers took vegetarians who showed normal cholesterol levels and gave them a new product which contained mostly DHA from algal oil, with very little EPA.
There were 87 females and 27 males in the study. They were split up into two groups, one receiving the treatment (omega 3) and one receiving olive oil for a control.
During the 8 weeks of the study, DHA managed to decrease serum triglyceride levels by 23%! from 1.08 to 0.83 mmol/l.
A lower triglyceride level may indicate a lower risk of heart disease according to some research. 
To answer the question whether or not algal oil is really equivalent to omega 3 found in fish like salmon, a study was conducted to look at the nutritional availability of omega 3 from each source and then compare them.
The study involved 32 healthy men and women who were aged between 20 to 65 years.
In the 2 week study, one group received 600 mg DHA per day from algal-oil capsules and compared to that of assayed portions of cooked salmon.
In both of the groups, DHA levels had increased significantly over the period of 2 weeks. Both groups saw an increase of DHA in plasma phospholipids by 80% and an increase in DHA levels found in erythrocytes by 25%.
The conclusion of the study was that omega 3 from both sources appear to be equivalent. 
Choosing a vegan source of omega 3 is a fantastic way to support the environment and not pollute our water. So these supplements would not only be suitable for just vegans but even non-vegans also.
There are many people who would benefit from taking omega 3. This is especially true if you are at a higher risk of any of the conditions I mentioned above.
Adequate levels of omega 3 are only one aspect of nutrition for well-being. But it’s an important one which is very much overlooked, even by non-vegans.
Many people in the west today consume diets which are very low in this important fatty acid, and this could be one of the reasons why we see certain diseases in the west being so much more prevalent than in places like east-Asia where they eat a lot of fish.
Fortunately, vegans don’t have to go without omega 3, as there are plenty of high-quality vegan omega 3 supplements to choose from.