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The amount of omega 3 that you can get from eating a vegan diet can vary depending on which foods are included in your diet. Omega 3 is not a vitamin but an essential fat, and for some vegans, getting enough can be a bit difficult if you’re not eating the right foods. However, there are now Omega 3 supplements available which are derived from algae and provide the same health benefits as fish oil!
Fish is not on the menu for vegans, so we have a few options in our plant-based diet to get ALA, which can then be converted to both EPA and DHA. But the conversion is not perfect, so that’s why some people need to take omega 3 supplements. Nevertheless, check out the vegan alternatives to 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, although the others are also great quality supplements.
Top ethically-sourced omega 3 supplements and buyer’s guide for vegans
Before I share with you some of the best products that I’ve found, let’s take a look at two of the crucial omega 3 fats that we need for good health.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – This essential fatty acid has numerous benefits such as improving psychological well-being, joint health, skin health, and more.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – This essential fatty acid is critical for proper brain development, vision, heart function, and protection from cardiovascular disease.
For men, the conversion of ALA (found in plants) to DHA is more difficult than it is for women.
The reason for this is because men lack a certain enzyme to perform the conversion of ALA to DHA. There are evolutionary reasons why this is the case, one of them being that DHA is critical for a child’s brain development.
Now that’s out of the way with, let’s take a look at some of the highest quality omega 3 supplements available!
#1. Testa GMO – DHA + EPA – Omega 3 Supplement For Vegans
Throughout the whole process of getting the omega 3 from the plant to putting it in a capsule, Testa ensures that it goes a similar process that pharmaceutical facilities have to abide by. That means that the purity level of this product is very high and you can be sure that you’re getting what’s on the box.
You won’t be getting any of those fishy burps after taking the supplement or those toxins that you can get with fish oils 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. 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.
This omega 3 supplement has a lot of great reviews, even with some people who say they have a sensitive stomach. One of the most common complaints about algal oil supplements is that they can be a bit harsh on the stomach and leave people with a horrible taste in their mouth, even making them feel nauseous.
The last thing you want after taking a supplement like algal oil is a horrible lingering taste in your mouth. So, it’s great that many people report that this doesn’t occur with this supplement like it can with other cheaper omega 3 supplements.
Another added bonus about this one is that it’s clean and simple! Perfect for people who don’t want to take something which has a lot of extra ingredients and fillers.
Each vegan capsule contains the following ingredients:
Serving size: 1 capsule
Omega 3: 700 mg from Algal oil: 200 mg DHA, 100 mg EPA. Other omega-3 (67 mg), and 100 mg Green Tea Extract Polyphenols.
#3. OVEGA Omega 3 Supplement For Vegans
This supplement is also manufactured and processed in an FDA inspected facility, so once again, you are ensured a safe and excellent quality product that doesn’t have any of the hazardous toxins that you can get from sea-based sources.
The overall feedback from people about this supplement is positive!
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.
#4. Veggie Doctor – QWELL – Algae Omega 3 – DHA + EPA Supplement
If you’re also someone who is very sensitive to carrageenan, this product is perfect for you because it doesn’t contain any. If you’re someone who has an issue with Crohn’s diseases or Colitis, I recommend that you check out my list of omega 3 supplements that are carrageenan free.
For those who like simplicity, this is a great choice for getting your omega 3.
Serving Size: 2 capsules – contains 30 capsules per bottle.
Omega 3: 1050 mg from Algal oil. 700 mg DHA, 20 mg EPA and 100 mg DPA.
- Vegan Certified
- No Carrageenan
- No Artificial Colors or Flavors
- No Soy or Rosemary Extract
#5. Garden of life DHA Supplement
I’ve included this pure DHA supplement on the list because some vegans already get plenty of EPA from their diet in the food sources that I mentioned above. If you missed the link above, here is where you get ALA in your diet.
However, if you need some extra EPA from a supplement, this isn’t the supplement for you. I recommend this supplement mainly for men because they cannot convert ALA into DHA very well and also women who are looking to become pregnant or breastfeeding.
Here are a few good things about this company and their products.
Garden of life has strong principles in delivering the highest quality products.
Science – Garden of Life 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 it look more impressive than it really is.
Pure and clean – They go with the purest and cleanest sources to obtain their ingredients.
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 get the ingredients to create the product).
Certification – All their products are certified USDA organic and NON-GMO.
On their website, they give lots of information from how they source the product, the testing performed to ensure purity, and everything in between.
Popular – Garden of life is a popular company among vegans. Based on their commitment to providing only high-quality products, it’s easy to see why!
Each soft gel contains the following ingredients:
Serving size: 2 soft gels – contains 60 capsules (30 days of DHA).
Total Omega 3: 500 mg of DHA
Other ingredients: Astaxanthin (great for brain and eyes), silica, rosemary extract, mixed tocopherols, sodium carbonate, and soy.
Should vegans 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 I got used to it after a while.
I noticed some subtle but important beneficial effects of taking omega 3:
- It helped improve my concentration significantly.
- It helped give my skin a nice glow.
- Healed dry eyes! A problem I had for a short while, but omega 3 helped improve the eye symptoms I was having.
- It made hair feel softer and it looked shinier.
Long-term benefits of taking an omega 3 supplement
The immediate and short-term benefits of taking omega 3 can be clear for some people.
So what are the main benefits of taking it for a longer period of time?
- It can help reduce inflammation in the body.
- It can help improve depression and anxiety.
- May help prevent heart disease.
- May help reduce the development of some types of cancer
- Improves inflammatory skin conditions like eczema.
- Omega 3 can improve eye health.
- Reduces the risk of diabetes.
- May help prevent and even treat autoimmune diseases such as Lupus.
- May help improve allergies.
How does algal oil 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 by getting omega 3 from plants. Let’s look at some research conducted to prove that algal oil is just as beneficial!
Study 1: Algal oil reduces the risk of heart disease
Researchers took vegetarians who showed normal cholesterol levels and gave them a new product which contained mostly DHA from algal oil. There were 87 females and 27 males in the study and they were split up into two groups: one receiving the treatment (omega 3) and one receiving olive oil.
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 .
Study 2: DHA from algal oil can be as effective as DHA from fish oil
To answer the question whether or not algal oil is really equivalent to omega 3 found in fish, a study was conducted to look at the nutritional availability of omega 3 from each source and then compared them. The study involved 32 healthy men and women who were aged 20 to 65 years.
In the 2 week study, one group received 600 mg DHA per day from algal-oil capsules and compared that to individuals who were given portions of salmon that had the DHA content measured.
In both groups, they 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. 
Depending on your diet, omega 3 supplements can be very helpful to achieve your daily allowance of essential fats without having to consume specific foods that are high in ALA. Whether you are a vegan or not, taking plant-based omega 3 supplements could be a lot healthier than many supplements you’ll find in the supermarket.
Not only that, if you have certain health conditions that involve inflammation, getting some extra omega 3 in your diet from supplements can be extremely beneficial as these fats are able to block inflammation in the body and promote healing.
Reviewed and updated: March 2019.