Are Vegan Omega-3 Supplements Effective

Are Vegan Omega-3 Supplements Effective?

When you hear the term “healthy fats” you most likely think of foods like avocados, olive oil, or fatty fish such as salmon or tuna. so, are vegan Omega-3 supplements effective? From good eye health to a strong cardiovascular system, the list of benefits from healthy fats is a long one. The American Heart Association recommends eating two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish a week for optimal health. Why? This is because healthy fats are full of omega-3s, an essential fatty acid your body can’t make on its own.

Some go for fish and krill oil supplements to obtain their omega-3s. However, these supplements are less than ideal, for many reasons. Firstly, they contribute greatly to overfishing, bycatch, and the destruction of marine biodiversity. Second, they are very prone to oxidation, and it takes a ton of energy and resources to remove the ocean contaminants found in fish oils.

Many also complain of their fishy taste and the ‘fishy burps’ that result from consuming these capsules. And finally, vegans and plant-based eaters don’t consume fish oil, or the gelatin that encapsulates it.

So, what is the right kind of omega-3 supplement to go for, and are they as effective as fish oil?

Read on to find out!

What Are Vegan Omega-3s?

Vegan omega-3 fatty acids consist of omega-3s that aren’t sourced from animal products or byproducts. Sources include walnuts, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and algae oil.

The types of omega-3 fatty acids we’ll discuss in this article are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These three essential fatty acids, and particularly DHA and EPA, play a vital role in many body processes. ALA is the only omega-3 fatty acid that is considered “essential” because it cannot be naturally created in the body, it can only be obtained from foods.

It’s recommended that a healthy adult male get at least 1.6 grams of ALA per day while females should get at least 1.1 grams. There are many ways vegans can get their recommended daily intake of ALA; one tablespoon of hemp seeds, a tablespoon of ground chia, a tablespoon of flax seeds, six walnut halves, or a flaxseed oil supplement.

DHA and EPA are equally important to the human body but because ALA can be converted into both DHA and EPA, they aren’t deemed “essential”. Still, the conversion in the body from ALA to DHA or EPA can be inefficient so it’s recommended that those following a vegan or plant-based diet take algae oil supplements. This ensures they’re getting the recommended daily intake.

Vegan omega-3 supplements derived from algae typically provide EPA and DHA in a form that is readily usable by the body. These supplements are usually available in liquid or capsule form and contain no fish oil or gelatin so they’re a convenient way for vegans to incorporate essential omega-3 fatty acids into their diets.

Benefits of Taking Vegan Omega-3 Supplements

Because of overfishing and bycatch (think of dolphins and seals caught in trawling nets), harvesting fish for omega-3 supplements causes imbalances in vital ocean ecosystems.

On the other hand, the algae used in algae oil supplements is often cultivated on land, in controlled environments. So, the production of algae oil supplements doesn’t damage marine ecosystems.

As if the benefits to oceans and the animals that live in them weren’t enough, vegan omega-3 supplements also have a ton of health benefits.

Primary Source of Omega-3s

Ever wonder why fish are such a good source of omega-3s? It’s because they eat algae! Algae is a primary source of omega-3 fatty acids. Algae oil supplements are nutritionally equivalent to cooked salmon and have the same functionality in the body as fish oil supplements. So why not cut out the middleman, or fish, and go straight to the source?

Far Fewer Contaminants  

Some vegan omega-3 supplements derived from algae, such as Testa omega 3 from algae, are grown on land under controlled conditions. This means the algae used in Testa algae oil capsules aren’t exposed to ocean contaminants like heavy metals (such as mercury and lead), dioxins, and PCBs, chlorinated hydrocarbons which are highly carcinogenic. They are also free from potentially harmful algal strains that can drift into the ponds from which other algae oils could be cultivated.

Testa omega-3 algae oil uses just two ingredients: sea algae and dextrose. The dextrose is obtained from locally produced maize which feeds the algae, converting it into omega-3 fatty acids. The entire process is controllable and sustainable, meaning each Testa algae oil capsule is much lower in toxins, loaded with essential fatty acids, and is far less harmful to the environment.

Brain Health

Several studies have shown that DHA plays an important role in infant brain development. The studies have correlated pregnant women’s omega-3 intake with higher scores for their children on tests of brain function and intelligence. Omega-3s are important for normal brain function throughout life because they preserve brain cell health and help with communication, and therefore function, between brain cells.  Research also shows that omega-3s can improve brain function in people with Alzheimer’s or other cognitive impairments later on in life.

Heart Health

Omega-3s improve cardiovascular health by reducing cholesterol levels and plaque build-up as well as contributing to healthy blood coagulation. Omega-3s also reduce the risk of sudden death caused by cardiac arrhythmias and hypertension. In short, consuming lots of omega-3-rich foods, or taking a daily supplement, keeps your heart happy and healthy!

Eye Health 

Several studies have found omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss. One study showed those who consumed the most omega-3s were 30% less likely to develop macular degeneration.

Does Algae Oil Provide the Same Amount of DHA & EPA?

Fish oil supplements typically contain a little more DHA & EPA than algae oil supplements. However, the body can convert DHA into EPA, so DHA is the more important of the two.

And guess what? Algae oil supplements can contain more DHA than fish oil supplements! Most health experts recommend a daily intake of around 250 mg of DHA & EPA combined, and Testa algae oil capsules contain over 475 mg. That means taking just one Testa algae oil capsule a day will give you more DHA & EPA than one capsule of most popular fish oil supplements!

If you’re ready to make the switch and go #FishFree, make sure to explore our product range featured below and select the right Testa algae oil supplement for you. Thanks for reading!

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