Omegas are noted as offering a vast array of health benefits with studies showing that when consumed regularly and consistently, signs of anxiety and depression along with symptoms of inflammation and numerous other conditions can be greatly decreased.
There are 11 various types of omega fatty acids with three being among the most common including EPA, ALA, and DHA.
- EPA assists in reducing inflammation within the body and is noted as being found in fish oil but is also largely found in algae. As it acts as an anti-inflammatory in each part of the body inclusive of the brain, it is known to decrease symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.
- ALA can be found within plants like leafy dark greens such as spinach or kale as well as seeds such as flax or chia.
- DHA is noted as aiding with brain function and has been credited with decreasing onsets of Alzheimer’s disease. It is said to be found in fish but is also in algae at great levels.
Typically, the suggestion is that omegas are best to be consumed via fish oil in addition to a regular diet of seafood, but are you being given all of the facts as far as where the omega fatty acids are actually being derived? Could it be that there is another, healthier more direct route you can take aside from fish products for which there are even higher levels of these fatty acids? Let’s look.
How To Choose The Right Vegan Omega 3 Supplement
When becoming plant-based, it’s critical to find other means in order to reach the appropriate nutritional goals for your body’s health and well-being than food. This includes the recommended daily level of omega fatty acids which are meant to provide for a reduction in the risk of heart disease, as a means to keep cholesterol within normal limits, and for good maintenance of brain and eye health.
The necessary acids the body is not capable of producing on its own so it would be essential to not only eat a regular diet of these foods that would provide a source of the eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) responsible for these required benefits but also take a quality supplement as an additional resource. Unfortunately, the foods responsible for their production are various different seafood choices that are not conducive to a vegan diet nor are the fish oil capsules popularly used to supplement diets in order to gain these acids.
The problem is that fish oil has been misrepresented as the leading source of omegas with no recognition being given to the plant-based resources that are fueling the fish into producing the optimal levels of these acids. Fish are not self-producing their DHA and EPA within their bodies. They are receiving the acids through the consumption of microalgae.
The primary producers of EPA and DHA in the marine system is microalgae. The microalgae are carried up into the food chain from the various different fish living in the oceans as the fish use these algae for their source of food. The fish develop large amounts of the EPA and DHA concentrated into their bodily tissues after consumption. The fish are then ‘fished out’ and processed into foods and supplements as a means for you to receive your daily requirement of the fatty acids the fish obtained artificially.
What needs clarity is why fish oil is being pushed as a source of these required nutrients when algae are the actual direct resource. It would make much more sense and be a much healthier option for everyone if the DHA and EPA were derived directly from the plant as opposed to people being subjected to allergens, toxins, causing potential harm to the fish, and not getting the optimal level from the acids that we could be getting by going to the primary source, to begin with.
Why Prefer A Vegan Omega 3 Supplement Over Fish Oil?
Many people, vegan or not are turning to the omega 3 vegan alternatives over fish oil for good reason.
- Toxicity. Certain types of fish oil supplements aren’t made with the correct molecular fractionation and distillation processes meaning that the oils may consist of a vast array of impurities, mercury, heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs, and other toxins from the ocean that will undermine the omega 3 benefits.
- Aftertaste. A majority of fish product manufacturers have not figured out how to dispel the nasty ‘burps’ or aftertaste regardless of their claims that their products are ‘burp-free’. Many of these products are bombarded with artificial flavors in an attempt to cover up the taste actually making it much worse.
- Quality. Many of the manufactures for the fish oil supplements are not transparent about the fish that they are using as they have scraped the bottom of the barrel with low-end breeds to save money. They further cut corners by shipping these already poor quality pieces to shoddy factories where they undergo inadequate processing that compromises the omega integrity.
The oceans are being depleted of the fish population as a means to handle the growing demand for seafood and supplements. It’s critical that there be other options to fulfill the requirements that sustain health and well being. In this particular instance, the direct resource is plant-based and should be tapped into. It isn’t even a matter of being vegan, vegetarian, having a fish allergy. Algae is simply providing a better choice for people as a whole to obtain the optimal level of omegas in a direct manner to promote the ultimate level for their well being.
If you save the oceans and the fish population in the process of becoming healthy, that’s a win-win. The world’s ocean is responsible for regulating our climate and also supplies half of the amount of oxygen that we breathe, not to mention providing our greatest resource for protein. Conserving by any means possible is everyone’s responsibility, not just a small group of people with a diet and lifestyle restriction.