BEST source of omega 3 for a vegetarian/vegan


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Omega 3s and vegetarians: What plant source is as good as fish?

Dietetic intern Charlotte Collins and I spent time talking about omega 3s in a series of three videos.

This first video was about what to look for in a supplement, this video speaks to the vegans and vegetarians on what options to pursue. And lastly we’ll discuss krill oil. Is it worth it? To view the video or click here.

Neily:We did a video on the difference between plant omega-3s and fish omega-3s.Charlotte, you said you had a question from someone.
Charlotte:Yes. I had a friend that watched the video and she’s a vegetarian. She was getting all of her omega-3s from plant sources such as flax seeds, walnuts and chia seeds. So she had some concerns after watching the video that those plant-based sources were not the same as the omega-3s people would get from salmon and other fatty fish.What are some of the vegetarian options to get those same benefits?
Neily:That’s a great question and I’m glad it was brought up.Actually, plant omega-3s are the ALA (fatty acids) and the fish omegas are the EPA and DHA. That’s where we have all the brain health, the heart health and the inflammation health and so forth that has been shown to be so protective. The ALA form in plants is excellent. However, very little of it converts to the EPA and DHA. A little of it does but not very much.So a vegetarian if they can get it directly from the EPA and the DHA, that would be ideal. Plants—there is actually a plant source that has EPA and DHA. That’s the marine plant—the marine plant being algae. That’s actually where the fish get it from. So a vegetarian does have an option of getting their EPA and DHA from algae.

Ideally, you want a more concentrated source like algae oil. There are algae oil pills. I would make sure to buy from a reputable supplement manufacturer because you want to make sure you are getting a good quality product. The thing is, it’s going to be more expensive.

When looking at fish oil, you might spend a couple of cents per 100 mg. Algae—you may be spending 23 cents or so for 100 mg. That might come to $2.30 per day to get that 1000 mg.

Omega 3 Fatty Acid price comparison algae EPA & DHA

It’s going to be a little bit pricier but vegetarians do have an option to get their EPA and DHA directly.

Charlotte:Ok. Great. I will definitely relay this back to my friend.
Neily:Great. I think she will be happy. Thanks for watching Neily on Nutrition and we’ll see you in the next video!


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