A Better Vegan & Vegetarian Source of Omega-3
We have all heard that Fish oil is the best form of Omega-3 but what if you are Vegan or Vegetarian? For the most part, we tend to hear about flax seed or other seed oil when it comes to non-animal based omega-3 but there is a better source. Algae oil. Before we get into what algae oil is, lets first talk about why flaxseed or other seed oils aren’t the best option.
Flaxseed oil (and other plant based seed oils) contains omega-3 in the form of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). In order for us to reap the benefits of Omega-3, the ALA must be converted by the body into EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Unfortunately, our bodies don’t do such a great job at doing that so the amount of EPA & DHA you get is minimal.
In general Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the form of EPA & DHA have a host of benefits. In general, they are extremely inflammatory and are known to promote cardiovascular health, brain function, immune health, and hormone health.
So when we are on a plant-based diet and need a good source of Omega-3 in the correct forms, the best place to look is the same place fish oil comes from. The sea!
Algae Oil is a plant-based source of EPA and DHA. If you don’t eat fish, this is your best way to obtain these essential fatty acids.
If you think about where fish get their high Omega-3 profile from, it’s their diet. Fish high in Omega-3 primarily feed on algae. The fish will concentrate the levels of DHA & EPA which makes it a better option if you do eat meat, but for vegetarians, and vegans, going to the same source the fish do is a great way to get their Omega-3.
So for all of my plant-based friends out there ditch the seed oils and opt for algae oil. Please note algae oil is available in a form to cook with, but I would advise against this. Algae Oil is a PUFA (polyunsaturated Fatty Acids), and these oils are extremely heat and light-sensitive. Cooking them at all will leave you with rancid oil which will do more damage than good. This also means you want to store your supplements in a cool place without too much exposure to light (preferably your fridge)