Want to know the best vegan omega-3 supplements? Read on for the intel, plus the top DHA and EPA food sources, too.
Curious about the top vegan omega-3 supplements?
Well, you’re in luck! This list covers the best vegan and vegetarian omega-3 supplement options, as well as the best food sources of vegan and vegetarian DHA and EPA. If you’re looking for a vegan alternative to fish oil, here you go!
Types of omega-3s
What better time to talk about how to get your fill of vegetarian sources of omega-3s? I was an ovo-lacto vegetarian (meaning I ate eggs and dairy) for almost half my life. So this is a topic near and near to my heart—and diet.
Whether or not you’re a vegetarian, you may not be eating all the fatty fish you need to get your fill of EPA and DHA, so read on. You’ll get info on vegetarian and vegan sources of omega-3s aplenty!
Before we get going, let me first give a quick primer on the three types of omega-3s:
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
This long-chain omega-3 fatty acid is found in certain types of algae, as well as the fatty fish who eat those algae—including salmon and trout.
You’ll find DHA in the largest amounts in your brain and eyes, and the omega-3 is also present in heart tissue.
Eicosapentaeonic Acid (EPA)
Also a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid, EPA is found in algae and fatty fish. Unlike DHA, it’s not stored in the brain and eyes in significant amounts. But it’s super important for heart health.
Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA)
This short-chain omega-3 fatty acid is found in plant-based foods, including ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, tofu, and some cooking oil (like flaxseed oil).
While ALAs are important to the diet, just a small fraction of ALA converts to DHA and EPA in the body.
Because of this, when talking about sources of omega-3 fatty acids, I’ll be focusing on EPA and DHA in this article on the best vegan omega-3 supplements.
These are the types of omega-3s that your body most efficiently utilizes. These omega-3s help your overall wellness, as well as your heart health, brain health, and even eye health.
How much omega-3s to get
At a minimum, most vegans and vegetarians should look to take a daily algae omega-3 supplement providing at least 250 milligrams (mg) of EPA and DHA.
Front-of-package numbers can be misleading, so it’s important to look at the supplements facts label to determine this amount–and to buy oil-based supplements that are indeed a great source of EPA and DHA omega-3s.
Some people could benefit from higher amounts of DPA and EPA from their plant-based omega-3 supplements, though. For instance, 500 mg daily has been shown to help lower risk of coronary heart disease in healthy adults.
Pregnant or breastfeeding? You’ll want to get an extra 200 mig daily, up to 700 to 1,000 mg. This is because omega-3s play a hugely important role in brain and eye development!
Vegan omega-3 supplements
You may choose to take a vegan or vegetarian omega-3 supplement.
Some vegetarians take a vegan DHA and EPA supplement, aka an algae oil supplement. You’ll need DHA and EPA for a healthy plant-based pregnancy. But which are the best vegan omega-3 supplements?
Here are a few of what I consider to be the best vegan omega-3 supplements.
Life’s DHA All-Vegetarian Softgel
This supplement features DHA. Per softgel, you get 200 mg DHA from algal oil.
Life Extension Vegetarian-Sourced DHA
This omega-3 supplement features DHA. Per softgel, you get 200 mg DHA sourced from algal oil.
Nature Made Algae Omega-3
This vegan omega-3 supplement features EPA and DHA. Per two softgels, you get 180 mg EPA and 360 mg DHA.
Which of these omega-3 vegan supplement options will you choose?
Vegan omega-3 food sources
You don’t have to eat salmon and anchovies to take in omega-3s through food! What about the best vegan and vegetarian sources of omega-3s? Several foods are now fortified with omega-3s.
Fortified olive oil
You’ll find that some oils contain EPA and DHA. One such product is Omega Foods The Better Olive Oil, a cold-pressed olive oil blended with marine-based EPA and DHA. You get a 400 mg of omega-3s per serving!
However, don’t cook with it—instead use it as a finishing oil or in a salad dressing. Try the oil in these recipes.
Fortified pasta sauce
When it comes to plant-based sources of omega-3s, you have many options. Another food that’s one of the best vegetarian sources of omega-3s: Francesco Rinaldi Fortified Tomato & Basil sauce, which offers 32 mg DHA per half-cup serving.
Top whole-grain pasta with the sauce, or incorporate it into any of these recipes:
This content was originally part of a partnership with the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED).
- Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, author of Vegetarian Cookbook for Vegetarians
- Shahzadi Devje, RD, CDE, owner of Desilicious RD
- Christy Wilson, RD at Christy Wilson Nutrition
- Cookie + Kate
I’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts on these best vegan omega-3 supplements?
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