You probably already know you should be taking a fish oil or other omega-3 supplement.
It’s great for brain and heart health, and can also help fight inflammation, which is why it’s also popular for joint health and other conditions. But vegans or vegetarians, or those who simply don’t like the taste of fish, don’t have as many options.
Fortunately, there are lots of fantastic, effective vegan omega-3 supplements.
Omega 3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat found in plants and fish. Your body can’t make them on its own, so you need to get them from food or supplements. There are three main types: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and Alpha-Linoleic Acid (ALA).
The two usable forms of omega 3 of DHAs and EPAs. DHA is vital for your brain health, the structure of your skin and retina. EPA plays an important role in helping your body manage inflammation. ALA is a parent fatty acid for DHA and EPA meaning that your body can use ALA to create the other two.
Inflammation is our body’s natural response to infection or injury. Chronic inflammation generally causes a whole host of health problems. Studies have consistently shown the connection between higher omega-3 intake and a reduction in inflammation (1, 2).
In fact, many studies are showing the effectiveness of omega-3s on rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. One study found that compared to ibuprofen, omega-3s demonstrated an equal effect in reducing arthritic pain (3).
By reducing inflammation, omega-3 fats can support joint health, brain health, eye health, and more.
Regular supplementation with omega-3s has been linked to the improvement of several cardiovascular risk factors. Regular taking omega-3s can result in the reduction of triglycerides in the blood, decrease blood pressure in individuals who have high blood pressure, and can help keep platelets in the blood from clumping together, avoiding the formation of a clot.
Depression has become one of the most prevalent mental disorders in the world. Interestingly, studies have indicated that people who supplement regularly with omega-3s are less likely to be depressed.
Even further, people who currently already suffer from depression see an improvement in their symptoms of depression and anxiety once they start taking omega-3s (4). However, these are corollary studies, and we definitely need a lot more research on this.
However, omega-3 fatty acid supplements are NOT treatments for depression.
As we just learned, there are 3 forms of omega-3s, ALA, DHA, and EPA. Out of the three forms of omega 3, EPA seems to be the most effective at fighting depression and anxiety, and one study even showed that compared to an antidepressant drug, the EPA had equal therapeutic effects in major depressive disorders (5).
The point is clear: almost everyone can benefit from supplementing with omega 3s. In fact, even among circles that insist on the inutility of supplements admit that omega 3 supplements are on the shortlist of supplements worth the investment.
Okay, I know you get the point. Omega 3s are good for you, and that’s why so many people take them. But why a vegan omega-3?
Well, it could be because you’re vegan, which could be for a host of reasons that. If you’re vegan, you already know these reasons, so we’re not going to explain them to you.
But even if you’re not a vegan, there are a few compelling reasons to take a vegan omega 3.
Fish oil supplements often come from fish high up in the food chain. This means they typically have higher levels of mercury and other dangerous heavy metals. In contrast, our top picks come from algae, which is very low on the marine food chain.
This means fewer heavy metals, less mercury, and it’s simply better for the environment.
Second, many fish oils are factory farmed. which is why they often have a rancid smell and a horrible fishy aftertaste. Algae from high-quality sources, like the top picks on our list, are pure and clean, without the toxins or metals, and don’t come from mass fish farming.
In other words, algae “cuts out the middle fish,” and the result is that it’s better for everyone.
With all of that said, here are the best vegan omega-3 supplements on the market.
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Performance Lab’s omega-3 is one of the cleanest, safest, most researched and eco-friendly omega-3 supplements on the market today.
They source their omega-3s from natural algae that’s ultraclean and contains no mercury, heavy metals, PCBs, or toxic contaminants typically associated with fish oil.
Per each 2-capsule serving, you get the highest amount of total omega 3s (dha & epa) at 1100mg.
While typical omega-3 supplements contain only about 30% omega 3s, Performance Lab has 55% omega 3s, so you’re getting more of what you want.
Its algae source is also sustainably-sourced and produced.
In addition to their top-of-the-line ingredients, a few more things further separate this product.
It’s vegan-approved, contains no fish, shellfish, dairy, egg, soy, wheat, or peanut, is non-irradiated, gluten-free, non-GMO, and doesn’t contain any caffeine, artificial colors, preservatives, or synthetic additives. Performance Lab Omega 3 is third-party tested.
This omega 3 is banned-substance-tested, so it’s ideal for athletes. Performance Lab has created the NutriGels which are the world’s first vegan, carrageenan-free softgel capsule.
For the most effective, clean, and well-rounded vegan omega 3 supplement Performance Lab Omega, is our #1 pick.
Sports Research tops many rankings for plant-based omega 3 for good reason. In a 2 softgel dosage, you get 770mg of total omega 3s, which includes 420 mg DHA and 210 mg EPA; the ultimate 2:1 ratio.
This is a lower dose than Performance Lab, but they also cut no corners in their quality. Their omega-3 is also sourced from algae and their capsules are free from carrageenan in their capsules. They manufacture in the USA at a cGMP-certified facility sourcing only the top ingredients.
You also get a 90-day money-back guarantee, and at less $25 per bottle, you really can’t go wrong. If you’re looking for a super high-quality algae based omega 3, this Sports Research formulation is definitely one to consider.
Nordic Naturals manufactures products that meet strict FOS-certified standards and strive to use eco-friendly practices to help further protect the environment.
Each serving provides you with 715 mg of total omega-3s using the popular 2:1 DHA to EPA ratio. They are non-GMO, hexane free and you can even access any certificate of analysis on their 3rd party purity testing for any product.
Ovega-3 comes from algae as well and contains 500 mg of omega-3s per capsule.
Their product contains some impurities and subpar ingredients, like corn starch, a carrageenan capsule, and added colors. Nonetheless, it’s a solid option.
Freshfield has taken a unique approach to their vegan omega-3 formulation with the combination of DHA and DPA. DPA is said to optimize the overall effects of omega-3 in the body making it more efficient at getting the heart and brain benefits from the formula.
This product is free from allergens, is non-GMO; an all-around solid choice to kickstart your omega 3 journey.
Future Kind is the first and only product in this ranking to have both omega 3 and 6 in its formulation. Each serving contains 275mg of Omega 3s and 20 mg of Omega 6s to complete the algal oil capsule.
Each serving is said to be 1 softgel, which is convenient unless you want to double up the dosage as this formula is on the lower end.
Nature’s Way is a tried and true supplement brand and has created a great alternative omega-3 liquid for anyone who struggles to take capsules.
This extra strength formula gives you 1000 mg of omega-3s all with a fruity orange cranberry flavor.
Here are some key factors that contributed to products making it onto our ranking.
It was extremely important to us to find products that were traceable as well as guaranteed to be high quality. All the products on this list have guarantees of third-party testing to ensure you are at ease picking a top of the line supplement to incorporate into your daily regime. Every product on our list is cGMP certified and third-party tested.
Products that are tested and purified to be free of toxins, impurities, and heavy metals obviously got a boost. Some products even took this further to make sure everything right down to their vegan capsule had only the purest, highest quality ingredients.
Sustainability often goes hand in hand with quality ingredients, so it’s unsurprising that Performance Lab Omega 3 also has one of the highest commitments to sustainably sourced algae.
In this list we have chosen products that are worth the investment in spending your hard earned dollars on. We wanted to be sure that if you were interested in making a financial commitment to better your internal health, you were getting not only quality but the best bang for your buck out of it.
This means we gave products that have a higher percentage of omega 3 content a boost. Remember, it’s not the amount of oil that matters, it’s the amount of omega 3s.
Although there isn’t officially a recommended daily dosage of DHA and EPA, you want to get anywhere between 250-1,000 mg daily of combined DHA and EPA (5) to experience the benefits omegas have to offer. We made sure that all the products on this list have the mid to upper range so you can get the most value out of each serving.
Yes, you can. The most abundant vegan omega-3 sources include…
However, just like non-vegans, most people do not get enough in their diet, which is where a supplement can come in. Luckily fatty fish are just one of many sources of omega-3 fats.
On our list, we mostly included algae-based options. Generally, it’s a high-quality source, and these products reflect that. You can also get a flaxseed omega-3 supplement, which has more omega-6 fatty acids. This is neither better nor worse, and depends on your unique lipid profile.
No, absolutely not. Omega-3s, in any capacity, are good for almost everyone. While vegetarians and vegans may have a harder time getting omega-3s from their diet alone, everyone can benefit from supplementation.
If you aren’t a fan of fish or want to avoid the fish burps that can follow many of the non-vegan fish oil alternatives, looking into a vegan option is something to consider.
YES. The biggest mistake people make when buying an omega 3 supplement is they look at the amount of total oil, rather than the amount of actual omega 3s. That’s why Performance Lab Omega 3 tops our list. You get a higher percentage of omega-3s per serving.
This can vary depending on what your levels and needs are. Some experience noticeable changes to their mood between 6-8 weeks of taking the supplement consistently, but it may take up to 6 months to fully see benefits in all aspects of health.
It’s best to speak with your healthcare practitioner and do some blood work before and after supplementation to get accurate dosing needs and track if your body’s omega levels are changing appropriately.
Vegan diets are especially prone to vitamin b12 deficiencies. While there are plant-based sources of the vitamin, if you’re vegan you can also look into a vitamin b12 supplement.
You’ll also need to watch your protein intake. Vegans may benefit from a quality BCAA supplement.
The omega-3 fatty acids, with regards to human consumption, include…
DHA -Docosahexaenoic acid
EPA – Eicosapentaenoic acid
ALA – Alpha-linolenic acid
Most omega-3 supplements center on the first two, since they’re more common and have more research behind them. ALA fats are still very healthy, and are abundant in nuts like walnuts. They’re called “essential fatty acids” because our bodies don’t produce them. This means, we need to get them from our diet.
While omega-3s are the most talked about type of polyunsaturated fat, in some cases, it also make sense to supplement with other types. For a vegan omega-6 option, you can check out our article on the best evening primrose oil supplements.