omega3-dietitian-vegan
  • Alyssa Fontaine, RD
  • Apr 23, 2024

Best Vegan Omega-3 Supplements According to Plant-Based Dietitians

Omega-3 is a family of fats that includes several members, with three main ones being:

  • ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid)
  • EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid)
  • DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid)

ALA is considered essential because the body cannot produce it from scratch and must be obtained through dietary sources. 

On the other hand, the body can convert a small amount of ALA into EPA and then further into DHA. It’s important to note that the conversion rate is relatively low, with approximately only 5% of ALA being converted to EPA and 0.5% to DHA, on average.

This conversion may not provide sufficient levels of EPA and DHA. Therefore, it is still recommended to obtain these essential omega-3 fatty acids from dietary sources to ensure an adequate intake and support overall health.

Plant-based vegan dietitians are highly knowledgeable professionals who can assist you in crafting a well-rounded vegan diet, ensuring that you receive all the necessary nutrients, not just omega-3.

What are the health benefits of omega 3?

Here’s a breakdown of some of the positive effects of omega-3 on various systems in the body:

  1. Energy Source: Omega-3s, like other fats, serve as a valuable energy source for the body, aiding in various metabolic processes.
  1. Cell Membrane Structure: They play a crucial role in the composition of cell membranes, contributing to their flexibility and overall integrity.
  1. Immune System: Omega-3s have been associated with immune system modulation, potentially reducing inflammation and enhancing immune response.
  1. Endocrine System: These fatty acids play a role in hormone production and function within the endocrine system.
  1. Pulmonary System: Omega-3s have been linked to improved lung function and may be beneficial in managing respiratory conditions.
  1. Cardiovascular System: Omega-3s are particularly known for their positive effects on heart health. 

They may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and potentially increasing levels of HDL (good cholesterol). They can also help regulate blood pressure and reduce inflammation in blood vessels.

How can vegans get omega 3?

You might have heard that omega-3 is exclusively present in fish. Nevertheless, certain forms of omega-3 can be obtained from plant-based sources. 

It’s worth noting that Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition mentioned that the availability of plant-based omega-3 sources is somewhat restricted, which could lead to lower omega-3 intake among vegans.

Here’s an interesting fact: 

Fish do not naturally produce or contain omega 3. Instead, microalgae synthesize omega-3, and when fish consume these microorganisms, they accumulate omega-3 in their bodies.

There are still plant-based sources of omega-3s, primarily in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Some of these sources include flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and certain plant-based oils like flaxseed oil. 

If you need support integrating these foods into your vegan diet to optimize your omega 3 dietary intake, plant-based dietitians could help you improve your diet.

As for the EPA, and DHA, they could be found in human milk, omega 3 beverages and eggs, fatty cold-water fish (DHA and EPA), sea vegetables (small amounts of EPA), and microalgae (both) except for blue-green algae.

To ensure getting enough omega 3 vegans can:

  • Make sure to include a variety of food in your diet. An adequate well-planned vegan diet that supplies all needed nutrients will help with ALA conversion into EPA and DHA. Otherwise, a poor diet could reduce the conversion rate. 
  • Include ALA plant-based food sourses daily. These seeds and nuts are healthy vegan options and are rich in other minerals and nutrients that are beneficial for the body. 
  • Consider including a direct source of DHA and EPA to their diet through supplements or fortified food. This step is optional but could be a good idea to decrease your needs of ALA. 

When ALA comes from whole foods, it’s typically considered safe. In addition, there is no known established upper limit for ALA intake from natural sources. 

However, it’s essential to ensure that these food sources are of high quality and properly stored to maintain their nutritional value.

Supplements, on the other hand, can provide concentrated amounts of ALA, DHA, or EPA. Excessive supplementation can lead to side effects or interactions with medications.

What is the best form of vegan omega 3?

The best form of vegan or plant-based omega 3 is ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) from plant-based sources like flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and hemp seeds. 

These foods not only provide ALA but also come with a range of other health benefits due to their nutrient-rich profiles. 

Do vegans really need omega-3 supplements?

Since EPA and DHA could mainly be obtained from fish, it’s challenging to get enough of these two forms of omega 3 on a vegan diet. 

Therefore, you may want to use algae-based omega 3 supplements which are derived from microalgae, the original source of omega 3. Another option could be to include omega 3 fortified vegan foods to your diet. 

It’s important to make sure you are meeting the needs of omega 3. 

How much do vegans need of omega 3?

The following table is adapted from Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition

These recommendations are established by the Institute of Medicine, which is now called the National Academy of Medicine. 

In the provided data, the initial two columns, following the age group, indicate the Adequate Intakes (AI) of ALA for male and female vegans when they are obtaining EPA and DHA from their diet or supplements. 

The subsequent two columns represent their specific EPA and DHA requirements. 

Lastly, the last two columns outline the quantities of ALA that vegans should aim for if they are not incorporating sources of EPA and DHA into their diet.

Age Group Males AI of ALA (g/day)Females AI of ALA (g/day)Males EPA/DHA (mg)Females EPA/DHA (mg)Males ALA if no EPA/DHA(g/day)Females ALA if no EPA/DHA(g/day)
0 – 1 yr.0.50.5N/AN/A 0.50.5
1 – 3 yr.0.70.770 mg DHA70 mg DHA1.41.4
4 – 8 yr.0.90.990901.81.8
9 – 13 yr.1.211201002.42
14 + yr.1.61.11601103.22.2
pregnancyN/A1.4N/A200-300 DHAN/A2.8
LactationN/A1.3N/A200-300 DHAN/A2.6

As for EPA and DHA intake, the Institute of Medicine recommends approximately 250 -500 mg/ day for both as a maximum intake. 

The European Food Safety Authority recommends 2g of ALA, 250 mg EPA, and DHA 250 for adults and 100 mg of DHA for infants aged between 7-24mo.                                                                                         

Additionally, individual dietary needs may vary, so consulting with a healthcare provider or registered plant-based dietitian for personalized advice is always a good practice.

Some vegan omega 3 supplements provide both omega 3 forms, EPA and DHA, and could help you meet your requirements and get their benefits on a vegan diet. 

For supplements, 200-300 mg of DHA and EPA per day or even 2-3 times a week is  recommended as a direct source of these omega 3 forms beside the ALA coming from dietary sources. 

There is not enough research to support the beneficial effect of adding DHA and EPA supplementations to vegans; however, a moderate increase is considered safe. 

Supplements could be expressive or not available to some, which is also the case for fortified food so it’s a personal decision to include them in your diet or not.

Vegan Omega 3 supplements 

Plant-based omega-3 supplements usually contain omega-3 in the form of triglycerides. This form of omega-3 provides DHA that’s as good for the body as the one found in salmon, according to a small study. 

Which omega-3 has no gelatin?

There are multiple options of omega 3 supplements that are vegan-friendly and contain no gelatin. The table below provides you with some suggestions. 

This is a quick comparison of some of our favorite vegan omega-3 supplements from Canada and the United States. 

Vegan Omega-3 SupplementForm of supplementAffordability (cost/serving) *
Accessibility

Dosing
Freshfield Vegan Omega 3DHA and DPA26.99 CAD $ / 60 capsules (0.45$ / count)Available on Amazon Canada225 mg of DHA/ capsule package recommended taking 1-2 capsules / day
Nature’s Way NutraVege Plant-based Omega-3 VeggieGelsEPA and DHA22.39 CAD $ / 30 capsules (0.27 $ / count)Available on Amazon Canada500 mg of EPA/ DHA per softget package recommends taking 1 daily
NutraVege Kids Omega-3EPA and DHA29.92 CAD $ / 150 ml bottleAvailable on Amazon Canada500 mg of EPA/ DHA per 1 tsp. (15ml)package recommends taking 1 tsp. daily
Nordic Naturals Algae OmegaEPA and DHA38.63 CAD $ / 60 softgels (0.64 $ / count)Available on Amazon Canada357 mg of EPA/ DHA per softget package recommends taking 2 daily
Herbaland Vegan Omega-3 GummiesEPA and DHA12.82 CAD $ / 90 gummies (0.14 $ / count)Available on Amazon Canada29.7 mg of ALA / gummypackage recommends taking 2 gummies 3 times daily for adults 18+
Future Kind Vegan Multivitamins EPA and DHA31 USD $ / 60 softgels (0.52 $ / count)Available on Amazon US200 mg of EPA/ DHA per softget package recommends taking 2 daily
Sports Research Vegan Omega-3EPA and DHA26.95 USD $ / 60 softgels (0.45 $ / count)Available on Amazon US315 mg of EPA/ DHA per softget package recommends taking 2 daily
Calgee Vegan Omega-3EPA and DHA29.99 USD $ / 60 softgels (0.50 $ / count)Available on Amazon US225 mg of EPA/ DHA per softget package recommends taking 2 daily
Sapling Vegan Omega 3 SupplementEPA and DHA23.95 USD $ / 60 softgels (0.40 $ / count)Available on Amazon US225 mg of EPA/ DHA per softget package recommends taking 2 daily
Garden of Life Plant Omega-3EPA, DHA, and ALA29.39 USD $ / 57.5 ml bottleAvailable on Amazon US365 mg of EPA/ DHA and 500 mg of ALA per 0.5 tsp. (2.5 ml)package recommends taking 1/2 tsp. daily
*These prices are taken from Amazon in September 2023. They could be subject to change.

Freshfield Vegan Omega 3

This supplement is certified as a vegan product. This product provides 500mg of DHA per capsule. It also contains DPA, which is another beneficial type of omega-3 fats. 

Although the package recommends 1-2 capsules per day, you may want to take every few days to lower the dose you get. This supplement is available in Canada. 

Please refer to your physician or pharmacist before starting supplements. They will advise you on the dose that suits you.  

Nature’s Way NutraVege Plant-based Omega-3 VeggieGels

This supplement is certified as a vegan product. This plant-based formula from NutraVege provides 300mg of DHA and 150 mg of EPA per softgel. 

As mentioned before, it’s better to have both types of omega-3 in the supplement. The total amount doesn’t exceed the 500 mg which is considered safe. These liquid gels or soft gels come in a fresh mint flavor. 

On their website, the package containing 75 softgels costs around 55$ and could be shipped within Canada without the need for additional shipping fees since the order will be above 50$. 

NutraVege Kids Omega-3

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This supplement is certified as a vegan product. This plant-based formula from NutraVege provides 300mg of DHA and 150 mg of EPA per 1 teaspoon of liquid. 

The company recommends this supplement for children from 1 to 14 years old. However, as mentioned before in the requirements, children have lower requirements than adults. 

Also, children aged from 1-3 years only need DHA according to the recommendations.  Hence, it may be better to consult a physician or a pharmacist to know the correct dose for your children. 

The supplement come in a citrus punch flavor. Along with omega 3, this supplement also provides vitamin D sources from lichen. Each teaspoon provides about 500 IU of vitamin D.

Nordic Naturals Algae Omega

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This supplement is certified as a vegan product. This plant-based formula provides 195 mg of DHA and 97.5 mg of EPA per softgel along with other types of omega-3. 

As mentioned before, it’s better to have both types of omega-3 in the supplement. However, the recommended daily dose of 2 softgels provides 715 mg of omega 3 which could be considered high. It’s better to ask a physician about the recommended dose that’s correct for you. 

Herbaland Vegan Omega-3 Gummies

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This supplement is certified as a vegan product. This plant-based formula provides 29.7 mg of ALA from flaxseed oil. The supplement comes in the form of orange-flavored gummies. 

It’s recommended on the package to take 2 gummies 3 times a day, however you may not need that amount specially if you are including foods that are rich in ALA in your diet. The gummies are also sugar-free. 

You can also order a kids’ version of the supplement directly from their website since it’s not currently available on Amazon Canada.

Future Kind Vegan Multivitamins

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This supplement is certified as a vegan product. This plant-based formula provides 270mg of DHA and 135 mg of EPA per 2 softgels along with vitamin B12 and vitamin D. 

These 2 vitamins are important for vegans, especially vitamin B12. 

As mentioned before, it’s better to have both types of omega-3 in the supplement. The total amount recommended doesn’t exceed the 500 mg which is considered safe. This supplement is available in the United States. 

Sports Research Vegan Omega-3

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This supplement is certified as a vegan product. This plant-based formula provides 210 mg of DHA and 105 mg of EPA per softgel along with other types of omega-3. 

As mentioned before, it’s better to have both types of omega-3 in the supplement. The total amount per softgel doesn’t exceed the 500 mg which is considered safe. 

Nonetheless, it’s important to note that the recommended daily dose of 2 softgels offers a total of 630 mg of both DHA and EPA, and when combined with other forms of omega 3, it totals 770 mg, which may be considered a relatively high amount. 

For personalized guidance on the appropriate dosage, it’s advisable to consult with a physician who can recommend the correct dosage that suits your individual needs.

Calgee Vegan Omega-3

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This supplement is certified as a vegan product. This plant-based formula provides 150 mg of DHA and 75 mg of EPA per softgel along with other types of omega-3 and omega 6, another type of fat. 

As mentioned before, it’s better to have both types of omega-3 in the supplement. The total amount per serving, 2 softgels, doesn’t exceed the 500 mg which is considered safe. 

Sapling Vegan Omega 3 Supplement

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This supplement is certified as a vegan product. This plant-based formula provides 150 mg of DHA and 75 mg of EPA per softgel. 

As mentioned before, it’s better to have both types of omega-3 in the supplement. The total amount per serving, 2 softgels, doesn’t exceed the 500 mg which is considered safe. 

Even though it contains the same quantity of softgels and provides an equivalent amount of DHA and EPA per serving as the previous supplement, this option comes at a lower price point. If Omega-6 is not a primary concern for you, you might opt for this alternative.

Garden of Life Plant Omega-3

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This supplement is certified as a vegan product. This plant-based formula provides 265 mg of DHA,100 mg of EPA, and 500 mg of ALA per 0.5 teaspoon. 

This supplement is for kids aged 4 years and older. The total amount of DHA and EPA per serving doesn’t exceed the 500 mg which is considered safe. 

One advantage of this supplement is that it’s in liquid form, which makes it easy for kids. Also, it provides some amount of ALA.  

Omega 3 toxicity 

It’s crucial to be aware that very high doses of EPA and DHA can potentially be linked to certain health risks, such as compromised immunity and an increased bleeding tendency. 

Therefore, it’s advisable to always seek guidance from your physician before commencing any supplements and before considering an elevation in their intake. 

Your healthcare provider can offer personalized recommendations to ensure your supplement regimen aligns with your individual health needs and safety considerations.

Do you feel like you need more support with your vegan diet and nutrient needs? Contact our team and book a free discovery call.

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