Omega 3 fatty acids are excellent for your long-term health, but the most common sources are all animal-based.
A vegan omega 3 supplement uses only plant sources to derive its omega 3 fatty acids, so they’re cruelty free and still just as beneficial for your well-being.
Need to find a quality omega 3 supplement that’s vegan-friendly, but still packs the same punch as fish oil?
Not to worry; our researchers have evaluated and ranked the ten best vegan omega 3 supplements on the market.
1. Nested Naturals Vegan Omega 3
Nested Naturals delivers a powerful 700 mg of omega 3 fatty acids per capsule, with 300 mg of of this total comprised of DHA and EPA, the two biggest players when it comes to health.
In addition, you’ll find 100 mg of green tea extract in this supplement, for increased antioxidant power.
There are very few additional ingredients, and the omega 3s are derived from vegan-friendly algae oil, making this our number one pick.
2. Nature’s Way NutraVege Omega-3 Plant
Nature’s Way NutraVege Omega-3 Plant makes a high-quality vegan-friendly omega 3 supplement that delivers 500 mg of omega 3 fatty acids per capsule, with an even split of 300 mg of DHA and 150 mg of EPA.
Both the overall omega 3 and the DHA/EPA content are fantastic, and combined with the pretty good supplement design, this supplement is one of the best overall vegan omega 3 product on the market right now.
3. Testa Omega-3
Testa Omega-3 contains a high and well-balanced dose of omega 3 fatty acids. With 450 mg of omega 3 per capsule, and 250 mg of DHA plus 125 mg of EPA, it’s plenty potent.
There are a few other ingredients, like rosemary and carrageenan, that help with capsule stability, but that aside, it’s a pretty pure product. In terms of delivering a concentrated dose of the most beneficial omega 3s, Testa Omega-3 is a real winner.
4. Ovega-3 Plant-based Omega-3
Ovega-3 Plant-based Omega-3 contains quite a high dose of omega 3s, at 500 mg per capsule. Moreover, 270 mg of this is DHA and 135 mg of this is EPA.
The downsides with this supplement is that purists won’t like the additives like rosemary and sorbitol used to mask some of the oily flavor and scent.
5. Nordic Naturals Algae Omega
When it comes to raw omega 3 content, Nordic Naturals Algae Omega is a solid contender. Each capsule has about 350 mg of omega 3s, with 200 and 100 mg comprised of DHA and EPA, respectively.
Just 50 mg are non-EPA/DHA omega 3s. There are a few additives for stability, which purists might scoff at, but just about everyone else can be happy with this supplement.
6. Zenwise Health Vegan Omega-3
Zenwise Health Vegan Omega-3 has a total of 225 mg of omega 3 fatty acids per capsule, but unlike many of its competitors, all of its omega 3s are either DHA or EPA.
There are no other fatty acids, so you are getting the best bang for your buck when it comes to active ingredients. This algae-derived omega 3 is an excellent choice for a concentrated dose of omega 3s without any additives.
7. Garden of Life Supercritical Algae Omega-3
Garden of Life Supercritical Algae Omega-3 delivers only DHA, but it does so in a highly concentrated dose.
With 250 mg of DHA per capsule, along with the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin, it’s a good way to get the benefits of DHA, though many people might want to opt for a supplement that’s got EPA in it as well.
8. Purity Products Omega 3-6-9
Purity Products Omega 3-6-9 is good for those who ascribe to diets that strive to balance omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids.
This supplement contains each in roughly a 5:2:7 ratio All of these omega fatty acids come from vegan friendly sources, and unlike many competitors, Purity Products uses strictly plant sources, not algae, for its oils.
The omega 3 comes primarily from flax, which is a great source of healthy fats, so if you are looking to balance out your omega 3, 6, and 9 ratios, this supplement is a decent pick. On the other hand, if all you want is omega 3s, there are better options out there for you.
9. Healthy Fats Co Algal DHA Oil
Healthy Fats Co Algal DHA Oil delivers a lot of algae oil (500 mg per capsule) but unfortunately, the content of the best omega 3s isn’t the greatest.
There’s no EPA, and each capsule only contains 200 mg of DHA. While the purity of the supplement capsule design is quite good, for most people, the middle of the road DHA and the lack of EPA are going to outweigh those advantages.
10. DEVA Vegan Omega-3 DHA
DEVA Vegan Omega-3 DHA isn’t quite the complete omega 3 supplement you’d like. Since EPA has been found to have beneficial health effects too, you’re far better off striving for an omega 3 supplement that has both EPA and DHA.
The sole use of this supplement would be to boost your DHA intake specifically, since the DHA dose alone isn’t that high.
Vegan omega 3 benefits and side effects
A vegan omega 3 supplement is a great way to improve your heart health, decrease overall inflammation, and increase your resistance to chronic disease.
Omega 3 fatty acids are one of the heavy hitters when it comes to supplements for health and longevity, ever since researchers discovered that high fish consumption was associated with a long life and good health.
Fish oil, being extremely rich in omega 3 fatty acids, have understandably become one of the most popular categories of supplements.
Vegans and vegetarians, however, are in somewhat of a bind, as are people who would rather not contribute to overfishing and unsustainable impacts on the ocean ecology.
Fortunately, it’s possible to extract omega 3 fatty acids without harming fish at all. Since fish derive their omega 3 fatty acids from the algae they consume, it’s possible to harvest or grow algae, a water-borne plant, and extract and concentrate the omega 3 fatty acids directly.
While other plants, like flax seeds, are also high in omega 3s, algae oil is by far the most popular source for vegan omega 3, which looks like it offers the same health benefits as fish-derived omega 3s.
Omega 3 fatty acids may reduce your risk of heart disease. A vegetarian or vegan diet is already a good choice for heart health, as it eliminates many of the foods associated with an increased risk of heart disease, like processed and red meat products.
However, evidence suggests that adding omega 3s with a supplement could further reduce your risk of heart disease. Given the massive popularity of omega 3 supplements, there have been a huge number of observational studies and randomized clinical trials assessing the ability of these supplements to affect risk of heart disease.
Not all results are positive; for example, one meta-analysis of ten studies found no significant benefit to omega 3 supplementation (1).
Still, the most recent scientific advisory released by a panel of national experts on heart disease commissioned by the American Heart Association in 2017 recommends using omega 3 fatty acid supplements to prevent heart disease, particularly in people at high risk for heart attack (2).
This evidence is based on a number of very large and high-quality randomized and placebo-controlled trials. Though the reduction in risk is fairly modest (circa 10%), given the excellent safety profile of omega 3 fatty acid supplements, the cost-benefit analysis clearly favors using an omega 3 fatty acid supplement.
A vegan omega 3 supplement could help maintain cognitive function as you get older. Heart health is not the only public health crisis that might be helped by omega 3 fatty acid supplements.
Thanks to their ability to reduce inflammation and oxidative damage, there is a considerable interest in using omega 3 fatty acids to prevent cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
A study published in 2008 in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry tested the effects of an omega 3 supplement that provided a high dose (1800 mg per day) of total omega 3s, or a placebo with no omega 3 content, to a small group of older adults who had already been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s (3).
Though the study was small, the researchers found positive benefits for mild cognitive impairment, though not Alzheimer’s.
Later research, such as a paper published in 2018 in the Journal of the Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease, has explored the biological reasons behind why an omega 3 supplement might be beneficial for cognitive function (4).
This study examined in detail one such hypothesis: that omega 3 fatty acids deposit on the membrane surface of red blood cells, which leads to their proliferation throughout the body.
The researchers even suggest that omega 3 content on red blood cell membranes might be a biomarker for long-term omega 3 intake, helping to avoid one of the problems that’s plagued many clinical trials to date—their short duration (usually, only a few years).
Omega 3 fatty acids could be used to treat depression. Given the connection between inflammation, cognitive decline, and omega 3s, you might wonder whether other diseased states of the brain could be related to this same mechanism.
In light of new evidence connecting depression to systemic inflammation of the body, nutrition researchers have drawn a connection between this same mechanism and symptoms of depression.
It turns out that there is a good body of fairly promising research on using omega 3 fatty acids to treat symptoms of depression. One such study was published in 2014 in the journal PLoS ONE by a team of researchers at the University of Catania in Italy (5).
This investigation pooled the results of 19 different studies on using omega 3 fatty acids to treat depression, and the researchers found a moderate and significant benefit to using omega 3s, both in patients with depressive symptoms with no diagnosis of major depressive disorder, and in patients who had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder.
Further analysis found promising results in patients with bipolar disorder, too. The authors recommended omega 3 fatty acids as an adjunctive treatment, not a replacement for standard treatments for depression, but with the excellent safety profile of omega 3s, they appear to be a very promising way to help reduce symptoms of depression.
Vegan omega 3 supplements are quite safe, with no significant adverse effects aside from a mild oily taste and scent.
Some nutritionists expressed concerns that omega 3 fatty acids could increase risk of bleeding, due to their blood thinning effects, but according to an article published in 2007 in the American Journal of Cardiology, these theoretical concerns have not panned out in real clinical trials, even in people already taking blood thinners like warfarin (6).
Further, though high consumption of fish carries some risks of heavy metal or dioxin contamination, all the top quality vegan omega 3 supplements go through extensive filtering and testing to ensure they are free of these toxic compounds.
Given the massive number of studies on omega 3 and health, the optimal dosage is fairly well understood.
Current recommendations published in the journal Circulation suggest supplementing with 1000 mg of total omega 3s every day, a large portion of which should be DHA and EPA (7).
If you are at higher risk for heart disease, doses of up to 2000 to 4000 mg of omega 3s per day might be the way to go.
For other conditions, like depression or for warding off cognitive decline, recommendations are less clear, but most studies use doses in the same general vicinity (i.e. 1-4000 mg per day).
A vegan omega 3 supplement is a great way for vegetarians, vegans, and ocean-conscious people to get all of the health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids.
These could include modest protection against cardiovascular disease, staving off cognitive decline, and even treating depression symptoms and major depressive disorder, in conjunction with usual care.
Even though the benefits for some conditions are modest, vegan omega 3 supplements are free from any adverse effects, making the cost benefit analysis pretty favorable.
Optimal doses range from 1000 to 4000 mg of total omega 3 fatty acids per day, depending on your level of risk for heart disease.
The right vegan omega 3 supplement can set you up for all of these benefits without having to make any dietary or ethical compromises.