A Look at Omega 3 Supplements
As researchers step up their job exploring Omega 3 supplements, they are finding more and more health benefits in getting enough Omega 3 into the diet. Our bodies cannot make this fatty acid, so we need to get it from our diet or supplementation.
The diet we eat today does not have nearly enough Omega 3, and we often need to supplement this fatty acid. It is important to understand that the supplement sources come from both plants and animals. What this means is both vegetarians and meat-eaters have options for Omega 3 supplementation. Just know that there are a few differences between the two.
Here are the types of Omega 3 supplements:
Vegetarian Sources of Omega 3 (Plant Based)
Plant based sources of Omega 3 grown on land sometimes do not have all the different types of fatty acids as sea plants. In order to get complete supplementation of DHA, EPA, and ALA, you need to have all three present. Some plant based sources might not have all three present in one supplement.
The plant based sources include:
Flaxseed Oil – Flaxseed oil tends to be a more popular vegetarian source of Omega 3 fatty acids. You can get this in gel capsules, powder or oil. It only has ALA, but the body can convert some of it to EPA and DHA with the proper enzymes.
Walnut Oil – Walnut oil is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Still, they only contain ALA that needs to be converted to DHA and EPA by the body. Walnuts are also high in protein and other healthy fats and nutrients. Use caution with this source due to tree nut allergies.
Algae – Algae that comes from the ocean is the only plant based form of Omega 3 that contains all three; DHA, ALA and EPA. Not only does this source benefit vegetarians, but also meat-eaters that cannot eat fish sources.
Fish Based Sources of Omega 3
Fish Oil – Fish oil supplements are the most commonly taken Omega 3 supplement and contain DHA and EPA. People that do not have fish allergies can tolerate this supplement. Make sure to check the bottle to make sure that the supplement is mercury free and the fish are “wild caught.”
Krill Oil – Krill is a very small shellfish and a more expensive way to get Omega 3. It is generally well tolerated, with the exception of people allergic to shellfish. Krill is similar to algae from the ocean and fish oil, but due to its small size, it takes more of them to make a supplement. This makes it very costly.
Exploring Omega 3 supplements can help you find the best type for your needs. Vegetarians can use plant based sources, but should look into marine algae to get the complete chain of fatty acids. Meat-eaters should look for “wild caught fish” that are free from mercury.
If you have an allergy to tree nuts, avoid walnuts. Also, if you have a shellfish allergy, avoid krill oils. With research, you can find just the right Omega 3 supplement and reap the many benefits of this healthy “good fat.
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