The importance of omega-3 fatty acids in our diets is well supported, but the research is mixed on whether or not supplementing omega-3s is beneficial or necessary.
Ultimately, the goal should be to acquire all of your nutrition from whole food, but there are instances in which that may not be possible due to limited availability, personal life choices, physiological or medical issues, and/or changes in the quality of available foods (case in point, produce grown in mineral depleted soils).
Fish oil remains the most recommended supplement within the health and fitness community, but some omega-3 supplements derived from algae oil actually provide higher concentrations of EPA and DHA than fish oil, are often less expensive, and their production can be less damaging to the environment.
For those looking for an algae based omega-3 supplement, we have examined many of the top selling brands, and have selected a favorite. Please let us know if you agree by commenting below.
Table of Contents
Types of Omega-3s
Not all omega-3 fatty acids are created equal. Of the 11 types of omega-3s, the 3 most important are alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexoenoic acid (DHA).
ALA is mostly found in plant foods, and is the most common omega-3 fatty acid in most diets, however it must be converted into EPA or DHA before it can be used in the body for anything other than energy.
This conversion process is highly inefficient, which is why those following vegan or vegetarian diets are often lacking in EPA and DHA.
EPA is essential for numerous physiological processes in the body, and for reducing inflammation, while DHA is necessary for proper brain development, and is an important structural component of your skin and the retinas in you eyes.
EPA and DHA are often referred to as “the marine omega-3s” because they are mostly found in fatty fish, seaweed and algae. Seaweed and algae should therefore be consumed regularly or potentially supplemented in order to get adequate amounts of EPA and DHA while following a vegan keto diet.
Flax oil has been a popular omega-3 supplement, even among those that consume animal sourced foods, but as noted above, flax contains predominately ALA omega-3s, as well as a fair amount of omega-6s, which can be inflammatory.
Algae oil provides a high concentration of both EPA and DHA, even higher than krill Oil in some instances, and some research has suggested that these coveted fatty acids are more easily absorbed when sourced from algae.
While krill oil can be sustainably sourced, algae oil is often marketed as a better option for the environment. Algae oil also doesn’t seem to produce the same fishy aftertaste or “fish burps” as traditional fish oil or krill oil.
One key advantage of krill oil however, is that it contains Phosphatidylcholine which helps protect cell walls, supports cellular communication, and improves the cell’s ability to absorb nutrients, and Astaxanthin, which is a natural preservative that helps prevent the oil from going rancid.
Rating Vegan Omega-3 Supplements
While there are some slight differences in the makeup of the capsules among different vegan omega-3 supplements, our primary focus when rating these products was on the amount of DHA and EPA per capsule, and the price per capsule.
The presence or absence of carrageenan in each product was also taken into account when selecting our top pick.
Carrageenan is a food additive derived from red seaweed that is used as a emulsifier in many food products. While food grade carrageenan is generally believed to be safe to consume, degraded carrageenan, also known as poligeenan, is a proven carcinogen (cancer causing substance).
While it is likely that all of the products we reviewed contain food grade ingredients, supplements are not regulated the same way other food products are, and since carrageenan is not a necessary ingredient, we placed greater value on the supplements that did not contain it at all.
#1 Sports Research Vegan Omega-3
Sports Research (SR) is our preferred brand for both krill oil and algae oil.
A single softgel contains 210mg of DHA, and 105mg of EPA, and the price per capsule is $0.37 when purchased on Amazon.
Pros: High concentration of DHA and EPA per capsule, and it does not contain carrageenan.
Cons: It is not the cheapest product on this list, and only comes in containers containing 60 capsules. This however, is likely due to the fact that containers containing more than a month worth of servings has a higher likelihood of going rancid before it is fully used.
Other Brands We Examined
We examined a variety of best selling, and highly marketed algae based omega-3 supplements, but instead of describing each one individually, we thought it would be easier to simply create a table.
Vegan Omega-3 Supplement Table
Do you agree with our top pick? Which omega-3 supplement do you use and why? Please consider sharing your experience by commenting below to help support others navigating a healthy keto lifestyle.
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