Until quite recently it was thought that only fish oil would provide you with sufficient amounts of Omega 3. Many plant based products with Omega 3 did not have the right acids (EPA and DHA) and the body could not convert well the acid (ALA) they did have into the ones the body needeBut there are a number of reasons why taking fish oil has not an option for some though. Those people are: 1. vegan or vegetarian, 2. repulsed by fish 3. revolted by ‘fishy burps’ 4. concerned about pollutants from the sea etc, etc. But thankfully now there are credible plant based alternatives so that everyone can enjoy sufficient levels of Omega 3 by taking a supplement.🤩 So what is the best plant based Omega 3 supplement for eyes? Read on to find out.
While this post is geared towards eye health, it is still applicable to those looking for a good plant based Omega 3 supplement for more general health reasons.
Criteria For Best Product
As I said in a previous post (click here if you wish to read) scientific research in 2013 found that participants in a trial taking a 500mg Omega 3 supplement (with 325mg of EPA and 175mg of DHA – otherwise known as the ‘fatty acids’) for 3 months saw improvements by 65% for dry eye as opposed to 33% who were taking a placebo. If you want to see the research directly, click here.
So here is a list of my criteria for determining the best product:
Criteria #1: the supplement must have the dosage used in the research or as near as possible.
A lot of plant based Omega 3 supplements are heavy on DHA while the EPA is quite light or even non-existent. Does it matter? I can only go by the ratio used by the researchers in the 2013 study that in every 500mg of Omega 3, you should look for a higher proportion of EPA to DHA by roughly a ratio of 2:1.
Having said that, there is no “one dose fits all”; every body’s Omega 3 needs varies. A blood test can be carried out if you want to find out the specific need for your body.
Criteria #2: it must be as pure as possible (even vegan or vegetarian supplements have some surprise nasties in them!)
One ingredient that seems the most controversial in supplements is carrageenan. This substance is sourced from red and purple seaweed. It is used as a thickening agent. However, it has been linked to inflammation, digestive problems and even colon cancer. I don’t see any scientific evidence to prove this and it is in many plant based Omega 3 products but probably an ingredient to steer clear of if you are prone to inflammation or digestive problems.
Criteria #3: it must have a long life – if you cut out the nasties, will your supplement still be effective a few days after opening the container?
This is where you see how inventive the manufacturers have been in trying to maintain the purity of the product as well as making sure it does not oxidate leaving you with a worthless product.
Criteria #4: it must be sustainable – so farmed in a sustainable way rather than taken straight from the oceans.
Also, there is an overlap with Criteria #2 here – some manufacturers use palm oil which is a big ‘no no’ for environmentalists out there.
Criteria #5: it must taste palatable. Plant based Omega 3 still has a ‘fishy’ or ‘marine smell’ as it is derived from algae.
So a slight aroma is probably unavoidable. It really depends on taste and whether you can handle it. But for me I would rather there was a smell; I think it indicates the purity of the product. I’d rather this that something artificial used to cover up the smell.😷
Product 1: Vegan Omega 3 From Nested Naturals (30 vegan soft gels; 1 daily)
The Algal oil contains: EPA 108mg & DHA 200mg. So higher levels of DHA than the scientific study but less that half the level of EPA. However, they have been reformulated to polar lipids which are more absorbable that triglycerides the container information tells me.
No GMO, dairy, yeast, soy, wheat. So one of the purest supplements around.
Other ingredients: green tea extract. modified corn starch (from non-GMO starch), seaweed extract, glycerin (vegetable based), sorbital (non GMO), lemon oil and rice bran wax.
Once opened it can be stored in a cool, dry place. It can be refrigerated but better to keep the container in the least coldest part like a shelf on the door.
The Omega 3 is derived from marine algae grown on a farm. So yes, it is sustainable.
There is a mild smell to them. As I said, this depends on your own taste if this is going to be a problem. But with any supplement, a large swig of water and a swallow and the supplement has gone down!😳😳😳
Product 2: Qwell Vegan Omega 3 By the Veggie Doctor (60 capsules per container; 2 capsules daily)
The Algal oil contains: EPA 14mg & DHA 480mg (but also contains 77mg of DPA (another fatty acid)). As I said above, vegan Omega 3 products do tend to be quite uneven in the amounts of EPA and DHA and this is a prime example.
Farm raised non-GMO algae. No Carrageenan, colors or sweeteners included.
Other ingredients: an HPMC capsule (synthetic plant based version of gelatin), coconut oil, peppermint oil and vitamin E
It can be stored in a cool dry place to preserve the oil.
Yes – farm raised rather than taken from the oceans
A mild marine taste. As I said, I would take this as a mark of purity as long as you are not totally gagging at the thought of this.🤮
Product 3: Nature’s Way NutraVege Omega 3 Plant Based Liquid Supplement (1 teaspoon a day)
This supplement is unusual because it is in liquid form rather than a capsule or soft chew. A liquid form is easier to absorb by the body that a soft gel or capsule.
The Algal oil contains EPA (200mg) & DHA (300mg). So the fatty acids are more evenly balanced in this product than the other two.
While the product is not certified as non-GMO, the algae used has been grown in a controlled environment (in vats) so it contains no contaminants or toxins. It is third party checked with PureCheck. You can check your patch on line through www.purecheck.net to check on potency, oxidation and purity.
Other ingredients: sunflower oil, natural flavor, green tea extract, rosemary extract, mixed tocopherols (different types of vitamin E) and ascorbyl palmitate (a fat soluble form of vitamin C).
The product needs to be refrigerated after opening and used within 100 days.
Yes, as the algae is farmed rather than taken from the oceans.
A mild taste.
A Round Up Of These Great Products
|Product||Amount of Omega 3
|1. Vegan Omega 3 Nested Naturals||EPA: 108mg
|No GMO, yeast or soya||Store in a cool and dry place||Made from farm produced marine algae||Mild taste|
|2. Quell Vegan Omega 3||EPA: 14mg
|No GMO||Store in a cool and dry place||Made from farm produced algae||Mild marine taste|
|3. Nature's Way Nutravege Omega 3 Plant Liquid||EPA: 200mg
|No contaminant or toxin||Once opened, refrigerate and use within 100 days.||Made from farm produced algae||Mild taste.|
Great Omega 3 Supplements Minus The Fish!
So there you have it three great products that give you roughly equivalent or near equivalent potency as fish oil without the concerns over fishy burps, pollutants and sustainability.
They also come without those surprise nasties (such as carrageenan which is an ingredient in many of the plant based Omega 3 products) that could (if they are as bad as some claim) totally offset any benefit a plant based Omega 3 supplement could provide.
My top choice though would be the Nature’s Way NutraVege Liquid product. It is close enough to the levels of EPA and DHA as in the scientific study. It has good ingredients and it is sustainable too. The product from Nested Natural is a close second and the Veggie Doctor’s product comes in third.
Thank you for reading this post. If you have any comments please leave them below and I will be happy to respond.🙂