Becoming Vegan has a pretty detailed discussion of this issue with references to studies. the human body converts the omega-3 precursor, alpha-linoleic acid, into EPA and DHA, but there are questions whether conversion alone will provide enough for everyone. The bottom line is the authors suggest supplementing with microalgae. They identify two companies that currently make the supplements (Martek and OmegaTech) but neither of them made a vegan capsule as of the publication of Becoming Vegan.<br><br><br><br>
PS: I did find a few vegan DHA supplements online: <a href="https://secure15.nexternal.com/shared/StoreFront/default.asp?CS=vegane&BusType=BtoC&Count1=200267970&Count2=117408394&ProductID=161&Target=products.asp" target="_blank">https://secure15.nexternal.com/share...t=products.asp</a><br><br><a href="http://www.veganessentials.com/catalog/deva-omega-3-dha-supplement.htm" target="_blank">http://www.veganessentials.com/catal...supplement.htm</a><br><br><a href="http://www.vegan-dha.com/" target="_blank">http://www.vegan-dha.com/</a>
I haven't seen the research on those myself, but I'm probably gonna buy me a bottle of NuTru's long-chain Omega-3s one of these days to see if they have any impact whatsoever. I'm not really feeling any of the symptoms of deficiency, but it's not uncommon for vegans to get too little, so I'm keeping my eye on it.
Often it's too little omega-3 in comparison to omega-6 fatty acids, which are abundant in seeds. Both use identical enzymes and therefore if the amount of omega-6 fatty acids is very high, omega-3 fatty acids hardly have a chance to being converted into prostaglandins and so on.
If you're not willing to take a supplement, I would strongly recommend making flax seed, walnuts, olive oil, and canola oil a major part of your fat allotment. those are the best whole food sources of omega-3 fatty acids I know of.
Olive oil isn't a good source of neither omega-3 nor omega-6 fatty acids. But that't the advantage of olive oil: you can have it an don't disturb yout omega 3 to 6 ratio. Canola oil has it's own prolems: originally rich in omega-3 but nowadays there are strains that are low in essential fatty acids to give the oil a onger shelf life.<br><br>
Mostly I do as Tesseract suggested: I use flax seeds/oil, walnuts, and olive oil.
Thank you for correcting me Lothar, I refreshed myself on olive oil and I see you are right. The main reason it's superior as a fat sources is that it doesn't contain a lot of omega-6 fatty acids like many other vegetable oils.
Yes, Tesseract! Like safflor oil, which is sold widely in Germany for reasons of lowering cholesterol, but it's an omega-6 nightmare as it contains so much of it!<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="">
I take a supplement which has microalgea (what the fish eat) in it to supply my body with straight DHA.<br><br><a href="http://www.ihealthtree.com/buried-treasure-neuro-nectar-16oz.html" target="_blank">http://www.ihealthtree.com/buried-tr...ctar-16oz.html</a><br><br><br><br>
In addition I eat lots of hemp and flaxseeds. I think some vegans could be low in DHA. The good thing is that we are aware of issues like this and take an effort to get enough.
I called into a talk show once with a doctor discussing Omega 3's. I asked if one could get enough Omega 3's by consuming a couple of tablespoons of ground flax seeds per day (I put this on my oatmeal for breakfast, and also add a little ground up quinoa for more protein - dull, I know, but it's my nutrition insurance policy, so I can eat yummier things for the rest of the day) He told me that humans cannot effeciently convert ALA (precursor) to EPA & DHA(Omega 3's) and said that he felt eating Omega 3 enriched eggs (chickens supposedly convert ALA better and pass on the converted ALA in EPA & DHA form to their eggs) and/or taking fish oil was the only way to really get enough Omega 3's in the diet.<br><br><br><br>
It's too bad there isn't a way to test whether you're deficiant or not. I tend to feel that this quy had an agenda. I still have my flax seeds every day. Even if I'm not "efficiently" converting it, I feel I may be getting enough Omega 3's anyway since I have it every day, and flax seeds have many other nutrients also. I use walnuts regularly in my cooking also. Haven't checked out the microalgae yet. Is the mercury less of a risk in microalgae than it is in fish oil?
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>lekawa</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br><br><br>
It's too bad there isn't a way to test whether you're deficiant or not. I tend to feel that this quy had an agenda. I still have my flax seeds every day. Even if I'm not "efficiently" converting it, I feel I may be getting enough Omega 3's anyway since I have it every day, and flax seeds have many other nutrients also. I use walnuts regularly in my cooking also. Haven't checked out the microalgae yet. Is the mercury less of a risk in microalgae than it is in fish oil?</div>
Actually, you can have a blood test done to check the levels of omega 3's. I believe that they are pretty pricey and I don't know if they are covered by insurance or not. I had one done by my Dr. for free as part of a study a couple years ago and was pretty deficient (I have an eating disorder too though, so that could have effected it), but I was even eating flax seed off and on. Haven't had one done since then, but have often wondered if I'm still deficient. I also think the test might have to be sent somewhere specific as it's not a common test that is done by all labs.
I've know that some people don't process omega-3s as efficiently as others. Some can get away with small doses of flax seeds/other nuts per day and it's plenty for them, but others, after dropping meat/fish from their diet, see a definite "lack of fats" problem in their bodies after an extended period of time.<br><br><br><br>
For some people, then, going Vegan is not a healthy choice for them, as far as their bodies efficiently using omega-3s/omega-6s.<br><br><br><br>
Here's another thread that's talking about this. I posted a long article there that I thought was interesting:<br><br><a href="http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=60786" target="_blank">http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...ad.php?t=60786</a>
Thank you, monkey, for mentioning the availability of testing. It would be interesting to have the test done, then post the results. I'll have to check into the cost and see if I can find someone near me who can do it.<br><br><br><br>
And thank you Coney for the link to the article (posted above) Very informative and highly recommended read.<br><br><br><br>
I've heard that balance is "key". If one eats alot of "bad" fats, then there would be a much higher need for more Omega 3's. I personally eat very few "bad" fats as I've had a very hard time finding vegan restaurants and fast food, so I have a lot more control over the fats I'm consuming.
Flaxseed has about 50% ALA which makes it the best source of ALA i know really. But only about 10% (so i've been told) will become n3-fatacids... Which might make flaxseed a little bit less atractive (considering the high maintenance of the product: price, conservation, bad taste...)<br><br><br><br>
Fishoil capsules gives you a very good omega 3 supply. Though i don't know if thats an option for vegetarians. For some maybe, for others who also consider the ethical and not just the health benefit might not find an answer there...
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