The best way to get enough of ALA is to focus on getting it straight from your daily nutrition. Eat plenty of ground chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, leafy green vegetables, or anything that comes from a plant source. Aside from fish-based omega-3s, an ALA intake of about 2g per day has been consistently associated with a modest lowering of heart disease risk.
Symptoms of Low Levels of Omega-3s
Dry Skin. Omega-3 fatty acids are stored in your cell walls so if your skin is looking dry, or flakey, it could be because you are lacking in the fatty acid department.
Lackluster Hair. In addition to your cells, omega-3s are also stored in your hair follicles. If you’ve been noticing dryness, breakage, and dullness in your mane, try increasing your omega-3 intake and get ready to look like you’ve walked off the set of a Garnier Fructis commercial.
Insomnia. Tossing and turning at night? A deficiency in omega-3s could be why. Studies have shown that people with high omega-3 levels experience a higher quality of sleep.
Fatigue. Always tired? This is also a potential symptom of an omega-3 deficiency. Boost your energy levels during the days by adding more fatty acids to your diet.
Depression. If you're feeling blue all the time, omega-3 is known to help with depression and anxiety. For example, omega-3s can easily travel through the brain cell membrane and interact with mood-related molecules inside the brain. They also have anti-inflammatory actions that can help relieve depression.
Can Vegans & Vegetarians Get Enough Omega-3?
If you’re deficient in omega 3, you might find yourself suffering from dry, uneven texture, flakey skin, depressive moods, brittle hair & nails, or even ‘brain fog’. All are noticeable signs which may be alleviated by being mindful of eating more naturally-occurring omega-3.
A survey of Eastern European countries found that the higher the intake of ALA, the lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. As we mentioned above, it's common to get omega-3's from fatty fishes like tuna, salmon, anchovies, as well as shellfish like oysters and clams. For those who live by a vegan diet, it's possible to get omega-3 sources from algae and some good chia pudding! They can also be found in hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, soya spread, brussel sprouts, perilla oil and flaxseed. While enriching your diet with whole foods can help you to increase your levels of ALA, the body’s rate of converting them into DHA and EPA falls short of the few hundred milligrams you should be taking. A typical vegan omega-3 supplement delivers about 200 mg DHA and 100 mg EPA per capsule and is a sure-fire way to reliably increase your levels of both DHA and EPA.
Vegan Omega-3 Supplements
Not only are vegan omega-3 supplements cruelty-free and the most sustainable source of this nutrient, they also are better for us health-wise. Vegan omega-3 supplements skip straight to the source, bypassing the consumption of fish. Oil is extracted from the algae plant, filtered, and deodorized before it’s ready to be consumed in vegan-soft gels. Like fish oil supplements, those made from algae oil vary in their amounts and types of omega-3 fats, as well as their serving sizes. Experts suggest vegans take anywhere between 0.5 and 2 grams of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) per day. Vegan omega-3 supplements offer all the benefits of omega-3 from fish, with none of the cruelty or health risks that eating fish or fish oil brings.
We love these supplements because not only are they animal friendly but also because they’re environmentally sustainable. Interested in more information on vegan supplements? Check out this incredible blog on what supplements you can mix with vegan omega-3.