Vegetarian Omega 3 Nutrition from Seaweed Sources
What are Omega 3s?
Omega 3s are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids – a type of essential nutrient – vital for the body’s health and functioning in multiple ways. Omega 3s are called ‘essential’ because the body can’t make these on its own and needs to get these from outside through diet.
There are 11 types of Omega-3 fatty acids that are collectively called Omega-3s. Of these, three types - eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) are the most important ones as these are bioavailable forms i.e. the body can absorb and use in ways other than just for energy. Actually, the body can use only EPA and DHA Omega-3s. However, the body can convert ALA into DHA/EPA and then utilize it.
Why are Omega 3s important?
As mentioned earlier, while the body cannot manufacture Omega 3s on its own, it does need them to stay healthy and function well. Omega 3s are needed by the body for heart, cognitive, immunity, and eye health. Omega 3s are needed for blood clotting. Eyes and brain have high amounts of Omega 3s. Cell membranes of all organs require Omega 3s for function and structure.
What are the key sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids?
Omega 3s can be found in plant foods or in seafood. Plant foods such as flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, and plant oils like flaxseed oil and canola oil have ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid) type of omega 3 that the body can convert into EPA and DHA, the two bioavailable types of Omega 3s.
Seafood sources of Omega 3s may be vegetarian (algae, seaweed) or non-vegetarian (fatty fish like herring, salmon, anchovies, and sardines, and crustaceans like krill). The marine food sources have EPA and DHA types of Omega 3s that can be used up readily by the body.
What are algae and how do they have omega 3 content?
Algae are marine plants that live on carbon dioxide and sunlight or ultraviolet light, and they are able to undertake photosynthesis to make their own food. There are over 40000 types of algae. All seaweeds are algae. There are microscopic algae too which have rich Omega 3 content. Algae are actually the primary source of Omega 3s for all marine life.
Like human beings, fish also cannot make their own Omega 3s. They get it by consuming algae as part of their diet. Being at the bottom of the marine food chain, algae are consumed by krill and fish as their source of Omega 3s. When we eat seafood like salmon or any other fatty fish, we are indirectly getting Omega 3s initially made by algae only.
Nowadays microalgae are also cultivated in laboratories to harvest Omega 3s. What’s more, by manipulating sunlight/UV, temperature, and other factors in laboratory conditions, Omega 3 content of microalgae can be increased for commercial harvesting.
As all algae are plants, this is vegetarian Omega 3, and that too with EPA and DHA, and not ALA found in soil plants.
Why algae-rich Omega 3s are the recommended option for vegetarians?
- Vegetarians obviously will not consume fish as part of their diet, and may have food restriction based reservation in consuming fish oil that’s found in most common Omega 3 supplements. The plant-based sources of Omega 3s are nuts and seeds and their oils. However, these contain ALA which needs to be converted to EPA and DHA for being bioavailable to the body. A vegetarian diet is usually lacking in adequate Omega 3s. An algae-rich Omega 3 supplement is an excellent way to fill the deficit. Algae have ready, natural and high amounts of EPA and DHA directly available to the body.
- Another benefit of algae-rich supplements over fish oil-based supplements is that there is no fishy aftertaste, heartburn or fishy after burps with algae supplements.
- Yet another positive is that as algae are grown in laboratories, there is no exploitation of marine resources. For fish or krill oil, overfishing is undertaken that exploits natural resources and upsets marine ecology. Algae-based Omega3 supplements are sustainable and eco-friendly.
What precautions should be taken with algae-rich Omega 3 supplements?
- In general, Algae-rich Omega 3 supplements are very safe. However, as with any other supplement, you must always first consult your health professional before starting on any. This is all the more important if you are on any prescription medicines, or have any chronic disorder.
- Omega 3s may interfere with the blood clotting/thinning mechanism. Please be sure to consult your health professional if you are on any type of blood-thinning medicines.
- It is advised to consume your Omega 3 supplement with a meal that has some fat content as that aids better absorption of nutrients.
- Always store your supplement bottle in a cool and dry place to keep nutrition values uncompromised.
WOW Life Science Algae-Rich Omega 3 Capsules
We recommend WOW Life Science Algae-Rich Omega 3 Capsules as these offer vegetarian omega 3s in vegetarian capsules. Rich in key essential fatty acids, each capsule offers 1000 mg algae powder along with 100 mg docosahexaenoic and 300 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
WOW Life Science Algae-Rich Omega 3 Capsules offer:
- Vegetarian alternative to fish-oil based Omega 3 supplements
- No fishy aftertaste or fishy burps
- Omega 3 nutrition with the bioavailable EPA and DHA types otherwise not available in vegetarian soil-plant sources
- Omega 3 nutrition comparable to fish oil-based supplements
- More eco-friendly and sustainable life choice
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential nutrients needed by the body that it cannot make on its own and hence needs to procure from the diet. As regular vegetarian diets may be low on Omega 3s – especially EPA and DHA types that the body uses best - an algae-rich Omega 3 supplement is an excellent choice. Algae are marine plants and also the primary source of Omega 3s for marine life. Algae-rich Omega 3 capsules offer nutrition comparable to fish oil-based supplements. Algae-rich Omega 3s are also a good choice for those who do not like the fishy taste and after burps often caused by the fish oil-based supplement.