Let’s take a closer look at the importance of Omega-3 fatty-acids in our diet!
We all know that certain fatty acids are among the most important vital substances for the human body, because they fulfill a variety of essential functions.
Nowadays Omega-6 fatty acids became a dominant part in our diet and are not a problem of supply for us, since most processed products are loaded with oils, rich in Omega 6. The problem is, that in excess, this fatty acid is harmful for our health, since it has an inflammatory effect on our body and furthermore it’s constricting the blood vessels, which leads to a number of different diseases.
Nowadays it’s more of a challenge to reduce the intake of omega-6 and reach a regular and sufficient supply of omega-3 fatty acids. A good ratio of Omega 3 to 6 is especially important to reduce inflammatory processes in the body and diseases associated with it.
In numerous studies, the connection between an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids and the risk reduction of various diseases has been shown. It helps, for example, to maintain cognitive abilities, especially for children and in the elderly, a healthy cardiovascular system as well as for preventing skin diseases like Eczema/ Atopic Dermatitis and many other illnesses.
Isn’t it enough to eat walnuts and flax seeds to cover the omega-3-needs as a vegan?
Let’s look a littler closer at Omega-3:
Not all omega-3-fatty acids are the same.
Plant foods like walnuts and flax seeds contain only the pre-stage (“ALA”) of the active omega-3 fatty acids (“EPA & DHA”), therefore an additional conversion process into the active forms is necessary.
The human body basically has the ability to produce the long-chain fatty acids by itself, if it is provided with the necessary nutrients.
(That’s why DHA and EPA are not officially declared as essential.)
BUT, here is the problem:
The ability of the body’s own production is very different from person to person and the effectiveness depends on several factors!
Usually the conversion rate of turning ALA in EPA & DHA is 2-5% – which is already very low. In most cases it has been shown that this is often not enough.
It’s also important to note that an excessive intake of omega-6 inhibits the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA, as these require the same enzyme system.
Therefore, a maximum ratio of 1:5 (Omega 3 : Omega 6) is recommended.
(But in most diets nowadays, the usual ratio is at 20:1 or even higher)
Here you can see the ratio of some seeds and oils:
Flax-, hemp-, chia seeds/ oil or walnuts are great ALA sources, in a perfect ratio. But to fully cover the needs of the active Omega-3 forms (DHA & EPA), I recommend algae oil, because it naturally contains these forms in high amouts!
What is algae oil?
It‘s a pure vegetable oil, extracted from the marine micro-algae Schizochytrium sp..
This micro-algae is naturally particularly rich in the marine omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
No further chemical treatment is therefore necessary to obtain a higher concentration.
Why I don’t recommend fish oil
First off: fish are not the actual suppliers of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, but they accumulate them in the food chain only through the ingested microalgae.
In addition to the ethical and ecological concerns regarding the consumption of fish, health considerations also play a significant role here. Although fish provide these fatty acids, they can also contain a number of unwanted substances that are not found in algae oil.
In the food chain of both wild and farmed fish, not only omega-3 fatty acids accumulate, but also other harmful substances such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). It therefore makes sense to start further down the food chain in order to keep pollution levels as low as possible.
Furthermore you need to consume less algae oil than fish oil to reach your needs and it has been shown to be better tolerated by many people.
How much do I need?
A supplementation with a high-quality Omega-3 (EPA/DHA)- Oil is recommended in all stages of life, but especially during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, for babies, for athletes and people with certain diseases, linked to a lack of healthy fats.
I recommend taking 250-500 mg of EPA/DHA (at a ratio of 1:2) daily.
I tested a few different brands, but from my research and experience I can recommend this brand the most:
NORSAN Omega-3 Vegan
- 2000 mg Omega-3 per teaspoon
- 1158 mg DHA , 609 mg EPA + 800 IU Vitamin D3
- 100% plantbased/ vegan
- organic olive oil as an antioxidant
- lemon oil for taste
- grown in tanks and therefore free from pollution and ecofriendly sourced
(They also have capsules if you prefer that!)
Click here to check out Norsan. (German and English website available)
PS: With my Code “plantifultaste” you can save 15% on your order.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out on Instagram!