Vegan Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Updated: Apr 30




There are three important omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)


Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

ALA is a short-chain fatty acid. It’s found in small amounts in animal flesh, in very small amounts in a variety of plant products, and in relatively large amounts in soy, walnuts, canola oil, camelina oil, and in flax, hemp, and chia seeds and their oils. The body cannot make its own ALA—it’s an essential fatty acid that must be obtained through the diet.


Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

EPA is a long-chain fatty acid. It’s found in large amounts in fatty fish, in small amounts in eggs, and in very small amounts in seaweed that can be concentrated into supplements. Some EPA is converted into other molecules that can reduce blood clotting, inflammation, blood pressure, and cholesterol.



Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

DHA is a long-chain fatty acid. It’s found in large amounts in fatty fish, in small amounts in eggs, and in very small amounts in seaweed that can be concentrated into supplements.


The body can convert ALA into EPA, and EPA into DHA.


ALA is efficiently converted to EPA, but it may require large amounts of ALA to produce optimal amounts of DHA.


The conversion rates also vary from individuals, some rates can be as low as 5%.


If you are concerned about your omega 3 intake, you can choose to take a vegan DHA/EPA supplement to be safe.

However, if you are consuming 1 - 2 servings of chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, hemp seeds, walnuts and their respective oils each day, you will most likely be okay.

Omega 3 sources:

Each supplying your daily requirements of omega 3's.

  • 1 tbsp. hemp seeds.

  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds.

  • 1 tbsp. ground flaxseeds

  • 15 grams walnuts

  • 2 cups edamame beans

*Not only do these foods provide you with your daily omega 3 needs (an essential fatty acid), they are also great sources of plant protein, minerals and phytosterols which actively lower cholesterol and risk for disease.

Recent studies have shown that omega 3 fish oil supplements do not decrease risk for heart diseases but that dietary omega 3 sources from plant protein sources do.




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