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NEW Vegetarian omega 3 sources allow alternative dieters like Oprah, the same or better omega 3 benefits

By Scott Doughman, PhD

vegetarian DHA benefitsVegetarians and vegans already have a diet that has been shown as beneficial for lowering the risk of heart problems and other diseases prevented by some 'good' fatty acids.  Now algae oil gives you the maximum benefit of omega 3s. 

Like most daily diets, these vegetable-based diets are low in omega 3 fats, often called alpha-linolenic acid, which allows your body to produce some trace levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaeoic acid (EPA). These fats are the ones most people lack regardless of their diet, but DHA and EPA are also the most beneficial.

Omega 3 benefits are generally associated with fish and fish oil, but those are not the only food sources rich in fatty acids. Flax oil and milled flax seeds are the richest vegetarian omega 3 sources. For an additional source of omega 6 and omega 3 sources, consider algae oi.  The benefitical C22 omega-3 called DPA is richest in algae oil, an ideal brain food oil for some people.

Vegetarian Omega 3 Fortified Foods

Eggs are one food that has added omega 3 benefits because they are often naturally fortified by feeding the chickens an abundance of flax seeds. Milk producers and yogurt companies frequently add vegetarian based ALA as well. For strict vegetarian diets, however, these foods are off the list, but it doesn't mean that they can't enjoy the health benefits.

Several brands of margarine and salad dressings use alternative oils such as olive or flax as their base. If you are drinking milk alternatives, consider soy drinks that include flax seed products. Yet another source of ALA for vegetarians is grain breads. The biggest rule of thumb is to read labels since different brands use different sources.


One of the biggest omega 3 sources for everyone is supplements. Supplements are not necessarily from a vegetable base, so vegetarians need to watch labels. Flax, hemp, and perilla oils are a few of the common supplements available.

All of the sources vary significantly in the actual omega 3 benefits your body receives. Fish oil, for example, requires two separate processes in order for your body to use the substance while flax oil requires three. One of the highest vegetarian sources of omega 3 is microalgae oil, which your body can begin to use immediately with no additional processing. 

Algae oil gives you the maximum benefit of omega 3s.  In addition, microalgae oil contains the proper balance of EPA and DHA making it a far superior source to any other including fish oil.  Some vegetarians can now get the same EPA and DHA from a new product from Source-Omega called PURE ONE.