Given current healthcare statistics, it is vital to expand our knowledge and awareness, when it comes to our heart health and all aspects of the cardiovascular system. With heart disease today being the number one killer of North Americans and affecting between 1 in 2 to 3 people, it is wise to always be aware of how our lifestyle habits are impacting our health. We know today that **heart disease is, first and foremost, a lifestyle disease and each one of us can do lots to minimize the risk, if not entirely prevent ourselves from suffering from any of the symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
One of the best ways to care for our heart is to ensure a diet that includes healthy fats. One of these specifically, is the omega-3 family of essential fatty acids—ALA, EPA and DHA. These are beneficial for, and preventative against, cardiovascular disease. In a previous article, Evolutionary & Modern Perspectives on the Omega 3 Fatty Acids, I outlined the general ideas of how each of these fatty acids works and which food sources are best at providing them.
Whether you eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, or one that includes animal foods, common research shows that we are simply not getting enough of these protective essential fatty acids in our diet today. One key reason for this is the presence of too many unhealthy fats, from oils and animal foods. These contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which we are getting too much of today, and which compete with omega-3 fatty acids during assimilation, interfering with the natural conversion process that should take place within our bodies where ALA converts to EPA, which converts to DHA.
Whole plant foods, which are optimal for best health, healing, and prevention are the most nutrient-dense food options for us and provide an abundance of all the nutrients we need. This includes omega-3 fats in the form of ALA. Only plants can synthesize ALA, whereas the original source of DHA are marine microalgae. No animal or fish can make ALA, but they can be stored in their bodies, and a healthy body should have no problem converting ALA into EPA and then DHA sufficiently.
The human body has no difficulty converting the plant-derived omega-3 fat, ALA, into DHA or other omega-3 fatty acids, in the liver, thus supplying our needs even during gestation and infancy.
John McDougall, MD — Vegetarians Make Plenty of Essential Fats
However, given the many different health problems and poor diets today, some people may not be getting enough omega-3 fatty acids and may want or need to consider plant-based supplementation. Thus, in this article I will share with you two vegan options, which are plant sources of omega-3, specifically DHA supplements, which are most important for healthy brain function.
Nature’s Way EfaGold Neuromins DHA
Nature’s Way is known as America’s leader in herbal medicine for over 40 years. They have a wide selection of reputable products, with the EfaGold Neuromins Plant Source DHA Softgels being one of their best products. They provide a source of the essential fatty acid DHA directly from the source — marine microalgae, and do not contain any heavy metals, including mercury, chemical solvents, sugars, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. They come in 100mg and 200mg strengths, and packages of 30 or 60 softgels.
I bought and tried them a few years ago to have personal experience with this supplement, but did not personally find any noticeable differences or benefits. Perhaps this way because my physical and mental health already were in optimal shape, or because as with most supplements, there are unpredictable effects, if any, and it is always best to use our food as the best source of nourishment and medicine. Upon opening the jar there is a faint marine-like fish smell, however nothing strong or repulsive. I found no flavor or scent coming back up my esophagus during the digestion process.
When it comes to the ingredients, as with most supplements they are not perfect, and current production labels state the following:
Medicinal Ingredient: DHA from Algal microalgae oil of the Schizochytrium species
Non-medicinal Ingredients: Modified corn starch, high oleic sunflower oil, glycerin, purified water, carrageenan, sorbitol, tocopherols, natural rosemary flavor, sunflower lecithin, beta carotene (color), caramel (color), ascorbyl palmitate
In terms of price and availability, the product ranges in price between $20 to $50 per bottle, depending on the strength, bottle size, and country of purchase, and they are widely available throughout North America.
If you live in the United States, you can find it on Amazon.com here in both strengths: Nature’s Way EfaGold Neuromins 100mg DHA Plant Source, 60 Softgels and Nature’s Way EfaGold Neuromins 200mg DHA Plant Source, 60 Softgels.
If you live in Canada, you can find it on Amazon.ca here in both strengths: Nature’s Way EfaGold Neuromins 100mg DHA Plant Source, 60 Softgels and Nature’s Way EfaGold Neuromins 200mg DHA Plant Source, 60 Softgels.
Other Plant-Based DHA Options
Here are a few other vegan DHA supplement options for you to consider, which may be better or easier for you to obtain depending on your needs and where you live. I have not tried any of these myself.
- Doctor’s Best Vegan DHA from Algae, 200 mg, 60 Softgels — Doctor’s Best Algae Omega-3 is gluten-free and non-GMO, is clinically researched, features a proven potency, and is third party tested.
- Minami Nutrition Vegan DHA, 200mg, 60 Softgels — Minami Algae Omega-3 is a 100% Vegan DHA made from algae (Schizochytrium) oil. It contains no saturated fat and has a clean orange flavor with no fishy aftertaste.
- Omnibiotics Vegan DHA, 350mg, 60 Softgels — OmniBiotics Vegan Omega 3 DHAx is fish-free, mercury-free, and is specially formulated with vegans, vegetarians and health conscious consumers in mind. The lab-verified, formula has been extensively researched for efficacy. Each serving contains 350 mg of Algal DHA, 350 mg of Omega-3, and 20 mg of Omega-6 essential fatty acids. Super antioxidant, astaxanthin, and non-GMO sunflower phospholipids are added to create a potent, plant-based omega supplement.
- Freshfield Vegan DHA, 500mg, 60 Softgels — Freshfield Vegan DHA is made in the United States and is GMO-free and mercury-free. It includes DPA, which optimizes and intensifies the overall effects of omega-3.
- Ekopura Vegan DHA, 500mg, 90 softgels — Ekopura Vegan DHA is fully plant-based and derived from sustainably farmed Algae. Capsules are made from Seaweed, not gelatin. This product is claimed to be 100% free from ocean pollution, and be allergen-free, GMO-free, and contain no heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs or other toxins often found in fish oil. Production takes place according to HACCP, GMP, ISO22000 standards.
In conclusion, today it is very possible to have a reliable DHA supplement without incurring the risks of consuming any fish or seafood or using controversial supplements made from them. Yes, plant omega-3 supplements will typically be more expensive than animal-based ones, but the higher cost is well worth it if you need this supplement, as the others come with serious quality and health risks.
To your best health always!