There are ways to acquire good levels of DHA and ALA through vegan sources.
As you will see, however, there is virtually no way to consume enough EPA from these vegetarian sources to meet the recommendations.
Examining Possible Sources For Vegetarian Omega 3
Fish acquire much of their Omega 3 fatty acids from algae. Many vegans and vegetarians depend upon algae based supplements for their Omega 3 needs. Unfortunately, algae supplements typically only contain one fatty acid — DHA.
Those that contain EPA only have it in low and insignificant levels. While DHA is excellent for cardiovascular health and infant development, EPA is also an important component of Omega 3 that is found naturally in every cell in the body.
Vegetarians can also acquire the fatty acid, ALA. This is found in high concentrations in flax seed and flax seed oil. It can also be found in certain nuts and dark green leafy vegetables. ALA has no purpose other than to be converted into DHA and EPA. The body does not perform this conversion efficiently, however. It is much more beneficial to take your DHA and EPA from direct sources.
Importance Of EPA
Many vegetarian and fish based Omega 3 supplement brands try to make the case that DHA is more important than EPA. This is not the case, and EPA has many vital responsibilities in the health and function of your mind and body. These functions include the following:
• Improved mental health
• Mood stabilization, including treatment of mood disorders, such as depression, bipolar, and anxiety
• Skin health
• Immune system health, and treatment of immune disorders, such as lupus
• Bone and joint health, including treatment of arthritis and osteoporosis
These are a few of the benefits that come primarily from EPA. There are many other areas that best respond to a healthy combination of EPA and DHA. At this point in time, there are no methods to achieve significant levels of EPA through non-fish sources.
The Bottom Line
The truth of the matter is that you cannot acquire the same or even similar levels of both EPA and DHA from vegan or vegetarian sources. Perhaps in the future, researchers will find a new possibility that provides all of the Omega 3 fatty acids that people need in a non-animal source.
Currently, however, there is no such source. Vegetarians can take ALA and EPA supplements to meet most of their Omega 3 needs. This is a blessing, particularly for pregnant women who do not consume fish products, due to their high need for DHA. If you want to give your body the recommended allowance for EPA, you will need to consume a fish oil supplement that contains high values of both DHA and EPA.
Xtend-Life is a quality supplement made using fresh tuna and hoki from the cleanest water on earth. The supplement is pure and natural, containing only fish oil, with substantial and ideally balanced levels of EPA and DHA. There are no artificial ingredients or preservatives. If you need a more complete alternative to vegetarian Omega 3, Xtend-Life can give you an all natural and healthy fish oil supplement.