Many people choose to supplement their diet with omega-3 as this type of fat has been associated with a variety of health benefits from the maintenance of good health to supporting normal brain and cardiovascular health. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid, meaning we have to get them from the diet for good health, as our body can’t produce omega-3.

So, what are omega-3 fatty acids and where are they found in the diet?
Of the omega-3 fatty acids there are 3 to highlight. They are:
• ALA (alpha-linolenic acid),
• EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
• DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)

The health benefits commonly associated with omega-3 are primarily attributed to the longer-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) or DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Direct dietary sources of these two fatty acids are seafood and marine fatty fish such as salmon, anchovies, sardines and mackerel. Many people choose to supplement their diet with a fish oil supplement that provides them with the EPA and DHA they are looking for. For vegetarians or those preferring plant-based sources this can be a challenge.

What about vegetarian sources of omega-3?
The omega-3 ALA is a common vegetarian source found in foods such green leafy vegetables, plant oils, including nuts and seeds such as walnuts and flaxseeds. As mentioned, while ALA is an omega-3 to provide the health benefits associated with omega-3 it must be converted into the longer-chain EPA or DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately, the human body isn’t great at converting ALA to EPA and DHA. Studies suggest that the conversion rate of ALA into EPA and DHA is only about 5% [1, 2]. This means that while foods like green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds are healthy foods to get in the diet and sources of ALA, they are not very efficient at providing EPA and DHA due to this limited conversion.

A potent alternative source for EPA and DHA for vegetarians or those preferring plant-based oil is algal oil. 

What is algal oil?
Unlike commonly used plant based oils such as flax or camelina which are a source of the short chain omega-3 ALA, algal oil provides a direct source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA for the maintenance of health. In fact algae are the initial EPA and DHA producers in the marine food chain; it’s how fish get their EPA and DHA!

The NutraVege and NutraVege Extra Strength deliver 500 mg and 1000 mg of EPA & DHA respectively – no conversion needed! NutraVege provides the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA for the maintenance of good health and NutraVege Extra Strength also helps support visual health, normal brain function and cardiovascular health. Available in strawberry-orange, cranberry-orange, and now also in zesty lemon flavour, NutraVege and NutraVege Extra Strength are ideal for anyone in search of a pure, potent, and great-tasting omega-3 supplement that’s plant sourced.

When selecting a supplement choosing a product that has been third party tested by a program like PureCheck is a great to ensure the product is high quality be it omega-3 sourced from fish oil or algal oil. With PureCheck you can access the third party test results for potency, purity and oxidations tests of each lot of product online ( 24/7 to provide assurance you are getting a product that is potent and pure.

1. Plourde, M. and S.C. Cunnane, Extremely limited synthesis of long chain polyunsaturates in adults: implications for their dietary essentiality and use as supplements. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab, 2007. 32(4): p. 619-34.

2. Brenna, J.T., Efficiency of conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to long chain n-3 fatty acids in man. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, 2002. 5(2): p. 127-32.