Fish Oil Omega or Vegan Omega…
What's better for you?
As discussed thoroughly in our another blog, we all know how much Omega 3 fatty acids are essential components within a diet to maintain good health (Not yet read? No worries… you are not so far!!! Please do read a blog on Omega-3 health benefits on the same page. We are sure you will get a great insight !!!)
Why Omega-3 is critical?
- Helps in preventing heart diseases and stroke.
- Can prevent certain types of cancers.
- Helps in preventing arthritis.
- Helps in preventing memory loss.
- Can reduce depression and post-traumatic stress.
Though it is just a fatty acid, it is different from other fats because our body can’t synthesize Omega-3 fatty acids on its own like any other fats. Hence, we need to take it from external sources.
Let’s have a look at these sources-
- Fish - Anchovies, Mackerel, Tuna, Salmon, Herring, Sardines (Mostly cold-water fatty fish provide Omega-3s directly in the form of EPA and DHA)
- Other seafood like crabs.
- Grass-eating animals.
- Red meat.
- Some superfoods like flax seeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds
- Nuts- specifically walnut
- Leafy vegetables like spinach
- All contain Omega-3 in the form of Alpha-Linolenic acid but this ALA must be converted by the body into EPA and DHA through a complex series of metabolic reactions.
The origin of the supplement will decide the types of Omega-3s you are getting, including their concentrations.
This creates the often debated and misconceptualized question:
Which source is better… a plant-based or fish based?
What are the advantages and side effects?
Here's what you need to know…
When we think about Omega-3s, we tend to think about EPA and DHA by fish.
- But, we should know that fish are not the primary producers of Omega-3 known as EPA and DHA. And they too get them from their food and the primary producers are the algae, which produce plant-based Omega-3 DHA, surprisingly some even make EPA as well !!!
- The algae are then eaten by plankton and small fish, which are then eaten by bigger fish, and the food chain thus continues and so the amount of Omega-3s accumulates.
The basic chemical difference between the duo -
Contains long chain Omega-3 fatty acids
Contains shorter chain Omega-3 fatty acids
These sources are made up of more carbon atoms than plant-based Omega.
These sources are made up of less carbon atoms than marine-based Omega
Number of carbon atoms is 20 carbon for EPA and 22 Carbons for DHA
Number of carbon atoms is 18
- However, researchers suggest that we shouldn't be beating around the plant and seafood-based Omega-3s against each other as "They are simply different chemical compounds with different biological actions" !!!
- Human body has the variable ability (depending upon gender and age) to technically produce EPA and DHA from ALA in the liver.
- And this conversion rate is a bit low (like 0.3 to 20 percent), so we can't rely only on ALA alone for optimum EPA and DHA requirements.
- Since we can't produce Omega-3 on our own, there are specific daily requirements given by the National Academy of Medicine -
- Adult men - 1.6 grams of ALA per day.
- Adult women - 1.1 grams.
- Pregnant women - 1.4 grams.
- Breastfeeding women - 1.3 grams.
Also, studies show that low conversion rates of ALA into EPA and DHA in the body are low hence, additional sources of these two Omega-3s are essential in terms of supplements.
But there are a few concerns raised about fish-based and animal-based Omega-3 nutrition - let’s understand -
- Increasing marine pollution because of the flow of untreated industrial waters, sewage waters in main water sources like ocean, sea, river, ponds, etc.
- High mercury levels because of bioaccumulation and biomagnification
- Occurrence of microplastics inside water sources and animals therein
- Occurrence of harmful heavy metals found in fish and other aquatic animals.
- Very low chances of getting pollutant-free high-quality purified and sustainably sourced fish oil.
- Also experts suggest if you want to continue with fish prefer fish known to be lower in heavy metals—sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon, and herring, also known as SMASH —for EPS and DHA.
- While getting Omega-3 from grass-fed animals or red meat, debates are going on regarding ethical aspects of rearing animals, pesticide components in fodder as well as injecting antibiotics and hormones.
Also, let's understand the side effects of Omega-3 fish oil-
Yes, for some people some of the below-mentioned side effects may be seen:
- A fishy taste in your mouth
- Fishy breath
- Stomach upset
- Loose stools
- Risk of bleeding increases if your daily intake of fish oil is more than 3 grams.
- Don’t take higher doses of Omega-3 fish oil supplements without a doctor's prescription.
So, apart from people who face the side effects of marine-based Omega-3 fatty acids, either in direct form through fish diet or in supplement form, there are many other people who can’t take fish-based EPA and DHA because of the following reasons:
- Follower of vegan diet
- Cultural restrictions
- Ecological and geographical restrictions
- Environmental and pollution concerns
- Some personal preferences
So what is there for them?
The answer is, Plant-Based Omega-3 fatty acids, as we can get the goodness of all the Omega-3 fatty acids from a clean source.
As we discussed above, there are plant-based Omega sources available and they are pretty effective and efficient when compared to marine-based. So guys… first let’s get out of the misconception of the superiority of animal-based Omega-3 fatty acids.
Are there side effects of vegan Omega too?
As a blanket population, there are really very few side effects of vegan Omega as they derive from clean plant-based sources. Still, on a personal basis, depending on allergies and some history of side effects of a particular source, there may be some side effects of vegan Omega too, like
- Headache and dizziness
- More sweating
- Acidity and gas for some people
But remember these side effects may go away during treatment because we need to give some time too to adjust a body to new nutrition and can get rid within some days of intake.
Hence, there is absolutely no harm in giving your body the goodness of plant-based supplements of Omega-3 fatty acids.
ZeroHarm Sciences brings to you a great source of Omega-3 from clean plant-based resources which you can rely upon with trust. Grab the bottle and see the difference in your health !!!