Omega 3

PootieMac

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Hello! I was wondering if 1-2 tbsp's of grounded flaxseeds a day would be enough omega 3 fatty acids or if I should take algae supplements as well?
 

Lou

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Strange Otter and I were just discussing that over here
https://veganforum.org/threads/omega-3-supplements.3273/#post-17417

In reviewing it I did discover a small error on my part. I wrote

But there are several components of Omega 3. The best-known ones are ALA, DHA, and EPA. ALA is the only one found in plant food sources. Fortunately for us, ALA is also found in "microalgae", which is how they make vegan Omega 3 supplements.

I should have written

But there are several components of Omega 3. The best-known ones are ALA, DHA, and EPA. ALA is the only one found in plant food sources. Fortunately for us, all the components of Omega 3 are found in "microalgae", which is how they make vegan Omega 3 supplements.

Anyway, check out the thread. I think I did a good job explaining a complicated topic.

Bottom line. The flax seed may be enough. but to be sure, take a supplement too.
 

TofuRobot

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I would think that if you regularly consumed flax seeds and walnuts you're probably good. But I have an algae omega 3 supplement I take when I remember to (which isn't more than a couple x/week). Aside from B12 (toothpaste-based) and Vit D, it's the only supplement I have/take.

Lots, if not more, omnivores have deficiencies in these areas (especially B12 & vit D) so I don't think they are specific to vegans. I've been vegan for about 16 months, and just scheduled an annual physical. I'm interested specifically in my b12 levels. Will report back later on how that goes.
 

Lou

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Flax seeds and walnuts and some other plant foods are good sources of the Omega 3 ALA. However, they contain little or no DHA and EPA. Our bodies do convert ALA to DHA and EPA. But it's a slow imperfect process and the "experts" in the field (including all our favourite WFPB diet doctors) don't think it can be relied on.

Vegans need to supplement their diets (somehow) with B12. And Vitamin D may be necessary for many of us. A DHA and EPA is probably a good idea too.

With most vitamins and minerals we usually say don't supplement but rely on getting adequate amounts by eating whole plant-based foods. DHA and EPA (like B12) aren't in plant foods so that means we have to supplement.
 

TofuRobot

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Actually, it depends. If you're consuming 1.5 servings of chia seeds plus some ground flax and walnuts every day, you'd be getting enough not to need to supplement. For me personally, I don't do this every day, hence why I have a supplement on hand. Have you seen Footsoldier's vid on B12 toothpaste? He knew someone who was using it and actually had to cut back to using it only a couple times/week b/c he was getting too much.

My point was that these (B12 & Vit D especially) are issues for all people, not just vegans. The majority of people who are deficient in B12 omnivores, if you look at the actual numbers. I think many of us don't ever concern ourselves with any of this stuff until we become vegan and then people think it's just a "vegan problem," which isn't true, and puts people off of veganism in general.
 
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mavrick45

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I have never seen those. Thank you!
yeah! it's part of their 'Good Grains' line - which includes shells made from Chia, Lentils, Blue corn, Spinach, and Bell pepper
 

TofuRobot

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yeah! it's part of their 'Good Grains' line - which includes shells made from Chia, Lentils, Blue corn, Spinach, and Bell pepper
I looked for them when I was shopping today - didn't see any. Went to their website and it doesn't show any in my area at all. :(
 

mavrick45

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I looked for them when I was shopping today - didn't see any. Went to their website and it doesn't show any in my area at all. :(
that stinks! :confounded:
 

Q88

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DHA and EPA (like B12) aren't in plant foods so that means we have to supplement.
That is a valid point, however, even if you supplement most of vegan omega 3 products are ALA based.
But there are some quality DHA and EPA based supplements.
 

Lou

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That is a valid point, however, even if you supplement most of vegan omega 3 products are ALA based.
But there are some quality DHA and EPA based supplements.

That looks like an excellent product. The product I use now has Omega 3, 6, and 9. But no DHA and EPA. When it runs out I will be shopping for a new product. And there are similar products to that one in Amazon. So Thanks for the heads up. and welcome to the forum.
 

Lou

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Also, as I pointed out before, an ALA based supplement may be adequate. Our bodies do convert ALA to DHA and EPA. but also as I pointed out before, it's a slow process and may be not reliable.
 

TofuRobot

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Also, as I pointed out before, an ALA based supplement may be adequate. Our bodies do convert ALA to DHA and EPA. but also as I pointed out before, it's a slow process and may be not reliable.
It's my understanding that people differ in their ability to convert ALA to DHA - some people do it really well, but others do not, hence the advise to supplement b/c it's an easy way to "cover the bases."

I finally went and 'gave blood' (it was a LOT of blood - almost passed out, lol) to get the info on mine. Just did it yesterday. Since I've been vegan for 1-1/2 yrs I've not had any of those levels checked. I'm interested to see if there are any concerns. The only thing that came up the last time I had that done about 5 yrs ago (as a pescatarian) was that I was on the low side of Vit D. I expect similar results given the cold winter we've been having and the fact that I'm really bad about taking it.
 

Lou

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It's my understanding that people differ in their ability to convert ALA to DHA - some people do it really well, but others do not, hence the advise to supplement b/c it's an easy way to "cover the bases".
that is my understanding too. The way I heard it stated was the conversion to DHA and EPA is slow at best, and any number of issues can interfere with it so its best to supplement it "just in case".

But the whole Omega 3 thing, not to mention 6 and 9 is pretty complicated but there are a number of people who have distilled it and summarized it and that is about the consensus.

I think this is the short version.
Vegans don't need to worry too much about 6 and 9, but do need 3. and plant sources of 3 don't help with DHA and EPA. So supplement.
 
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