Are you a vegetarian or vegan who doesn’t like to eat fish-based foods? DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an essential nutrient for growing babies, children, and adults. However, vegetarian or vegan diets lack DHA sources.
Some vegetarian diet advocates claim that vegans can consume enough DHA by eating plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, like flaxseeds and walnuts.
DHA is an omega-3 lipid that you normally consume through your diet, supplements, or both if your body doesn’t create enough of it. It may help prevent or treat chronic illnesses such as heart disease, tumors, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
DHA is crucial for a healthy and successful pregnancy and can lower the risk of premature birth. It also supports good brain and eye development in newborn babies and may help with ADHD symptoms in children. You should aim for 200–500 mg of DHA and EPA per day for optimal health.
DHA Supplements: Vegan and Vegetarian Ingredients
Even though DHA is widely available in fish-based foods such as eggs and fatty fish, people who follow a purely plant-based diet can obtain DHA through vegan-safe supplements.
Seaweed and Algae
Seaweed, nori, spirulina, and chlorella are all types of algae that many people consume for their health advantages. Seaweed and algae are essential sources of omega-3 fatty acids for vegetarians and vegans since they are one of the few plants that contain DHA.
The DHA level varies depending on the kind of algae and the product. There are several ways to include these items into one’s diet. For example:
- Nori is a type seaweed that most people use to wrap sushi
- Seaweed can be eaten as a crispy snack
- Chlorella and spirulina are nutritious additions to smoothies and cereal
Algal oil is a kind of oil derived from sea algae. Algal oil, like fish oil, is utilized as a source of omega-3 fatty acids. DHA is the most significant omega-3 fatty acid found in algal oil.
Algae oil is utilized in both food and medicine. Algal oil is most typically used in combination with other fatty acids to strengthen baby formula. It is also used to improve mental abilities in children and the elderly, decrease cholesterol, improve eyesight in persons with retinitis pigmentosa, and treat other conditions.
All vegan DHA supplements are produced from algae rather than fish or krill. While research on algae oil supplementation is limited, studies have shown that its bioavailability and consequent health effects are equivalent to those of fish-based DHA sources. It’s also a perfectly natural and original source of DHA.
There are environmental benefits to using algal oil. Algal oil does not contribute to overfishing that disrupts oceanic food systems, causes global food insecurity, and damages coral reefs, all of which are associated with climate change.
Algae-based DHA supplements are a significantly more environmentally-friendly option than fish-based supplements.
In a single serving (one tablespoon) of algal oil, you get:
- 120 calories
- 0g protein
- 14g fat
- 0g carbohydrates
- 0g fiber
- 0g sugar
Health Benefits of Vegan DHA Supplements
Your body makes a minimal amount of DHA from other fatty acids. That’s why you have to obtain it from food or supplementation. DHA and EPA can reduce inflammation and the risk of chronic diseases. DHA promotes brain and eye health along with other health benefits.
Promotes Eye Health
DHA is an essential constituent of your eyes’ retinas. It may aid in the prevention of vision problems and other eye diseases that can lead to visual impairment and blindness.
Reduces Heart Disease Risk Factors
DHA has been shown to minimize the risk factors for heart disease. Although it can’t completely eliminate the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, it can lessen the risk of chronic diseases and help you live a healthy life.
Treatment of Immune Disorders
DHA can help in the treatment of disorders such as diabetes, arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and psoriasis. Consuming enough DHA can help lower the risk of a variety of autoimmune disorders, including prediabetes, autoimmune diabetes, and sclerosis.
Improves Mental Health
People suffering from mental illnesses can benefit from DHA. It can help those with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. DHA supplements reduce the frequency of mood swings and relapses.
Strengthens Bone Health
DHA can boost bone strength and joint health, possibly lowering your risk of osteoporosis and arthritis. Osteoporosis and arthritis are skeletal system disorders. DHA can increase bone strength by increasing the calcium content of your bones, which should lead to a lower possibility of osteoporosis.
Best Vegan DHA Supplements
Each capsule of a standard vegan supplement contains around 200 mg of DHA. If you’re going to supplement, it’s a good idea to take at least that much. Some of the most recent vegan products on the market include up to 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids in each capsule.
Here are a few to get you started!
This algal omega-3 supplement has everything you need to support your body’s daily DHA requirements and is meticulously produced according to the most stringent FDA standards. These are supplements that are made from plants and are free of mercury.
This supplement reduces the risk of heart disease and amplifies the overall benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. The body can keep twice as much DHA than EPA and DHA is up to ten times more effective at improving heart, joint and cognitive health, as well as mood mood. A single capsule contains about 220 mg of DHA and 35 mg of DPA.
This supplement should be taken as directed by your healthcare provider. It helps fight inflammation, treat anxiety or depression, improve eye health, promote brain health, and enhance heart health.
- 5 calories per serving
- Total fat: 0.5g
- DHA: 225mg
- DPA: 35mg
- Supports heart, joint, and cognitive health
- Algal oil is better absorbed than fish oil
- Effective way to elevate function of body and mind
Sapling’s DHA supplement is derived from algae. Fish obtain DHA and EPA from algae, which is one of the planet’s primary food sources. Sapling believes keeping fish out of the process is the wiser and more sustainable alternative, and that obtaining DHA right from the source is the better choice.
The algae in this product is sustainably cultivated on a farm rather than in the sea. This allows for the management of purity and quality, which are not possible with algae sourced from the ocean.
It includes 500 mg of omega-3s, 300 mg of DHA, and 150 mg of EPA per serving. Omega-3 fatty acids have been demonstrated to benefit the heart, brain, joints, and immune system. DHA can help with cognitive functions, and especially with clarity and attention.
- 10 calories per serving
- Total fat: 1g
- Total omega-3: 550mg
- DHA: 300mg
- EPA: 150mg
- Powerful vegan alternative to traditional fish oils
- Supports your heart, brain, and joint health
- Mint-flavored to hide the algae taste
This vegan-friendly fish oil supplement contains omega-3 fatty acids extracted from marine algae. It includes high quantities of EPA and DHA to promote wellbeing and help you achieve better outcomes. It benefits the brain, heart, joints, and immune system.
Each soft gel includes a long-lasting, high-quality supply of omega-3s produced from nannochloropsis. Every gel contains 140 mg EPA and 280 mg DHA. By taking this product, you can forget about the unpleasant fish taste that is prevalent with consumption of traditional omega-3 fish oil pills.
Plant-based omega-3 sources, such as flaxseed and pumpkin, only contain ALA, which the body must convert to EPA and DHA. Zenwise Vegan Omega-3 Fish Oil is an algae-derived omega-3 supplement containing EPA and DHA for a fish-free alternative.
- 10 calories per serving
- Total omega-3: 525mg
- EPA: 140mg
- DHA: 280mg
- Affordable brand of vegan omega-3 fatty acids
- Allows you to consume healthy EPA and DHA
- Aids with cognitive functioning
Deva Vegan DHA Softgels include no animal-derived ingredients, making it an obvious choice for vegans and vegetarians. Although Deva does not particularly offer this product as a prenatal supplement, it is worth considering for pregnancy and nursing because it includes DHA.
This product has a significant benefit over many other DHA supplements in that it is derived from algae rather than fish oil. A look at the ingredients list reveals that Deva Vegan DHA Softgels are gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. Small softgels are easy to take, and most people will enjoy the lemon flavor.
- 5 calories per serving
- Total fat: 0.5g
- Microalgae oil: 500mg
- DHA: 200mg
- Great non-animal alternative to DHA derived from fish
- Suitable supplement for vegans and vegetarians
- DHA supplement that does not contain fish oil can also be used by non-vegans
These supplements reduce inflammation in the body and help in boosting the immune system. DPA, an important fatty acid, has been proven to be more effective than EPA at inhibiting inflammation. Because DPA is more adapted to controlling inflammation, EPA is naturally converted to it in your body.
DPA supports your joints better than other essential fatty acids and helps you get the most out of omega-3s. These omega-3 fatty acid supplements play important roles in brain function and development. They can help people with memory issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive impairments, and enhance their brain function.
- 14 calories per serving
- Total fat: 1.5g
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 820mg
- DHA: 700mg
- DPA: 100mg
- EPA: 20mg
- Decreases inflammation in the body
- Strengthens the immune system
- Contains no harmful ingredients such as artificial flavors, colors, or chemicals
Nordic Naturals Algae DHA Supplement provides 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids in two vegetable softgels, making it a sustainable, vegan alternative. DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid, promotes healthy brain, eye, and nervous system function.
With small, easy-to-swallow vegetarian soft gels, Nordic Naturals Algae DHA Supplement can help vegetarians and vegans reach their daily required intake of omega-3 DHA. This DHA supplement is derived from microalgae and is certified vegan. It is a sustainable, fish-free alternative to fish oil supplements, has no artificial colors or preservatives, and is gluten and dairy-free.
- 10 calories per serving
- Total fat: 1g
- Total omega-3s: 500mg
- DHA: 500mg
- Supports brain and cognitive function, memory, eye health, and optimal wellness
- Vegan source of omega-3 fatty acids
- Provides 500 mg of healthy fatty acids in two veggie softgels
DHA supplements are available in many drugstores, grocery stores, natural-food stores, and dietary supplement stores. Look for an impartial third-party seal to confirm you’re purchasing a high-quality brand.
While taking DHA supplements may provide some health advantages, it is still too early to recommend DHA as a therapy for any condition. DHA supplements should not be taken in place of standard chronic disease management medication. Avoiding or postponing treatment for a chronic condition in favor of self-treatment with DHA might have adverse health effects.
If you’re interested in using vegan DHA supplements, feel free to try any of the supplements mentioned above.