DHA, EPA, Omega 3’s and Reviews of Vegan Sources…est

Nerve cells of a healthy brain

_Nerve Cells of a healthy brain_U.S. News

I think everyone knows the necessity of Omega 3’s nowadays — it’s all over the “media.” Unfortunately, the status quo is still “fish or fish oils.” One can get DHA from plant foods which the body will convert to the needed EPA — that’s how the fish get it: they eat sea plants and their bodies convert it to EPA — and, as Bogie might say, “why doesn’t everyone just make their own?” 😉 Who wants second-hand nutrients? Not I, said she.   ~Shudder~   Walnuts; Hemp Seeds/Nuts; Flax (in moderation); and, of course that POWER-house seed that contains *the* highest of any food, the CHIA 😀 (aka “Salba”) –All raw, contain lots of DHA, ready to be converted by your incredibly resilient host. Not to mention, all leafy greens; and, if you’re getting your greens on (like you should, via Green Smoothies), you’re SO golden…or Greenen ;^) —  Purslane, being the highest leafy green source of Omega 3’s, with Mache in second place.

However, it has to be noted that oils are NOT good sources, nor are they healthful. Flax oil doesn’t convert well, according to the Flax Council of Canada, for example; and I’ve read elsewhere is only converted anywhere from 2-15%! Dr. Fuhrman is also no fan of oils, especially, flax:

“…I do not recommend the use of flaxseed oil or flaxseed oil supplements. Flaxseed oil is pure fat and virtually devoid of all or most of the nutrients (except for vitamin E) found in ground flaxseed. Also, flaxseed oil is a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), and there is evidence that extracted PUFA oils may suppress the immune system, and possibly increase the growth rate of certain cancers and/or tumors. If you want the benefit of flaxseed, eat the ground seeds and avoid the oil.” _ Disease Proof

And even flax SEEDS should be taken with caution:

“Flax seeds have beneficial health properties in moderate quantity.  Excess omega-3 from flax is linked to increase risk of prostate cancer and flax seeds have a cyanogenic glucoside that blocks iodine uptake.  So they could worsen and iodine deficiency if intake is borderline low.“_Dr. Fuhrman quote from his Forum.

Can Flaxseed Oil Cause Prostate Cancer? Disease Proof

“Keep in mind that the scientifically documented benefits from flax seeds come from raw, ground flax seed, not flax seed oil.”  _ Exerption, Disease-Proof Your Child

 

Chugging oil (and flaxoil, Aye…) is not healthful. In fact, even flax SEEDS should be limited 1 Tablespoon per day is enough).

I have given up flax as a daily supplement (if something I make calls for it —  unlikely — or something I eat has it, I won’t protest) and choose Chia seeds, which are superior anyway. (Chias may be eaten as desired; no cautions with those gems!)

Whole food sources are always better, but, again, it’s cautionary as to how one would do this. An excess of fat sources — even good fats like avos, walnuts, etc. — will become unhealthful amounts at some point. Now, many people have a medical need, or a physical/emotional need for more DHA; as well, a minority just don’t convert the DHA well for some reason. Then a good-quality supplement is desirable — AND, thankfully, veganically available! I’ll start with DHA PURITY, which is one of the highest-quality I know (or trust):

“This veggie derived DHA, sourced from microalgae, provides the beneficial omega–3 fatty acid of fish oil without the fish. DHA Purity now comes in an all–new, purified liquid form of very highly concentrated DHA so that it can be digested easier and hidden easily in food…”

With DHA PURITY, you get 175 mg of DHA. This will cost you about $30 for a 60-day supply — that’s a fantastic deal — about $27 if you’re a member.

*****

Next, the V-PURE from Water4Life is also excellent

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This is a good product. UK sourced, it’s now available in the United States (see links below). At first, I was not trusting, because when I contacted them via email, they could not or would not explain to me HOW it could contain EPA, when that is something that must be converted by a being, whether it’s a fish or other animal. They were being curiously evasive in answering directly. What’s the big secret? Am I going to run off and steal their “secret formulation”??! Gimme a break! That’s the impression I got, though — that it was some sort of secret don't know shrug. So I was skeptical…however, in my continuous thirst-search for knowledge (green roll eyes), I was reading all I could about Spirulina (which I consume, by the way) and something I was reading about the spirulina struck me and it made sense: [spirulina is a living “being” of sorts (kinda)] That IT actively consumes and converts DHA to EPA, therefore, containing EPA just like fish do. So, a much-less yucky *and clean* pre-converted form of EPA than a fish or other poor soul. So, this is most-likely the source of the Water4Life’s EPA, or other algae like phytoplankton or somethin.’ Or, perhaps, they’ve found a way to “feed” DHA to the spirulina so it makes the EPA, etc. Only my guess, of course; but, since they source it as coming from algae, and claim it’s EPA, then what other conclusion is there? So I’m on their bandwagon (…until I learn something to the contrary): I’ve been using it — and it’s actually a higher dosage than I’m used to with DHA Purity — and it’s fabulous! I have gone through 4 bottles. I got it a long time ago because I’m one of those persons who “has to” try stuff! How else to know? 😉 Anyway, like I mentioned previously, I don’t like to order one thing from a site — too expensive and a waste — so I usually wait till I need a few things, then order. I was out of DHA Purity, but didn’t want to just order it alone, so decided to finish off my V-Pure (still  had plenty of time according to the expiry), which tasted fresh as when I first received it. Good to know that it’s reliable and fresh when refrigerated. Then, reordered. Now, one of the things that had me leaning toward this product from the git (even though I was dismayed at their lack of candidness) was the taste — Never had fish oil, however, it IS notorious for tasty disgusting and that’s why it’s in capsules. Bad news, those capsules. It’s easy to miss if it’s stinky-rotten fishy which would mean it’s RANCID and TOXIC! So, basically, you’re doing yourself more harm than good. There are very few sources from which to get very clean fish oils, and even then, you are not getting the best.                Back to the V-Pure — I cracked open one of those babies, and, yep, drank its contents– Very good, actually.  It had almost no flavor at all, which is great. I like the lemon-grass flavor of DHA Purity, but there are some sensitive people who find this mild flavor too off-putting, and some children don’t like it;  So, for them, I’d say go with the V-Pure. It’s in a cap so you won’t taste it anyway, but rest assured you won’t be burping up fish flavors or any flavor, for that matter. And you can always crack open a cap and taste to test. V-Pure provides 89mg of EPA and 270mg of DHA — that’s pretty damn good! It’s not inexpensive: For a 30-day supply (90 vegan-capsules) it runs about $30 at this site. (Also available here at the same price).

*****

Not sure about: NuTru’s O-Mega-Zen3:

I can’t really say it’s NOT good — didn’t take it for any length of time to conclusion — however, the taste was not “clean”; so, while not awful, it wasn’t a pleasant or non-issue experience such as with the DHA PURITY and the V-Pure. So, if desperate, I’d take it! With O-Mega Zen3 — available in liquid or vegan capsules — you get 300 mg DHA for 1 serving  (liquid); I’m not sure the dosage on the caps, but you get 40 capsules per container. Capsules will cost you about $19; the liquid, about $28. Available online as well as in some stores.

*****

DEVA also offers a vegan DHA; I’ve not tried it. It’s available at various vegan store sites as well as in some markets. A 30-day supply at 1 vegan capsule per day will cost you a mere $14.95 for 200 mg DHA; a 90-day supply, $34.95

*****

Another new-comer — Chia oil. Now, again, oils are seed extracts, stripped of the majority of their benefits. You also need more of it than algae oil; so you’re basically getting a lot of fat, which may or may not be enough or even utilized. So, if I were on a desert island and a chia oil tree grew there, I’d take this over fish or any other source that might be around (while taking full advantage of the leaves, of course 😛 ). It’s flavor is not bad, more neutral, if anything. But I’d not say completely flavorless. In larger doses, it gives off a definite flavor; however, in medicinal amounts, it’s negligible.  The link above takes you to a site where excellent chia seeds are offered; and they are now WIDELY available, even in stores. (Read more about chias here). But if for some reason you need chia oil, then it is available at Nature’s Emporium (you must request it in a bottle; the capsules are made of animal gelatin); or HERE or this site has it.

Bottom line –Go with the seeds over their oils; but adding a vegan DHA in addition to the consumption of healthful foods, containing DHA — seeds, leafy greens, nuts — for insurance/assurance.

*****

Personally, I’m all about quality over quantity, especially for my health! I don’t compromise or shortcut when it comes to nutrition and health; so, I don’t mind paying more for Dr. Fuhrman’s DHA Purity, or for the Water4Life’s, V-Pure –same for organic produce. AND, I faithfully get in LOADS of greens (which are FULL OF EFA’s)– whole leaves, blended AND greens, juiced — via my Green Juicie, Green Smoothies! Plus good fats every day in the form in whole foods, preferably — avocado, unsalted, raw, organic olives (FABUlous!!); various nuts and seeds 😉 . So, methinks I’m doing a-okay on the Omega front :D. I also know that my mood; concentration; level of anxiety; deliberation; calmness; and contentment (bigtime) — all improved with the addition of healthy fats, in general, and moreso, DHA, in particular. It is often DHA which is prescribed for depression, as well (usually as fish by unaware M.D.’s) so that makes sense, even if not depressed, as I wasn’t! The purity, cleanliness, and lack of mercury, PCG’s, dioxins, other toxins and rancidity — all of which are readily in the majority of fish oils — make an EPA-DHA plant-based supplement the optimal choice.

We all want a healthy brain:

The Human Brain_National Geographic

SO EAT YOUR GREENS, TAKE YOUR DHA, EXERCISE, SLEEP, REDUCE STRESS, AND CULTIVATE LOVING RELATIONSHIPS!

Whew! I’m thinking Green Juicie Green smoothies need their own page…green wink still cute Will get to it sometime!

_Pox

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21 Comments

  1. phantomforever9 said,

    July 3, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Thanks for the information Omega 3 oils. It’s great to know how to get essential oils using plants instead of fish.

    We recently wrote an article on fish oils at Brain Blogger. Might treating psychiatric and mood disorders be a simple and easy as eating more fish? With some of the nutritional support fish oil provides may be connected to healthier brain activity, it could possibly be.

    We would like to read your comments on our article. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Kelly

  2. poxacuatl said,

    July 4, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting, Kelly. I’ll take a look at your article.

    🙂

  3. Andreas said,

    March 20, 2009 at 2:31 am

    Thanks for the review, I recently came across V-Pure in my quest to find a vegetarian source of DHA and EPA. Like you, I recieved a very poor and somewhat “avoiding” answer when I mailed them, so that made me skeptical. Therefore I went about trying to find people who had experience of their product, since for all I knew, it could be a scam. Your article was of great help, also pointing me towards other possible products =) Keep up the good work!

    • poxacuatl said,

      March 20, 2009 at 7:44 am

      Hi Andreas :).

      It’s difficult to know. I learned a bit more about the process of deriving the DHA; I’m assuming they used certain special algae which preforms it just like animals do. the type of algae is the big “secret.” I’m still not 100% sure about them, though.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Sassy said,

    July 29, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    I recently learned of V-Pure and was very excited to order it (which I did). I have been very happy with the product. I am on my 2nd bottle.

    The only thing that is nagging at me is why they refuse to share important testing information with us, such as toxicology tests and tests which show the amounts of EFAs? They simply say they don’t offer them.

    Here is a recent email:

    “Thank you! And to let you know we understand your concerns. Our history is that we have been in operation since April 2006 and have customers the world over. Our client base not only includes regular users but includes people from the medical profession, nutritionists, therapists and suchlike. Our product has undergone numerous toxicology tests of course and has been rigourously tested. Our product is also available in health shops in America including vegan essentials. It is also vegan society approved.

    “We hope this helps to satisfy your worries. We are confidant also any searches on the internet regarding V-Pure will fully back our claims.”

    Well, that did NOT satisfy my worries. Especially since I didn’t find the info I was looking for on the internet. And why should the information not come directly from the company?

    So I wrote back to them.

    Response:

    “Thank you again, however I’m afraid toxicology reports are not available, sorry.”

    This leaves me a bit leery. Why won’t the provide this information? It seems they are hiding something.

    Any thoughts on this?

    • Steve in W MA said,

      November 8, 2009 at 11:38 am

      In general in human and legal affairs, refusing to directly answer a question is a defensible way to avoid having to answer it in a way that might be deleterious to one’s economic or social interests. To say more is to invite a lawsuit, so I won’t. You can draw your own conclusion

  5. Steve in W MA said,

    November 8, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Having a “not pure” or “fishy” taste is probably a good sign in these products, as it is well known that both DHA and EPA are highly degradable and it is likely that any product that contains them will contain degraded forms of them as time goes by (on the shelf, in the fridge, etc). I would be suspicious of a completely “clean” tasting DHA and EPA, mainly for that reason, unless the company can demonstrate why they are able to present a totally “nondegraded” product given that temperature, light, and oxygen exposure all contribute to oil degradation and exposure to these three factors cannot ever be completely eliminated.

  6. Tungsten said,

    May 2, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Hi bud,

    I used the info on this page, I mean, I take fish oil plus vit. C megadoses and spirulina etc. — to replace lots of crappy meds. Here’s a page that showed me that spirulina actually has no EPA (hence this post). I was searching for how much DHA and EPA it contains, and I came upon your page and this one.

    http://wdatech.free.fr/CSVTECH/spirulinafacts.htm

    I’ve known for a while that spirulina is fabulous, but as I just learned, it can’t give me the DHA and EPA I need. Alga oils seem to, like the ones you mentioned — they’re concentrated and all… but yeah, no EPA in spirulina, whether dry or oil.

    Cheers mate! (I’m subscribing, too.)

  7. Rob said,

    May 20, 2010 at 8:54 am

    I’ve never had my own chia pet or chia head or whatnot, but they look cool on TV. I just eat the seeds and I swear, they help sooo much as far as energy and feeling good throughout the day goes. I honestly started feeling so much better on a day-to-day basis after I started putting them in my smoothies about a year ago. The one’s I get are Chia Pure. Chia Seeds Right Now they are even buy 1
    get 1 free!

    • poxacuatl said,

      May 22, 2010 at 9:56 am

      I hear ya, Rob! LOVE my chias! In fact, I grew some chia microgreens too ;^)
      All the claims about Chia seeds benefits seem to ring true, from my experience. I don’t consume flax any longer — chias rule! :^D

  8. Matt Metzgar said,

    June 19, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Fromw what I understand, the company Martek supplies much of the algae-DHA to various companies. They supply it to Fuhrman and also to DEVA I believe.

    • poxacuatl said,

      June 21, 2010 at 7:22 am

      I’ve read they all come from Martek, as well :). I really like the V-Pure. It has a very clean flavor, and it’s in a higher dose, supplying the EPA is still “iffy,” but, I guess we’re all subject to the integrity of these companies.

  9. Cathy said,

    January 16, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Opti3 – http://www.opti3omega.com

    This product has certified levels of vegan EPA, DHA, SDA and ALA. It is approved by Vegan and Vegetarian Societies. Plus according to the website just won ‘product of the year’ award.

    Fantastic product for vegans

    Cathy

    • Strix said,

      January 19, 2011 at 9:37 am

      Ah, a new one! Thanks for the link. :^)

  10. January 31, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Hi: I work as a nutrition reporter and spirula does not contain any EPA / DHA. If a product advertizes itself as a veggie or vegan source of EPA or DHA, that means it is from an algae or yeast source (usually algae). Algae does not have issues with PCB contamination the way fish oils do, which is probably why companies do not go through toxicology testing.

    I don’t begrudge your frustration in V-Pure’s reluctance to be more forthcoming, but I personally would not take their obfuscations as a sign of something nefarious.

    My understanding from talking to omega-3 experts in the field is that algae are kind of a hybrid species. Some are more “animal like” and some are more “plant like”. This might answer your question about how an algae can produce EPA — it can, just in much lower amounts than DHA. As a longtime vegetarian, I don’t personally worry about how “plant” or “animal” like any given algae is b/c would it be any different than the yeast used to make bread rise? Technically that is an animal-like lifeform too, and even vegans eat bread.

    One measure of the quality of any dietary supplement company is to see whether they are a member of any of the major industry trade associations. To be a member of, for example, the Natural Products Association or the Council for Responsible Nutrition, you are agreeing to abide by certain criteria and quality testing. Usually companies that have such memberships post it somewhere on their website.

    I also want my manufacturer to be “GMP certified.” That means they subject their manufacturing facilities to federal oversight.

    If you are trying to weigh between different supplements — beyond issues of dosage and price — those are the questions I would ask. “Are you a member of any trade associations? And, do you have any certifications?” Additional great certifications a company could earn are QAI (Quality Assurance International) or NSF International.

    You say, for example, that you trust the Dr. Fuhrman product, but I don’t really see why. They might be totally great, I have no information otherwise, but I don’t see that they have any affiliation with the major trade associations, nor have they earned these independent, 3rd party certifications. On what basis is your “trust” ? The more certs and affiliations a company has, the more I trust them.

    Which is the best product based on these criteria? I don’t know … haven’t researched it.

    • Strix said,

      February 4, 2011 at 8:42 am

      Thanks for your sharing your opinion. 🙂

  11. MacSmiley said,

    August 3, 2011 at 6:43 am

    @WanderingHebrew
    All of Dr Fuhrman’ssupplements are GMP certified.

  12. Pernilla said,

    October 5, 2011 at 1:38 am

    V-pure algae oil is probably safe to use, but there are some documentation missing. I am a former v-pure retailer, but we had to stop selling the product as it was illegal in Europe. In Europe all algae oil must be registered as novel food. V-pure is not registered, and there are no documentation of the production. To my knowledge the v-pure oil is not manufactured according to GMP. V-pure contains algae oil from a different algae strain compared the the majority of algae products containing Martek’s life’s DHA. These days Martek have released an algae oil with higher EPA content. It is available in the USA, for example in DEVA’s new algae product. The content of EPA in algae oil differs dependent on algae strains used. EPA is a precursor of DHA. DHA and EPA in algae are produced in the same metabolic pathway as in humans.
    I am not saying v-pure is a bad product, but is currently sold illegally in Europe, and every time you ask Water4life for technical documentation, you get no answer. It is probably legal to sell in the USA, but I would recommend to use one of the products containing Martek’s algae oil. It is safe, GRAS certified and manufactured according to GMP.

  13. October 2, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    This is a very good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing this
    one. A must read article!

    • Strix said,

      October 9, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Hi :^). Yes, it’s an old post ;^) The revelations of science are never-ending and ever changing. Hopefully, we learn and proceed rightly, but cautiously.
      Blessings of Health and Wellness to you; Thanks for stopping by!


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