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Vegetarian Alternatives to Fish Oil

Updated on May 31, 2010

You are familiar with benefits of fish oil and you've tried to convince yourself that you can handle ingesting it but it just goes against your principles. Consuming fish oil violates many of the reasons that you became vegetarian in the first place. And besides, you don't think it would actually be good for your body to start getting fish into it now after you've been staying away from all meat for as long as you have. So, how do you stick with your beliefs and your vegetarian diet but still get the nutritional benefits you're missing out on by not eating fish oil?

Don't worry. There are vegetarian alternatives to fish oil that allow you to obtain those same results which include regulation of cholesterol and heart disease, anti-inflammatory problems and even some types of depression. What you're trying to get from the fish oil are the omega-3 fatty acids. Here are some of your vegetarian options for getting those without the fish:

  • Algae combined with nut / seed oil - Consuming algae such as spirulina can assist the body in properly converting omega 3 fats from the oils of nuts and seeds. This is one of the most common vegetarian replacements for fish oil. Spirualina as the algae and flax oil is the best combination although others are suitable as well.
  • Black Currant Oil - Some nutritional sales spots say that the Omega-3 fatty acids ALA and Stearidonic Acid which are present in black currant oil can improve the cardiovascular system and help maintain the hormones that can lead to some types of depression so this may be a good vegetarian replacement for fish oil. However, the FDA hasn't confirmed this.
  • Flax seed oil - This falls into the category above for seed oil combined with algae but it's good enough as a replacement to be worth mentioning on its own. Flax seed oil is also known to have other health benefits so you should learn more about this alternative.
  • Vegetarian Fish Oil Replacement Supplements - Plenty of people get their fish oil simply by going to their nutritional store or drug store and picking up the tablets of it. As a vegetarian, you can do the same things. There are vegetarian alternatives to fish oil capsules, such as Seven Seas Vegetarian Omega-3. These may not be as easy to find as fish oil capsules but if you seek, they are there.

After looking over the various alternatives that are available for fish oil, you're probably doing some thinking. Maybe you'll go ahead and proceed with one of these alternatives. Or maybe you're thinking that it wouldn't be so bad to try fish oil after all. If you're vegetarian resolve is being undermined, consider reading this article before making a final decision. It details the reasons that plant oils are preferable to fish oil, making a good case for finding an alternative to the latter. Even if you decide to go with fish oil in the end, at least you'll have all of the information.


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    Neeta 5 years ago

    Thank you for having such informative articles with facts on this site. My family is vegetarian and I agree with your article. Also now I will be more careful planning a meal and adding the nutrient I might have been missing in everyday diet.Also, preparing meals at home is the best choice as it's always been! THans for shring the best helpful knowledge.

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    Allah hu akbar 6 years ago

    Just eat halaal meat. You stupid infidels.

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    Gadi 7 years ago

    If any of the readers still think there is no alternative for fish oil because ALA will not convert to DHA and EPA I suggest you read about “The Firefighter Study” just Google it and learn. I have a family I care about more than anything and it is nothing to do with being a vegetarian, I prefer a safe natural source of Omega 3.

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    Dr. John Polagruto 7 years ago

    Sadly, Linolenic acid does not compete with EPA and DHA in supporting heart healthy eicosanoid formation. As the previous post mentioned, Flax oil does not cut it. I don't say that - science does. However, vegetarian diets tend to be health in so many other ways, its ok.

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    alfredoe 7 years ago

    Sorry to disagree with you guys but there is no real alternative to EPA and DHA found in animal origin omega 3 oils.

    No way you can replace EPA and DHA with any kind of ALA. ALA is not bio available to be converted to EPA and DHA, the real omega 3 fats. It is just speculation.

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    Igennus 7 years ago

    There's also one good source of omega-3, -6 and -9, not mentioned in the article. It comes from Echium plant. The supplement form contains stearidonic acid (SDA), which produces up to 5 times more EPA than flaxseed, as research suggest.

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    Donna 8 years ago

    Unfortunately, you really need Omega 6 & 9, as well, to really make a difference.

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    Joe H. 8 years ago

    I use DEVA Omega-3 DHA. It is completely animal free (vegan).

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    Dr. Benjamin Motallero 9 years ago

    Hemp oil contains all the Omega-3s as well as all fatty acids.

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    Dr Scott Doughman 9 years ago

    Concentrated DHA in Golden Microalgae Oil is THE SOURCE where fish Omega-3s come from. I went to the source. He came back with Life's Omega-3 Pearl, Pure One-the first Optimized Omega3. ”The proof is in the results” I say "We build results, our business is growing out of that service.”

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