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Plant Based Omega 3 Sources
Last updated: August-6,2021

9 Plant-based Omega 3 Sources for Your Next Supplement Line

Omega 3 fatty acids are lauded for their multiple health benefits and are often recommended to be an essential part of our regular diet or supplement regimen. 

With the market projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.4% during 2020-2021, omega-3 fatty acids provide several health benefits that drive the demand for essential fatty acid supplements. This blog covers the popular plant-based omega-3 sources along with their benefits and recent market trends. Keep scrolling to learn more!

What Are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential and healthy fatty acids that play a vital role in human cellular function. They help maintain healthy heart, brain, skin, eyes, and kidney functions in healthy individuals.[i] [ii]

What Are the Benefits of Plant-Based Omega 3?

Plant-based food contains alpha-linolic acid (ALA), an essential omega 3 fatty acid. Our body further converts ALA into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Unfortunately, the body’s ability to convert ALA is limited – approximately 5% of ALA is converted to EPA, whereas less than 0.5% is converted to DHA.[iii] This makes the consumption of EPA and DHA in the form of supplements or through diet extremely essential to meet the body’s daily omega-3 requirement.[iv]

While fish readily contains both DHA and EPA, plant-based foods offer many additional health benefits over animal products, such as low saturated and trans fat levels. Plant-based foods are also rich in vitamins that, for some, give them an edge over animal-based omega 3.

What Plant-based Foods Have Omega 3?

Following are the 9 plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids that have been found to help fulfill the body’s omega 3 requirements.

Chia Seeds

Are chia seeds a good source of omega 3? The answer is a definite ‘yes’! Chia seeds have been found to be rich in ALA omega 3 fatty acids. 1-oz of chia seed serving contains 5.055 grams of ALA, which exceeds the daily recommended omega 3 intake.[v] 

They are also high in protein and fiber and are an excellent vegan source of calcium. A combination of one tablespoon of chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of water may work as a vegan egg substitute.[vi] 

Brussels Sprouts

It’s another excellent source of omega 3. Let’s take a look at the Brussels sprouts nutrition facts:

  • a cup of raw Brussels sprouts contains 87.1 mg of omega 3.[vii] 
  • while an equal quantity of cooked Brussels sprouts provides 145.2 mg of omega 3.[viii]
  • they are also high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber.

Algal Oil

Algal oil is one of the few vegan sources containing both EPA and DHA.[ix] So, what’s Algal Oil? It’s an oil derived from algae. According to some studies, Algal oil is comparable to seafood in terms of nutritional availability, tolerance, and absorption of EPA and DHA.

Available in soft gel and liquid form, Algal oil supplements have been typically found to offer 400-500 mg of combined EPA and DHA compared to the recommended daily value of 300-900 mg. Of the 9 options presented, this is the only one that provides a vegan source of EPA and DHA.

Hemp Seeds

With around 30% of oil, hemp seeds consist of a good amount of omega 3. One ounce (28 grams) of hemp seeds contains about 6,000 mg of ALA, around 375-545% of the recommended daily intake.[x] Additionally, they have been found to be a good source of protein, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Hemp seeds offer many benefits for healthy individuals – including maintaining cardiovascular function, skin health, and digestion.

Flax Seeds

It is believed that the amount of omega 3 in flax seeds surpasses the amount of omega 3 in all other food sources on the planet. One ounce of flax seeds consists of 6,388 mg of ALA omega 3, approximately 400-580% of the daily recommended value.[xi] They are high in protein, fiber, manganese, and magnesium. Flax seeds are also rich in polyphenols such as lignans that serve as vital antioxidants in the body.[xii] As a result, flax seeds provide multiple health benefits, including maintaining cholesterol levels in healthy individuals.[xiii] [xiv]

Walnuts

One ounce of walnuts provides 2,542 mg of ALA. Walnuts are loaded with healthy fats and are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Studies reveal that the health benefits of walnuts include helping maintain a healthy weight, gut health, healthy blood pressure already at normal levels, and supporting brain health.

Kidney Beans

Besides being an excellent source of protein and fiber, half a cup of kidney beans contains 0.10 grams omega 3.[xv] Thereby keeping you full for long. Additionally, with their high content of folate and iron, they may serve as a pregnancy superfood.[xvi]

Edamame

Edamame beans are immature soybeans. Edamame is a good source of omega 3, with half a cup consisting of 0.28 grams of ALA. Besides omega 3, they are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds have exceptional nutrient value.They are an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, calcium, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and antioxidants. Around 32.25 grams of pumpkin seeds contain 0.04 grams of omega 3 fatty acids.[xvii]  Additionally, they contain phytosterols that may help maintain normal blood cholesterol levels in healthy individuals.[xviii]

Current Omega-3 Supplement Market Size and Trends

With the impeccable omega 3 dietary supplement benefits, the global omega 3 supplement market size is expected to grow from USD 5.18 billion at a CAGR of 8.4% between 2020 and 2027.[xix] The increasing preference for veganism, increasing awareness of health benefits of plant-based diet, and growing concerns over safeguarding marine ecosystem and biodiversity have surged the prominence of plant-based ingredients in the food and supplement industry.[xx]

The plant-based omega 3 ingredients demand may rise in the coming decade. According to Transparency Market Research, the fish-free omega 3 ingredients market is expected to reach USD 1.3 billion by 2029.[xxi] 

How can NutraScience Labs Help You with Manufacturing Plant-based Omega-3 Supplements?

Are you planning to introduce a plant-based omega-3 supplement product in the market? At NutraScience Labs, we understand the supplement market and help brand owners stay ahead of the curve.

With over 80 years of nutritional supplement manufacturing experience, we have created high-quality supplement products for over 2,000 brands. In addition to world-class supplement manufacturing, we also provide our clients with award-winning labeling and packaging services and convenient order fulfillment solutions. For more information on how to get started, call us at 855-492-7388 or request a free nutraceutical manufacturing quote.


References:

[i] https://www.pcrm.org/good-nutrition/nutrition-information/omega-3

[ii] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323144

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17622276

[iv] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-plant-sources-of-omega-3s

[v] https://ods.od.nih.gov/pubs/usdandb/ALA-Content.pdf

[vi] https://www.eatingwell.com/article/291962/8-best-vegan-omega-3-rich-foods/

[vii] https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2362/2

[viii] https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2363/2

[ix] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736422/

[x] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2868018/

[xi] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-omega-3

[xii] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19935863/

[xiii] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25694068/

[xiv] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-healthiest-seeds

[xv] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/

[xvi] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/303864

[xvii] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrientprofile&dbid=117

[xviii] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16302759/

[xix] https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/omega-3-supplement-market

[xx] https://vegconomist.com/market-and-trends/heather-mills-launches-vegan-omega-3-fishless-omega-3-market-to-reach-us1-3-billion/

[xxi] https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2019/09/23/1918946/32656/en/Fish-free-Omega-3-Ingredients-Market-to-reach-a-value-of-US-1-3-Bn-by-2029-Noted-TMR.html

August 6th, 2021

About the Author:

 
Gene Bruno

Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG) - Mr. Bruno possesses over 40 years of dietary supplement industry experience. With a Master's degree in nutrition and a second Master's degree in herbal medicine, he has a proven track record of formulating innovative, evidence-based dietary supplements. Mr. Bruno currently serves as both the Senior Director of Product Innovation at Twinlab Corporation and Professor of Nutraceutical Science at Huntington University of Health Sciences.