Omega 3 for vegans: Vegans should know that

Omega 3 für Veganer: Das sollten Veganer wissen

Omega-3 is an important nutrient that everyone should consume, whether on a regular or vegan diet. Yeah right ! Despite their attitude towards life, vegans can also take omega-3, because omega-3 is not only found in fish oil, but also in plant-based foods, which many people do not know.

Everyone should make sure they get enough omega-3 fatty acids and luckily there are plenty of sources for vegans too. In the following article we give the most important information about omega-3 for vegans.

the essentials in brief

  • Omega-3 fatty acids fulfill important tasks in our body and support it against diseases. It can also improve our quality of life.
  • Even vegans can completely cover the omega-3 budget. Some plant-based foods can help with this.
  • Certain symptoms indicate an omega-3 deficiency. But to prevent an omega-3 deficiency as a vegan, you can change something in your everyday life.

Omega-3 for vegans: what you should know

Omega-3 is important for many things in our body and can improve our quality of life. Unfortunately, the consumption of fish is not the top priority in menu planning in many countries, but there are still a large number of dietary supplements on the market, with which we can still prevent a deficiency. Vegans can also be affected by a deficiency because they do not consume any fish at all. However, there are also ways for them to take the fatty acids.

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential substances for nutrition. They cannot be produced by the body itself and should therefore be consumed in sufficient quantities. They are essential fatty acids contained in vegetable oils or in various fish. They form a chemical bond for the organism and ensure that the cells remain elastic. The processes in the body are therefore uncomplicated, supporting muscle regeneration, hormone production, cell renewal and the immune system.

Omega 3 capsules

Omega-3 capsules made from fish oil or vegan. The daily requirement should be covered. (Pixabay/elliasfalla)

A distinction is made between alpha-linolenic acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Omega-3 is so important because it protects against many diseases, such as. B. Cardiovascular problems and cancer. They are also used for brain function and vision.

How important is omega-3 for vegans?

The vegan attitude to life is very healthy for the body, but certain vitamin and nutrient deficiencies can still occur. Dietary supplements can be used to prevent this. Omega-3 is one of the most important fatty acids that should be kept at a stable level from childhood because they support brain development.

You can contribute a lot to our health and thus to our quality of life. These represent elements and building blocks of our cell membrane and are increasingly found in nerve cells and in the brain. The job of the cell membrane is to separate the cell from its environment. It can also transport substances to other cells through membrane proteins. Omega-3 also supports vision and the ability to concentrate.

How do I know if I have an omega-3 deficiency?

In the case of deficiency symptoms in everyday life, omega-3 fatty acids are out of the question, because unfortunately many people are not aware that the body needs these nutrients and can therefore cause certain problems in the event of a deficiency. First we think of other vitamin deficiencies and omega-3 doesn't come to mind, although omega-3 deficiency does manifest itself in important symptoms.

The following symptoms can occur with an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency :

  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • muscle weakness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • joint pain
  • Higher risk of heart disease and high cholesterol
  • Poorer brain development in infants and young children
  • indigestion

Symptoms such as hair loss, dry hair or dandruff can also occur due to an omega-3 deficiency. The formation of calluses and dry skin in general can also be symptoms. And dry eyes and a dry throat can also be recognized with a deficiency. With such symptoms, you should find out if you have an omega-3 deficiency and then make sure that you cover this deficiency. These symptoms can occur frequently in everyday life and reduce performance.

What are sources of vegan omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are not only found in fish oil , but also in vegetable oils and seeds. Fish oil is also made commercially from oily fish and they contain the important omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA, is found in plant sources.


Vegan omega-3 from flaxseed, best in oil form. The omega-3 value is higher there. (Image source: pixabay/Pezibear)

Alpha-linolenic acid has positive effects on bone protection, such as osteoporosis and bone stability. In addition, the body can convert ALA into the important omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

You can find omega-3 fatty acids in these plant sources:

Groceries g/100g
walnuts 8th
peanuts 0.5
hazelnuts 0.1
avocado 0.2
linseed oil 54
hemp oil 18
walnut oil 13
rapeseed oil 9
soybean oil 8th
Chia seeds 6

How much omega-3 does the body need daily?

Among the fatty acids, omega-3 are the most important, but the body also needs omega-6 fatty acids , which should be taken in a certain ratio. Omega-6 are polyunsaturated fatty acids and have their first double bond on the sixth carbon atom, while omega-3 fatty acids have it on the third carbon atom. Since these fatty acids have opposing effects, they should be taken in a ratio of 3:1 (omega-6/-3).

The daily requirement of omega-3 is 2g per day and should be covered by dietary supplements if this cannot be obtained through diet. Dietary supplements are fish oil capsules or vegan capsules made from plants.

What side effects can occur?

When consuming omega-3 capsules, there are usually no side effects. Gastrointestinal problems or complaints have only rarely been reported. The most common problem is that the capsules smell like fish or bad breath can occur after consumption.

With more than 20g per day, nausea, flatulence, a feeling of fullness and diarrhea can occur.

However, an overdose can lead to increased cholesterol levels and an increased tendency to bleed, which means a blood clotting disorder. In older people, it can even weaken the immune system, making them more susceptible to disease.

How can I prevent an omega 3 deficiency on a vegan diet?

Despite limitations, the vegan diet offers a large number of foods rich in vitamins and nutrients. So vegans, like others who plan to eat fish weekly, should plan meals with foods containing omega-3. Instead of the usual sunflower oil, linseed oil can be used in the preparation of dishes because these contain the most vegetable omega-3 fatty acids.

For vegans, there are also vegan-made capsules that can be consumed without hesitation.

As with normal nutrition, it can still happen that the daily requirement is not always covered. However, this can be supplemented with dietary supplements. Before a deficiency occurs, a simple attitude to life can protect you from a deficiency and its symptoms.

What alternatives are there to incorporate omega-3 in everyday life?

There are several ways to get the essential omega-3 fatty acids on a vegan route. For this I have briefly listed the plant foods that contain the most alpha-linoleic acid.

  • Flaxseed oil: Use flaxseed oil as a cooking ingredient for your dishes, so you have omega-3 in your dishes every day, because oil is always needed when cooking. You can also take a spoon every morning. Linseed oil has an omega-3 value of 54g per 100g.
  • Hemp oil: Hemp oil contains 18g of omega-3 fatty acids per 100g. Currently also a very popular oil, which is good for many things. You can take a spoonful after a meal to benefit from its omega-3 content.
  • Walnuts: You can add walnuts to your morning yoghurt or porridge or eat them as is as a snack. You can also include them in your desserts.
  • Chia seeds: You can eat these in many ways. You can add this superfood to salads, bowls or dishes. They are also high in fiber and filling.


These essential omega-3 fatty acids are important and vital for everyone. Our body cannot produce these important nutrients itself, so we should ensure that the value is always covered. Vegans have the opportunity to supplement their omega-3 daily requirement with certain foods, but even if this should not be possible with a normal diet, there are enough suppliers who offer vegan capsules.

The vegetable omega-3 fatty acid is called alpha-linoleic acid and our body is able to convert it into the important EPA and DHA fatty acids, which is why vegans are not disadvantaged in their lifestyle. So vegans can compensate for or even prevent an omega-3 deficiency.


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