Study: Vegans have more DHA and Omega-3 than Fish-Eaters


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Read More: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Fish oil, Omega-3 fatty acid, Veganism

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So you think you need to eat fish to get lots of longchain Omega-3s?

Not if you're vegan.

Some plant-based eaters think that adding fish oil to your diet will help due to rich Omega-3 fats found in fish. But one by one, the reasons for doing this have crumbled.

And fish is loaded with pollution and toxic chemicals that fish eat, and pass along to the person eating (think pregnant mothers being advised by the government to avoid most fish -- and if the government is making the recommendation over the objections of the powerful seafood lobby, you'd better take note).

According to a study published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vegans -- who eat no fish or fish oil and eschew animal products -- have the same blood levels of Omega-3 as the heavy fish eaters, and HIGHER DHA levels.

From the article:

Despite having significantly lower intakes of EPA and DHA (from fish or fish oil), blood levels of EPA and DHA in vegans and vegetarians were approximately the same as regular fish eaters.
The results indicate that the bodies of vegetarians and other non-fish-eaters can respond to a lack of dietary omega-3 EPA and DHA by increasing their ability to make them from omega-3 ALA.
And as they said, "The implications of this study are that, if conversion of plant-based sources of n-3 PUFAs were ... sufficient to maintain health, it could have significant consequences for public health ..." (Welch AA et al. 2010).

Read the whole story here.


10 Comments | Leave a comment


I generally eat a tablespoon of ground flax seeds in the morning, but little dark green leafy vegetables. So when I added a DHA capsule (extracted from algae) to my diet, I started dreaming in color. I'm a nearly 71 yr old. I eat about 1.3 oz of natural peanut butter/day. Maybe I should switch to walnuts.


Peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes. Try adding real nuts to your menu, and enjoy the organic peanut butter.


Wow- this is pretty interesting and gives me hope since I don't really want to eat fish anymore!


I clicked on the link for the full article and was surprised by the caveats section and the general tone of the article which seemed very skeptical of the study's findings until I looked at the logo at the top of the website and realized that VitalChoice is a seafood company! Odd that VegSource would link to them, as they obviously have a serious bias. Anyhow, read their article with that in mind.

Once again science shows that eating plant-based is perfectly healthy - and in the end will surely show that it's healthiER.

(As an aside, since fish receive their Omega-3s from the algae they eat, I never understood why people don't just use algae supplements instead. From what I understand, they're nutritionally identical, but without the associated ethical and environmental costs.)


If you read the whole article, you'll find a much more skeptical conclusion about the adequacy of plant-based omega 3 intake vs. pre-formed long-chain EPA and DHA from marine sources.

I Googled the author, Craig Weatherby. It turns out that he is the Director of Online Marketing and Content at Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics.

'Nuf said.


Even the caveats given by the seafood company are notable, though. Dr. Esselstyn's very low fat vegan diet (used to prevent and reverse heart disease) does have folks adding 1 T of ground flaxseed to their diet, and since they are not having additional nuts or oils it does accomodate the caveat raised about needing to limit omega-6 fatty acids. No problem. Agreed.

Both my naturapathic physician and my internist are convinced I need to be taking fish oil, so I am looking forward to sharing this article with them. It will interest them, if not convince them.


Although I had been eating a Tbs of ground flax seeds/day for years, I wasn't dreaming in color. Then, after a week or so of two fish oil pills/day, I was dreaming in color for the first time in my life. In the past, the only time I dreamed in color was after a large fish dinner. But, I haven't eaten fish for years. Now I take both fish oil, and DHA extracted from algae. Not every day, but from time to time. -- Here's an important study, indicating that males and females need different amounts of EPA and DHA. This has me taking more fish oil, and less DHA. The fish oil for my heart, and the DHA for my brain, and those colorful dreams.


Jack in Ohio, where did you find DHA extracted from algae? I'd like to purchase this product. Thanks.


At Walgreens. I looked in Meijer, Kroger, and Rite Aid, but they don't carry it. I didn't check Walmart. 30 capsules regularly sell for about $12.95, but I try and wait for it to go on sale, at two for one. You can also buy it online. One such online site was advertised here in


Hi. You have chosen an interesting topic. I love to eat fishes. By the way great article thanks for posting.

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