Omega-3 are essential fatty acids that can be found in foods like fish, seeds and oils. It is essential to include these foods in your diet, but it can be hard to reach the recommended amount.
Omega 3 supplements come in a variety of forms, and they are sourced from a range of different ingredients. The most common source of Omega 3 is fish oil, meaning that if it was used in supplements, they would be unsuitable for vegetarians or vegans. Now, there is a wide range of vegan options as well.
Let’s take a closer look at these supplements to help you get to know the details. Then we will introduce you to our pick of the best omega-3 available in the UK.
What is Omega-3?
Omega-3 fatty acids belong to a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are needed for different essential functions of the body. There are several different types which can be found from various sources. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are most often found in fatty fish, shellfish or algae.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a form of omega-3 found in vegetable oils like soy, flax and canola. Your body can convert a small amount of ALA into EPA and then DHA but only in small amounts. Ideally, your diet should include all three. If you follow a vegan diet, it is crucial to find a supplement that contains an algal source of EPA and DHA.
Each of these omega-3 fatty acid plays a vital role in the health and day to day function of your body. ALA is used as a powerful energy source, EPA is most often used as a signalling molecule, and DHA forms critical structures in your brain, eyes and other body parts.
The Benefits of Omega-3
As well as their primary function, these fatty acids have been found to have several other useful roles:
Ease symptoms of depression
Omega-3 has been shown to play a significant role in easing the symptoms of major depressive disorders, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. By decreasing the high triglyceride levels in the body, the ingredients of omega-3 perform essential cellular reactions, which help the brain in easing the symptoms of depression.
Several clinical research studies have linked consuming omega-3 to improved vision. It can protect eyes from dry eye syndrome and other conditions including macular degeneration. Omega-3 is also helpful in proper drainage of intraocular fluids from eyes – thus reducing the risk of several eye conditions such as glaucoma and high eye pressure.
Enhanced Cardiovascular Health
Evidence-based clinical studies show that for some participants, omega-3 reduced the risk of cardiac arrhythmias and other cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack and coagulation of cholesterol in the blood vessels. Some studies have also found that omega-3 can treat hypertension and hyperlipidemia.
Help treat ADHD
Omega-3 has been found to ease some symptoms of ADHD. While there is more investigation to be done, it is one of the most promising treatments available. They can improve attention and reduce hyperactivity, impulsiveness and aggression.
As with any supplement, omega-3 should not be used in place of anything prescribed by your doctor. If you are considering using supplements as part of treating any condition, we strongly advise that you talk to your doctor first.
Fish Oil Vs Algae
Fish and algae oil are both considered to be the best sources of EPA and DHA. Algae is the source of omega 3 in fish. It enters the food chain when fish eat the algae. It is then stored in their bodies to help them survive in cold temperatures.
Algae oil is a more concentrated source of omega-3 fatty acids, but the final amount of oil produced depends on the extraction method used. Both algae and fish oil make effective omega-3 supplements providing large amounts of DHA.
How much should I take?
The NHS recommends taking about 450g each day and not exceeding 1g in supplement form. The Association of UK Dietitians advises noting the vitamin A content of omega-3 supplements to ensure that you don’t exceed 1.5mg per day.
Are there any side effects?
Omega-3 is considered safe in the recommended amounts, but taking more significant amounts regularly has been found to have several adverse effects. They include increased blood sugar in people with diabetes, bleeding, low blood pressure, heartburn, nausea, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain.
It is also known to interact with some medicines, so if you are on any prescribed medication, you must speak to your doctor before taking omega-3.
As with any supplement, if you experience any new symptoms, stop taking it immediately and speak to a doctor.
The Best Omega-3 Supplements Available In the UK
1. Performance Lab Vegan Omega 3 with DHA and EPA
Performance Lab produces the best vegan omega 3 we’ve found. Certified as suitable for vegans by the Vegetarian Society, each serving delivers an impressive 600mg DHA and 300mg EPA. It comes in a unique soft gel capsule that’s completely gelatine free.
Sourced from algae and free from contaminants, it’s been designed to provide a precise measure of fatty acids quickly and effectively. A bottle of 60 capsules will last one month and costs £29 and is free from synthetic additives, soy and GMO.
- Pure algal source
- Certified vegan
- Free from GMO, synthetic additives and soy
- Source of both DHA and EPA
- Soft gel capsules
- 2 capsules per serving
- 48p per capsule
2. OMVITS Vegan Omega 3 DHA Supplement
This supplement from OMVITS is a vegetarian and vegan source of omega-3 fatty acid DHA. The supplement is easy-to-swallow is made from nutritious and clean marine algae. Each one delivers 400mg omega-3 DHA in a form that is easily absorbed by your body.
It’s an affordable alternative to fish oil that is both clean and sustainable. A bottle of 60 capsules costs £13.97 and is free from gluten and GMO.
- Pure algal source
- 100% vegan
- Free from additives and artificial colours
- 23p per capsule
- 2 capsules per serving
3. Nu U Nutrition Omega-3 Vegan Algal Oil
This Omega 3 rich, soft gel capsules are suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Each one contains 650mg of algal oil that yields 260mg of DHA. Made by Nu U Nutrition the oil is extracted from fresh, clean, natural sea sources. The oil is enriched with additional vitamin E; this keeps it fresh and potent.
Held in a quick-dissolving soft gel shell, these supplements are designed to deliver the DHA quickly and effectively. This is a premium product made from Schizochytrium limacinum, a sustainable marine farmed algae from the Yellow Sea in the Pacific Ocean. A bottle contains 90 capsules, and the suggested serving is two daily. These supplements cost £16.97, which works out at about 19p per capsule. They are free from gluten, dairy, nuts and soya.
- 100% Vegan
- 260mg DHA
- 19p per capsule
- 90 capsules
- 2 capsules per serving
- Made in the UK
4. Pure & Essential Omega-3 Wild Fish Oil
Igennus Pure and Essential Omega-3 contain a high concentration of EPA (410 mg) and DHA (250 mg) as well as 1000 IU vitamin D3. It provides omega-3 in re-esterified triglyceride form, which is absorbed more effectively into the body than any other fish oil.
These supplements from Igennus provide ultra-concentrated omega-3, which offers three times more strength than others available in the UK. The active ingredient is sourced from sustainable and pure wild fish. All traces of dioxins and mercury have been entirely removed.
Moreover, the supplement is free from artificial colours and flavours. Third-party labs test it, and to date, hundreds of thousands of users have benefited from it. For £14.99 you get 60 capsules which each work out at approximately 25p.
- Made in the UK410mg EPA
- 250mg DHA
- 25p per capsule
- 60 capsules
- Natural lemon flavour
- Fish oil source
Have a look at this and the other products in the Igennus range on Amazon.
5. Nutravita Omega-3 Fish Oil
This powerful fish oil supplement is made in the UK by Nutravita. Each capsule contains 1000 mg of fish oil which provides 330 mg of EPA and 220 mg of DHA. The fish oil is taken from fish caught in the fresh, clean waters, just off the Peruvian coastline. They are then distilled to remove any remaining contaminants. As a result, they contain no metals, PCBs or other toxins.
These supplements are soft gel capsules which are easy to swallow and contain no artificial colours or flavours, are non-GMO and are free from allergens such as Gluten, Lactose, Nuts and Nut Traces. A bottle holds 240 capsules, and the suggested serving is two capsules a day, meaning that you have a four months supply. Each bottle costs £17.99, and a capsule works out at about 7p.
- 330mg EPA
- 220mg DHA
- 7p per capsule
- 240 capsules
- Fish oil source
- Made in the UK
- No artificial flavours and colours
Further reading: If you’re not sure which vitamins or supplements you should take, you may like to read my article Which Supplements Should I take? For an all in multivitamin, try our article on Best Multivitamins UK. Or, for a great natural supplement, read Best Turmeric Supplements UK.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Should I take an omega 3 supplement?
Omega-3 fatty acids belong to a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are needed for different essential functions of the body. Your body can’t produce them, so you need to include them in your diet. If you aren’t getting enough in what you eat, it is essential to top up with a good-quality supplement. If you follow a vegan diet, it is crucial to find a supplement that includes an algal source of EPA and DHA.
Which is better omega 3 or fish oil?
Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, but it also contains other fatty acids and fats. You can get omega-3 from other sources like algae, flaxseed, walnuts and leafy greens. Your best option is to take omega-3 in whichever form and concentration best suit your needs.