It's getting a little technical here, so hold on;) Omega-3 is polyunsaturated fatty acids and is categorized as an "essential" fatty acid, which means the body can't produce it by itself, why you need it from your diet. (1).
Within omega 3 there are 3 categories:
ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
DHA (docosahexanoic acid).
The importance of omega 3 is not to be mistaken - and the research of omega 3 is hugely well-documented. It has been scientifically proven, and supported by, for example, EFSA (European Food Safety Authorities) that omega 3 - by a minimum of 40 mg daily intake of EPA and DHA - contributes to the following (2):
The above properties are not "small things" but extremely essential functions for a body in balance.
As written above, there are 3 categories of Omega 3; ALA, EPA and DHA - and it is important to understand the difference between these, so you are assured the right amount of "right" sources through your diet. Most people associate Omega 3 with fish - and it is also the primary recommended source of omega 3, but omega 3 is also found in plants and nuts. However, there is a big difference between the types of omega 3 from fish and plants, as well as the body's reaction to these.
The reason why fish are often related to omega 3 is due to their natural high level and direct source of DHA and EPA. It is one of the most natural intense sources because a small amount of oil is needed to cover the daily recommended doses of EPA and DHA. Makes sense?
But not all fish are rich in Omega 3. Since omega 3 is a fatty acid, it requires a fatty fish - and most fish are lean. If you need to secure Omega 3 (EPA & DHA) from fish, it is essential that you eat fatty fish. Including salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, and sardines. Below you can see the average Omega 3 (EPA / DHA) levels per 100g (3).
Mackerel raw: 2,3 g / per 100g
Trout (rainbow) raw: 1,3 g / per 100g
Salmon (wild) raw: 1,3 g / per 100g
Herring raw: 1,9 g / per 100g
Tuna (canned): 0,3g / per 100g
PLANTS & NUTS?
Plants, seeds and nuts are plant-based sources, and do not give you a direct source of EPA and DHA, as fish do. They are rich in ALA, which is also a type for Omega 3, and it is a precursor to DHA and EPA. This means that if you get ALA from diet or a supplement, your body will transform the ALA into EPA and DHA - super smart. It is estimated that 10-20% of your consumed source ALA is converted to DHA / EPA. This means it takes a lot more "mass" before you reach the recommended levels of DHA / EPA on a daily basis. See popular plant-based omega 3 (ALA) sources below, which has the following amount of omega 3 (ALA) per 100g (4).
Flaxseed Oil: 53,3 g / 100 g
Chia seeds: 20 g/ 100g
Walnut oil: 10,4 g / 100 g
Rapeseed oil: 8,69 g / 100 g
Olive oil: 0,6 / 100g
Algae is different from other plant-based omega 3 sources - it contains a direct source for DHA and EPA. How much depends on the type of algae, but there are many good supplements based on algae that can meet the daily need for DHA (6). However, it should be noted that they often contain very small amounts of EPA. Which means the source does not have an equally well DHA / EPA-balance, like Omega 3 from fish does.
Conclusion...? The most effective source of omega 3 (DHA / EPA) is from fish - it's clear that you get the most power versus quantity. That being said, we as humans need all 3 types of omega 3 (ALA, EPA, and DHA) as they all play important roles in our body's balance.
Based on the recommendation of international health authorities, omega-3 should be a minimum of 1% of your daily energy intake, equivalent to about 2.5-3 g of omega 3 daily for adults aged 18 and 60 (7). Of this, it is recommended that at least half, ie. ca. 1.2-1.8 g per day, coming from ALA and a minimum of 300-500 mg from DHA / EPA (8).
As described above, fish is the most efficient source of Omega 3 (DHA & EPA), but there is only one small problem - and that is that we do not eat very much fish.
Both adults, pregnant women and children need Omega 3 on a daily basis, and all age groups can benefit from supplementing their diet with an Omega 3 supplement to ensure they meet their daily needs.
As described above, Omega 3 (EPA / DHA) contributes to many essential functions of your body - including a normal functioning brain, heart, and vision.
Below you will find a good selection of high quality omega 3 supplements. We have carefully selected these products as they are based on good quality fish and have a low TOTOX value that reflects purity. In addition, we have a 1000 mg organic flaxseed oil on capsule, as well as a natural vegan Omega 3 gummy for children, made from algae and chia seeds.
NOW OMEGA 3
This Omega 3 from NOW is made from anchovies and sardines from Norway and Peru. It is cleansed of heavy metals and toxins and has a total TOTOX value of 2, which is very good.
It contains 180 mg of EPA and 120 DHA per 1g of oil. It provides a total level of DHA / EPA of 300 mg per capsule.
The product contains 100 soft capsules with omega 3 oil ( 100 x 1g).
We recommend 1-3 capsules daily.
NOW KRILL OIL
This Omega 3 oil is made of krill. Krill are small shrimp-like crustaceans, often known as whale food. They naturally contain EPA and DHA, as well as phospholipids and astaxanthin. So this is not only an omega 3 oil, but also rich in other amazing ingredients, as well as Omega 6 and 9. Krill has a naturally low level of heavy metals due to their location in the food chain.
One capsule contains 135 mg of EPA and 60 mg of DHA, as well as 360 mcg of astaxanthin and 450 mg of phospholipids per 1 g of oil.
TOTOX value: 3.7
Recommended daily dosage: 2-4 capsules (195-390 mg DHA/EPA)
VITAKIDS OMEGA 3
Our VITAKIDS Omega 3 is vegan and therefore made from algae and chia seeds. It contains both omega 3, 6 and 9.
These soft little gummies contains NO artificial additives and sweeteners, as well as free of gelatin, MSG and GMO.
We recommend 3 gummies per day, giving 180 mg of omega 3 oil - including 50 mg of DHA and 130 mg of ALA.
A daily dose of DHA contributes to normal brain and heart development in your child
Our FLAXSEED OMG is based on 1000 mg of organic flaxseed oil per capsule.
Flaxseed oil is one of the most effective plant-based sources of omega 3. Over 50% of the oil consist of omega 3 fatty acids. It is a direct source of ALA, so a capsule of 1000 mg of flaxseed oil will give you approx. 500 mg of ALA.
Flaxseed oil is a good supplement to a diet without fish, especially paired with an algae oil rich in DHA.
We recommend 1-2 capsules daily.