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Vegan EPA/DHA
Jacob Posted at 2011/09/05 7:57pm reply to

Jacob
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It seems hard to find vegan Omega-3 supplements locally that have both EPA and DHA.  Kate just found a brand at Central Market: Ovega-3
http://www.ovega.com/

It has 320 DHA and 130 EPA.
Jacob Posted at 2011/09/05 8:03pm reply to

Jacob
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And if you want it really cheap, I just found that it's on amazon for only $18.72  (38% off) for 60 capsules http://www.amazon.com/Ovega-3-Omega-3-500mg-Vegetarian-Softgels/dp/B004LL7AXE
But mostly, I'm happy to know that there's a place to buy it locally in case I forget to order my supplements before they run out ;-D
weigand Posted at 2011/09/06 12:42am reply to

weigand
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Yeah, I placed an order on Amazon for these last week, after seeing it show up in my "recommended" section. Good price. And it was surprising to see that the serving size was one softgel, not 2. DEVA DHA is a little cheaper per pill, I think. But DEVA DHA doesn't contain EPA.

I once asked a nutritionist if it mattered that the supplements for vegans don't usually have EPA, and she seemed to think that EPA was a lot less important than DHA. But that was several years ago, and who knows where the science is at now.

Actually, I thought I saw some recent studies out there saying that fish oil tablets (which contain DHA and EPA) didn't do anything to prevent heart disease or cancer. So we may be buying these expensive supplements and getting no actual benefit out of it. Can't be sure of anything just yet, though. So I still take these just in case. I think they do increase my HDL (good cholesterol), but whether or not that means any effective health benefit, who knows.

- Steve
shhhkate Posted at 2011/09/07 11:30pm reply to

shhhkate
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It is to my understanding that you can take flax oil (really, any oil that is a source of omega-3 - chia, nuts, etc) which provides your body the omega-3 in the ALA form. Your body then converts that ALA into EPA & DHA. So, you are getting EPA & DHA, but won't know the exact amounts.

Weigand - Do you have a link to the studies your talking about? That's some serious crazy talk! But, I'd be interested in reading them.
cooko37 Posted at 2011/09/08 1:54am reply to

cooko37
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Best product I can say is V-mega3 its 100% vegan with great results. you can buy it from amazon and its cheaper than other brands.

here is the link http://www.amazon.com/V-Mega3-Vegan-Omega-Count-Softgels/dp/B005CW9NMW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=A1RIN7WOW6S67W&s=generic&qid=1315464857&sr=1-1
Gabriel Posted at 2011/09/08 12:28pm reply to

Gabriel
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>It is to my understanding that you can take flax oil (really, any oil that is a source of omega-3 - chia, nuts, etc) which provides your body the omega-3 in the ALA form. Your body then converts that ALA into EPA & DHA. So, you are getting EPA & DHA, but won't know the exact amounts.
>
>Weigand - Do you have a link to the studies your talking about? That's some serious crazy talk! But, I'd be interested in reading them.

There is a legitimate concern about some people not efficiently converting short-chain Omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) to long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA).  Dr. Fuhrman, who has seen thousands of vegans in his practice, has seen issues in many long-term vegans until they began supplementing with DHA and/or EPA.  He says that supplementation is not always necessary, but it's good insurance if you don't constantly want to monitor how efficient a converter you are.  It's a big enough issue that we should probably all take a supplement.
Gabriel Posted at 2011/09/08 12:32pm reply to

Gabriel
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I used to take V-Pure, which has both DHA and EPA.  Now I just take Futurebiotics New Harvest Veg EPA.  I may add DHA back into the mix in case it has some benefits I'm missing. Jack Norris didn't seem to think it was necessary when I asked him in May.  He said EPA readily converted into DHA.  BTW, allow me to pimp my blog once more, where I talked about some of this a little today. awesome

http://www.vegandude.com/2011/09/supplementation-in-vegan-diet.html

weigand Posted at 2011/09/08 4:55pm reply to

weigand
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Yeah, you can take flax seed oil or simply add ground flax seeds into whatever you're eating for extra omega 3. Again, I've not been keeping up on this issue, but as of a few years ago the medical / nutrition community believed that men should not supplement with flax oil, as studies show that it could potentially increase the risk of prostate cancer. They instead recommended eating fish, taking fish oil supplements, or getting vegan DHA supplements. At least for men.

For women, there weren't any corresponding increases in cancer rates. At least in the limited numbers of studies done at the time.

I personally don't take flax oil or flax seed and tentatively believe that men should limit them. You don't have to avoid them entirely, from what I gather, but you shouldn't be taking a lot of it. Stuff like cereals, breads, and so on made with flax seed aren't going to be an issue, because the amount is pretty small. Also, using ground flax seed instead of oil should be safer for men, since the concentration is lower.

But I'm not sure of any of that, since I've not investigated it in years, and I'm sure more data has come out on it in that time.

Also, as Gabriel pointed out, while the body can convert the omega 3 from flax oil into DHA and EPA, it does it inefficiently and sometimes not at all, depending on genetics and depending on the other foods you eat with it. Lots of omega 6 tends to interfere with omega 3 absorption and conversion. But too little omega 6 can also be a bad thing. So there's a ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 that's important if you want to absorb the most omega 3. If you eat a meal that has a lot of omega 6 in it, you probably won't absorb much omega 3. Problem is, as vegans, our diets are heavy in omega 6. Even if we do everything right and have good genetics, we are still pretty inefficient at converting omega 3 into DHA/EPA. Thus the need, perhaps, to supplement with DHA directly instead of just taking ALA (omega 3).

I wasn't able to locate the recent (2011) paper I mentioned before which concluded that omega 3 supplements didn't seem to result in any improved health outcome. I'll keep my eyes peeled for it and will send it along when I find it. Right now I'm at work, so I can't spend much time looking.

Here's a white paper from 2006. It's a meta-study concluding that those taking omega 3 supplements saw no reduced occurrence of heart disease, cancer, and mortality...

http://www.bmj.com/content/332/7544/752.abstract

- Steve
Kate B. Posted at 2011/09/30 5:53pm reply to

Kate B.
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DHA is essential for brain function while DHA and EPA both help prevent cardiovascular disease and other chronic disorders.

As mentioned, plant food sources of Omega 3s (flaxseed, walnuts, chia seeds) are rich in ALA but don't contain DHA or EPA. The body needs to convert ALA to DHA/EPA, but conversion can be slow and hindered by other factors (e.g. vitamin deficiencies, stress). So in order to get DHA/EPA directly, it must be taken in the form of vegan (algae) supplements. I recommend the DEVA Nutrition brand to my clients - DEVA has a supplement that contains both DHA & EPA.

Kate
http://www.discoveroptimalhealth.com/
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