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When it comes to omega-3 supplements, fish oil capsules aren’t your only option, nor are they necessarily the best choice out there. There are plenty of fish oil alternatives available now.
With so many of our most serious health concerns being influenced by lifestyle factors like diet and exercise, we are always looking for ways to improve our habits and live healthier lifestyles.
Poor diet and serious nutrient deficits have led to the increased popularity of dietary supplements like fish oil supplements, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, to attempt to combat these health issues. In fact, the global fish oil market is expected to become a 4.8 billion dollar industry by 2021!
But as more people look to buy fish oil supplements, the increasing demand is also leading to an increasingly negative impact on the environment. Producing supplements like fish oil can take a massive toll on the oceans, and as the awareness of the benefits of fish oil grows, so does the demand for its production. Besides, fish oil isn’t plant-based, making it unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Increasing your dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids might be necessary, but you don’t have to compromise the planet or your dietary choices in the process. Using fish oil alternatives like algae oil is the best way to support your health without hurting the environment.
The Benefits Of Taking Omega-3 Supplements
The use of fish oil has become incredibly popular because it is a good source of EPA and DHA, two essential omega-3 fatty acids that are best found in aquatic sources like fatty fish. These two essential acids have been shown to have a wide range of potential benefits* including:
- Fighting inflammation*
- Combatting atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and elevated triglycerides*
- Boosting brain health and fighting mental illness*
- Aiding eye health*
- Improving skin health*
Many people don’t eat enough fish to meet DHA/EPA requirements, making fish oil capsules a good substitute. Because the benefits of increasing your omega-3s can touch on so many different health concerns, they have become a popular supplement choice for a wide range of people.
The Problem With Fish Oils
Unfortunately, getting your omega-3s from fish oil supplements comes with significant downsides. While they may be the most well-known source for DHA and EPA, the production and ingestion of these supplements can also present a moral dilemma.
1. The Production Of Fish Oil Is Not Sustainable
Commercial fishing and aquaculture are some of the most impactful ways that we hurt our oceans’ health.
The increased demands from fisheries and the fishing industry lead to reduced fish populations, bycatch, and disruption of natural aquatic ecosystems. They can also lead to the damage of natural habitats like coral reefs.
Because fish oils are sourced from fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring, it directly contributes to problems like overfishing and habitat destruction. Its production reduces fish populations, with some sources estimating that up to 50 fish are killed to make one bottle of fish oil.
The problem is only going to get worse over time if fish oil continues to be the leading choice for fatty acid supplementation. As the awareness of the benefits of omega-3s rises in conjunction with the rise of chronic illnesses, more people look to add fish oil pills to their diet, making it an unsustainable solution.
2. Fish Oil Supplements Run The Risk Of Contamination And Toxicity
Another major issue of taking fish oils is the potential exposure to pollution and contamination from heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury. Unfortunately, these heavy metals can end up in our seafood and seafood products, including fish oil, and are toxic in large amounts.
Many experts suggest taking fish oil supplements daily to combat various health conditions effectively. Since fish products like fish oil supplements can potentially run the risk of heavy metal contamination, you may run the risk of frequent ingestion of these contaminants if you supplement your daily omega-3 intake with fish oil capsules.
3. They Are Not Compatible With Every Diet
These supplements don’t fit with every diet, either. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian who wants to take a supplement to boost your heart health, you’re out of luck with fish oil.
The Future of Omega-3s: Algae Oil
Because of the environmental toll that livestock and fish farming can have on the planet, one of the best ways to reduce your impact on the environment is by consuming fewer animal products. In fact, it can be so effective that studies have shown that making the switch to a plant-based diet can reduce an individual’s carbon emissions by up to 73%!
The best sources of EPA and DHA are seafood and marine sources. Fish is the most well-known source for your omega-3 fatty acids, but it’s not the only option out there. One viable and promising solution could be to switch to fish oil alternatives like algae oil supplements!
Fatty fish are rich in EPA and DHA because they consume algae, the primary producers of these rich fatty acids. So by getting your omega-3s from algae oil, you’re getting them straight from the same rich source that fish do.
Why Should You Use An Omega-3 Supplement Made From Algae Oil?
Some benefits of getting your daily EPA and DHA serving from algae instead of fish include that they are:
No fish are harmed in the making of algae oil, which is excellent news for anyone looking to avoid eating animal products. Algae is an aquatic plant that can be isolated and grown indoors, so its production does not interfere with natural aquatic food chains.
Even if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan, algae oil supplements may be easier to take for your gastrointestinal health. Vegan Omega 3 soft gels don’t come with the unpleasant fishy aftertaste or burps that fish oil capsules can cause.
So whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or are just trying to eat a more plant-based diet to minimize your own carbon footprint, algae oil supplements will fit right into your lifestyle.
2. Sustainably Produced
One of the best things about algae oil supplements: you don’t even need to be a vegan or vegetarian to minimize your impact on the planet as you improve your own omega-3 fatty acid intake!
The isolated and controlled growth of this aquatic plant for supplements means that you don’t have to overfish or destroy natural habitats to get your omega-3s, making the production of this supplement much more sustainable than the fish oil industry’s methods.
3. Full of Health Benefits
As far as health benefits go, algae oil supplements might be even better than some fish oils when it comes to EPA/DHA content.
Many argue that whole foods are the best sources for getting nutrients in your diet. Luckily, you don’t have to eat fish in order to reap the omega-3 fatty acid benefits if you take an algae oil supplement. Studies have shown that the bioavailability of DHA from algae oil supplements is equivalent to salmon!
In addition, it’s more efficient to get your omega-3s from algae oil than other plant sources, making it the perfect vegan-friendly supplement for healthy fats. While you can get a different omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), from plant sources like chia seeds, walnuts, and flax seeds, this form of omega-3 fatty acid only converts small amounts to EPA and DHA. The best way to get enough EPA and DHA would be to get it in your diet directly, rather than relying on other forms of omega-3 fatty acids.
It’s easier to ensure the purity of algae oil supplements than fish oil supplements because you can completely isolate them and grow them in fully controlled environments. A controlled environment can eliminate the need to worry about contaminants and toxins that are all too common from fish sources.
Getting your omega-3 supplement from isolated algae may have an advantage over oceanic algae as well. Indoor-grown microalgae oil can be harvested without the use of any solvents or chemicals, which may or may not be the case for outdoor or ocean-grown algae.
Not all algae oil supplements come without risks, though. One important thing to note as you shop around is that some may also include carrageenan, a carbohydrate from seaweed that is often used as a thickener. Unfortunately, carrageen has been found to cause serious inflammatory stomach issues and is even a potential carcinogen.
There Are Better Ways To Get Your Omega-3s
When shopping around for omega-3 supplements, know that there are fish oil alternatives.
Calgee’s Vegan Omega-3 Supplement is your best fish oil alternative for both sustainability and nutrient density. The omega-3s are sourced from indoor-grown microalgae oil that’s better for the environment and your health. The algae used for this premium product is uncompromised by chemicals or solvents, and the algae oil can be traced from end-to-end and made in the USA in an FDA-registered facility.
You don’t have to compromise on your dedication to responsible and sustainable shopping if you need to add omega-3s to your diet. Consider supplements made with algae oil instead of fish oil in your quest for better health - your body and the planet will thank you.