The Best Plant-Based Omega 3 Supplements (Rosemary Oil and Carrageenan-Free Options Too)

When it comes to omega 3, vegans may be at a slight disadvantage in two ways. Firstly, it's not easy to get the DHA form of omega 3 from the vegan diet as it's mostly found in the fat of fish.

Secondly, depending on the food you eat, you may have a high omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. Ideally, it should be 4:1, but many vegans and vegetarians are at 10:1 and over. This ratio matters because high levels of omega 6 deplete omega 3 levels.

Too much omega 6 also causes inflammation in the body, something that vegans typically struggle with less than omnivores, but due to diet choices, you may end up with an increased risk of diseases despite being vegan because of too much omega 6 and not enough omega 3.

The biggest impact is on our brains. We all want to have good brain health throughout our lives. For this reason, you might need to supplement with DHA. But is there a vegan fish oil alternative? Yes! Just like us, fish's bodies are inefficient at making DHA too.

They get their omega 3 from the food they eat. But, more on this later. We've made you a list of the best vegan omega 3 supplements to help you out.

Best Vegan DHA Supplements

1. Ovega-3 Plant-Based Omega 3 Capsules

Ovega-3 Plant-Based Omega 3 Capsules

Our Verdict: Least Fishy Smelling

The Ovega-3 capsules are a one a day supplement with both DHA and EPA. The capsules are easy to swallow despite being a little large and there is no fishy aftertaste.

When you first open the bottle, there may be a bit of an ocean smell but other than that there is no further noticeable smell. You won't end up burping fishy flavors either.

These tablets contain carrageenan which is a big downside and also contain sorbitol. Sorbitol gives some people digestive issues. In some cases, the bottle contained fewer capsules than specified on the label which is highly frustrating given the cost.

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Pros:

  • Contains 270mg of DHA and 135mg EPA
  • Tested for safety and is non-GMO
  • Easy to swallow
  • No fishy smell or flavor
  • Comes in 30, 60, and 90 capsules

Cons:

  • Contains carrageenan
  • Contains rosemary extract which may not be safe during pregnancy
  • Contains sorbitol
  • Expensive

2. Deva Vegan Omega-3 DHA

Deva Vegan Omega-3 DHA

Our Verdict: Best Budget Buy

Deva Vegan Omega 3 contains only DHA and the recommended dose is one a day (90 servings). They don't taste fishy at all and the oil is flavored with lemon so that you don't have any nasty flavored burps and they don't smell like anything.

The capsules are a little smaller than some other brands so they are easy to swallow.

If you don't like lemon, burping lemon flavor can be quite irritating. While there is generally no smell, every now and then there is a batch with a fishy smell. Another disappointing downside is that this product contains carrageenan.

This version has no EPA, but there is a DHA and EPA supplement by Deva but unfortunately, there is less DHA in those.

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Pros:

  • 200mg DHA
  • Non-GMO
  • Easy to swallow
  • Has lemon oil to prevent fishy burps
  • 90 servings

Cons:

  • Contains carrageenan
  • No EPA
  • Contains rosemary extract which may not be safe during pregnancy
  • Contains sorbitol

3. Nested Naturals Vegan Omega 30

Nested Naturals Vegan Omega 30

Our Verdict: Omega 3 and Green Tea Extract Rolled into One

Nested Naturals Vegan Omega 3 not only contains DHA and EPA but green tea extract too. It's one of the few brands that don't use carrageenan or rosemary oil. It also has very few ingredients. The capsules are a bit large but are still easy to swallow.

They do have a rather fishy smell which can be off-putting, especially if you are pregnant.

The green tea extract is only 100mg which is at a safe level and the amount of caffeine in each capsule is about 0.5mg so it's far less than a cup of actual green tea but can still be troublesome for those very sensitive to caffeine.

Speak to your doctor first before using these if pregnant or you have liver problems.

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Pros:

  • 200mg of DHA, 100mg of EPA
  • 100mg of 98% polyphenol green tea extract
  • No carrageenan
  • GMP (Good Manufacturing Process) certified and lab tested
  • 60 servings

Cons:

  • Green tea extract may not be suitable for everyone
  • Fishy smell

4. Bloom Algae Omega-3

Bloom Algae Omega-3

Our Verdict: Best Flavored Omega 3 Supplement

Another vegan omega 3 supplement without carrageenan. These are flavored with lemon and peppermint oil. The algae used is grown in a controlled environment and not the ocean so there are no fishy burps.

They also contain just over 250mg of DHA per capsule so although the recommended dosage is 2 capsules, you can easily just take 1.

Despite not being harvested from the ocean, some batches can still have a slight fishy taste though this isn't common, but those can make your burps smell and taste a little fishy.

The manufacturer recently added rosemary extract to the supplement so check with your doctor before taking these if pregnant.

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Pros:

  • 2 tablets provide 509mg of DHA, 101mg of EPA, 28mg of DPA (a lesser known omega 3)
  • Due to the higher dose of DHA, you can even take just 1 capsule
  • Non-GMO and gluten, carrageenan, and sugar-free
  • Fishy burps are very uncommon
  • 60 capsules

Cons:

  • Contains rosemary extract which may not be safe during pregnancy
  • Some people still experience fishy burps

5. Zenwise Health Marin Algae Derived Vegan Omega-3

Zenwise Health Marin Algae Derived Vegan Omega-3

Our Verdict: No Rosemary Oil

This vegan omega 3 supplement by Zenwise has small capsules that are easy to swallow and contain both EPA and DHA. They contain no rosemary oil either. They are GMP certified as well. They do however contain carrageenan and to get 300mg of DHA you need to take 2 capsules.

If your diet is good, you may be able to get by with using 1 tablet but if you are older, taking the full dose is recommended. Because they don't have any added oils to mask the flavor, some people may get fishy burps.

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Pros:

  • 2 capsules provide 300mg of DHA and 150mg of EPA
  • No rosemary oil
  • Easy to swallow
  • GMP certified
  • 60 servings

Cons:

  • The recommended serving is 2 capsules
  • Contains carrageenan
  • Some people may experience fishy burps

What to Look for In a Vegan DHA Supplement

omega 3 supplements on a spoon

When you search for a DHA supplement online, often fish oil supplements pop up too. So be sure to search for vegan or vegetarian DHA.

In stores, make sure that the supplements are certified vegan. The best vegetarian omega 3 supplements are generally safe for vegans too but it's best to make sure. Check for ingredients that come from animals like:

  • Gelatin
  • Lanolin
  • Carmine
  • Caprylic acid (can be derived from animal sources, but not always)
  • Magnesium Stearate (can be derived from animal sources, but not always)

The Thing About Carrageenan and Rosemary Oil

Some other ingredients that can be problematic are carrageenan which is a type of seaweed but fuels inflammation, and rosemary oil which if you are pregnant is something to be avoided, especially in larger quantities.

If the supplement you want to take contains it, contact the manufacturer to see how much is in there if it's not specified or chat to your doctor first.

DHA Content Matters (Get Specific)

Be sure to double check how much DHA is present in the plant-based omega 3 supplements as many of them only contain ALA in the form of flaxseed or hemp seed oil.

If possible, go for a supplement with both DHA and EPA, but if not, taking a DHA supplement boosts your EPA levels as well. All this without the pollution and heavy metals found in fish oil.

The quantity of DHA should be at least 200mg, but ideally between 250mg and 300mg as this is the best daily amount to eat to keep your levels where they should be. You'll also be required to take fewer capsules which will save you money.

If your diet is very low in omega 6 and high in ALA you may not even need to take the supplement every single day, but a few times a week.

If you are worried, you can get your blood levels of DHA tested.

Capsules or Liquid?

Some DHA supplements come in the form of liquid. If you don't mind the taste (though some manufacturers will flavor them), this is a perfectly good way to take DHA. It may also come without harmful ingredients like carrageenan.

You can also add it to juice or smoothies to help mask the flavor. Just be aware that just as with capsules, there can be additives like sugar or colorants.

Also, if you are specifically looking for algal oil (or algae oil), bear in mind that not all of the brands will contain DHA because they may not be made from algae that contain DHA or if they do the algal oil may contain too little to be beneficial.

Whether you get the algal oil or liquid DHA supplement, don't put it in hot beverages or cook with it over heat (save it for cold meals) as that will denature these delicate essential fatty acids.

Whichever you choose, make sure that it's the best vegan omega supplement for you.

The Lowdown on Omega 3

As you may have gathered, there are different forms of omega 3, all of which our bodies can't make on their own. The most abundant form in the vegan diet is ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). The best vegan omega 3 sources (ALA) are:

  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Leafy green veggies

The top four sources contain the most.

If you are using chia, hemp, and flax seeds to get your omega 3, be sure to grind them up before eating them or chew them very well since their shells are often unable to be broken down in the stomach and they then pass right through without your body absorbing all the many nutrients in them including ALA.

DHA and EPA

It was previously thought that DHA (docosahexanaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are only present in animal products, and most notably, fatty fish. But, science has since proved that this is false.

As mentioned before, fish can't make their own omega 3 fatty acids. They get their DHA from seaweed (nori, dulse, and wakame) and algae.

The Problem for Vegans and Vegetarians

Your body can convert ALA to both EPA and DHA, but unfortunately, the conversion rate is rather low. The conversion to EPA is more efficient, it's between 8-20%.

But the conversion rate for DHA is only at around 1-10% depending on a variety of factors.

So unless you eat lots of seaweed which won't contain as much as a concentrated supplement and can also give you too much iodine if you go overboard, or you enjoy eating algae (yuck), you may not be getting enough DHA.

In addition to this, the following can affect the conversion process:

  • Too much omega 6
  • Being male (men's bodies are less efficient at converting ALA to DHA)
  • Age (the older you get the less efficient your body becomes at the conversion)

The biggest concern with the inefficient conversion rate is cognitive decline. More studies are needed to confirm this but, our brains actually shrink at a faster rate if we don't take in enough DHA.

As we age, our brains do shrink anyway (scary, but true), but this is minimized by DHA.

DHA plays an important role in the structure of our brain and cognitive function throughout our lives.

In the short term, there isn't much difference in brain structure and function, but after 6 months of supplementation and beyond, it not only preserves our brain function, but can improve memory, learning and verbal fluency.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, your doctor may also recommend that you take a DHA supplement as your baby needs DHA too to develop a healthy brain and eyes.

Algal Oil Benefits

Okay, so DHA is clearly beneficial for our brains, but these studies used fish oil. Does algal oil (oil derived from algae) even work as well? The answer is yes.

When compared to cooked salmon, a rich source of DHA, the algal oil rich in DHA, raised levels just as well.

Omega 3 affects more than just our brain health, other benefits include:

  • Healthier skin
  • Balanced hormones
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Lower levels of inflammation
  • Healthier nails
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced anxiety
  • May reduce the risk of Alzheimer's
  • Better eyesight

Side Effects of DHA Supplements

No one can deny that DHA is important and very necessary, but too much is also not good. If you take servings above 500mg of DHA you risk poor blood clotting. If you are already on blood thinners like Warfarin, speak to your doctor first about the dose that is best for you.


Unfortunately, plant-based DHA supplements are a lot more expensive than those derived from fish oil. But, they are definitely better for us too. A supplement may be crucial for you if you don't eat fish, are male, pregnant, breastfeeding, ill, or older.

Even if you are not vegan or vegetarian, you can benefit from taking an algae supplement considering the major problem with fish oil is that the pollution and heavy metals present in the oceans are present in the fish oil. Overfishing is also putting our ecosystem in danger.

Our Top Picks for Best Vegan Omega Supplements

If you've tried any of these brands, let us know what you liked best about them.

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