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Vegetarian Omega-3: A Detailed Review of Ovega-3 Featuring life’sDHA

Most people think omega-3 comes from fish, but that’s not entirely true. It actually comes from tiny algae. The fish eat the algae, you eat the fish, and voila…you get the omega-3s.

Until recently, it’s just been too time-consuming and expensive to make omega-3 supplements directly from algae. But Martek seems to have figured it out.

About the Company: Ovega-3 is distributed by Amerifit, who also distributes quite a few health and wellness products. Ovega-3 is “powered by” (uses) Life’sDHA, which is a trademark of Martek Biosciences Corporation, a company that advertises, produces, and sells supplements.

What Makes Them Different: As one of the few manufacturers of truly vegetarian omega-3, Life’sDHA comes from Schizochytrium sp., a really big word for a very small algae that is naturally high in DHA and EPA. It is one of the more popular blends in the U.S.

In fact, over 99% of fortified baby formulas use Life’sDHA. The DHA and EPA used comes directly from the source, which means that it’s processed less, offers better availability, and is harvested in an eco-friendly way.

Supplement Facts: You can expect a minimum of 500 mg of total omega-3s, which includes 320 mg of DHA and 130 mg of EPA.

Other Ingredients: Modified cornstarch, carrageenan, glycerin, sorbital, water, beta-carotene, caramel.

Taste: Definitely not fishy! Marshall and I had to agree to disagree on Ovega-3’s taste. Marshall found the taste very mild and somewhat algae-ish, whereas I found it downright unpleasant. In my opinion, the taste is very similar to a multi-vitamin that contains beta-carotene (think Centrum Complete). The upside is that the softgels are very smooth, easy to swallow, and the taste disappears after a few seconds.

Quality: Ovega-3 with Life’sDHA is not rated by the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) program. However, you can take a look at their product specification sheet here.

Our Opinion: This product uses omega-3s in a non-fish form, which is pretty outstanding.

For strict vegetarians, finding an omega-3 supplement that doesn’t come from fish can be a challenge. What’s more, it hasn’t always been easy to track down an algae supplement with EPA. Up until this point, algae-based omega-3 has not been affordable or even readily available.

Also, Ovega-3 is a much better alternative to flaxseed oil for vegetarians. Countless studies have proven that flax is an inferior source of omega-3. The problem is that flax offers short-chain omega-3s in the form of ALA (read more about the differences here).

The research is clear that only about 15% of ALA can be converted by the body into the more beneficial EPA and DHA long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Thus, the amount of flax required to achieve health benefits is staggering. When compared to fish oil, 7x more flax is often needed to see the same effects.

More from FishOilBlog.com: Fish Oil vs Flax

We’d love to see the DHA and EPA in a little higher concentration, but Life’sDHA is comparable to other high quality fish oil supplements on the market. While there are higher concentrations out there, this product is a nice tradeoff since you’re getting the omega-3s from their actual source.

The risk of contamination from toxic chemicals like heavy metals is reduced since it comes from algae and not fish.

Another thing we noticed was that Life’sDHA uses a higher ratio of DHA to EPA. In most fish oil products, these two ingredients are flipped (EPA is higher).

DHA has been shown in studies to have positive health benefits for pregnant women and their infants. DHA is a natural ingredient found in breast milk, and makes up 97% of omega-3s in the brain. This particular omega-3 is important for:

  • Healthy brain functioning
  • Maternal health
  • Birth weight
  • Vision
  • Cardivascular health
  • Preventing cognitive decline associated with aging

Update: We received the following message from the manager of brand public relations “Given the recent acquisition by DSM, Martek is now under the DSM Nutritional Products group.  There will be no significant changes to consumers.  The life’sDHA brand will continue to be the name that consumers recognize within the fortified-food, beverage and supplement industries”.