Vegan Alternatives to Fish Oil (Cod Liver Oil or Krill Oil)


With fish oil off the table, where do you get omega 3 fats as a vegan?

There are really only 2 options.

You can either get them through supplements, or from certain seeds.

1. Vegan Omega 3 Supplements

deva liquid omega 3s

Vegan omega 3 supplements derive omega fats from algae.

That’s where fish get their omega 3 fats in the first place, so it’s not surprising that vegan omega 3 supplements are just as good as fish oil.

I created a comparison page of all the top vegan omega 3 supplements, you can find both capsule and liquid products, just like you could with cod liver oil.

While it’s not necessary to take a supplement as a vegan, there are benefits if you are deficient in omega 3s.

2. Flax or Chia Seeds

Seeds are the only other rich source of omega 3s on a vegan diet.

And while a handful of seeds have omega 3s, two seeds are far better than the rest.

I made a page with the complete list of seeds with omega 3 fats, but here’s why flax and chia are the top 2 by far:

SeedFat in 100gOmega 3 (g)Omega 6 (g)Omega 3:6 ratio

They have a lot of omega 3 fats, and an excellent ratio to omega 6 fats.

Considering most vegans have to eat nuts on a regular basis, which are loaded in omega 6s, eating these seeds, or using an omega 3 supplement is all but necessary.

The one caveat is that the omega 3 fats in these sources are ALA omega 3s. Your body doesn’t absorb it well, and only a small amount gets converted to DHA or EPA (the kinds in algae or fish oil), which are the most usable forms of omega 3s.

So while vegans don’t need DHA or EPA because ALA is enough to be healthy, there might be some benefit to supplementing.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.