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3 Nutrition Myths and Facts for Vegans and Vegetarians

woman holding salad in her lap

A plant-based diet certainly has its benefits. However, to help vegan and strict vegetarian eaters meet all their nutritional needs, here are a few myths and facts to consider. 

“You can get enough omega-3s EPA and DHA from chia and flax seeds.”

Myth.

Not likely! If you’re relying only on plant-based sources like flax and chia seeds for EPA and DHA, you’re probably not getting sufficient amounts. The conversion of ALA (omega-3 in chia and flax seeds) to EPA and DHA is extremely low in humans – as low as 5% for EPA and 0.5% for DHA. So, it would take A LOT of seeds (about a 1/2 pound bag of flax or chia) to get 1000 mg EPA and DHA. Luckily, algae oil is a great alternative source of EPA and DHA for vegans and strict vegetarians. Learn more about plant-based sources of omega-3s.


“Algae oil is a great vegan alternative to fish oil”

FACT!

Indeed. Vegans and strict vegetarians often rely on flax or chia seeds for their source of EPA and DHA. Since the conversion of ALA (omega-3 in chia and flax seeds) to EPA and DHA is extremely low in humans – as low as 5% for EPA and 0.5% for DHA – algae oil is a better option for a vegan EPA and DHA source. Learn more about plant-based sources of omega-3s.


“If you eat a healthy vegetarian diet, you don’t need to take a multivitamin.”

Myth.

Despite providing a variety of health benefits, vegetarian and predominantly plant-focused diets don’t generally provide all the nutrients your body needs. Research indicates that many vegetarians and plant-focused eaters can fill in nutrient gaps with a multivitamin featuring B12, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin D. Learn more about multivitamins for vegetarians.

Denise John, PhD is a Science Researcher and Writer for Nordic Naturals. A published author, Denise holds a Doctorate in Neuroscience from Florida State University, and is passionate about sharing science to help others make informed choices and live better lives.