Some consumption of a vegan substitute for omega-6-rich fish oil is called for to maintain brain and peripheral nervous system health and meet other nutritional needs for those who are strictly vegan in all nutritional choices. Plant-nutrition advocate and “nutritarian” doctor Joel Fuhrman’s website recently announced a sale on a vegan supplement containing DHA and EPA, thought to be the key fatty acids found in fish oil, and I thought I would mention the issue and Furhman’s approach to it for those who seek to be completely vegan.
Many will recall that Japanese people and people in other fish-eating cultures are known for lower rates of certain diseases, and it is thought that fish consumption is likely to be a reason.
While fish oil has a greater abundance of usable DHA and EPA, it is of course not vegan! Moreover, for everyone there are health issues associated with seafood from polluted waters.
Flax seeds and walnuts in sufficient amounts are perhaps fine as substitutes for most people. I like to sprinkle ground flax seeds on food. Packages of pre-ground seeds are available in natural foods stores and are handy. In general, raw seeds are a good nutritional complement to vegetables and fruit as they increase the bio-availability of the micronutrients therein.
For all of this, most seeds and nuts are not as strong in omega-6 fats as flax seeds and walnuts. Moreover, some people have difficulty obtaining the needed fatty acids by digesting these standard vegan sources of omega-6 fatty acids.
I occasionally mention Dr. Fuhrman’s website and practice because I have used a a slightly relaxed version of Fuhrman’s “six-week” plan from the book Eat to Live for about 10 years. I use an algae-derived supplement of the key fatty acids found in flax seed and fish oil long marketed by his website.
About my discussion: I am not a doctor or nutritionist, though I hold graduate degrees in other fields. So I address my comments to those who, like me, have learned some of the ideas from other places and are receptive to someone else’s story—one that combines the themes of food in the mid-Hudson Valley; veganism; and plant-based healthy eating.
(I am completely independent in all of my recommendations and receive no compensation from anyone for maintaining and contributing to this website, taking no advertising so far. I do not intend to accept any arrangements in which I am paid for mentioning or recommending anything.)
The need for these essential fatty acids may seem to pose an ethical dilemma for people with a genetic disposition to dementia and other health problems and with small budgets for DHA-EPA supplements. For them, the supplement might be thought of as in the same category as a needed medicine made with animal products. Then, for vegans who may wear leather shoes, etc., the commitment to be vegan in all food choices can be reconciled with consumption of nutritional supplements derived from fish oil. Personally, I have used the Furhman product (DHA-EPA Purity) for at least two years now.
This deal ($46.73 for a two-month supply for non-website members and a bit less for members) makes the financial question more concrete. Also, as I mentioned, for a sufficient-sized (over $50) or recurring order, shipping and handling are free of charge to addresses within the “lower 48”–all U.S. places in the contiguous states and District of Columbia One also has the option of stocking up if one visits the wellness center in person for a visit with a doctor in the practice of for any other reason!
Note: Afterthought, minutes after posting the above: It should be noted that the 60-day amount may not amount to 60 days’ worth for some of those predisposed to cognitive (thinking) problems such as dementia.