Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Vegan Omega-3 from Unived

As a vegan, it is not unusual to hear the phrase "But where do you get your omega-3 from?".  And at a time when everyone is touting the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, as a vegan it is quite tricky to find a non-animal derived supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that helps lower blood pressure, prevents heart disease, boosts brain health and could even treat depression.

Most vegetarian sources of omega-3, like flaxseed oil, chia seeds and purslane are made up of a omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The omega-3's found in fish and fish oil are docodahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). ALA does not have the same health benefits as DHA or EPA. The human body can convert ALA from plant sources into EPA and DHA but it requires more metabolic work.  So the question is- where do you get vegan DHA from?

Unived, a vegan healthcare company offers omega-3 supplements where the DHA is extracted from non-genetically modified microalgae. DHA that is derived directly from micro algae is free from the toxins that fish may carry.

In 2011, Whole Foods had to pull DHA derived from krill (tiny relatives of shrimp living in the Antarctic) because of sustainability issues about the harvesting of krill. Large animal populations rely on krill and harvesting krill could lead to their decline. The funny part is that krill was supposed to solve the threat of overfishing to fulfil the high demand for DHA. So it made sense to go straight to the source- to algae. There are algae that make omega-3 of the flax seed variety. And there are microscopic algae that make DHA itself. So cutting out the middleman makes sense, for the animals as well as us.

Other vegan products by Unived include Vegan Red Yeast Rice, Vegan Vitalitea, Vegan Activitea, Vegan Digestea. The products are priced between Rs 500- Rs 1600. 

Unived products are available online at www.unived.in and at other online stores (http://www.unived.in/where-to-buy/). You can also find their products at Nature's Basket (Bandra W & Warden Road), Serenity (Bandra), Dhoop (Bandra), Solanki Medical (Bandra), Danai Book Shop (Bandra), Cafe Columbia (Pune). 

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