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Advise on Omega-3 sources for vegetarians, particularly EPA and DHA

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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Please advise on Omega-3 sources for vegetarians, particularly EPA and DHA.
Additionally what good and affordable medicinal supplements (brand names and manufacturer) should be taken with a poor strictly vegetarian diet.
Please give the medicine names that are easily available in retail outlets.

Posted Sat, 23 Jun 2012 in Diet Plans
Answered by Dr. Sairajesh Koonamsetty 3 hours later
Thanks for choosing Health Care Magic.

Plant products do contain omega-3 fatty acids. Few plant sources have much higher content of omega-3 fatty acids than fish oil. But it exists in the form of Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and only a portion of which is converted to Eicoso Pentanoic Acid ( EPA) and Docosahexanoic acid( DHA).

Linseed oil or Flax seed oil ( linseed is called Alasi in hindi)are the richest sources of Omega 3- fatty acids among plants. Butter is also a XXXXXXX source of omega 3 fatty acids.

The following are the brand names of medicinal supplements that can be taken by a vegetarian ( should contain zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin D and Vitamin E)

1. Zincovit capsules
2. Omega 3 plus capsules ( contains omega 3 fatty acids especially EPA and DHA), omega powder.
3. Neurobion forte ( contains all the vitamins and particularly XXXXXXX in Vitamin B12).
4. Protein powders like Proteinex .
5. Efalife capsules( Manufacturer Uni sankyo) contains Vitamin E, DHA and EPA
6. PROSURE: This has plenty of protein, vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids. A poor vegetarian diet needs a supplement like this.

Along with that take plenty of fresh fruits( preferably citrus and banana and watermelon). Sprouts are a good source of Proteins and vitamins. In my opinion, a poor diet would need both protein and vitamin supplements, not just supplementation of essential fatty acids. Its important that the diet is corrected or a physician is consulted so that proper supplements can be prescribed. If you let me know the details, I will be able to help you further.

Please post doubts, is any. I shall be ready to address them in detail.

Wish you a healthy life.
Take Care

Dr Sai XXXXXXX Koonamsetty
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Advise on Omega-3 sources for vegetarians, particularly EPA and DHA 3 days later
Dear Sir,

Thanks for your detailed reply. I am a Software Engg by profession and over the years due to the nature of the work (job stress, frequent travel, late stay, odd hours ...) and general carelessness (for which I myself am to blame) my lifestyle has become very irregular in terms of food and sleep. Usually I eat outside for lunch (thaali or "meal" at the best - includes roti, curry and daal), mostly skip breakfast, drink too much tea ... however I don't smoke or consume alcohol in any form. Usually I try to be regular at least to have about 200 gms of curd daily but due to lactose intolerance I cannot use milk.

So in short, the food I take is completely unplanned and ad-hoc whatever is available and not too expensive. As my health is gradually deteriorating I have become a bit concerned and want to take some basic steps to improve my food habits. However any kind of drastic change is highly unlikely.

I have started to cook a bit myself reading books and recipes online. Could you please outline a plan for a balanced diet that is vegetarian and not to complex to follow/ "manage". Also please suggest some medical tests that I should have periodically to diagnose critical dietary deficiencies.

Answered by Dr. Sairajesh Koonamsetty 14 minutes later
Thanks for writing back.
I would definitely help you in designing your diet plan.
Please give me the details of your age, height ( in cm) weight( in kg) and the duration of your work so that I can calculate your caloric requirement and design the diet plan that suits you.

You don't require any tests to diagnose specific dietary deficiencies and moreover the tests are costly and done only at very few laboratories.
However get the following tests done to keep yourself in check-

Complete Blood picture( to diagnose Iron deficiency)
Serum Vitamin B12 levels

Please provide me the above details to design a diet plan for you.

Awaiting your reply.
Take care
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Advise on Omega-3 sources for vegetarians, particularly EPA and DHA 29 hours later
Dear Sir,

Here are the few details you had asked:

Age: 32+
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 68kg
Nature of job: Sedentary (Software Development)
Status: Single
Food Habits: vegetarian, poor, ad hoc, unplanned, just to quench hunger whatever is available
Typical diet: Rice/ Roti, Curry, curd (200 gms)

Answered by Dr. Sairajesh Koonamsetty 18 hours later
Thanks for the details provided.
Based on your diet habits and your work style, here are the guidelines you need to follow one your diet front

1.Get atleast 60-90mins of regular excercise and yoga everyday.
2.Take healthy snacks between meals. Try to maintain regularity in taking meals.
3.Start your day with a high fiber cereal breakfast like XXXXXXX flakes or oat meal ( with any fruit)
4.Include salads, sprouts/whole grains in your diet.
5. Better start your day with a veg salad
6.Try to include dark XXXXXXX leafy vegetables ( e.g., spinach) daily in your diet.
7.Include a fruit in your snack time only.
8.Better take a whole fruit than juices.
9.Drink atleast 8-10 glasses of water a day.
10.Take low fat or skimmed milk 400-500ml per day.
11.Restrict pickles, bakery products,papads, junk foods , XXXXXXX fried foods, dalda and ghee.
12. Try to include soya products in your diet.
13. Restrict cool drinks, sweets.
14. Use oil from below combination
Sunflower oil and rice brawn oil.
15. Better oven bake or boil the food instead of XXXXXXX frying.
16. If you consume veg salad outside, then please do not add any sauce to it.
17. Take 2-3 walnuts ( soaked overnight) every day.
18. Use whole wheat or multigrain atta for roti.
19. Take plenty of citrus fruits, legumes, melons and cherries in your diet.

These would assure that your body gets enough vitamins, minerals and calories required for your body.
Though some of these might be a bit difficult to follow, better try to follow these guidelines as regularly as you can.
Hope you are satisfied with the answer.

In future you can directly ask me a question on the following link...
Wish you a healthy life.
Take care.
Dr Sairajesh Koonamsetty
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Advise on Omega-3 sources for vegetarians, particularly EPA and DHA 4 hours later
Thank you, Sir.
If there is anything further to ask I will do it by tomorrow else
I will close the discussion for now.

Thanks again for your advise and guidance.

Answered by Dr. Sairajesh Koonamsetty 11 hours later

Thanks for the feedback.

You are always welcome to ask doubts if any. You can post your queries using this link:
I will be available to address your queries in future too.

Wish you a healthy life.

Take care

Dr Sairajesh Koonamsetty
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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