Omegas Are In Your Plants, Not Just Fish

by ATP Science 980 views Nutrition

Omegas Are In Your Plants, Not Just Fish

Omegas are found in fish… but they are also found in plants, just like amino acids are too! Omegas have a long history behind them, in particular Omega 3. Omega 3 research established back in 1978[1], considered ‘ground breaking’ by the Lancet Journal, one of the most revered scientific literature journals of the time and remains so to date. Their research focused on the Greenland Eskimos, prompting the rethinking of fats and their function on our health. More on the history of Omegas and their sources below.

Omegas hit the ground running in 1985!

In 1985 Omegas became a huge focus in medicine, in this year alone there were 3 major studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine [2]. Following on from these came a fish and heart health study, again published by the Lancet Journal in 1989, suggesting that eating fish for 2 years, reduced all-cause mortality in people who experienced a heart attack. [2]

While this was phenomenal research – it was fish, stinky oily fish, and humans - being humans - didn’t take to well to having to down a can or two of oily fish each day. So, in 1999 they conducted another study [3] on fish oil supplements instead of the recommended dietary change. From this study the findings showed fish oil supplements reduced reduce cardiovascular risk in general, but incidentally also lowered cholesterol, and triglycerides too.

Fast forward to the future of Omegas

Now, in 2021, we know more about Omegas, far beyond little old Omega 3. In fact, we know now about the existence of Omegas 3,5,6,7, 9, and more recently Omega 11. Although, more research is being conducted on 11 and where it can be found. We now know that Omegas can be plentiful in plants, which is a great asset to have if you are wanting to avoid the fishy tasting reflux of fish oil supplements.

Current research on the Omega fatty acid spectrum shows that these forms and variations play multiple roles in the body, including impacting some such as:

  • Cardiovascular health. [3]
  • Blood pressure status. [4]
  • Triglyceride levels. [3]
  • Healthy brain function. [4]
  • Skin, hair and nails. [5]
  • Cellular membrane health.
  • Inhibit the proliferation of damaged cells. [6]
  • Maintain balanced insulin. [7]
  • Supports metabolism and fatty acid oxidation. [8]
  • Act as an anti-inflammatory. [9]

Just to name a few benefits, however research is continuing into the far-reaching benefits of Omegas and fatty acids in the human body. While we often focus on Omega 3 and Omega 6 ratios, which are integral essential fatty acids for our health, it’s also important to focus on the full spectrum of these fatty acids.

Don’t Omegas come from fish?

Thankfully, from a taste and sustainability perspective, no, not all Omegas are limited to just fish. There are multiple forms that can be extracted from plant varieties in our diet. For example, the following Omegas can be found in these plant sources:

Omega 3 – Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seed.

Omega 5 – Pomegranate seed oil and coconut oil.

Omega 6 – Almonds, sunflower oil, safflower, corn, walnuts, pistachios and hemp seed.

Omega 7 – Sea Buckthorn, macadamia, olive oil and pomegranate seed oil.

Omega 9 – Sunflower oil, hazelnuts, almonds, olive oil, pomegranate seed oil and hemp seed.

Ensuring you are getting a good spectrum of these sources in a balanced diet will see you consume healthy amounts of these Omegas too.  All packaged up in delicious food, and less of the slimy ‘fish in a can’ situation those conducting the research in the 80’s had to do. You won’t be that person who stinks out the lunch room, but rather you can create envy amongst peers with your snacks instead. 

Are there plant-based Omegas available in supplement form?

Yes, the team at ATP Science here ditched the fish a while ago. We eat healthy, and do our best to fill in the gaps where we can. It’s hard to measure just how much is coming in from diet, so, to ensure we were topped up on our good fats – we formulated Golden Oil, of entirely plant-based Omegas. Conveniently packaged in a dropper form, with a hint of rosemary and turmeric… no fishy business.


Golden Oil By ATP Science

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Article written by Brooklyn Naylor for ATP Science.

1. rom Inuit to Implementation: Omega-3 Fatty Acids Come of Age July 2000 Mayo Clinic Proceedings 75(6):607-14 DOI:10.4065/75.6.607


3. Dietary supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E after myocardial infarction: results of the GISSI-Prevenzione trial. Gruppo Italiano per lo Studio della Sopravvivenza nell'Infarto miocardico. Lancet. 1999 Aug 7;354(9177):447-55. Erratum in: Lancet 2001 Feb 24;357(9256):642. Erratum in: Lancet. 2007 Jan 13;369(9556):106. PMID: 10465168.

4. Derbyshire E. Brain Health across the Lifespan: A Systematic Review on the Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements. Nutrients. 2018 Aug 15;10(8):1094. doi: 10.3390/nu10081094. PMID: 30111738; PMCID: PMC6116096.

5. Huang, T. H., Wang, P. W., Yang, S. C., Chou, W. L., & Fang, J. Y. (2018). Cosmetic and Therapeutic Applications of Fish Oil's Fatty Acids on the Skin. Marine drugs, 16(8), 256.

6. Grossmann ME, Mizuno NK, Schuster T, Cleary MP. Punicic acid is an omega-5 fatty acid capable of inhibiting breast cancer proliferation. Int J Oncol. 2010 Feb;36(2):421-6. PMID: 20043077.

7. Duckett, S. K., Volpi-Lagreca, G., Alende, M., & Long, N. M. (2014). Palmitoleic acid reduces intramuscular lipid and restores insulin sensitivity in obese sheep. Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity: targets and therapy, 7, 553–563.

8. Varga, T., Czimmerer, Z., & Nagy, L. (2011). PPARs are a unique set of fatty acid regulated transcription factors controlling both lipid metabolism and inflammation. Biochimica et biophysica acta, 1812(8), 1007–1022.