Monday, 26 August 2013

Vertese Vegan Omega Oils 3·6·9 (review)

Back in May, Richard posted our first health supplements review (Aduna Baobab Fruit Pulp Powder), and today I post our second. I'm covering omega oil blends, using the one from Vertese as an example of the type of omega oil products available, but I want to make it clear from the outset that other brands of combined omega oils 3, 6 and 9 are attainable in most health food stores and I've not noticed much in the way of differences between them. But more on that later!

Vertese Vegan Omega Oils 3·6·9

Every cell in our body contain essential fatty acids – omega oils – and omegas 3 and 6 cannot be manufactured by the body so we have to get them from our diet. Fish oil is by far the richest source of omega oil, but like my Mother, I have a fish and shellfish allergy, so have to get them from plant sources such as seeds and nuts as well as dairy produce. Omega 9 can be manufactured from unsaturated fat in the body, but is also abundant in both animal and vegetable fats; particularly olive oil.

Most people consume a poor ratio of omega oils, thanks to a diet richer in omegas 6 and 9 than omega 3, so to help address the balance many supplements provide a specially formulated blend of oils where 3 is provided in a much higher quantity than 6 or 9. This is important because generally speaking the typical British diet has a ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 of about 1:10 whereas in America it's worse at 1:20 to 1:30; it should be closer to 1:2 and 1:4 wherever you live.

Reasons to take omega oils:

  • Omega 3 acts as a 'building block' for brain function, amongst other things, which is why it's often taken by students during exam time.
  • The correct balance of omegas 3 and 6 can help protect the heart, reducing the risk of blood clots and helping regulate blood pressure. The British Heart Foundation recommends the consumption of omega 3 to reduce blood fats.
  • Stiff joints can be eased by increasing your omega oil intake by reducing inflammation and increasing suppleness.

Why omega oils could make you look better:

  • They contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which helps regulate oil production so your skin can work – and work it does, it's the body's biggest organ – at its most efficient to better tackle acne and dermatitis.
  • Skin hydration can increase making dry patches disappear. Suppleness is a side effect of this so visible signs of ageing, like wrinkles, are reduced.
  • EPA acts as an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory effects meaning it can tackle the damaging effects of UV-rays, and help the skin repair itself.

My own experience with omega oils started when I worked at Holland & Barrett. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn, in detail, about a whole range of ailments so naturally I looked up eczema which I was suffering from at the time. It's all very well treating it from the outside, but I needed something to work from the inside too and it was here I found out about the beneficial effects of omega 3 on dry skin conditions. After two months of use the dry patches had all but disappeared and I've continued with it to this day to maintain skin elasticity and smoothness.

Tesco Omega 3+6+9
So why Vertese Vegan Omega Oils 3·6·9? Vertese is a brand you can trust, and in the wide world of supplements that counts for a lot. To be honest, I'd trust any brand that is sold at reputable stores such as Holland & Barrett, it's just that Vertese is one of the more well known companies. I also like that it's vegetarian and vegan approved (complete with vegetarian society symbol) so the capsule shell is free from animal gelatine. The same cannot be said for Tesco Omega 3+6+9, which I also use, because it contains beef gelatine, but if this doesn't matter to you personally you might be swayed by the cheaper price.

While Vertese is not a bad price, it can be undercut by supermarket equivalents such as the Tesco one mentioned above or others – have a look around, but if you worry about consuming animal products make sure you check the ingredients listings carefully. Also see what source the oils are from: linseed, sesame, pumpkin seed, wheatgerm, rice bran, evening primrose, sunflower and rosemary oil are all suitable. Vertese does get one over its rivals, though, by including a small amount of vitamin e (10 mcg) which is also beneficial for your skin, heart and eyes.

The blister pack that Vertese packs its omega oil capsules in is handy for travel, but otherwise a waste of packaging. Most capsules from rival companies are simply stored altogether in a pot which is more cost effective for the manufacturer, but works perfectly well for the consumer. And if you care about the environment it's clearly the preferable option.

You mustn't expect miracles with supplements such as this.  You won't swallow a capsule and see immediate skin smoothing effects like you would with a serum.  In all honesty you may not notice any effects at all, until you've been taking them for a while and stop.  That is the ultimate test, and I know this because I've done it.  I ran out of omega oils once and never got around to replacing them, but after two weeks I noticed I was getting dry patches on the backs of my hands again - a prime spot for eczema when I was younger - so immediately replenished my stock and after a month or so I was back to normal.  If omega oils can have that kind of effect on the surface, I can only hope that its effects are felt on the inside, too.  And if I can benefit, so can you.

No animal-sourced ingredients
Too much packaging
Good for long-term skin (and body) maintenance
There are cheaper alternatives
No known side-effects when taken in the correct ratio


Brand: Vertese


Size: 30 capsules
Price: £4.09 (£0.14/capsule)

Size: 60 capsules
Price: £6.59 (£0.11/capsule)

Manufactured: Europe

Ingredients: Flaxseed Oil, Capsule Shell (Modified Potato Starch, Glycerol, Potato Starch, Sorbitol Syrup, Gelling Agent (Processed Eucheuma Seaweed), Emulsifier (Mono & Diglycerides), Glazing Agent (Carnauba Wax), Sunflower Seed Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Vitamin E Acetate, Evening Primrose Oil, Rosemary Oil, Soya Lecithin, Rice Bran Oil, Triglycerides

Alternative: n/a

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