March 26, 2021 6 min read

Introduction

Many marine organisms are grown in laboratories for their unique oils that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. There are many health benefits linked to these fats.

Algae is a great plant-based alternative to omega 3s.  (1)

Omega 3 fatty acids offer many health benefits. Studies have reported that omega 3 contributes towards the following:

  1. Support healthy brain, heart, eye health and immune system
  2. Reduce inflammation
  3. Decrease blood triglycerides
  4. Reduce the risk of dementia (2)

 

Types and sources

There are almost 40,000 types of algae species that range from single-celled microscopic organisms known as microalgae to kelp and seaweed.

Sunlight, ultraviolet light, and carbon dioxide are the main sources of energy for all kinds of algae.

Some more plant-based sources of getting omega 3 to meet your daily requirement are as follows:

  1. Chia seeds
  2. Flax seeds
  3. Algal oil
  4. Hemp seeds
  5. Walnuts
  6. Brussels sprouts
  7. Perilla oil (3)

Benefits

Algae oil is essential for many health benefits, it has omega 3 fatty acids that have many uses and can reduce inflammation (swelling), improve levels of some fats in the blood, and help with brain function.

Some well-known benefits of using algae oil for omega 3 are:

1. Improves heart health

Omega 3 supplements help in lowering blood pressure and reducing blood vessel function which lowers the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Omega 3s have been known to lower triglyceride levels, a kind of fat found in the blood. Studies have reported that after using DHA-rich algae oil lowered triglyceride levels by almost 25% and improved cholesterol levels as well. (3),(4)

A recent study of 13 clinical trials reported that consuming omega 3 supplements from different marine sources reduced the risk of heart disease and also death from various heart conditions.  (5)

2. Reduces Depression

Studies have shown that people with depression have lower levels of DHA and EPA in their blood. (6)

Several types of research also suggest that people who consume higher levels of omega 3s have a lower risk of developing depression. (7)

3. Eye Health

If you suffer from dry eyes or eye fatigue incorporating an omega 3 supplement in your diet will prove to be immensely helpful as it can decrease the symptoms by reducing the tear evaporation rate. (8)

Omega 3s have many other eye health benefits, it can help fight age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that can cause vision loss.

Research suggests that the intake of high amounts of DHA and EPA will help in delaying intermediate AMD. (9)

4. Brain Health

The structure and function of cell membranes throughout your body requires omega 3 as your brain has especially high levels of DHA.

5. Reduces Inflammation

Studies done on animals suggest that omega 3 can be used to gain control over the following ailments:

  1. Arthritis
  2. Colitis
  3. Asthma (10)

A 12-week study with 60 female participants suffering from RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) who were given omega 3 supplements reported a decrease in pain and tenderness in joints. (11)

Dosage

Many health organizations say that taking 150-1000 mg of combined DHA and EPA is extremely beneficial for your overall health.

Supplementation

Algae oil supplements provide several fatty acids. Supplements that contain combination of DHA and EPA are best for achieving optimal health.

If you suffer from high levels of triglycerides or blood pressure it is advised that you talk to your health care provider to see if you require a larger dose of omega 3s.

The manufacturers recommend substituting a meal that contains fat with the supplement as the macronutrient aids absorption.

Algae a Safer Substitute For Fish Oil

When we look at it there are many reasons why one would prefer algae oil as a way of getting omega 3 over fish oil and they listed below:

1. Allergies

Seafood allergy is one of the most severe kinds of allergic reactions that can happen, it can result in death if not treated promptly and properly.

While more research needs to be done to see if fish oil can trigger the same level of an allergic reaction, health care professionals advise on remaining on the side of caution and avoiding fish oil all together and getting your daily intake of omega 3s from supplements.

2. Pollutants

Fish oil supplements may also cause health complications due to possible contaminants in the fish source. Heavy metals and residual pesticides persist in certain environments and inevitably leach into water sources.  Due to accumulation, there is increased risk of toxins in larger fish species. The marine organisms living in the waters are exposed to these dangerous contaminants. Since the organisms are harvested for fish oil production, trace amounts of toxins remain and taint the fish oil supplement products.  Some studies have show that pollutants negate the positive effects of Omega-3.

3. Diet Preferences

Many individuals have shifted towards a plant-based or vegetarian lifestyle and they need plant-based substitutes for essential nutrients like omega 3. Certain diet preferences also lead to people using plant-based supplements like algae oil.

People who need to monitor their mercury consumption, children, and pregnant women can all benefit greatly from using algae oil as a source of obtaining omega 3.

4. Side Effects

Some people have reported the following side effects from using fish oil:

  1. Belching
  2. Bad breath
  3. Heartburn
  4. Nausea
  5. Loose stools
  6. Ash
  7. Nosebleeds

4. Sustainability

Algae oil is more sustainable and environmentally friendly than fish oil. Although before taking any supplements, it is advised that you consult a healthcare provider their experience can help you get a product that is safe for you, and help determine if the supplement will have adverse effects with other medication you are taking, and help you determine the appropriate dosage that will meet your nutritional needs.

Conclusion

Today we have articulated this article to encourage you to indulge in various nutrients to achieve optimal health.

To live a healthy and well-balanced life you must incorporate omega 3 fatty acids into your diet as they are an essential and important dietary requirement.

There are many sources to get your daily intake of omega 3 fatty acids from if you do not eat fish due to dietary restrictions or personal preferences.

 

References

  1. Danahy, A. (2020, January 08). Algae Oil: Nutrition, Benefits, and More. Retrieved October 14, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/algae-oil
  2. Colussi, G., Catena, C., Novello, M., Bertin, N., & Sechi, L. A. (2017). Impact of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on vascular function and blood pressure: Relevance for cardiovascular outcomes. Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases: NMCD, 27(3), 191–200. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.numecd.2016.07.011
  3. Algal Oil: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1565/algal-oil
  4. Ryan, L., & Symington, A. (2014, July 03). Algal-oil supplements are a viable alternative to fish-oil supplements in terms of docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3; DHA). Retrieved October 14, 2020, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464614002229
  5. Hu, Y., Hu, F. B., & Manson, J. E. (2019). Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease: An Updated Meta-Analysis of 13 Randomized Controlled Trials Involving 127 477 Participants. Journal of the American Heart Association, 8(19), e013543. https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.119.013543
  6. Sanchez-Villegas, A., Henríquez, P., Figueiras, A., Ortuño, F., Lahortiga, F., & Martínez-González, M. A. (2007). Long chain omega-3 fatty acids intake, fish consumption and mental disorders in the SUN cohort study. European journal of nutrition, 46(6), 337–346. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-007-0671-x
  7. Sanchez-Villegas, A., Henríquez, P., Figueiras, A., Ortuño, F., Lahortiga, F., & Martínez-González, M. A. (2007). Long chain omega-3 fatty acids intake, fish consumption and mental disorders in the SUN cohort study. European journal of nutrition, 46(6), 337–346. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-007-0671-x
  8. Bhargava, R., Kumar, P., Phogat, H., Kaur, A., & Kumar, M. (2015). Oral omega-3 fatty acids treatment in computer vision syndrome-related dry eye. Contact lens & anterior eye: the journal of the British Contact Lens Association, 38(3), 206–210. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clae.2015.01.007
  9. Wu, J., Cho, E., Giovannucci, E. L., Rosner, B. A., Sastry, S. M., Willett, W. C., & Schaumberg, D. A. (2017). Dietary Intakes of Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid and Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Ophthalmology, 124(5), 634–643. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ophtha.2016.12.033
  10. Calder P. C. (2017). Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: from molecules to man. Biochemical Society transactions, 45(5), 1105–1115. https://doi.org/10.1042/BST20160474
  11. Veselinovic, M., Vasiljevic, D., Vucic, V., Arsic, A., Petrovic, S., Tomic-Lucic, A., Savic, M., Zivanovic, S., Stojic, V., & Jakovljevic, V. (2017). Clinical Benefits of n-3 PUFA and ɤ-Linolenic Acid in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Nutrients, 9(4), 325. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9040325
  12. Office of Dietary Supplements – Omega-3 Fatty Acids. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2020, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/

For more information about algae-based omega-3 supplements, please visit our product page.


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