Why is algae oil healthy? What is the difference with fish oil?

Your body needs omega-3 fatty acids to function properly. They are good for your overall health and you get them from your diet. If you are vegetarian, vegan or not a fan of fish, you can opt for algae oil for your daily portion of fish fatty acids. It’s packed with that. Algae oil is sustainable and 100% vegetable.

Algae oil is made from microalgae and contains the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Fish eat algae to get their portion of omega-3 fatty acids. If you choose algae oil, you get it from the source, just like the fish.

What is Algae Oil?

Algae oil is a plant-based alternative to traditional fish oil and krill oil. It is the purest form of omega-3. The algae, small plants that produce omega-3 fatty acids, are the basis of algae oil. The algae are grown in large water basins. In addition to the ‘healthy’ fats, they also contain proteins, iron and vitamin B.

Why is algae oil healthy?

Fish fatty acids are very healthy. The advice is to eat fish once a week. Fatty fish such as mackerel, herring or salmon are preferred. Many Dutch people (more than three-quarters) do not meet the guideline, including vegetarians and vegans, and then algae oil is recommended.

This is the only vegetable source of DHA and EPA. These fatty acids are good for your brain, heart, blood pressure and eyesight. The beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 250 mg EPA and DHA.

Why is algae oil healthy?  In the photo a plate with algae oil supplements in the shape of a heart.

What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids. They have a positive effect on your body and bodily functions. You have to get these fats from your diet or supplements because your body cannot produce them itself. ALA, EPA and DHA protect against cardiovascular diseases, among other things.

Plant sources of omega-3

Your body can get the omega-3 fatty acid ALA from plant sources. The omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA can then be produced from this. However, this does not yield much. ALA is found in (walnut) nuts, hemp seed, chia seed, linseed and rapeseed oil and green leafy vegetables. Hormones, proteins and enzymes need ALA to function properly.

How much omega-3 per day?

The Health Council assumes 200 mg of the fatty acids EPA and DHA per day and 2 grams (women) or 3 grams (men) of ALA per day. Pregnant women are advised to eat fish twice a week. Maternal intake of DHA contributes to the normal development of the eyes of the fetus and infants. It is also an important building block for the brain of the fetus and breastfed infants.

If you do not eat fish or eat too little, it is wise to take an omega-3 supplement, such as algae oil. For vegans this is the only solution. This can also be a good alternative for people who are allergic to fish and/or shellfish, suffer from belching after taking fish oil capsules or are concerned about the environment.

Many people are deficient in omega-3. They therefore lack essential fatty acids, nutrients that are essential for a healthy body. Symptoms of an omega-3 deficiency are less sharp vision, dry skin, fatigue and concentration problems.

What is the difference between algae oil and fish oil?

It doesn’t make much difference to your health whether you choose algae oil or fish oil. The effect of both products in your body is the same. Algae oil is better for the environment. Many fish have to be caught for fish oil and there is a risk of overfishing. This in turn disrupts the ecosystem in the oceans. One third of fish stocks are currently already overfished. And one in four fish is caught for the production of fish oil. That’s millions of tons of fish. The catch of so many fish is of course not good for marine life.

Unfortunately, fish contain many harmful substances. Many fish are polluted with PCBs, mercury, plastic and dioxins. High-quality fish oil is purified. Any impurities are removed before they are processed into fish oil capsules. Algae oil is free of contamination anyway.

Durable

Algae oil is more sustainable than fish or fish oil. And we’re not just looking at the environmental problems of fishing. Algae grow fast. All that is needed for this is sufficient sunlight, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorus. The production of algae oil therefore requires less energy than the production of fish oil. So you can say that algae oil is better for the environment and therefore better for you.

Algae oil capsules

So microalgae are grown to make oil full of omega-3 fatty acids. Most algae oil sold comes from the green microalgae Schizochytrium sp. Algae oil is available in liquid form, capsules, vegicaps or softgels. The capsules are often made from seaweed.

The amount of DHA and EPA in the algae oil differs per brand. Make sure that the capsules contain a minimum of 200 mg of fatty acids, the recommended daily amount. This vegan dietary supplement can also be used during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Healthy lifestyle and algae oil

Omega-3 fatty acids provide protection against cardiovascular disease. In addition to eating fish regularly or taking fish oil or algae oil capsules every day, you can do more yourself to reduce the risk of this. A healthy lifestyle is of course at the top of this. That means, among other things, avoiding too much fat. You prefer to leave fatty snacks, chips, biscuits, chocolate, pastries, fatty meats and fatty meat alone or eat as little as possible. Saturated fat raises your cholesterol and that is not good for your heart and blood vessels.

In addition, a healthy life means: no smoking, little alcohol, not too much stress, enough sleep and sufficient exercise. A healthy weight is also a prerequisite for leading a healthy life. Being overweight increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. If you are overweight, this is not good for your cholesterol level and your blood pressure. In both cases you run the risk that they are too high. In addition, you run a greater risk of getting diabetes.

Because most vegetarians and vegans are already fully engaged in nutrition and generally lead a reasonably healthy lifestyle, they run less risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sources:

https://www.voedingscentrum.nl/encyclopedie/omega-3.aspx#:~:text=Vissen%20halen%20de%20omega%203,de%20visfats%20EPA%20en%20DHA.

https://www.vegetariers.nl/gezond/gezond-eten/omega-3-vetzuur

https://www.consumentenbond.nl/binaries/content/assets/cbhippowebsite/gidsen/gezondgids/2022/nummer-4—augustus/ng202208p08-algenolie-p.pdf

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My name is Marijke Lentferink I have been working as a Naturopathic and Orthomolecular therapist since 2006. I do this from my own practice called Orthokliniek Ootmarsum. In recent years I have followed many studies about health, completing the ‘Bachelor of Nutrition’. I have been working with the Biohcg Original diet for over 20 years. We regularly adjust the diet based on the latest insights. In addition to losing weight, we help our customers with smoking cessation, food and allergy tests, among other things. See also our website www.orthokliniek.nl

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