Did you know that marine organisms (be it plants or animals) are loaded with unique oils, which are packed with omega-3 fatty acids? These fats are linked to many health benefits.
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for everyone from babies to adults. They play an important role in the formation of cell membranes and receptors throughout the body. They also play a key role in preventing and treating many different health problems like regulating inflammation, blood clotting, help with brain function, and relax the arterial walls.
They are bifurcated into three types: ALA, DHA, and EPA. Your body requires all of these to function properly-
ALA (Alpha-linoleic acid) - Found in foods like flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, etc.
DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) - Present in healthy fishes including tuna, salmon, etc.
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid)- Found in salmon, tuna, shellfish, herring, etc.
Algal oil- Omega 3 substitute for vegans
Algae/algal oil (DHA + EPA) is an excellent substitute for vegan/vegetarian people who don’t want to consume fish and fish oil. This omega 3 rich oil is derived from certain types of marine algae. Normally fishes consume these microalgae and convert them into fatty acids that are stored in their fleshy tissue. However, Algae oil skips the fish part and is made via a mechanical process called ‘expression’, where the microalgae are hard-pressed to extract oil.
According to a study, “As measured by delivery of DHA to both plasma and erythrocytes, fish and algal-oil capsules were equivalent.”
Serving size: 1 tablespoon of algal oil will contain-
Algal oil is often consumed as capsules, but you can also find it in liquid form. Algae oil has a mild and neutral taste which is ideal for everyday intake.
Benefits and side effects of algal oil
1] Promotes cardiovascular health
Algal or algae oil is beneficial to regulate heart rate and lower blood pressure. It can also reduce inflammation and the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and cardiac arrest.
2] Helpful in pregnancy
Algal oil can be used as a healthy supplement during pregnancy. It can improve the child's growth and development as it is rich in omega 3 healthy fats. It enhances brain growth if taken during the second trimester of pregnancy.
3] Improves vision
Fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6 present in algal oil can help improve your eyesight. It is rich in DHA that prevents retinal thinning.
4] Sharpens memory
It can also help improve memory. If someone has Alzheimer's disease, it can improve that person's quality of life but they may not work well alone in later stages.
Note: The above stated are indicative results and possible efficacy based on various trials and studies.
1] Algal supplements can cause bruising
2] Belching, upset stomach, and nausea
3] If taken in high doses, algae oil can cause clumping & have a blood-thinning effect
4] It may affect thyroid condition
Next time, when you think of algae, remember that this greenish substance found in ponds and lakes is much more than what meets the eyes. Try adding algae oil to vegetables and savory dishes, or try soups and sushi recipes. If you have a particular health issue or a wellness goal in mind, get expert aid on The Wellness Corner by consulting a dietitian. Sticking to a balanced meal chart will effectively help to accelerate the health progress.