Several important plants, herbs, and other by-products released through them are beneficial for our health and body. The quest is to find these products, research them extensively, and then move on to make them freely available in the markets so that everyone can benefit from them.

Algal oil is one such plant-based product that has several benefits for humanity. It is used for several purposes. And the benefits that it provides are indeed a great enough reason for everyone to use it as they see them as beneficial for themselves. [1]

What Is Algal Oil? 

algal oil

As the name suggests, algal oil is an oil that is extracted from some particular types of marine algae. These species of algae are different from the usual green and blue algae that are common and found almost everywhere. [2]

The goodness of this oil lies in the important oils that it contains. And it is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are contained in two major components of the algal oil. Namely ‘docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)’ and ‘eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).’ [3]

Since the major sought-after product or extract in algal oil is the ‘omega-3-fatty acid’ content. This oil is often employed in those uses where this component is needed. For improving the conditions or the given health status of a person. 

How Does Algal Oil Work?

algal oil

Being a rich source of important dietary fats (read: fatty acids) such as omega-3 and omega-9. Algal oil is mainly used in those conditions where there is a need to reduce inflammation. Fight off oxidative stress, and kill the source of disease-causing toxins. Along with their unchecked production. [4]

However, due to the advancements in science, it has become possible to find out the various other uses of algal oil. Thanks to the discovery of other micronutrients and phytochemicals that it contains. 

Algal Oil Vs. Fish Oil – What is the Difference?  

algal oil

Everyone who is already familiar with fish oil would also know that fish oil is another rich source of oil acquired through fish. Which is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. 

Since both types of oils are derived from water-related resources. It is common to compare them to see if any one of them is superior to the other. [5]

Similarly, it is also common to explore the similarities and differences between the both of them. To see which one is the clear winner. When it comes to gaining the maximum benefits from either of them. 

Here is an overview that will help you understand better how algal oil and fish oil are different from each other: 

Smell

Fish oil has a peculiar smell that speaks for its source itself. However, algal oil is devoid of any such sharp and pungent smell, so people who have a problem with the ‘fishy’ smell can always opt for algal oil to gain similar benefits. 

Origin Differences

When you peek into the list of origin differences, you may notice that fish oil is truly an animal-based product where algal oil is derived from plant resources. This raises a point of conflict, especially for those individuals who are either vegetarians or simply cannot put up with consuming fish oil. [6]

Allergies

Several people are allergic to fish or seafood in general. For them, algal oil might serve as a better and safer alternative. However, it is also recommended that such people not take their chances and steer away from resources that might harm them or adversely affect their health. [7]

Algal Oil Benefits For Human Beings

algal oil

Algal oil is indeed a great source of several beneficial uses for human beings. When used in the required quantities and within the right safety limits, one can easily witness the goodness that Algal oil brings their way in no time! 

Below is an overview of the different benefits that algal oil has on the health and body of human beings. 

It Helps Treat Hyperlipidemia

Cardiovascular diseases have easily become one of the most prevalent diseases that cause the death of a person when left untreated or unresolved. The major causes or reasons that lead to the development of these deadly conditions are none other than the unchecked cholesterol levels in the body. [8]

Cholesterol is not your friend – well, at least the unhealthy or bad one can never become your friend. If these ‘bad’ cholesterol levels are left as it is in the body, they could cause lipid deposition in your blood vessels, leading to the diversion or slowing down of blood flow through them. Ultimately, this leads to the development of several heart diseases such as myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure, hypertension, and others as well. [9]

However, it has been found that the use of algal oil could help decrease the levels of triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol in your body. Both these cholesterol types are unhealthy and contribute to the changes mentioned above. [10]

But! There is a catch involved here. Research has also found that only those algal oils rich in ‘DHA’ were seen to help decrease these cholesterol levels, and Algal oils rich in EPA did not seem to help much with the process. However, the research is still in the initial stages and would take time before finalizing theories. [11]

It Helps Keep The Eyes Healthy

Algal oil has also been found to have beneficial and protective effects on the human eyes. The magic lies in the quantity of DHA content contained in the algal oil. [12]

In almost more than half of men and women, age-related macular degeneration occurs when they get older. This condition compromises the quality of vision and sometimes can even lead to the complete or partial loss of vision in badly affected people.

Therefore, for these people, it was seen that if they are successfully able to maintain high levels of DHA content in their circulation, then they can very much keep their eyes protected and healthy against any further damage that may end up visually impairing them for the rest of their lives. [13]

The DHA contained in algal oil was also seen to help people with dry eyes. This chronic condition causes great inconvenience to the affected people and impairs their abilities to do work normally. [14]

It Helps Tone Down Inflammation

A person has to face several diseases and conditions due to the presence of inflammation in the body. Arthritis and other forms of joint inflammation come under this category of diseases. [15]

Suppose the intake of algal oil is made a regular part of one’s life. They could experience the benefits of reduced inflammation and, ultimately, the reduced severity of these diseases in the affected person. Provided that arthritis itself is quite a painful condition, people warmly welcome such benefits to help them live better and longer with improved mobility. [16]

It Helps Treat Depression

Although still in the initial stages, there have been several reports regarding the role of algal oil playing their role in decreasing the severity of depression in the affected individuals. 

But since the research itself is in its ongoing stages, there is not much that could be done or said to prove this point. [17]

It Helps Babies Grow Healthy

One of the most popular algal oils is its incorporation in milk used for babies. Adding algal oil to milk helps fortify the milk and enrich it with the essential omega-3 fatty acids that are required for the normal growth and development of a baby. [18]

Therefore, when babies drink this milk, it is obvious that they benefit a lot from drinking it as it helps them stay healthy and strong by supplying them with the omega-3 fatty acids that they need for this purpose. [19]

Algal Oil Side Effects 

With several benefits underway, it is reasonable for algal oil to have some side effects too. The key is to stay free from them and take care to avoid overdosing. Or consuming them way too much that it badly affects your health. 

There have been no serious cases of side effects that have been reported with the usage of algal oil. Algal oil allergy is a common side effect, and anyone might develop it. The symptoms are similar to another common allergy – teary eyes, runny nose, and redness of the eyes or skin. In such cases, it is best if the consumption of algal oil supplements is stopped as soon as possible. [20][21]

One other important thing to take care of is its ability of it to lower blood pressure. This could cause serious side effects in a person if they take it. Without any check and balance while already being on antihypertensive drugs. 

It is also better if breastfeeding or pregnant mothers avoid it. As it may also harm the developing baby or the mother. 

Conclusion – Is Algal Oil Worth It? 

From whatever we know to date, algal oil is indeed a product that seems to be healthy. And beneficial for us. The only gap that we have is in our knowledge regarding this oil. 

The day when we can decipher all its uses and applications is when we will finally be able to use it according to its full potential. 

But until then, it is best to use it in moderation and with the intention that it will indeed leave a great impact on our overall health. 

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

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Dr Andleeb Asghar, Pharm.D

Dr Andleeb is a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) graduate with real-life experience working in health and wellness-related companies. She has also published various research papers in the health and medical field. Currently, she takes joy in creating health-related content for a wide range of audiences, which is a craft she has been perfecting for over five years. She enjoys diving deep into published research papers and journal articles to source helpful content for her readers. LinkedIn

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  • Dr Andleeb is a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) graduate with real-life experience working in health and wellness-related companies. She has also published various research papers in the health and medical field. Currently, she takes joy in creating health-related content for a wide range of audiences, which is a craft she has been perfecting for over five years. She enjoys diving deep into published research papers and journal articles to source helpful content for her readers. LinkedIn

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Dr Andleeb is a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) graduate with real-life experience working in health and wellness-related companies. She has also published various research papers in the health and medical field. Currently, she takes joy in creating health-related content for a wide range of audiences, which is a craft she has been perfecting for over five years. She enjoys diving deep into published research papers and journal articles to source helpful content for her readers. LinkedIn