Algae Oil Benefits for Heart Health
Oil may have a bad reputation, but if it comes from the right source, it can be a powerful supplement packed with nutrients. One surprising example of this is algae oil. The oil provides many nutritional benefits and is used for many purposes, from fortifying foods to supplementing cosmetic products.
Algae is abundant with omega-3s and can provide an excellent alternative to other sources. When the oil is extracted from the algae, it creates a supplement that can positively impact heart health and support overall well-being. Embracing algae oil's benefits can change how we think about how we use supplements to support our heart health and overall wellness.
What Are Omega-3s?
Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fats that make up the foundations of many cell membranes throughout many systems in the body. The three main omega-3 fatty acids are:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
ALA omega-3 fatty acids are often found in plant oils, seeds, nuts, and seafood, while DHA and EPA fatty acids are found in fish and other seafood. ALA is considered an essential fatty acid because the body cannot make it, meaning we must obtain it through diet.
All three of these fatty acids are vital to supporting the body's healthy function. ALA is the most abundant form of omega-3s in a standard diet, as it is present in more foods. Therefore, ALA rarely requires supplementation to obtain healthy amounts.
Although ALA is abundant, the body cannot convert it into the other forms of omega-3s in the body in large amounts. ALA omega-3s can be converted into EPA and DHA, but only in very small amounts. Therefore, it is important to get EPA and DHA omega-3s through either diet or supplementation.
Omega-3s can help support many bodily functions, including supporting a healthy heart, promoting eye health, and helping maintain normal cognitive function.
What Is Algae Oil?
Algae oil has no hidden secrets: it is simply oil extracted from algae.
Algae is an aquatic plant/organism that can conduct photosynthesis but lacks the structure of most plants, such as stems, roots, and leaves. You can find these unique organisms forming the green film sitting on the top of still water in lakes or ponds.
Algae can be hard to define because they range from small single-celled organisms to larger plant-like formations. There are over 30,000 species of algae in the world. Algae oil is made from specific types of microalgae. The microalgae used for algae oil are the same that fish consume to provide them with fatty acids.
In other words, you’re getting all the benefits directly from the source.
Microalgae is dense with nutrients, and when its oil is extracted, it provides a nutrient-rich supplement that is largely bioavailable to humans. Consuming algae oil allows you to skip the step of eating fish and obtain the nutrients directly from the source.
The oil is extracted carefully to ensure the protection of the nutrients created by this tiny powerhouse. Algae oil is a particularly abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids and can provide a wide range of health benefits, especially for the heart.
What Is Algae Oil Used For?
Although we may not frequently hear about the wonders of algae oil, it is a common ingredient in many products, like foods, garden products, and nutritional supplements. Since it contains antioxidants, some companies even use algae oil in cosmetic products.
Similar to olive oil, you can also use algae oil in cooking. Although algae oil seems similar to other cooking oils in texture and appearance, the oil may offer several more benefits since it is lower in saturated fat and provides healthier fats in monounsaturated fats.
However, algae oil does not have the same omega-3 composition when used for cooking because the fatty acids are not resistant to heat. On the plus side, the oil provides a higher smoke point without the fatty acids, allowing you to cook at higher temperatures.
Algae oil is commonly used as a nutritional supplement for those trying to obtain more omega-3 in their diet. In fact, algae oil is so rich in omega-3 fatty acids that it is even added to many commercially produced foods, like milk, eggs, and fish, to enhance their omega-3 content.
Algae oil made from particular species contains a significant nutrient density of EPA and DHA. Farmers can adjust conditions like UV light, oxygen, and temperature to increase the amount of omega-3s present in some algae.
Ultimately this plant-based oil offers a wide variety of uses and benefits. It can have even more benefits for heart health when used as a supplement.
What Are the Benefits of Algae Oil for Heart Health?
Because algae oil is so rich in omega-3 fatty acids, algae oil contributes to the healthy function of many parts of the body. Omega-3 fatty acids are often touted for their contribution to supporting healthy heart function and blood flow. As they have been shown to lower the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood, omega-3s and algae oil can maintain heart health by doing the following.
Support Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Regular supplementation from algae oil can help support healthy cholesterol levels. Algae oil and the omega-3s within it can maintain a healthy balance between HDL and LDL cholesterol levels.
Help Maintain Normal Blood Pressure
Although it remains the source of many studies, DHA and EPA omega-3s have been shown to support healthy blood pressure. Because algae oil is abundant in both DHA and EPA omega-3s, it has the potential to support a healthy blood pressure with consistent use, especially over other sources of ALA omega-3 fatty acids.
Support Blood Vessel Function
Omega-3s, and algae oil, can also support the function of blood vessels and healthy blood flow. Blood vessels can face various problems, such as the development of plaque in the blood or stiffening of the vessel walls. Although they have not been proven to prevent these conditions, omega-3s can support vascular function. Support for your vascular function can offer many additional benefits for the heart and cardiovascular system as a whole.
Why Choose Algae Oil Over Other Sources of Omega-3?
Algae oil provides an alternative to fish and fish oil as a strong source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, algae oil is the perfect omega-3 supplement choice for those on a plant-based diet. It also makes a great choice for those who are not on a plant-based diet but cannot stand the smell of fish oil. Algae oil has a neutral taste and smell, making it a much more tolerable supplement.
Algae oil is the only plant-based source of DHA and EPA omega-3s, but it is also the most abundant source. We commonly think of fish as the best possible source of DHA and EPA omega-3s because they contain such high amounts. However, fish do not produce these omega-3s on their own — they obtain the nutrients by maintaining a diet abundant in microalgae.
Choosing algae oil over fish sources of omega-3 may also be more efficient in more ways than one. Studies show that the body can absorb a significantly higher amount of omega-3 from algae oil than krill or fish, demonstrating better bioavailability of the nutrients.
This bioavailability also has farther-reaching implications, as 7.2 pounds of algae can produce the same amount of omega-3s as 13,600 krill or 110 fish. From a sustainability perspective, algae oil is a much better choice.
Finally, algae oil offers the same, if not more, nutritional benefits as fish oil with fewer risks. Algae oil can be produced in controlled conditions in salt water as opposed to being pulled from the ocean. This farming method means that you do not have to worry about the same toxins that you do with fish. Many fish sources of omega-3 may be contaminated with mercury or other dangerous chemicals. Algae oil eliminates doubt and offers you peace of mind.
Experience the Benefits of Algae Oil for Yourself
Ultimately, algae oil has long been embraced for the extensive list of benefits it offers for supporting heart health and overall wellness. Algae oil contains more omega-3 fatty acids than other dietary sources in nature, including fish. Consider a supplement made from algae to maximize your omega-3 intake and avoid the smell of fish oil. At iwi, we aim to give you access to the most powerful omega-3 supplement on the planet.
Try iwi’s cardiovascular supplements to see the benefits for yourself. iwi farms all of the algae used in our supplements in controlled conditions to produce the most nutrient-rich product, free from contaminants. Explore all our plant-based supplement options to see how you can incorporate vital nutrients into your daily diet.
HOW MANY SPECIES OF ALGAE ARE THERE? | National Library of Medicine
Omega-3 Fatty Acids | National Library of Medicine
Omega-3 Fatty Acids | National Institutes of Health
Omega-3 Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) Rich Extract from the Microalga Nannochloropsis Decreases Cholesterol in Healthy Individuals: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Three-Month Supplementation Study | MDPI