Algae Supplements Overiew
Everything you need to know about Algae Supplements:
Let’s first start off with Algae. You know, the green stuff that you see growing on the sides of a fish tank.
What Are Algae Supplements?
Algae are organisms that live in the water and make their energy from sunlight, just like a plant.
However, unlike plants, they don’t have plant characteristics like leaves or roots, which puts them in a different group than land-based plants.
Since they are simple one-celled organisms, algae are one of the most plentiful species around. You know seaweed? They’re just a bunch of algae that bonded together.
3 Essentials of Algae
These are the three essential components of algae that make them a healthy source of nourishment:
— Chlorophyll, Among Other Various Plant Pigments
— Omega-3 Fatty Acids In The Form Of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) And Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
The plant pigments, including chlorophyll, are referred to as phytochemicals, or plant chemicals. Our scientific understanding of these chemicals goes as far as knowing that they are beneficial to people, but we don’t know the extent of the chemicals contained or precisely how they function.
EPA/DHA Fatty Acids
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are oft-referred to as the helpful elements of fish oil, however, their actual origins are in algae (mostly DHA).
Algae sit at the base of the food chain for marine-based organisms like fish. These fish eat the algae and get high amounts of DHA and EPA concentrated in their tissues.
Iodine And Other Marine Minerals
Algae can assimilate and be comprised of water-based minerals including but not limited to iodine, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
The consumption of iodine from healthy sources like seaweed is key for maintaining good health, especially good thyroid health.
About Algae Supplements
If you’re thinking of consuming the algae growing in that fish tank, don’t. You’re better off taking Algae Supplements that were created in a controlled laboratory environment.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
We humans came to be because we lived off of diets comprised of water-based organisms, wild animals, and or land-based plants.
This diet gave us sufficient amounts of omega-3 fats, which created an omega-6:omega-3 ratio of 1:1.
What’s the ratio now? Well, the typical North American diet gives us a omega-6:omega-3 ratio of between 16 and 20 to 1.
The reason for this is probably the shift in key components of our diet. We’ve phased out components such as flax, hemp, walnuts, perilla, chia, fish, green leafy vegetables, and algae.
Algae’s key fats can improve our fatty acid balance along with our:
— Cardiovascular function
— Nervous system function
— Immune system
— Memory & concentration
— Sensitivity to insulin
— Partitioning of nutrients
— Body composition
Algae Supplements vs. Fish Supplements
It seems that algae supplements are actually quite similar to fish supplements.
Research data has shown that supplementing 1-2 grams of algae oil a day drastically increases levels of DHA and EPA in your blood. Additionally, this amount can assist in lowering the amount of triglycerides in your blood, control swelling, and decrease your heart rate and blood pressure.
The average extent of DHA retroconversion to EPA is about 12%, although various reports have given a range from as low as 1% to as high as 25%.
Most algae supplements have you take smaller doses than you would with fish supplements.
Why are they different?
According to an algae researcher by the name of Dr. Scott Doughman,
“Because DHA is the active component for lowering triglycerides, for bioavailability to the brain and organs, and all omega-3s can be made from DHA. Algae oil is more concentrated in omega-3s and in DHA and is thus better formulated for human metabolism.”
Can’t I Just Eat ALA?
You can find a lot of Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) in another omega-3 fat known as flax.
Research indicates that flax heightens levels of ALA in the blood, but doesn’t do the same for EPA and DHA.
It is possible for ALA to be changed into EPA, but the rate of conversion fluctuates and tends to remain on the low side.
Below are some factors that limit our body’s ability to change ALA into EPA:
— High Amounts Of Saturated Fat, Trans Fat, Cholesterol, And Sugar In Our Diet
— A High Blood Sugar Level
— High Amounts Of Stress
— Altered Micronutrient Status
— Not Enough Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium, Biotin, Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, and Vitamin B6
— An Excess Of Vitamin A, Copper
— Unbalanced Fatty Acid Ratios (Too Much Omega-6)
— Excessive Alcohol Intake
— Gender (women appear to convert ALA to EPA more efficiently than men)
— Higher Age (old people don’t convert ALA to EPA as well as young people)
As you can see, the ability of flax to assist your fatty acid balance won’t be much of a benefit to you if your general dieting strategy is insufficient.
Ok… Why Can’t I Just Take Fish Supplements?
It’s a good thing you asked. Here the big three reasons why you shouldn’t:
A 2006 study concluded that by 2048, we will see a complete and utter collapse of the world population of fish if current overfishing and pollution trends persist.
Consider this: it takes roughly 2 pounds of wild fish to make 1 pound of farmed fish. That doesn’t sound very sustainable, does it?
UN reports have indicated that two-thirds of the world fish population is either gone or completely exploited. The 3000% sales increase in fish oil might be a big culprit behind this. This goes without saying, but if everyone chose to consume more fish or take fish supplements, we’d run out of fish!
Here are some more stats for you:
Up to 90 percent of the small fish (anchovies, sardines, mackerel, menhaden) in the world’s oceans annually are used to produce fishmeal and fish oil. Why? They reproduce very fast which diminishes the effect of overfishing (somewhat).
Farm animals (pigs, chicken, etc.) and farmed fish consume up to 28 million tons of fish as feed annually. That figure is about 6x the figure that represents the quantity of seafood consumed by American people.
Fish products don’t only concentrate amounts of EPA and DHA. They also concentrate nasty environmental contaminants like DDT, Dieldrin, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Not healthy.
It gets worse. Mercury levels in the world’s oceans have gone up about 30% in the past 20 years. This increases the risk of more people getting exposed to mercury by just eating contaminated fish and other seafood.
It is true that algae will contain some of these contaminants, but they aren’t concentrated in nearly as high levels.
Studies have indicated that fish oil supplements that haven’t been purified contain highly unsafe amounts of environmental contaminants. Additional research has shown that 80 percent of fish oil supplement manufacturers meet the rigorous US standards for the elimination of contaminants. Only 80 percent, which is 61 of 75 companies.
3. Karma Light Supplementation
Vegetarians, vegans, and other people decide to not eat animals and instead get their omega-3s from plant sources.
Recap & Suggestions
The benefits of taking omega-3 supplements can be felt by a majority us due to our excessive omega-6 consumption.
We wouldn’t need as many omega-3 supplements if we were able to improve the way we balanced our diets.
You’ll find that a majority of algae supplement makers suggest that you take between 200 and 300 mg per day. While that may be sufficient for those on a balanced diet, you’ll find that the ideal health advantages will come about from taking 1000 to 2000 mg (1 to 2 grams) of joint EPA/DHA from algae per day. Be sure to split it into two doses. Special situations could require you to take more or less than this recommended dose.
Sources Of Algae Omega-3
Here is a list of the more popular Algae Supplements:
— NOW DHA Omega Supreme
— DEVA Omega-3 DHA
— Dr. Fuhrman DHA Purity
— Spectrum Naturals Flax With DHA
— Spectrum Naturals Vegetarian DHA
— Pure One Optimized Omega
— Barlean’s Vegan Omega Swirl
We will do our best to provide individual reviews on each other supplements listed above. And continue to update the list with supplements that we review that should be added.
Did you know that roughly 6% of American women (3.8 million women) have an excess of the amount of mercury that is deemed safe for fetuses by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)?
We wouldn’t need omega-3 supplements nearly as bad if we’d just limit our consumption of omega-6 fats.
Consult with your doctor before taking these supplements if you take blood thinning medication. Why? Omega-3 fats have blood thinning properties.
Make sure that you place your algae supplements in a dark, cool space. Keep them out of the light and muggy temperatures.