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Algae DHA- Formation, Health Benefits and Difference from Fish DHA

May 19th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Algae, Algae DHA, Algae Non fuel products

It is a well known fact that DHA omega-3 has positive health benefits for everyone from pregnant or nursing mothers and infants, to healthy adults and the elderly. DHA is essential for the proper development and function of brain and eye development throughout life and for maintaining optimal function of the nerve cells in the brain and retina. This blog post provides some details and useful sources that provides information on DHA.

How is DHA formed? – This article – http://omega3.company/blog/conversion-of-ala-to-epa-to-dha-nice-graphic/ provides information on the formation of DHA from ALA. One interesting fact that the post also conveys is that only about 5% of ALA is converted to EPA, and <0.5% of ALA is converted to DHA! These are important stats, because these mean that if your ultimate aim is to have a good amount of DHA in your system, depending on sources containing ALA might not be much help – and this is where algae play a role as direct sources of DHA.

Health Benefits of DHA

DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid found in cell membranes throughout the body and is present in all tissues. It is the most prominent omega-3 fatty acid in neural, retinal and cardiovascular connecting tissue.

– Accounts for 97% of the omega-3 fats in the brain

– Accounts for 93% of the omega-3 fats in the retina

–  Key component in heart tissue

–  Naturally found in breast milk

Brain Health

DHA is a structural fat, making up approximately 30% of the structural fats in the gray matter of the brain and 97% of the omega-3’s in the brain.

Studies have shown that DHA plays a role in:

  • Infant mental development
  • Brain and nervous system development and function
  • Supporting the mental function of children and adults throughout life
  • Possible role for DHA in some behavioral and mood disorders affecting both children and adults

Eye Health

DHA is a major structural fat in the retina of the eye and it plays an important role in both infant visual development and visual function throughout life.

Studies have shown that DHA plays a role in:

  • Infant visual function and visual development
  • DHA may play a role in adult eye health


DHA is a key component of the heart, especially in the conducting tissue, and is important for heart health throughout life.*

Studies have shown that DHA plays a role in:

  • Maintaining normal triglyceride levels, heart rate and blood pressure

In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed the available data regarding the relationship between DHA and EPA and cardiovascular disease and has authorized the use of the following claim:

“Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Source:  http://www.lifesdha.com/what-is-dha/the-benefits-of-dha.aspx

What is  the difference between algae DHA and Fish  Oil? Which is better?

Research is still going on to confirm if the DHA that is directly extracted from algae or from fish oil is the best. Fish oil contains omega-3s that are distinct from the flax-type omega-3s.  Fish obtain EPA and DHA by eating algae that have the flax-type omega-3s typical of plants. More details about this can be found here – http://omega3.company/blog/which-is-healthier-algae-dha-or-fish-oil/

Research  teams so far have examined the relation between algal DHA supplementation and cardiovascular disease risk factors, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. They found that supplementation with algal DHA reduced triglycerides and raised HDL-cholesterol.

For now, DHA from algae seems to be a sustainable, alternative source of DHA that can satisfy both the demands of consumers and the needs of vegetarians, as well as fulfilling most, if not all, the health benefits currently established with omega 3s.


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