According to a recently published study in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease, Almega PL™ – a polar-lipid algal omega-3 oil from the micro-algae Nannochloropsis oculata – offers better eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) uptake into blood plasma than krill oil.

The study compared the appearance of fatty acids in blood plasma of healthy humans after consuming a high-fat breakfast. The meal was accompanied by a 1.5-gram dose of total omega-3s from either Almega PL™ algal oil, which contains EPA conjugated with phospholipid and glycolipid polar lipids, or krill oil, which contains EPA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) conjugated with phospholipids.

Researchers found that even taking into account the different EPA contents of the two oils, the algal oil resulted in a statically significant and greater concentration of EPA in plasma than krill oil. EPA concentration was significantly higher with algal oil than krill oil at five, six, eight and 10 hours, and tended to be higher at four hours. Maximum concentration of EPA and the maximum change in concentration of EPA from its fasting concentration were significantly higher with algal oil with krill oil. The area under the concentration curve (AUC) and the incremental AUC (IAUC) for EPA were greater with algal oil compared with krill oil.

Researchers hypothesized that the difference may relate to the different chemical constituents of the two oils, mainly the presence of glycolipids.

According to the researchers, it is possible that the presence of DHA in krill oil limits the incorporation of EPA into plasma lipids. Another possibility is that n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) within glycolipids, as found in algal oil but not in krill oil, are an effective system for delivering EPA to humans.

“While omega-3s EPA and DHA are important to human health, alternatives to fish and krill are needed for vegetarians and for environmental sustainability,” said Dr. Isaac Berzin, founder and CTO of Qualitas Health.

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