Algal oil is derived from micro-algae and has contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Algal oil is largely composed of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), along with smaller amounts of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Algal oil is a substitute for people who do not want to use fish oil which is known for its high quantities of EPA and DHA. For vegans and vegetarians this type of plant oil is an excellent way of sufficient intake of essential fatty acids. Plant oils often only consist of ALA which is poorly converted into EPA and DHA. Both DHA and EPA have known health benefits, including helping to reduce blood clots, arrhythmias, inflammation, and high blood pressure. Scientific evidence has demonstrated that DHA levels increased similarly after intake of algal oil capsules compared with fish oils.
Since algal oil contains a high level of DHA it can prevent against the risk for stroke by keeping the blood vessels and arterial walls healthy. Next to that, DHA may help to suppress inflammation in brain tissue and oxidative damage to cells, and supports neurological development in infants.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has acknowledged the following beneficial effects as a basis for health claims: