February 13, 2024 by NutraPak USA

Are you looking for clarification about algal oil vs fish oil? Algal oil is a popular supplement that provides the same benefits as other omega-3 fatty acid and DHA supplements on the market. What is algal oil? Do supplement companies really need to decide between algal oil vs fish oil when formulating their lineups? Here’s your cheat sheet on algal oil vs fish oil.

What Is Algal Oil?

Also known as seaweed oil, algal oil is a popular plant-based alternative to fish oil supplements. Seaweed oil is derived from marine algae that is teeming with omega-3 fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). There are many wellness benefits and therapeutic reasons why people take algal oil. However, the most common reason why people take algal oil supplements is that they want a vegan or plant-free way to take DHA. 

DHA is essential for building healthy tissue. It is especially important for eye and brain health in developing babies during pregnancy. This is why the medical world generally recommends that pregnant women consume at least 200 milligrams of DHA daily. For women following vegetarian or vegan diets, that can be challenging. Manufacturers in the supplement world are appealing to this niche market by offering vegan-certified seaweed oil supplements. 

However, algae-based oil isn’t only used during pregnancy. People of all ages and walks of life are utilizing this powerful life source from the sea to enjoy better health. Here’s a glance at some of the potential health benefits of high-quality algal or seaweed oil:

  • Eye Health: While DHA and EPA are known to help with healthy formation of eyes during gestation, people at all stages of life can actually benefit from the omega-3 acids in algal and seaweed oil. Some research shows that these compounds can reduce a person’s chances of developing age-related macular degeneration. Many people even take algal supplements to help relieve symptoms of dry eyes.
  • Reduced Inflammation: The omega-3 fatty acids in algal products may help to reduce bodily inflammation that causes pain and swelling.
  • Mood: Algal oil’s abundant omega-3 fatty acids may help to improve symptoms of depression.
  • Heart Health: Algal oil may help to prevent risks of cardiovascular disease, reduce blood pressure, lower triglycerides, and make blood vessels more efficient. 

There’s one more benefit that seaweed oil provides over other sources of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA that goes beyond just bodily health. As a plant-based source of nutrients, this oil doesn’t pose risks for overfishing. Many people choose plant-based omega-3 fatty acid supplements over supplements derived from animal products because they have concerns over sustainability.

What Is Fish Oil?

Fish oil supplements are helping millions of people around the globe improve their health by filling in dietary gaps for essential omega-3 fatty acids. While most people have heard about fish oil supplements, not everyone is familiar with what these supplements contain. Fish oil is a dietary product that’s derived from the tissues of oily fish. Generally, this means cold-water fish. Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid.

Like algae-based oil, true fish oil offers a variety of health benefits. In fact, fish-based DHA is the most common type of DHA used by pregnant women to promote proper fetal development. People also commonly take fish oil supplements for increased brain function, energy, heart health, blood pressure, and mood. There’s even promising evidence that fish oil may be beneficial for relieving symptoms for some patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) due to its mild anti-inflammatory effects.

Algal Oil vs Fish Oil: What's the Difference?

The obvious difference with algal oil vs fish oil comes down to how these products are sourced. What is algal oil made of? This oil is made from a specific type of algae that contains omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, it is considered a vegan, animal-free product that is acceptable for people with vegan and plant-based lifestyles. 

Fish oil comes from oily fish. As a result, it is not considered a vegan or animal-free product. Generally, fish oil is derived from the tissue of salmon, tuna, herring, or mackerel. Concentrated oil is generally placed in capsules or tinctures. 

While both options are considered safe and beneficial when formulated in a certified manufacturing facility, the question of algal oil vs fish oil is very clear for some. Due to concerns over depletion of fish populations, some people consider algae-based oils to be more responsible. In addition, people who choose algal when deciding between algal oil and fish oil do not need to be concerned about contamination from mercury or other toxins that are known to be found in fish.

Which option is better when choosing between algal oil vs fish oil? This next part is where things get exciting. According to researchers, the two products are nutritionally comparable. Studies show that algal oil actually delivers the same levels of omega-3 fatty acids as fish. The reason why comes down to the fact that most of the DHA derived from fish actually comes from their diets full of microscopic algae. 

Ideally, a supplement brand should make room for both products instead of choosing between algal oil and fish oil. What is algal oil ideal for? This product should be formulated and marketed for the vegan market share. People who follow vegan lifestyles are always looking for high-quality supplements because they typically need to source a good amount of nutrients and minerals that people would normally get from animal products using supplements. What is fish oil ideal for? Most people looking for DHA supplements don’t actually debate algal oil vs fish oil in their heads. They instead go straight to fish oil simply because this is the product that most people associate with all of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA. By including both types of products instead of debating between algal oil and DHA, a supplement brand can appeal to all corners of the very robust market for natural, high-quality DHA.

Final Thoughts on Algal Oil vs Fish Oil in the Supplement Market

What is algal oil going to do for your brand? While it shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for fish oil, this option can enhance your product lineup by offering options for people seeking vegan and plant-based options. If you’re still debating over algal oil vs fish oil for your product lineup, it may be time to speak with a private-label supplement manufacturer that specializes in the production of both fish-based and plant-based products. NutraPak USA is a leading supplement manufacturer offering a wide range of formulation and packaging options. All of our supplements are made at a state-of-the-art FDA-approved facility in New Jersey. Contact us today!

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