Study: Algal Oil Absorption and Bioavailability Better than Krill Oil

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Qualitas Health was pleased to learn that gram for gram, algal oil from the microalgae Nannochloropsis oculata offers better EPA uptake into blood plasma than krill oil, according to a recent study.

Published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease, the cross-over 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 1.5g dose of total omega-3s from either algal oil -- which contains EPA conjugated with phospholipid and glycolipid polar lipids -- or krill oil -- which contains EPA and DHA conjugated with phospholipids.

Study researchers found that, even taking into account the different EPA contents of the two oils, the algal oil resulted in statistically significant and greater concentration of EPA in plasma than krill oil. EPA concentration was significantly higher with algal oil than with krill oil at 5, 6, 8 and 10 hours (P < 0.05) and tended to be higher at 4 hours (P = 0.094). Maximum concentration (Cmax) of EPA was significantly higher with algal oil than with krill oil (P = 0.010). The maximum change in concentration (MaxΔC) of EPA from its fasting concentration was also significantly higher with algal oil than with krill oil (P = 0.006). The area under the concentration curve (AUC) and the incremental AUC (IAUC) for EPA were greater with algal oil compared with krill oil (P = 0.020 and P = 0.006, respectively).

Researchers speculated that the difference may relate to the different chemical constituents of the two oils, namely the presence of glycolipids. “It is possible that the presence of DHA in krill oil limits the incorporation of EPA into plasma lipids,” they wrote. “Another possibility is that n-3 PUFAs within glycolipids, as found in algal oil but not krill oil, are an effective system for delivering EPA to humans.”

Dr. Isaac Berzin, founder and CTO of Qualitas Health, whose flagship product Almega PL™ was used in the study, was excited with the study results. “While omega-3s EPA and DHA are important to human health, alternatives to fish and krill are needed for vegetarians and for environmental sustainability,” he said. “In addition to Almega PL not impacting the oceans’ limited resources, this study confirms that compared to krill oil, Almega PL offers superior absorption and bioavailability of EPA.”

Almega PL, manufactured by Qualitas Health, is a vegetarian, EPA-rich, polar lipid-structured omega-3 oil. Sourced from Nannochloropsis oculata, a researched strain of microalgae selected for its high level of EPA omega-3 and unique polar-lipid structure, Almega PL contains omega-3 fatty acids with phospholipids and glycolipids that provide superior absorption and digestibility.

Article citation: Kagan et al.: Acute appearance of fatty acids in human plasma – a comparative study between polar-lipid rich oil from the microalgae Nannochloropsis oculata and krill oil in healthy young males. Lipids in Health and Disease 2013 12:102. It can be accessed at

About Qualitas Health:
Qualitas Health develops high-value vegetarian food supplements and pharmaceutical ingredients based on microalgae. With deep experience and expertise in algae cultivation and extraction gained from the biofuels sector, Qualitas has developed a unique and proprietary technology for strain selection, sustainable algae farming, harvesting and oil processing. This allows for the effective production of premium omega-3 algae oil for a wide range of applications. For more information:,

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Kathleen Murphy
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