Algal DHA Health Benefits
Algal DHA health benefits include help with heart disease, BPH and prostatitis, as well as overall prostate health. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a type of omega-3 fatty acid, which is critical for brain function. Unlike most DHA, which comes from fish, algal DHA is extracted from algae. This means there is no risk of contamination from toxins found in fish.
DHA is present throughout the body and is most abundant in the brain, heart, and eyes. The most important tasks of DHA involve brain and eye development in infants. DHA also helps support the brain, eyes, and heart throughout the life cycle. (Ryan 2009) Approximately 60 percent of the brain is fat, and DHA is the main structural fat in the brain and in the retina.
Algal DHA health benefits begin when the algae is grown in fermentation tanks, which means it avoids toxic contamination from fish sources. Uses of algal DHA include nutritional supplements as well as functional foods, and it is recommended for people who do not get enough DHA from their diet. Foods such as flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds provide alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a precursor of DHA. However, the body must convert ALA to DHA, and this conversion process is variable and inefficient. Therefore, algal DHA supplements can provide this important omega-3 fatty acid when diet does not.
Currently there is no daily recommended intake of DHA. Unlike fish oil sources of DHA, algal DHA seldom causes gastrointestinal complaints. If you want to enjoy algal DHA health benefits, be sure to consult your healthcare provider for the optimal dose for you.
Ryan AS et al. Clinical overview of algal-docosahexaenoic acid: effects on triglyceride levels and other cardiovascular risk factors. Am J Ther 2009 Mar-Apr; 16(2): 183-92