Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Algae Supplement Review

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Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Algae
DHA is an omega 3 fatty acid, not to be confused with the naturally occuring steroid DHEA.
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Lowering triglycerides
+2 (Moderate Evidence)
Raising HDL (good) cholesterol
+2 (Moderate Evidence)
Improving aspects of minimal cognitive impairment (MCI)
+1 (Slight Evidence)
Cognitive developmental improvement in infants whose mothers receive supplements during pregnancy
+1 (Slight Evidence)


  • DHA improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin, which may reduce the risk of developing diabetes and coronary heart disease.
  • DHA increases HDL (good) cholesterol and decreases LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which are especially harmful to the arteries.
  • DHA shows improvement in minimal cognitive impairment, a diagnosable syndrome that is more pronounced than normal aging and is a different problem than Alzheimer’s dementia.
  • DHA is derived from algae, making it an excellent option for people who do not eat fish, whether due to allergy or dietary preference.
  • DHA may improve certain mental abilities in infants. This does not include overall intelligence, which has yet to be studied.


  • Very large doses of DHA (3 grams/day) were used in the clinical trials for cholesterol effects. These high doses would be extraordinarily expensive; you would probably have to rob a bank to keep your supply coming (not that we recommend doing so). A mixture of EPA/DHA, from the less expensive source of fish oil, can also be used to lower triglycerides and raise HDL cholesterol.
  • DHA has not been shown to have a positive clinical effect in Alzheimer’s dementia. These study results will need to be retested.
  • Long term studies have not suggested a benefit in overall intelligence. Additional studies are needed to evaluate these potential benefits.


DOSAGE:For high triglycerides, take two grams (or 2000 milligrams) twice daily.
For infant development, the pregnant mom should take 300 mg starting after the 24th week of pregnancy.
For minimal cognitive impairment, adults should take 900 mg daily.

CONCLUSION:We conclude that DHA is a safe and effective product, but that fish oil is a more cost effective source. DHA may interfere with medications that affect blood clotting. The benefits related to infant cognitive development and minimal cognitive impairment in the elderly are preliminary, so further research is needed before we can make a confident recommendation. If you do elect to try it, remember to include it in your list of medications when you visit your doctor and other health care providers.

“Omega 3 Fatty Acid.” LLC, 2013. 11 October 2013
“Algae.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.

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