DHA Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Your Health, and Sustainability

DHA Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Your Health, and Sustainability

 The connection between algal oil and Omega-3

Algal oil is made from marine algae and is known for the high content of Omega-3 fatty acid - an essential fatty acid critical for body functionality. We use algal oil in Sperri as a source of healthy fat - plus it's great for brain health, eye health, and heart health and is becoming more popular as it's a more sustainable option compared to fish oil. 

Fun fact: the algal oil used in Sperri is derived from micro-algae that is wild-sourced off the coast of Nova Scotia - the same province Sperri originated!

Omega-3 and Omega-6: What's the difference?

There are many types of fatty acids that are all beneficial for human health. Both Omega-3 and Omega-6 are essential fatty acids meaning your body can't actually produce them - so they must be consumed through foods and beverages.

Most people get more than enough Omega-6 in because sources are more available in modern diets and found in foods such as:

  • Nuts & seeds
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Soybean oil

On the other hand, many people don't get enough Omega-3's since sources like fatty fish, algae, and flaxseed are less common. A proper balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 intake is extremely important for health: too much Omega-6 and too little Omega-3 can have damaging effects on your health, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and increased inflammation. An ideal intake of Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio for humans is between 1:1 and 4:1 however the ratio that many people consume is 20:1. Research shows that high Omega-6 fat consumption in modern diets is likely due to the excessive use of oils in processed foods. This means we should limit processed foods and work on our Omega-3 intake!

Types and benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 consumption has been shown to have beneficial effects on heart health, cognitive function, and anti-inflammatory effects. There are 3 main types of Omega-3 fatty acids:

EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid)

DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid)

ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid)

EPA and DHA can be found primarily in fatty fish and algae, while ALA is found in plant foods such as flax oil, hemp oil, canola oil, and foods like walnut and chia seeds.

Studies have shown that when people use DHA supplements, it can improve memory and reaction time, protect brain functions during times of stress, and protect against age-related loss of brain cells.

How sustainable is Omega-3?

Sustainability is a growing issue worldwide. While both fish oil and algal oil are excellent sources of EPA and DHA (studies even show that algal oil and cooked salmon have nutritionally equivalent sources of DHA), algal oil is considered to be the more sustainable choice. How so? Research has shown that micro-algae are consumed by phytoplankton (organisms that live in water environments) which are then consumed by fish. This means the Omega-3 content people get from fish actually originates from micro-algae plants and is the primary source of Omega-3. 

Extracting omega-3 from fatty fish puts more pressure on global fish stocks which are already declining. Additionally, multiple studies have shown a health risk for consumers in the presence of unavoidable environmental contaminants such as microplastics and heavy metals, in fish and shellfish. Sourcing omega-3’s from algae is a much more natural and sustainable process than fish, with the same benefits.

Why did Sperri choose algal oil?

We focus on innovative evidence-based research when shaping our ingredients. Our team reviewed multiple studies and research information to determine what the best Omega-3 source would be for Sperri. Based on these studies, we felt that algal oil provides the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically, EPA and DHA.

Sustainability is also a very important factor taken into account for each ingredient chosen when formulating Sperri. Based on the research, Algal oil is currently the most sustainable source of EPA and DHA.

And lastly, the algal oil in Sperri is sourced from micro-algae grown off the coast of Nova Scotia, where Sperri originated, and we aim to source quality, local ingredients whenever possible!