Algae oil, also known as algal oil or microalgae supplement, is a relatively new source of omega-3 fatty acids. It's derived from marine microalgae, which are microscopic plants that grow in the ocean and are the primary source of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on earth. All marine life that contains significant amounts of EPA and DHA obtain it by eating microalgae. Algae oil contains mostly DHA. Even though little research has examined the oil's specific health benefits, they're nonetheless inferred given the scientific data on increased fish consumption and fish oil supplements.
The microalgae used in algal oil aren't harvested from the ocean but are grown under sanitary conditions in laboratories and factories. Because of this, some people consider algal oil to be a more eco-friendly alternative to fish oil and krill oil. In addition, while marine microalgae normally absorb iodine from their environment, the factory-grown version may be low in iodine, making it an option even for those with a known iodine allergy. It's still a good idea to be cautious and speak to your health care provider first if you're allergic to shellfish. Algal oil is a good choice for vegans and vegetarians since it contains no animal products.
At this time, there are no algal oils that have been verified by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). For more on USP verification, see our What To Look For page.