Algae Vs. Fish Oil Supplements – The Battle Line Is Drawn!

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By: Cliff

There are many companies who are now manufacturing Algae Omega 3 supplements and telling people that these supplements are the best supplements to take to get you the necessary amount of omega-3 fatty acids to keep you in good health.

However, those companies who manufacture and sell fish oil are disputing this claim. These companies claim that fish omega-3 fatty acids are the best for your health. Which of these supplement manufacturers are correct?

Which source of supplements for those omega-3s should you be taking in order to get the most health benefits possible? Let’s have a look at these two sources to determine which is best for overall health.

Algae Omega 3

There is very little doubt that Algae contains a large amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, Algae is a high source of DHA which is an essential fatty acid needed for brain growth and function. This fatty acid is so important to brain health that the manufacturers of baby formula are now adding DHA to their formulas.

In addition, fish that are high in omega 3 fatty acids feed on algae. So it only makes sense that if fish get their DHA from eating Algae to by-pass the fish all together and get your omega-3 fatty acids from the algae itself right? Wrong. While Algae does contain high levels of DHA it does not contain any EPA and studies have shown that both DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for optimum health.

Why You Need Both EPA and DHA Fatty Acids

Most of your brain is made of DHA fats. These healthy fats help the brain to develop properly and also promote good eyesight. However, EPA fatty acids are found in every single cell of the body. EPA helps to keep your mood on keel, regulates insulin levels, and aids in joint health.

While these two fatty acids serve slightly different functions both of them play a role in protecting your heart and in your overall heart health. Put simply, without both of these fatty acids, it is impossible for your body to perform all the functions it is meant to perform effectively.

So while taking a supplement that contains just one of these all-important omega-3 fatty acids may have some health benefits, it simply isn’t enough to give you all the health benefits you may need.

Fish Contain Both DHA and EPA

While Algae may contain DHA, fatty fish contain high levels of both DHA and EPA, which is what your body really needs. Which simply means that eating fatty fish 2 to 4 times a week or taking a fish oil supplement is far better for your health than taking algae oil supplements, regardless of the quality of the algae oil. It’s that simple. However, if you are a vegetarian, then algae dha would be your best option.

Having said that you do need to ensure that you are taking a high quality fish oil that contains no fillers, no synthetic coloring or flavorings and that the fish oil is rendered from those fish that contain high sources of DHA and EPA.

That way you can be rest assured that you are not only taking the right type of supplement for your health but, you are also taking the highest quality supplement as well.


  1. Sher says:

    I am a vegetarian and have been for 12 years. My dental health has deteriorated. I am deficient in vitamin D and have low glucose levels. It was recommended that i take cod liver oil and butter oil to help with my problems. I dont have a problem with the butter oil but the fish oil i wanted to sub. If the fish oil is the best for my health, i will take it. Im not going to jeopardize my health just in the name of being a vegetarian.

  2. bart says:


    i read your collumn with interest, and i have a question.
    you state that vegan DHA supplements don’t contain EPA, but there are a few brands that say they do, like Overga-3 and Opti-3. What are your thoughts on this? And would these supplements be as good as the fish oil?

    looking forward to your reply, bart (the netherlands)

  3. Hong says:

    Hi Carol,

    I am choosing DHA supplements for my pregnant wife, someone argued that EPA in fish based products would cause early puberty to my baby, is this true? Thank you in advance for your kind reply.


    • Carol Dike says:

      Hi Hong,

      I have never heard of EPA in fish oil causing early puberty. But I am not a doctor, so it will be best to ask your doctor.

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