Research from New York’s Rockefeller University has determined that DHA sourced from microalgae lowers serum triglycerides and Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in overweight adults, and reduces VLDL particle size. This conclusion was confirmed by a new meta-study from the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, which found that algae-derived DHA lowers serum triglycerides in healthy persons.
In the Rockefeller University study, 35 overweight or obese adult volunteers took either two grams of algal DHA per day or a placebo. The DHA group had significantly lower triglyceride levels, and lower levels of VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
Furthermore, the particle sizes of all the cholesterol types within the DHA group were greater, including their HDL, LDL and VLDL cholesterol. Other research has found that smaller sized cholesterol particles are associated with cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis – the hardening of the arteries.
The newer meta-study from the Cleveland Clinic analyzed the results of eleven clinical studies that included 485 healthy volunteers. In these studies, triglyceride levels were significantly lower in the algal-DHA groups, and HDL/LDL levels were higher among healthy persons.
Other research has established that the DHA derived from algae has the same beneficial effects and safety as DHA derived from fish oil. The body stores this long-chain fatty acid in the form of DHA, and converts DHA to EPA as needed.
DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. Microalgae species Crypthecodinium cohnii, Nitzschia laevis and Schizochytrium spp. all produce algal DHA.
Bernstein AM, Ding EL, Willett WC, Rimm EB. A Meta-Analysis Shows That Docosahexaenoic Acid from Algal Oil Reduces Serum Triglycerides and Increases HDL-Cholesterol and LDL-Cholesterol in Persons without Coronary Heart Disease. J Nutr. 2012 Jan;142(1):99-104.
Neff LM, Culiner J, Cunningham-Rundles S, Seidman C, Meehan D, Maturi J, Wittkowski KM, Levine B, Breslow JL. Algal docosahexaenoic acid affects plasma lipoprotein particle size distribution in overweight and obese adults. J Nutr. 2011 Feb;141(2):207-13.