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Study: Almega PL’s Polar Lipid Structure May Be a More Effective Carrier of EPA

Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial fats required by every cell in the body to function properly. Thousands of studies support the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids—particularly the long-chain omega-3s EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid)— for cardiovascular, brain, eye and joint health.

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) that are crucial for maintaining and improving cellular health. Polar lipid omega-3s are a special type of omega-3 with a unique structure. Fatty acids in polar lipid structures (both phospholipid and glycolipid Pls) provide desirable benefits— including easier digestion, enhanced bioavailability and uptake into tissues than other lipids.

Almega PL is a unique omega-3 oil from the non-GMO (genetically modified organism) microalgae Nannochloropsis oculata containing = 15 percent polar lipids, including phospholipids and glycolipids. It is the only omega-3 ingredient available that contains both phospholipids and glycolipids. Scientific studies have shown that the total omega-3 uptake into tissues and plasma is equivalent between krill oil and EPA-rich Almega PL, and that EPA absorption in humans may be superior with Almega PL.

Almega PL Versus Krill Oil Tissue Uptake Study in Rats 

Study parameters In the study, rats were fed for seven days an omega-3 dosage of either Almega PL (7.3 g EPA), or krill oil (7.24 g of combined EPA+DHA—4.8 g EPA, 2. 4 g DHA). The polar lipid content of the Almega PL was 15 percent polar lipids (phospholipid/glycolipid combination), while the krill oil polar lipid content was 40 percent phospholipids. Fatty acid levels were checked in the blood plasma, brain tissue, liver, retroperitoneal adipose tissue and gonadal adipose tissue, which represent transport, functional and storage pools of omega-3 fatty acids.

Study Results 

For most of the tissues, the uptake of total omega-3s was similar between Almega PL and krill oil. Levels of EPA were statistically significantly higher in retroperitoneal adipose tissue in the Almega PL group as compared to the krill oil group.1 Although the amounts of EPA provided were higher in the algal group, these results are important because when comparing equidoses of algal and krill oil, the former will lead to higher plasma and adipose levels.

Almega PL Versus Krill Oil: Acute Plasma Bioavailability Study in Humans 

Study Parameters 

In a crossover study, the bioavailability of a single dose of Almega PL was compared to krill oil in 10 healthy males aged 18-45 years, with plasma fatty acid levels monitored for 0.5-10 hours.2 Subjects consumed a standard high fat (55 g) breakfast followed by either algal oil (providing 1.5 g of omega-3: all EPA and no DHA) or krill oil (providing 1.56 g of omega-3: 1.02 g EPA and 0.54 g DHA).

Study Results 

Total omega-3 absorption into blood plasma was similar between Almega PL and krill oil. However, when looking only at EPA, the plasma concentration of EPA was higher with algal oil than with krill oil at all time points. The maximum concentration of EPA was also higher with algal oil and both the area under the concentration curve (AUC) and the incremental AUC (IAUC) for EPA were greater and highly statistically significant with Almega PL (p=0.006). Even when taking into account the different dosages of EPA, this increase was disproportionally high for Almega PL (dosage of 50 percent more EPA; but 100 percent higher increase in EPA). These results suggest that the combination of phospholipids plus glycolipids in Almega PL may be a more effective carrier for EPA omega-3s.


1 Kagan, ML, et al., (2014) Comparative tissue deposition study between polar-lipid rich oil from the micro algae Nannochloropsis oculata and krill oil in rats. Submitted for publication.

2 Kagan ML, West AL, Zante C, & Calder PC (2013) Acute appearance of fatty acids in human plasma – a comparative study between polar-lipid rich oil from the microalgae Nannochloropsis oculata and krill oil in healthy young males. Lipids in Health and Disease 12:102.

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