Glycolipid-rich algal oil efficiently delivers omega-3s to tissues, study shows

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Glycolipid-rich algal oil efficiently delivers omega-3s to tissues, study shows

Related tags Almega pl Omega-3 fatty acid Fatty acid

Qualitas Health continues to build the scientific backing for its algal omega 3 oil ingredient with the recent release of a study on omega-3s uptake that shows the company’s Almega PL performs similarly to krill oil in a rat model. 

Qualitas, which has its headquarters in Israel but grows its algal biomass near Imperial, TX, has built a case for the effectiveness of Almega PL, which is an EPA-rich algal oil that is unique in its chemical profile that features glycolipids along with phospholipids.  The company has pursued a strategy of comparing the ingredient’s bioefficiency with that of krill, which shares some of its characteristics.

The results of the most recent study are not the stuff of sensational headlines, said David Hart, vice president of marketing for Qualitas.  Rather, it’s another step in the company’s strategy to show that this new ingredient is a viable player in the omega-3 landscape.

“When we were looking at the total absorption of Almega PL, it is as good or marginally better than krill,” ​Hart told NutraIngredients-USA. “As good or marginally better, that’s not really a barn-burning, New York Times type of a headline. 

“But the other way to look at it the amount of polar lipids needed to get that ‘as good or marginally superior’ performance, and there we think that this study shows an advantage for Almega PL.  Combined with our study from about a year ago, this would make a manufacturer feel a lot more comfortable with the science behind the ingredient,”​ he said.

Study details

The study, published in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal Food & Function, compared the performance of krill oil supplementation with Almega PL supplementation in rats over a 7 day period.  The rats in the two groups were fed a standard diet and krill oil or Almega PL by gavage at the daily dosage of 5 ml per kilogram of body weight. Omega-3 concentrations were measured in plasma, brain and liver tissues and in gonadal and retroperitoneal adipose tissue.  The authors concluded that “tissue availability of LC n-3 PUFA from an algal oil containing 6% phospholipids and 9% glycolipids is similar to that from krill oil containing 40% phospholipids. This may indicate that, as reported in previous studieswhere the glycolipids MGDG and DGDG were shown to act synergistically to increase the absorption of lipids across the intestine, the glycolipids in the algal oil may promote effective delivery of EPA to plasma and tissues.”

Building a story

Hart said Qualitas has been building a science case for its ingredient that supports is positioning in the marketplace, as a bioefficient, environmentally sustainable alternative for omega-3 delivery. 

“This in another piece of peer reviewed scientific research that shows that Almega PL has similar or better bioperformance to krill oil. And if you are talking about environmental sustainability, Almega PL offers this important consumer characteristic,” ​he said.

Source: Food & Function​ 
Jan 24;6(1):185-91. doi: 10.1039/c4fo00591k
“Comparative study of tissue deposition of omega-3 fatty acids from polar-lipid rich oil of the microalgae Nannochloropsis oculata with krill oil in rats”
Authors: Michael L. Kagan, Aharon Levy and Alicia Leikin-Frenkel

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