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Karlsson Rattenni, Maria Pia, 2022. Is omega-3 from algae a good substitute to fish oil – in human nutrition?. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Department of Molecular Sciences



Polyunsaturated fatty acids have been proven to be important for human health, especially the omega 3 and 6. Humans cannot synthesise these fatty acids by themselves and need therefore to get them from external sources. Omega-6 is found in many different foods, such as flaxseeds, walnuts, and vegetable oils. In the modern diet, where vegetable oils are used frequently there is no issue in consuming enough omega-6. Consequently, it is creating health problems as the ratio between the two omegas become unbalanced. The optimal ratio should lie between (omega-3: omega-6) 1:3 to 1:5, however this is rarely the case. Studies have shown that high intake of omega 6 and little omega-3 influences the chances of inflammation disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and mental illness, to mention a few.
Discoveries have been made since the 60’s showing the health benefits of omega-3, along with the increase of risk for chronic illnesses when there is a lack of this omega. Therefore, the recommendation to consume 250 mg a day has been highly intensified. The demand of omega-3 has been increasing for decades and since fish oil is the main source, it does not have a sustainable future. Thus, there has been a high interest in finding alternatives.
There are different types of omega-3, the three main ones are ⍺- linoleic acid (ALA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). ALA is found in many plants on land, whereas DHA and EPA come from marine animals such as fish, krill and algae. ALA can metabolise to DHA and EPA, however, the process is slow and it doesn’t reach the levels needed for optimal health. Therefore, direct sources of these two fatty acids are valuable. Algae is a favourable discovery, as it contains high amounts of DHA or EPA, in some cases it can contain both, although it’s not often the case.
Several studies have been made to compare the effects of DHA and EPA from algae oil and fish oil in human nutrition. The studies reviewed in this thesis have proven to show that algae oil has similar effect as fish oil. More studies need to be made, to find the ideal species of algae, as there is a huge variety. Identifying more algae species will help to find higher concentrations of DHA and/or EPA, as well as increase the productivity. So far, these are some of the issues that seem to limit this supplement to grow commercially.

Main title:Is omega-3 from algae a good substitute to fish oil – in human nutrition?
Authors:Karlsson Rattenni, Maria Pia
Supervisor:Pickova, Jana
Examiner:Sampels, Sabine
Series:Molecular Sciences
Volume/Sequential designation:2022:66
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:NY010 Agronomprogrammet - livsmedel, för antagna fr.o.m. 2016 300 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Department of Molecular Sciences
Keywords:omega-3, EPA, DHA, algae oil, fish oil, fish oil substitute, PUFA, LC-PUFA, human nutrition, health benefits, algae as n-3 source
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Food science and technology
Deposited On:01 Mar 2023 11:42
Metadata Last Modified:02 Mar 2023 02:00

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