, 42:1011 | Cite as

Bioequivalence of Docosahexaenoic Acid from Different Algal Oils in Capsules and in a DHA-Fortified Food

  • Linda M. Arterburn
  • Harry A. Oken
  • James P. HoffmanEmail author
  • Eileen Bailey-Hall
  • Gloria Chung
  • Dror Rom
  • Jacqueline Hamersley
  • Deanna McCarthy
Original Article


Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid, is important for eye and brain development and ongoing visual, cognitive, and cardiovascular health. Unlike fish-sourced oils, the bioavailability of DHA from vegetarian-sourced (algal) oils has not been formally assessed. We assessed bioequivalence of DHA oils in capsules from two different algal strains versus bioavailability from an algal-DHA-fortified food. Our 28-day randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel group study compared bioavailability of (a) two different algal DHA oils in capsules (“DHASCO-T” and “DHASCO-S”) at doses of 200, 600, and 1,000 mg DHA per day (n = 12 per group) and of (b) an algal-DHA-fortified food (n = 12). Bioequivalence was based on changes in plasma phospholipid and erythrocyte DHA levels. Effects on arachidonic acid (ARA), docosapentaenoic acid-n-6 (DPAn-6), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) were also determined. Both DHASCO-T and DHASCO-S capsules produced equivalent DHA levels in plasma phospholipids and erythrocytes. DHA response was dose-dependent and linear over the dose range, plasma phospholipid DHA increased by 1.17, 2.28 and 3.03 g per 100 g fatty acid at 200, 600, and 1,000 mg dose, respectively. Snack bars fortified with DHASCO-S oil also delivered equivalent amounts of DHA on a DHA dose basis. Adverse event monitoring revealed an excellent safety and tolerability profile. Two different algal oil capsule supplements and an algal oil-fortified food represent bioequivalent and safe sources of DHA.


Algal DHA oil Bioequivalence LCPUFA Arachidonic acid DPAn-6 Fortified foods 



We would like to acknowledge Lynne Jones for technical assistance with the study and Matt Hudson for performing statistical analyses. L. Arterburn designed the study, analyzed data, and wrote the manuscript. J. Hoffman conducted the safety assessment and assisted with writing the manuscript. Eileen Bailey-Hall and G. Chung performed the fatty acid analyses. D. McCarthy monitored the conduct of the study. H. Oken was the principal investigator who oversaw the conduct of the study. J. Hamersley was the study coordinator who ran the study. D. Rom oversaw the statistical analyses of the data. Financial Disclosure: James P. Hoffman, Eileen Bailey-Hall, Gloria Chung, and Deanna McCarthy are employed by Martek Biosciences Corporation. Linda M. Arterburn was an employee of Martek Biosciences Corporation during the time this study was conducted and the manuscript was prepared. Harry Oken is currently a consultant to Martek Biosciences Corporation, but had no financial interest in the company at the time that the study was conducted. Dror Rom is a consulting statistician to Martek Biosciences Corporation.

Supplementary material

11745_2007_3098_MOESM1_ESM.doc (104 kb)
(DOC 104 kb)


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda M. Arterburn
    • 1
  • Harry A. Oken
    • 2
  • James P. Hoffman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eileen Bailey-Hall
    • 1
  • Gloria Chung
    • 1
  • Dror Rom
    • 3
  • Jacqueline Hamersley
    • 2
  • Deanna McCarthy
    • 1
  1. 1.Martek Biosciences CorporationColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Charter Medical Group/University of MarylandBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Prosoft Software, IncWayneUSA

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