Are there possible side effects of consuming algae oil or microalgae?

As far as we are aware, microalgae supplements are some of the safest, most nourishing substances it is possible to ingest. However, as with any health supplement it is worth being cautious when first starting to take it, and beginning with a low dosage. Listen to your body as it acclimatises to the microalgae and then when you feel comfortable you can increase the amount you’re taking.

Omega-3 has a blood thinning effect

The benefits of omega three for heart health are well documented. One of the reasons for their success in improving cardiovascular function, however, lies in their ability to reduce what scientists call ’clumping’, which is part of the process of blood clotting. Some people, therefore, asked the question if taking too much algal oil might encourage bleeding? In general our answer would be absolutely not, it is proven to be safe at reasonably high doses.

There are two instances, however, where you might wish to be cautious and those are as follows:

Vitamin K1 deficiency

This vitamin is critical in helping the body creates proteins responsible for blood clotting so if you have a deficiency in this we would suggest restraint when it comes to ingesting high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Check with your doctor or nutritional advisor as a matter of course.

Warfarin use

For the same reason as stated above, taking warfarin (or a branded version like Coumadin) would intentionally give you a K-1 deficiency. So be cautious if you’re taking this – healthcare providers are well aware and would probably advise you against excessive omega-3 supplementation at the time of prescription.

Algae and thyroid conditions

Anyone with a thyroid condition will know that you have to be very careful about eating foods which contain iodine. Because ‘algae’ is an extremely broad genus, it’s impossible to make rigid claims about whether to much algae can cause side effects for people with thyroid disorders. We know, for example, that kelp – which is in the algae family – contain substantial amounts of iodine so would be wise to use extreme prudence when taking this if your thyroid is in any way impaired.

This website is principally concerned with microalgae supplements, however, and these generally contain very low levels of iodine. We have heard reports from numerous people with a very sensitive iodine threshold who have been able to tolerate marine phytoplankton without any problems.