Triglyceride vs. Ethyl Esters
Fish oils, naturally contain triglycerides with DHA and EPA. When the fish undergoes purification process through "molecular distillation," the fatty acids become liberated and become the ethyl ester free form. Some fish oil products synthesize the ethyl ester form back into triglyceride form in hopes of preserving the original oil content and reportedly for better stability to sit for longer periods on the store shelves.
However, many other companies, including many pharmaceutical companies, maintain the purified ethyl ester form. But which of the two is better? If you do research on these two forms, and get past all of the technical mumbo-jumbo, you will probably agree that:
1. Both are good...
2. However the omega 3 acid ethyl ester form actually is more advantageous.
3. Omega 3 ethyl ester fish oil is bio-available
In order for the body to use fatty acids such as DHA or EPA, they must first be liberated into ethyl ester (EE) form. The EE form is what we could think of as the "pre-digested" form of oil that is readily absorbed by the body. Detailed studies on this oil absorption have indicated that the EE fish oil form may be more bio-available and more readily processed by the cells and incorporated into cell membranes.
Ethyl ester form maintains freshness
Since this form is easier to assimilate, it is less likely to cause that rancid odor and less likely to give you that fishy burp. Omega 3 acid EE can maintain freshness even longer than triglyceride-based fish oil supplements.
The EE form is supported by scientific research
Compared to triglyceride form, it is backed by more scientific and clinical research studies and papers. It is also the form that is often preferred for high doses of DHA and EPA. This is not to say though that the triglyceride form is not effective.
In fact, triglyceride omega 3 fish oils are actually very effective. In many studies, the EE form produced similar or better clinical results compared to the triglyceride form. In one study, even at equal concentrations, the EE form showed better results in lowering triglycerides and reducing platelet aggregation. This is not a sweeping and exhaustive study but it does give a good indication that the EE form is superior.
What are omega 3 acid EE and what does this all mean to you when you choose fish oil supplements? The truth is, both triglyceride and ethyl ester fish oil supplements produce health benefits because they are rich in DHA and EPA.