Here’s How to Know If Your Fish Oil Stinks
One of the main reasons people take fish oil is because they’ve heard (or know without a doubt) fish oil is good for keeping the brain and heart healthy and has a positive effect on inflammatory responses.
The intense focus on fish oil is why you’ve probably purchased fish oil in the past and may have some in your medicine cabinet now.
While it’s a great idea to purchase fish oil, I can conclusively say not all of it is created equal.
Since I don’t want this article to be a novel, I’m going to focus on why we created an Ethyl Ester form of Wild Caught Icelandic Fish Oil that is far superior, both from a health standpoint, as well as from a cost perspective, than most competitors.
I suggest to get the maximum benefit, and to keep costs down, you get an ethyl ester form of fish oil, no matter who you get it from (as long as they’re trustworthy that is).
That being said, let me unpack the rationale behind using ethyl ester fish oil over other forms.
Why Ethyl Ester Fish Oils Don’t Stink
While I’ll be the first to tell you our ethyl ester forms of fish oil are superior to most competitors, they’re not necessarily the best fish oils in terms of bioavailability.
The truth of the matter is there are two other forms of fish oil that actually absorb better than ethyl ester form.
The first are fish oil triglycerides. Fish oil triglycerides are the actual fish oils you get when you eat a slab of salmon or a can of sardines.
As an advocate of a healthy diet I can’t help but repeat the adage “there is no substitute for the real thing.” Fish oil triglycerides are 100% pure and absorb with ease as they’re the most bioavailable form of omega-3s found on the planet.
The downside to these fish oils?
They’re not convenient.
I mean, if you want to travel around with a cooked filet of salmon in your bag, be my guest. Supplemental forms of fish oil aren’t just convenient, they’re an economical way to get omega-3s in your diet.
And when it comes to supplements ethyl esters aren’t the best out there.
Ethyl ester fish oils get an A while another form of supplemental fish oil; called reformed (or re-esterified) triglycerides, get an A+.
Reformed (or re-esterified) triglycerides are the best when it comes to bioavailability and increasing omega-3 levels in the blood (at least in regards to supplements).
And I don’t necessarily recommend them.
The reason why is because they’re only fractionally better than ethyl ester, but, they’re far more expensive.
That’s because these oils add an additional synthesizing step to the fish oil creation process and that extra work means an additional cost is passed on to you.
When you compare the long term rates of omega-3 absorption it’s hard to justify the extra expense.
Ethyl ester forms of fish oil still work really well, and they do so without an associated cost for additional manufacturing.
Science Based Health wrote this about how ethyl esters compared to the (re-esterified) triglycerides.
And, it shows ethyl esters are a good choice to make.
“The vast majority of clinical studies examining supplemental omega-3s for various health parameters have employed the EE form, according to omega-3 researcher Dr. Jing Xuan Kang, Associate Professor at Harvard, and as reflected by a recent Mayo Clinic review . The well known ‘GISSI’ secondary prevention trial is one example.
Results from comparative studies in general suggest that absorption of EPA and DHA from TG or from EE – and the biological outcomes over time – are similar when fish oil is routinely supplemented and a steady state has been achieved.
Results from human studies comparing absorption of omega-3 fatty acids from TG vs. EE have been somewhat conflicting: Several studies show no difference in absorption (5-8), while others suggest that absorption of ethyl esters may be lower.
Differences in test materials, subjects, analyses and duration make comparisons difficult. In general, however, studies that found lower absorption rates for ethyl esters tended to be of short duration (8-12 hours) and provided omega-3 as a single large dose. In studies where omega-3 supplementation spanned several weeks or more, there were generally no significant differences in absorption.
One shorter-term study, reported that the bioavailability was higher for the TG form vs. the EE form. However, it should be noted that these conclusions were based on a relatively short-term (2 week) study at a fixed dose of approximately 3.5 g of EPA + DHA daily. In contrast, a longer term study published in 2016, found no significant difference in bioavailability with TG versus EE forms over a 3 month period.
An important point to consider when looking at short term bioavailability is that the effectiveness of EE omega-3 on objective health parameters….begins about 1 month after starting supplementation, with maximum effectiveness observed at about 2-3 months .
Thus, any short-term differences in absorption, metabolism, and overall bioavailability do not have a significant clinical impact, and most people taking fish oil supplements do so over the long term rather than for only a short period of time.”
Science Based Health looked over 7 different studies to reach these conclusions, and is why I can confidently say ethyl ester forms are still a solid choice for anyone who wishes to supplement with omega-3s.
Want to Know If All Ethyl Ester Fish Oils Are Equal?
In short, they’re not.
The truth is there are a number of companies who take advantage of the heightened consumer interest and peddle inferior forms of fish oil.
These fish oils come from fish stock that is sometimes weeks old at the time of processing. Old fish oils spoil and are rancid at the time of bottling. Spoiled fish oil means the essential fatty acids you’re looking to get into your diet are 100% useless (plus they’re gross).
Some of these manufacturers also used farm-raised fish which contain elevated levels of environmental toxins you do not want to ingest.
They use these kinds of fish because they’re cheap and most people seem to believe they’re better for the environment, when they’re not.
Plus, other ethyl ester fish oils aren’t broken down into the right kinds of fish oil (you need EPA and DHA for bonafide benefit). They generally just distill fish oil in large batches and dump it into capsules without an antioxidant to stabilize and preserve it which means you’re getting questionable
For all these reasons listed we made our own Omega-3 fish oil.
Our Wild Caught Icelandic Fish Oil With Lemon is a high-potency fish oil that gives you 800 mg of EPA omega-3 fatty acids per serving and 600 mg of EFA.
We source it from pure Icedlandic sardine and anchovy and carries the Icelandic Responsible Fisheries certification. These fish sources have some of the highest levels of EPA and DHA, are not farm raised and all ingredients in our fish oil are non-GMO.
All the fish oil is processed on site so it’s the maximum freshness at the time of bottling, and we also added lemon oil to it to ensure it stays fresh!
Lastly, it’s an amazing price considering the quality. Fish oils from other companies cost twice as much as ours, so I’m happy to offer ours as affordably as we can.