Fish Oil Triglycerides vs. Ethyl Esters: A study of absorption, stability and safety concerns
How can you determine if your fish oil is a natural triglyceride or an ethyl ester? How can you know that the ethanol in your wine and other drinks are not going to make a hole in the styrofoam?
With a simple, inexpensive and rapid method. By using Styrofoam cups you can know in minutes if yours is the natural TG or the ethanol EE form.
Several studies have found that the absorption and bioavailability of EE (Ethyl Ester) form fish oils is vastly inferior to the natural form, or the TG (Triglyceride) Form. Most studies have measured the amount of EPA and DHA in blood plasma after ingestion of fatty acids as either TG or EE forms. Natural TG fish oil results in 50 % more plasma EPA and DHA after absorption in comparison to EE oils.
One of the causes for the poor bioavailability of EE is a much greater resistance to digestive enzymes.
Ethyl ester fish oils are less stable, and readily oxidize
Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of EEs are much less stable than those in the natural TG form and readily oxidize.
Cut a Omega3 or fish oil capsule and put the oil inside a styrofoam cup. Place the cup on a plate to avoid any mess. Observe the cup after 10 minutes. If the fish oil has leaked significantly through the cup it contains EE. Due to their chemical composition, EE will actually eat straight through the styrofoam cup. This effect will become evident after just a few minutes; however, significant leakage is seen after 10 minutes. Natural TG fish oils placed in the same cup will not show leakage after 10 minutes.