Enteric coated fish oil capsules are becoming quite popular. Why?

There seems to be a consumer move to search out enteric coated fish oil capsules lately, and sales of enteric coated fish oil supplements have increased over the last few years. However many people don’t fully understand the nature of enteric coating, so we wanted to discuss exactly what eit is, and whether it is important to have enteric-coated fish oil supplements or not.

There’s no doubt about the health benefits of Omega-3 essential fatty acids found in fish oil. Health professionals now almost unanimously recommend that we all increase our intake of Omega 3 essential fatty acids, found primarily in fish oils, for a wide range of health reasons. Primary amongst these health reasons are that we can improve our heart and vascular health, reduce the incidence of heart disease and attract a wide range of other health benefits from taking fish oil capsules.

Many nutritional capsules come in what is called an “enteric-coating”. The concept of an enteric coating is a simple one. Many nutritional substances and vitamins are broken down by stomach acids, and therefore ingesting these nutrients in capsules which are broken down in the stomach renders the nutrients useless if they are destroyed by stomach acid.

An enteric coated capsule means that the capsule that bears the nutrients is able to pass through the stomach without being broken down and is then dissolved in the intestine. This releases the nutrients into the intestine where they are not dissolved by stomach acid.Enteric Coated Fish Oil Supplements

All of this seems to make complete sense, and therefore it is perfectly understandable, once they understand the concept of enteric coating, that customers look for enteric coated Omega3 fish oil capsules. However there is one thing that is missing from this equation.

It’s this. The Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil and delivered in Omega 3 supplements are not broken down by stomach acid. Whilst it is true that many nutrients are dissolved by stomach acid fish oils are not one of them.

In fact it is better for your health for the Omega3 essential fatty acids to be released in the stomach and digested there, rather than in the intestine.

If you see enteric-coated fish oil capsules recommended to you, it is just a marketing ploy. An enteric coating is completely unnecessary on Omega 3 supplements.

The company that makes what we consider to be the best Omega 3 supplements (see our banner at right to find out who) do not use an enteric coating on their fish oil capsules as they consider it to be entirely unnecessary for the reasons outlined. They do however utilize a proprietary enteric coating for some of their other products.

In fact they use a simple gel coating for their Omega3 products, because they want the fish oils to be absorbed in the stomach rather than the intestine.

There is however another matter to consider. There are sometimes some side effects of some brands of fish oil capsules. Once taken they can lead to “fishy burps”, or a fishy odor and after taste. However this has nothing to do with the presence or absence of any enteric coating on the capsule.

The cause of a fishy odor and after taste is generally poor quality rancid fish oils. If fish oil goes off, or goes “rancid”, it gets a fishy smell, (and also loses much of its health effectiveness.) Many of the cheaper fish oil supplements use fish oil purchased from wholesalers, much of which is old.

And some of these manufacturers of fish oil supplements will use an enteric coating so that the supplements pass through the stomach, thereby avoiding the fishy burps. However by far the best way to avoid these simple side effects is to use fish oil supplements that use fresh oil. This is also much better for your health.

So there is a simple answer to the question about whether or not you need to use enteric-coated fish oil capsules to get those all important Omega-3 fatty acids into your system. It’s entirely unnecessary, in fact it reduces the effectiveness of the fishoils, and the best fish oil supplements do not have any enteric coating. Non-coated fish oil capsules are just fine.

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