What's Swimming In These Fish Oil Supplements? Triglycerides vs Ethyl Esters 

What's Swimming In These Fish Oil Supplements? Triglycerides vs Ethyl Esters 

For years, people have been turning to omega-3 fatty acids in their desire to lose weight and generally become healthier. 

In particular, fatty acids from natural food sources, like fish, are thought to be particularly effective at helping you feel full faster and giving your body a break from starches and sugars found in other types of food.

But omega-3 fatty acids can cause confusion for some people - especially as they may appear differently in different food sources. This is evident in fish oils and fish oil supplements, which take on two main forms: Triglyceride and Ethyl Ester.

In this article, we’ll explain what omega-3 fatty acids are, how they may affect your body, and the difference between Triglyceride and Ethyl Ester. 

This may then help you decide which type of omega-3 is just right for you.


What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?   

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of essential fats that, unfortunately, the body cannot make on its own. To get it into our system, our bodies need to source it from our food. Fortunately, foods high in natural omega-3 fatty acids can be easily incorporated into our diet, such as different types of nuts, seeds, oils, and fish.

There are 3 main omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). ALA can be detected in plant oils like canola, soybean, or flaxseed. Meanwhile, DHA and EPA can be found in fish and other types of seafood. 

What Are the Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids In the Body?   

Omega-3 fats are important as they are an essential part of the membranes surrounding each cell in your body. They also supply calories which in turn fuel the body with energy while also performing many functions in its different organs - like the heart and lungs.  

Additionally, they act as the starting point for creating hormones that regulate many important body functions, such as artery wall contraction and relaxation, blood clotting, and even inflammation. This may make them useful in the fight against heart diseases and other illnesses, such as cancer. 

With how vital omega-3 fatty acids are, it’s recommended that we regularly consume foods rich in them or at least take dietary supplements like fish oil supplements that can help us maintain their presence in our bodies. This is because fish oil supplements are rich sources of fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA.


Triglycerides vs Ethyl Esters: What’s the Difference?

Omega 3 fish oils supplements come in two molecular or chemical forms: triglycerides and ethyl esters. Knowing their differences is vital as their effectiveness and absorption into the body may vary depending on which type you’re taking.



The first form of omega-3 fish oil is Triglycerides. This is the natural form of fish oil found in fish, which also contains natural omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. 

This makes it generally safer for the body and allows it to absorb and utilize this form better. Additionally, over 98% of the fat we absorb from eating fish meat, specifically EPA and DHA, is in triglyceride form.


Ethyl Esters

Meanwhile, the second form of omega-3 fish oil, the Ethyl Ester, also contains omega-3 fatty acids, but they were synthesized from the triglyceride form. This makes ethyl ester an artificial form in that this is what fish oil is converted to as it is being processed. 

While it is much cheaper, this form is not as bioavailable as other omega-3 fatty acids and has low absorption into the body. 


What’s the Difference?

Simply put, the main difference between the two can generally be boiled down to what’s naturally occurring (triglycerides) vs what’s artificially produced (ethyl esters). 

There’s also the matter of absorption into the body, as triglycerides are better absorbed than ethyl esters.

As to the cost, it’s important to note that ethyl esters are cheaper to produce, therefore, less expensive to buy than triglycerides. 

However, when taking a supplement made from either of these forms, it’s best to do so with food containing fat so you will get the best absorption out of the fish oil supplement of your choice. 

What's Swimming In These Fish Oil Supplements? Triglycerides vs Ethyl Esters 

Which Is Better, Triglycerides or Ethyl Esters?

When it comes to getting the best omega fatty acids, however, we believe that natural is always better than the alternative. 

This is especially true when the natural form also has better absorption into the body, even up to 70% - leading us to reap the many benefits of essential fatty acids.

That is why XenduranceⓇ Omega + D3 is formulated to contain pure triglyceride EPA and DHA omegas, promoting heart and brain health while supporting joint mobility. Meanwhile, its added 4,000 IUs of vitamin D is beneficial for a better immune system and improved mood. 

By taking one capsule with your morning meal and one capsule with your evening meal, you can be sure you’re taking essential steps to supplement your body with only the best omega fatty acids.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Any Side Effects When Taking Fish Oil Supplements?

When taking fish oil supplements, you may encounter minor side effects such as a fishy aftertaste, bad breath, rash, nausea, or possibly some digestive issues.

Is It Safe To Take Omega-3 Fish Oil Every Day?

Yes. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week to reap the benefits of fish oil. They also say taking up to 3 grams of fish oil daily in supplement form is safe.

When taking the recommended amount, fish oil supplements are generally considered safe

Talk to your doctor about which dose is best for you, as taking too high amounts of fish oil supplements may increase your risk of bleeding or having a stroke.


Who Shouldn’t Take Fish Oil Supplements?

Individuals with allergies, such as fish or shellfish allergies, might become vulnerable to adverse reactions when taking fish oil supplements.

If you have allergies, talk to your doctor so they can advise you if fish oil supplements are safe for you to take.

What's In Fish Oil Supplements? Only the Best Stuff

Omega-3 fatty acids are probably among the very few types of fat that are truly good for your body. Its presence in your system will mostly lead to wonderful benefits you will enjoy throughout your life. 

This is why it’s a great idea to supplement your diet with fish oils, especially as our bodies cannot make fatty acids.

However, not all forms of fish oil supplements are made equal. So, in the battle between triglycerides and ethyl esters, the questions you may ask yourself are: 

Are you after the natural one and better absorbed in the body? Or the other that’s synthetically made and cheaper?   

The winner is up to you to decide.


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