Data published in the journal Lipids indicated that EPA levels from a single dose of the emulsified omega-3 products was greater than that observed for omega-3 soft gels and other emulsified liquids, but the significance over time is unclear.
The study compared EPA bioavailability following consumption of a single dose of commercially-available fish oil supplements, including softgels (Nordic Naturals), or Coromega Big Squeeze, Coromega Omega3 Squeeze, or Barlean’s Omega Swirl, each providing an EPA dose of 660 mg.
“The focus of this study was the acute bioavailability of the [long chain omega-3s] in the fish oil supplements tested, so we are unable to make any inferences about the effect longer term intake of these supplements would have on [long chain omega-3s] concentration in various blood fractions. Chronic supplement intake differs from a single dose as circulating fatty acid levels then represent much more extensive lipid metabolism,” wrote the researchers.
A limited advantage?
Researchers from the Agricultural Research Service at the US Department of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota reported that a single dose of either Coromega Big Squeeze and Coromega Omega3 Squeeze produced higher blood levels of EPA when measured as plasma phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA), compared to the softgels or other emulsified fish oil liquid.
On the other hand, no difference between the different omega-3 forms were observed for chylomicron fatty acid (CMFA) concentrations. Chylomicrons are lipoprotein particles that are responsible for the uptake of fatty acids directly from the intestine and their transport to other locations.
“Our bloodstream is a super-highway for delivering nutrients throughout the body,” said Dr. Doug Bibus, Coromega Scientific Advisory Board Member. “From this study we can see that a single dose of Coromega’s fish oil has a profound effect on the blood’s composition of EPA omega-3 level. Once in the blood, EPA is then available to be dispersed to various areas and tissues in the body, providing sought after health benefits of omega-3s such as heart, skin, inflammation, immune and mental health.”
The researchers recruited 10 healthy volunteers and randomly assigned them to consume a single dose of one of the fish oil supplements, followed by a washout period after each dosing experiment before crossing over to a different supplement.
Results suggested that the PLFA EPA uptake over 48 hours was significantly increased following ingestion of a single dose of the Coromega products, compared with the softgels or the Barlean’s product.
“In practice, these results indicate that although there is limited advantage of emulsified fish oil preparations in the extent of EPA uptake, it is evident that both capsular triacylglycerol and emulsified fish oil preparations are readily absorbed and incorporated into PLFA,” wrote the researchers.
Volume 51, Number 5, Pages 643-651, doi: 10.1007/s11745-015-4100-2
“Enhanced Bioavailability of EPA From Emulsified Fish Oil Preparations Versus Capsular Triacylglycerol”
Authors: S.K. Raatz et al.