Triglycerides vs Ethyl Ester for Omega-3 Supplements

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To ensure Cooper Complete nutritional supplements are pure, potent and proven, our products are regularly reviewed by physicians, researchers and registered dietitian nutritionists to ensure they are current with the latest scientific findings. When science evolves, our formulas evolve, too. Specific to Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3 and choosing between the Triglycerides vs Ethyl Ester form, we have consulted multiple sources to determine the formulation with optimal performance.

We leaned on Cooper Clinic physicians who help formulate our products based on evidence and trends they see from the thousands of preventive exams they conduct each year along with medical research. Combining the evidence and recommendations of Cooper Clinic physicians with recommendations from leading researchers, including Bill Harris, PhD, we decided to change to fish oil in the triglyceride form.

Studies Comparing Triglycerides vs Ethyl Ester

The following studies are part of the body of evidence demonstrating the triglyceride form of fish oil (omega-3) is better absorbed than the ethyl ester form.

“The ethyl esters of EPA and DHA have a different absorption route in the human body than triglyceride forms, but plasma lipid levels appear to be equivalent, however the triglyceride form can be better utilized in the body.”

Walker, R., Decker, E. A., & McClements, D. J. (2015). Development of food-grade nano emulsions and emulsions for delivery of omega-3 fatty acids: opportunities and obstacles in the food industry. Food & Function, 6(1), 41-54.

At the prescribed dosage, the statistical ranking of the four products in terms of increase in whole blood omega-3 fatty acid levels was:
Triglycerides vs Ethyl Ester vs Krill Oil EPA plus DHA levels chart comparison

Administered as:

  • Randomly assigned
  • 28-day period
  • Followed by a 4-week washout period
  • Blood samples taken before and after supplementation were quantified for fatty acid analysis.

Results:

Whole blood EPA percentage increase in subjects consuming concentrated rTG fish oil was more than four times that of krill and salmon oil. Risk reduction in several elements of cardiovascular disease was achieved to a greater extent by the concentrated rTG fish oil than by any other supplement. Krill oil and (unconcentrated) triglyceride oil were relatively unsuccessful in this aspect of the study.

Laidlaw, M., Cockerline, C. A., & Rowe, W. J. (2014). A randomized clinical trial to determine the efficacy of manufacturers’ recommended doses of omega-3 fatty acids from different sources in facilitating cardiovascular disease risk reduction. Lipids in health and disease, 13(1), 99.

 “Enhanced increase of omega-3 index in response to long-term n-3 fatty acid supplementation from triacylglycerides versus ethyl esters”

Administered as:

  • Double-blinded placebo-controlled trial
  • Investigated the response of the Omega-3 Index, the percentage of EPA+DHA in red blood cell membranes, to supplementation with two different omega-3 fatty acid formulations in humans
  • 150 volunteers randomly assigned to one of the three groups:
    1. Fish oil concentrate with EPA+DHA (1.01 g+0.67 g) given as re-esterified triacylglycerides (rTAG group)
    2. Corn oil (placebo group)
    3. Fish oil concentrate with EPA+DHA (1.01 g+0.67 g) given as ethyl ester (EE group)
  • Volunteers consumed four gelatine-coated soft capsules daily over a period of six months
  • Omega-3 Index was determined at baseline, after three months and at the end of the intervention period

Results:

The Omega-3 Index increased significantly in both groups treated with fish oil from baseline to 3 and 6 months (P<0.001); Omega-3 Index increased to a greater extent in the rTAG group than in the EE group: 186 versus 161% (P<0.001) after 3 months, and 197 versus 171% (P<0.01) after 6 months. (Note: The Omega-3 Index is determined in all Cooper Clinic patients.)

Neubronner J, Schuchardt JP, Kressel G, Merkel M, von Schacky C, Hahn A. Enhanced increase of omega-3 index in response to long-term n-3 fatty acid supplementation from triacylglycerides versus ethyl esters. J Clin Nutr. 2011;65(2):247-54.

Using EPA + DHA to raise omega-3 index

Knowing an individual’s Omega-3 Index is the only way to truly determine what level of supplementation is sufficient.  OmegaQuant®, founded by the previously mentioned Bill Harris, PhD, is a lab that specializes in Omega-3 Index testing.  The lab’s research has led to the following advice for increasing an individual’s Omega-3 Index:

“If your Omega-3 Index is between 4 percent and 8 percent, OmegaQuant would recommend you increase your current EPA+DHA intake by 0.5 -1 gram (500-1,000 mg) per day. This can be accomplished in two ways: eating more oily fish and/or taking fish oil supplements. On the other hand, if it is less than 4 percent, our recommendation is to raise your intake by 1-3 g (1,000 -3,000 mg) per day. Although this can be accomplished by eating more oily fish, fish oil supplements are usually necessary to achieve this level of EPA+DHA intake.”

Raising your Omega-3 Index is achieved by a consistently consuming the recommended level of omega-3 over time. The triglyceride form in our Advanced Omega-3 provides our customers with the ideal form for optimal absorption in comparison to ethyl esther.  Click here now to buy Advanced Omega-3 with 1,200 mg of EPA + DHA from Cooper Complete.

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To ensure you always have a supply of Cooper Complete multivitamins and mineral supplements, join our Vitamin Delivery Subscription Program. You choose how often you would like a shipment, with 30, 60, 90 and 120 day options. If you have two or more bottles (of the same product or mix and match among products) shipped at the same time, you get free shipping!

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Display the production information for the first item you would like to add to your cart, and click on the blue “Get Started” button to create a subscription. From there, choose a shipping frequency of 30 days, 60 days, 90 days or 120 days and the quantity desired, and add the item to your cart. Repeat this process for as many different products as you like, and choose a shipping frequency that best matches your use of that product. For example, you might want Advanced Omega-3 fatty acids and Joint Health supplement every 30-days, and a bottle of Basic One Multivitamin & Mineral Supplement every 60-days. Click here to start your subscription for Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3.

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