Enteric Coating of Fish Oil

This is something that many may be confused about – Is the enteric coating that some manufacturers put on their fish oil capsules good… bad… or even necessary? After all, enteric coated fish oil tends to be more expensive, so why isn’t it better?

We ask our expert on Omega-3, Warren Maginn, What is enteric coating and why Nordic Naturals doesn’t use enteric coating on their fish oils? He explains below.

So what exactly is enteric coating?

Enteric coating involves the inclusion of various chemical additives to inhibit the digestion of supplements when in acidic conditions (i.e. the stomach). This has been employed by some manufacturers to prevent ‘fishy’ reflux when taking their fish oil capsules – and comes at an extra cost.

So why is enteric coating an issue?

The issue with this is two fold.

1. Enteric Coating could be compromising fish oil digestion
The enteric coating means that the fish oil capsules are not digested until they reach somewhere further in the small intestine.   The crucial emulsification process of breaking down and preparing these fatty acids for digestion, actually starts earlier in the digestive system (i.e. your stomach).   Enteric coated fish oil capsules means that your digestive system could very well miss out on the necessary cues it needs to digest and absorb the fish oil properly – potentially compromising some of the benefits of the product in such cases.

2. No more fishy burps with Enteric coating – but is this an indicator of fish oil quality?
Yes, enteric coating can prevent you from experiencing fishy burps or ‘repeating’ as the capsule is no longer being digested in your stomach.  However excessive fishy repeating is often a sign of poor quality fish oil.  A pure, fresh and un-oxidised fish oil doesn’t tend to cause too much reflux in the first place (if you tolerate fats well in general), and therefore does not need to be masked.

So ask yourself:

  • Is it worth paying a premium for a synthetic coating?
  • Why try to ‘sneak’ fish oil past your first stages of digestion?
  • Does the enteric coating actually hide the fact that you are ingesting a poorer quality fish oil supplement?

“Rather than paying extra for synthetic coating that alters the digestive pathway, why not save every cent towards ingesting the highest quality fish oil for optimal absorption so you can capitalise on the benefits of Omega-3 the natural way.”

By Warren Maginn

BHSc (Nutr. Med.) GradCert (Hum. Nutr.)

Warren Maginn is a Clinical Nutritionist, College Lecturer and Public Educator with both undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in clinical human nutrition. Warren has a passion for helping all individuals to gain greater personal understanding of themselves and their needs to achieve greater personal health potential.

Warren is a highly sought-after speaker at health conferences and has been interviewed on many popular radio and television stations.

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