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Fish Oil Explained: Liquid vs. Capsule?

By Adam Galuszka
June 16, 2015

Editor's note: this post was originally published on the SFH website. So you've decided to take fish oil to boost your omega-3 intake and improve your overall health. That's great, but have you considered in what form you want your supplement to be? Omega-3 fish oil comes in capsules and liquids, so which is going to offer you the best results? You may be thinking, "A capsule will protect me from that fishy taste," but many liquids have actually been formulated to be free of that seafood flavor and have enhanced taste instead. Aside from taste, the rate of absorption and the strength of the fish oil should factor into whether you take liquid or capsules.

SFH Omega-3 Fish Oil:

Absorption Logically speaking, liquid fish oil will absorb faster into your system faster than capsules. Think about it: Your body must first break down the capsule before it can assimilate the nutrients inside. However, your body can absorb liquid unimpeded. In fact, it only takes about one to four minutes for your body to fully assimilate liquid extracts compared to 30 minutes for capsules.
Your body can absorb liquid supplements in 1 to 4 minutes.
Absorption and assimilation are a big part of efficiency. Why make your body work harder to get the benefits of fish oil supplements when it doesn't have to? You don't want to waste energy. Strength In addition to absorption efficiency, you should consider how your body uses the supplements you take. Ideally, your body should use 100 percent of the nutrients it takes in. However, between absorption and digestion, you will lose a little. Minimizing that loss is key to getting the most out of your supplements. According to the Healthy Hearts Club, the body can utilize 98 percent of liquid extract but only 39 to 53 percent of the nutrients from a capsule. The remainder is digested and discarded. When you take fish oil capsules, not only does your body have to work harder to break the product down, but it also receives only about half of the benefits. When you assess the two options in that way, you'll see that liquid fish oil offers a higher strength thanks to your body's ability to use it more efficiently. Basically, you'd have to take twice as many capsules to get the same nutrients as one serving of liquid fish oil. Flexibility Not everyone should take the same amount of fish oil. Your weight and level of activity should determine how much you need. When you take fish oil capsules, adjusting your serving size can be difficult. To get the little extra you need, you might have to overtake by adding another capsule. This, again, wastes fish oil. For liquid, all you have to do is pour a little more for yourself. Adjusting your intake of liquid fish oil is easy. Flexibility also accounts for how you take your supplement. Don't want to drink the liquid straight? Pour your daily serving into a smoothie and you won't even know you're drinking it. You can't do that with capsules. Between absorption, strength and flexibility of use, the benefits of liquid fish oil far outweigh those of capsules. To get the most out of your supplement and avoid wasting it, opt for liquid varieties.