Omega-3 fatty acids are very important for your health.
Eating whole foods that are rich in omega-3s, like fatty fish is the best way to get enough.
If you don’t eat a lot of fatty fish, you may want to consider taking a supplement.
However, there are hundreds of different omega-3 supplements available. Not all of them have the same health benefits.
Omega 3 comes in both natural and processed forms. The processing can affect the form of the fatty acids. This is important, because some forms are absorbed better than others.
Fish. In whole fish, omega-3 fatty acids are present as free fatty acids, phospholipids, and triglycerides.
Fish oil. In conventional fish oils, omega-3 fatty acids are mostly present as triglycerides.
Processed fish oil. When fish oils are refined, food chemists often convert the triglycerides into ethyl esters, allowing them to adjust the concentration of DHA and EPA in the oil.
Reformed triglycerides. The ethyl esters in processed fish oils can be converted back into triglycerides, which are then termed “reformed” triglycerides.
All of these forms have health benefits, but studies indicate that the absorption of omega-3 from ethyl esters is not as good as from the other forms — although some studies suggest they are equally well absorbed.