Is there really a difference in taking liquid verses a gel capsule fish oil supplement? Trying to decide which one you should take can be a difficult dilemma.
The fact is with a quick Google search you can find a plethora of conflicting opinions. No need to be confused when you are looking through the correct lens, the lens of biology.
In a nutshell, the oil is extracted from the fish. In this state it is the closest state to the way nature made it as possible without it still being in the fish. From this point, the manufacturer can keep it in the natural state, natural triglyceride, that is most bio-available to the body. In this state it has a natural EPA/DHA ratio that your body recognizes. It is molecularly distilled and infused with natural antioxidants and lemon in order to preserve maximum purity and natural freshness. Or the manufacturer can use the natural triglyceride form and begin a chemical process called esterification. This allows them to make it more concentrated, improves the shelf life and make it so they can further modify it to make their brand “better” than the other companies.
From a purely biological perspective, it’s more logical to take fish oil in the natural triglyceride form. The advantage of gel caps is convenience. It’s not practical to take liquid with you when you travel because it needs to stay refrigerated.
From an effectiveness/efficiency perspective liquid fish oil comes out on top. In fact it is shown to be 371% more bio-available to the body than an ethyl ester gel cap.1 The research is also clear that taking a gel cap is better than taking no fish oil. However, it is clearly better to take it in a liquid form than in a gel cap.
The best way to answer this and many other nutritional questions is: How did my ancestors get it? If that’s not practical, (you would be glowing from the toxicity if you got enough essential fatty acids from the fish that we could get from our polluted environment) then it’s a good idea to get it in the state that is as close as possible to the state that they would have gotten it.