Fun Facts about Fish Oil

And why eating Alaskan salmon is the best way to get it!

Courtesy of Sandro Lane, owner, Alaska Protein Recovery — the only fish oil I recommend to my patients.

Fish oil can come in three main forms:

1. EE – Ethyl ester – the three fatty acids chains of a triglyceride are esterified (broken) from the glycerol backbone and delivered with an ethyl group attached to the esterified end of the fatty acid chain.

2. rTG – Reformed Triglyceride: the esterified fatty acids chains are reattached to the glycerol backbone

3. nTG – naturally formed triglyceride: the original bond between the glycerol backbone and the three fatty acid chains have never been broken.

Most rendered fish oils are refined and the refining process starts with esterification of the fatty acids. After refining and concentration (removal of the presumably ‘less important’ fatty acid chains) the oils are sold as EE’s. It is much cheaper that way as the re-esterification process is time consuming and costly.

Some fish oils add a ligase enzyme of some sort to a mixture of EE fatty acids and glycerol and reattach the fatty acid to the glycerol back bone. Then, they to call it a natural triglyceride since in nature fats are generally bound to glycerol molecules. However, while the esterification process frees up the fats from their glycerol backbone, it also removes lots of other oil soluble nutrients like vitamins and antioxidants. In a true nTG, these are still present.

Sadly, there are very few nTG’s in the world. The way humans evolved to absorb fats in was precisely in this nTG form. In fact, when absorption rates for Omega-3 oils are measured, the highest absorption rate comes from consuming fatty fish. The oil in a fatty piece of fish is truly in an nTG form. EE’s are only about 20-25% as absorbable as nTG’s.

I am not aware of many other nTG oils other than Pure Alaska Omega and some cod liver oils which are taken for their vitamin A and D content rather than their Omega-3 content.