So, you’ve decided to add fish oil supplements to your dietary regime. Great decision, but you’ve got another step left to take: fish oil as a liquid or a capsule?
Yes, there’s a difference between the two, and we’re not talking about just the physical appearance. From nutrient composition to the rate of absorption by the body, there are several differences to consider. Take a look at this brief guide to understand fish oil capsules vs fish oil liquid—and which one’s ideal for you!
Understanding Fish Oil Liquid, Softgels, and Capsules
Fish Oil Liquid
Fish oil liquid is easy enough to understand. Derived from the tissues of oily fish, it is processed to a certain limit. You can consume using a dropper (for kids) or as a spoonful. As it is not secure in a tablet or softgel, liquid fish oil usually bears a stinky smell similar to that of raw fish. Also, as it comes from a natural food source, liquid fish oil is not safe to store at room temperature; chilling is necessary for preservation.
Fish Oil Softgels
As far as solid fish oil supplements go, you can choose between standard capsules and softgel capsules. Both are dietary supplements with concentrate quantities of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil softgels feature a unique, gelatin-like substance. The special formula endures the harsh acidity of the stomach. These softgels can be as large as an inch long, allowing for a higher concentration of fish oil per serving.
Fish Oil Capsules
Fish oil capsules also feature a gelatin coating. However, the coating is firm, that slowly but eventually dissolves in the stomach. These capsules are smaller in size in comparison with softgels and can be easier to swallow.
Key Differences Between Liquid Fish Oil And Fish Oil Capsules/Gels
To know which form of fish oil is compatible with your age and body composition and which is more convenient and accessible, take a look at these differences.
Ease Of Intake
Liquid fish oil seems like the easiest option. However, it’s that classic fishy smell, unhindered by any sort of coating, that discourages some people from using fish oil liquid. Also, the texture of an oily liquid can be overwhelming for people who have an easy gag reflex. Therefore, some people choose to add fish oil to salads and smoothies to mask the smell and flavor.
Next are fish oil softgels, which contain only hints of that fishy smell. These have a gelatin layer covering the fish oil, so the smell and taste are not one hundred percent concealed. However, these are easy to swallow, given the smooth texture. Children who face difficulty swallowing tablets and hard capsules may find it easier to consume fish oil softgels.
As for fish oil capsules, most people find them convenient because they are smaller than softgels. These capsules are also processed, hence flavorings may be added to mask the fishy smell. For picky eaters (or picky supplement takers, in this case) we recommend capsules!
It goes without saying: when the question of adjusting dosage arises, fish oil is the clear winner. You consume this type of supplement in the form of drops or spoonfuls. Hence, when you feel the need to increase or decrease the dosage, fish oil liquid is super convenient.
That said, you can still control your fish oil dosage even if you choose softgels or capsules. Softgels come with fewer variations, so capsules may be much better if you are looking for a diverse range.
Check the total percentage of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) per capsule. Standards capsules will tell you the total Omega 3 content, whereas high-quality fish oil capsules with break down the specific fatty acid types to help you make a learned decision. Ideally, you should get capsules that contain 500 mg or higher EPA and DHA (combined) content.
Absorption By Body
Unobstructed by any kind of gelatin layer and broken down directly due to viscous form, liquid fish oil gets through your gut rapidly and its nutrition absorbs into the system soon after consumption.
As for softgels, the rate of absorption depends on the kind of gelatin used. Although, most fish oil softgels have outer layers easily broken down by stomach acids. The fish oil contained within gets out pretty quickly, and you start getting the benefits of this nutrient soon after—though not as speedily as when directly consuming fish oil liquid.
Capsules first dissolve in your stomach or intestine. The process takes time, so the absorption is inevitably much more delayed in comparison with fish oil liquid or softgels. Additionally, the strength of the supplement matters. With digestion and absorption, some of the nutrients may be lost, so you want to aim for as much benefit as possible.
If you’re concerned about a difference in nutritional value when choosing between different forms of fish oil, rest assured that there is no significant difference between the variants mentioned in this guide.
As long as you take the right dosage, you’ll get all Omega 3 fatty acids and other nutritional benefits. However, do read the labels on different fish oil supplements and compare EPA and DHA content, to ensure that leveraging the maximum benefits of fish oil.
Fish oil itself does not have any side effects if you consume the supplement according to your body mass, age, health conditions, and any allergies. As for the physical nature of fish oil liquid and solid supplements, you can face an issue based on personal preferences.
Those who dislike the smell of fish oil may have a gagging response, so concealing it in a meal may be ideal. Fish oil softgels typically have a gentle nature. As for fish oil capsules, you may experience unpleasant fishy burps—so let’s delay the fish oil dose till after a social event, shall we?
There are pros and cons to each source of fish oil supplement, so choose carefully. Each type has a different composition, which is the basis of most of the distinctions. The primary similarity is the presence of Omega 3, a truly beneficial nutrient.
Your body does not produce it naturally, hence the reason for supplements. Though you can take fish as a source of Omega 3 too, fish oil supplements offer a much more precise dosage and are less costly than eating fish regularly!