Did you know that just because you take a supplement doesn’t mean you’ll absorb it? The human body is pretty finicky when it comes to what it will and won’t let through the small intestine (where nutrients are absorbed). And the form of the supplement you take makes all the difference.
The form makes the difference
Consider vitamin E. You can purchase natural vitamin E (typically d-alpha tocopherol) or you can buy synthetic vitamin E (typically dl-alpha tocopheryl). Their chemical names sound a lot alike, but research has shown that the body absorbs three times more natural vitamin E than synthetic.
It’s a similar case with the Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. One absorption comparison study found that EPA and DHA are absorbed anywhere from two to nine times better from fish than from fish oil.
Absorption versus bioavailability
Remember how we said that just because you take a supplement doesn’t mean you’ll absorb it? Well, just because you absorb a supplement doesn’t mean you’ll utilize it.
Excuse us for getting technical on you, but it’s important to understand the difference between absorption and bioavailability. Absorption is how much of something is absorbed through the small intestine. Bioavailability is how much of something actually makes it into systemic circulation (in other words, your bloodstream) so you can use it.
Solving the bioavailability problem
Barlean’s has solved the bioavailability problem with Seriously Delicious Omega-3 (formerly called Omega Swirl), a line of emulsified fish oils with a smoothie taste and texture.
Several studies have shown that emulsifying fish oil — which breaks down large fat globules into smaller, uniformly distributed particles — significantly increases its bioavailability.
One study found that a solid gelled fish oil emulsion had double the bioavailability of fish oil soft gels, as determined by measuring participants’ blood levels of EPA and DHA after ingesting a single dose. Another single-dose study found that a flavored fish oil emulsion had triple the bioavailability of standard fish oil capsules.
Because Barlean’s Seriously Delicious products have been emulsified, you absorb more omegas per spoonful than standard fish oil.
 Kiyose C, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Mar;65(3):785-9.
 Visioli F, et al. Lipids. 2003 Apr;38(4): 415-8.