Enteric Coated Capsules: What Are They and How Can They Benefit You?

Many people understand the advantages of taking supplements to support wellness, but they have problems swallowing capsules or tablets. Other people are able to down a tablet or two in the name of health, but they detest the unwanted aftertaste. If this sounds like you, help is on the way! You no longer have to wash down supplements with glass after glass of water.

A tablet labeled “enteric coating” is considered “gastro-friendly.” This means its outer coating will preserve the tablet and hold the contents together when it goes down the hatch.

Capsules with enteric coating are designed to withstand the acidic conditions in the stomach, which can destroy the strength of the product and lessen its efficacy. Instead, the contents are dissolved in the small intestine, which is considered alkaline.

Enteric capsules are also known as extended-release tablets, and users are encouraged to swallow the tablet whole rather than crushing it, which can discharge the contents all at once, degrading its effectiveness.1

  • Enteric coating increases effectiveness of fish oil supplements
  • No aftertaste with enteric coating
  • No digestive discomfort
  • Get rid of smelly fish burps
  • Gentle and easy to swallow

Initially, the makers of aspirin and other oral medications for the relief of muscle pains and headaches began using enteric coating as a barrier to prolong the potency of the drug. They realized that if the acidic environment of the stomach wore away the outer material of their medication, the user would not experience the full effects of the product.

Similarly, quality fish oil companies started designing their supplements with enteric coating to protect the nutrients inside. Some consumers who understand the benefits of using fish oil supplements – reduced triglyceride and cholesterol levels, improved brain function, lowered inflammation and enhanced joint health – were unable to tolerate the reported smell, aftertaste and “fish burp” associated with these capsules.

Researchers have also shown that the omega-3s found in fish oils can improve skin health, reduce rheumatoid arthritis and protect against dementia – but not if you consume inferior products that aren’t enterically coated for significant absorption.

Is enteric coating safe?

Quality fish oil supplements labeled “enteric coating” should undergo rigorous testing for toxins, mercury, dioxins and PCBs, which are environmental contaminants. The process of molecular distillation guarantees purity and maximum concentration of the essential omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil. Some companies coat their supplements with natural substances that have no negative impact on the body, such as plant fibers and fatty acids. It pays to purchase high quality capsules, because some businesses utilize shellac, plastics, waxes and other synthetic materials for their enteric coating, which may produce an adverse effect.

How do enteric coated capsules react in the body?

It is believed that fish oil capsules produce a calming, anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Research has shown that the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and decosahexaenoic acid) found in fish oil supplements reduces inflammatory response and pain.2

Another study from the New England Journal of Medicine3 examined the effect of enteric-coated fish oil supplements on patients suffering from Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammation disorder. During a 15-month study, 78 participants with Crohn’s disease were given either three enteric-coated capsules of fish oil three times daily or a placebo. The daily dose of fish oil contained 1.8 g of eicosapentaenoic acid and 0.9 g of docosahexaenoic acid.

At the conclusion of the study, 59 percent of the patients in the fish oil group were still in remission as compared with 26 percent in the placebo group.

Another amazing finding of this study is that the enteric coated fish oil capsules produced little gastric side effects, and the participants’ level of compliance was high. These coated capsules had a greater absorption rate of the essential fatty acids. Researchers can say with confidence that enteric coated fish oil supplements are a highly effective and well-tolerated treatment that prevents clinical relapses in patients with Crohn’s disease. OmegaMx, an advanced fish oil supplement, is manufactured with enteric coating, which maximizes its effectiveness and produces no telltale aftertaste or fish burps.

Quality supplements should enhance your life, not overburden it. With the wide amount of research available that illustrates the advantages of enteric coated capsules, do your body a favor and explore these benefits for yourself. The Mayo Clinic4 provides the following three tips to increase the effectiveness of your fish oil supplements and lessen the “fishy” aftertaste.

  • Freeze your capsules. This process retains the effectiveness of the product, but slows the breakdown of fish oil in the stomach, which minimizes fish burps.
  • Take the fish oil supplements before you eat. When you pop a capsule before chowing down, the fish oil becomes trapped in the stomach with the food, providing a barrier to the odor.
  • Experiment with different brands. Not all fish oil supplements are alike, and the enteric coating process can up the cost of these products. Choose a brand that offers enteric coated supplements at an affordable price.


  1. http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-21141-enteric+coated+aspirin+oral.aspx?drugid=21141&drugname=enteric+coated+aspirin+oral
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16531187
  3. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199606133342401#t=articleDiscussion
  4. http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2009-mchi/5167.html
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