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Question:
I've heard it's best to take fat-soluble supplements, like CoQ10, curcumin, and vitamin D, with fats or oils to increase absorption. Would taking them with a fish oil capsule be enough?

Answer:
The amount of fat in a fish oil supplement is only about 1 gram. While that might help a little, studies which have shown increased absorption of fat-soluble vitamins have involved taking them with foods or meals containing fats. Most meals provide at least 5 grams of fat (the amount of fat in a single egg, for instance), while a tuna wrap with mayo can have 40 grams.

In the case of vitamin D, taking it with a meal has increased absorption by 32% to 57% compared to taking it with just water. The bigger (and fattier) the meal, the better — at least for absorption! 

Of course, you can also purchase special formulations of some fat-soluble vitamins and other supplements which enhance their absorption — in some cases, even more than taking them with fats. These are described in our reviews of CoQ10, curcumin and vitamin D. Other supplement ingredients which are fat soluble and are best absorbed with fats are vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K, as well as astaxanthin and boswellia (and its key component AKBA).

Also see these related CL Answers:



Which vitamins and minerals should be taken together or separately? >>

Are supplements which claim increased absorption or improved bioavailability telling the truth? Is it worth paying more for these? Are there concerns? >>

When taking a water-soluble version of CoQ10, do I still need to take it with food? >>

As vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, why is it necessary to take it every day? >>

If vitamin K absorption appears to be reduced by other fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin D, why do some "bone health" supplements combine them? Should they be taken separately? >>

See other recent and popular questions >>
COMMENTS

Ryan11458   December 5, 2016
I'm pretty sure you increase the absorption of the fish oil by taking that with fat as well. Don't be afraid of fat it's good for you :-)

ConsumerLab.com   December 5, 2016
Yes, that's correct, Ryan -- particularly for certain forms of fish oil. This is described in more detail in the tips about "Forms of fish oil" in the Fish Oil Supplements Review at https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/fish_oil_supplements_review/omega3/#forms.

Stephen11456   December 4, 2016
I add a heaping tablespoon of coconut oil to my shake every morning. That seems to help with the absorption.

Marty16419   February 4, 2018
How can you tell its helping with absorption? Can you be more specific than "seems to help"?

Louis11454   December 4, 2016
Great info thank you very much.


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This CL Answer initially posted on 12/3/2016. Last updated 7/25/2017.
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