Omega 3, coconut oil, butter and other healthy fats melt styrofoam

Omega 3 styrofoam

You may have seen the video that has been circulating the internet recently. Its shows a high quality Omega 3 oil from Reflex Nutrition dissolving a polystyrene cup. That’s nothing new to us as there are countless healthy oils which will melt straight through polystyrene including virgin coconut oil, butter, MCT oils, lemon oil and many others, some faster than others. The real irony is that the person who created that video is a huge fan of Reflex products and was actually using the test to demonstrate the product’s quality. Of course, it’s easy to jump to conclusions about videos and whilst we’d prefer not to have had this potentially negative publicity, we’re glad this has come to light because it raises a real issue that you should be aware of;

Polystyrene is not ideal for foods

Polystyrene is made up of long chain polymers and the non polarity of polystyrene therefore makes it excellent for liquids which are highly polar. However that’s about all its good for.
The trouble with polystyrene is once it comes in contact with medium chain fatty acids (e.g coconut oil) or worse still long chain fatty acids (e.g any omega 3 fatty acids) which all are non-polar they will start to dissolve because they are similar in polarity. It’s one reason why water and oil do not mix – they are polar opposites! Guess what is polystyrene made from? You guessed it, it is oil.

Omega 3 ethyl ester fats are generally far more concentrated than standard triglyceride Omega 3s and in addition the ethyl ester structure is even more non-polar and will dissolve polystyrene faster.
But Why Ethyl Ester in the first place ?

Reflex Nutrition use Omega 3 ethyl ester fats in preference to triglycerides for three very valid reasons;

  • Ethyl Ester Omega 3 fats are the result of molecular distillation which results in one of the purest Omega 3 products in the world, a tried and tested manufacturing process.
  • Ethyl Ester Omega 3 fats are factually the most researched form of Omega 3 in the world today, with nearly all of most highly praised, most positive and health promoting studies conducted used Omega 3 ethyl esters.
  •  Finally it is more cost effective to manufacture Ethyl Ester Omega 3 fats and as a result Reflex Nutrition’s Omega 3 offers great value delivering 330mg EPA and 220mg DHA from sustainably sourced fish.

On top of these high quality credentials, Reflex Omega 3 is sourced from a partner that Reflex Nutrition has been working with for over 10 years that delivers both the quality and potency we demand but also the guarantee that the Omega 3 oil comes from fish that are sustainable.

http://www.friendofthesea.org/
It’s safe to say either form will offer benefit because ultimately either ethyl ester or triglyceride Omega 3 will both build up over time in very similar concentrations to deliver the health benefits associated with consumption of EPA and DHA, here are the amounts needed, as per EU Health Claims, for those benefits.
Maintenance of the normal brain function- required daily amount 250 DHA, in theory that’s 2 x Reflex Omega 3 capsules
Maintenance of normal cardiac function– required amount 250mg EPA/DHA, in theory that’s 1 x Omega 3 capsule per day.
Maintenance of normal blood pressure – required daily amount 3,000mg EPA/DHA, in theory that is 6 x Omega 3 capsules per day.
Maintenance of normal (fasting) blood concentration of triglycerides – required daily amount 2,000mg EPA/DHA, in theory that is 4 x Omega 3 capsules per day.

Now for something that is worrying;
We all have a genuine duty of care to let the public at large know about this so please share this post.
Bullet proof coffee which has become very popular over the past year or so is coffee made with either the addition of coconut oil, butter or both. Fine when it’s in your favourite mug, not so if you decided to make a takeaway coffee bullet proof that was served in a styrofoam polystyrene cup. AS SOON AS YOU ADD THE COCONUT OIL OR BUTTER THE POLYSTYRENE WILL START TO DISSOLVE INTO YOUR COFFEE AND CONTAMINATE IT.
Very few people realise this and it’s made worse because the coffee is going to be hot which will speed up the reaction. There was an important studied published just last year highlighting this very problem.
See it here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25569333
Whilst it will not dissolve immediately it can and has caused polystyrene fail causing the hot contents to spill! However the most worrying and potentially harmful aspect we can see is the silent and unknowing ingestion of dissolved polystyrene on a regular basis. It’s something everyone should know.
Spread the word on the health benefits of Omega 3 fats, but equally important, please spread the word as regards the potential issues of using polystyrene cups and any oils!

James Phillips

Founder of Reflex Nutrition in 1996. James Phillips has arguably more first-hand knowledge with regard to the manufacture and design of whey protein and sports nutrition products than anyone in the industry today. There is little this man does not know about supplements during his 20 years in the business.

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