As a general rule, the best fish oil supplements should provide at least 1,000 mg EPA+DHA omega-3 fatty acids per serving, certified by third-party labs, and are sustainably sourced.
How To chose or Determine the Best Fish Oil Supplement
There is a mega-list of fish oils (nearly 200 in all), but because supplements don’t undergo the strident, top-down policing of prescription drugs, it becomes important to vet this list by way of independent testing. The picks need to be approved by at least one third-party organization.
Several kinds of omega-3 fatty acids are present in fish oil, including two of the three essential for humans. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are essential ones, and the third — ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid — crops up in non-fish foods.
The World Health Organization and Consumer Lab both recommend 500 mg combined EPA and DHA for a minimum daily dose, and it is required that all of our top picks provide at least that in two or fewer soft gels.
No Added Colors Or Flavors
Color and flavor additives can disguise rancid fish oil in supplements that might otherwise look and smell like something you shouldn’t eat, but the easiest fish oil supplements to take typically contain a puny amount of nutrients. We love to say it; fish oil should smell and taste like fish.
Five-Star Rating From The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
You can’t responsibly talk about consuming fish oil without talking about sustainability, because real, wild fish go into the fish oil supplements we consume, and they’re an important part of the ocean ecosystem.
If any population is over-harvested, it causes a ripple effect all the way up and down the food chain, and in order to keep overfishing in check, the Marine Stewardship Council evaluates fisheries to make sure they use sustainable practices.
To earn the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) “blue label,” a fishery must take only a sustainable amount of fish out of the water, ensure its operations have a low environmental impact and comply with all relevant laws.
Purchasing fish oil that aligns with MSC ethics means that what bolsters your health, bolsters the health of the product’s original ecology.
Health Benefits Of Fish Oil
EPA and DHA are thought to assist brain function and support normal growth and development. Fish oil is typically consumed to treat the following:
- Mood disorders
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Some Cancers
- high triglycerides and cholesterol (the only afflictions that fish oil is clinically proven to relieve)
The 3 Best Fish Oil Supplements
- Nutrigold Triple Strength Fish Oil Omega-3 Gold – (Best Overall)
- Life & Food Omega-3 Supreme – (No Fish Aftertaste)
- Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil – (Best for Pescetarians)
Why These Supplements Were Chosen
Nutrigold Triple Strength Fish Oil Omega-3 Gold
- 2,000 Mg Of EPA+DHA Per Serving: With a serving size of two soft gels, that breaks down to a substantial 1,000 mg of EPA+DHA in every one of Nutrigold’s thumbnail-sized pills.
- The price tag sits on the mid-high end of fish oils, but at this potency, you’re getting a big quantity of the best quality.
- Loads of third-party certifications: Nutrigold’s otherwise unassuming brown bottle is covered in so many accolades. In fact, it has more third-party certifications for label accuracy and purity than any of the other supplements, including nods from the International Fish Oil Standards Program (IFOS), Consumer Lab, and a 77 out of 100 rating from Labdoor.
- Just 5 ingredients: Nutrigold is made with less than half a dozen ingredients, one of which is water, and the purity of this supplement extends to its lack of toxins: Its PCB and mercury levels (less than 0.01 PPM) are both ways below the upper limit for supplements, which is less than 0.09 PPM.
Points to consider: If you love seafood, it isn’t a smell that will necessarily put you off, because the scent of a capsule, once broken open, is akin to “freshly cooked salmon.” Thus, it may not be for those who have a picky nose or can’t stand any fishy aftertaste.
Life & Food Omega-3 Supreme
Why it’s chosen
- Thick coating means no fishiness: Unlike the other top picks, Life & Food’s Omega-3 Supreme’s soft gels don’t smell like fish, thanks to their enteric coating that was meant to hold together until they reach your lower digestive tract, where they eventually (and harmlessly) dissolve. This extra-thick coating completely eliminates the fishy smells that come along with most other fish oil supplements.
- Small and easy to swallow: The soft gels are about half the size of a typical fish oil soft gel (tiny nubs, smaller than a jelly bean), and this manageable size makes them easy to take, especially if you gag easily when swallowing medicine.
Points to consider: Need to take twice as many pills, because, that compact size comes with a compact omega-3 count. You will have to swallow twice as many soft gels to get similar EPA and DHA levels as Nutrigold.
They’re no more expensive, and if you do the math (and are willing to double up on the daily recommended serving), you actually get just about the same amount of omega-3s from Life & Food at the same price as with Nutrigold.
Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil
Why it’s chosen
- Pescetarian-friendly capsule: Wiley’s pescatarian-friendly ingredients include omega-3s from Alaska pollock, fish gelatin (as opposed to Nutrigold’s bovine gelatin), glycerin, purified water, and vitamin E. With all that fish, these soft gels emit an unmistakable sea-faring smell.
- Use-the-whole-fish ethic: Wiley’s is a family brand, and reflects ethical choices. The website proudly notes that its oil is made from the eyes, heads, and livers of fish caught for human consumption, and they repurpose the saturated fats refined out of its fish oils as biofuel.
- To top it all off, its packaging is post-consumer recycled paperboard, which shows a deep consideration for how the lifecycle of their product fits into the larger environmental picture.
Points to consider: Nearly twice as expensive, but the transparency and purity of Wiley’s come at a markup. However, Wiley’s ethical practices rationalize the cost.
The best fish oil supplements: Summed up
|Nutrigold Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil||Life & Food Omega-3 Supreme||Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil|
|Best Overall||No Fishy Aftertaste||Best for Pescetarians|
|EPA + DHA content||2,000 mg||1,000 mg||1,000 mg|
|Serving size||2 soft gels||2 soft gels||1 soft gel|
|Softgels per container||180||180||120|