Best Fish Oil Supplements Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Potency takes on two different forms; either EPA and DHA. Both are vital to the proper functioning of your cell’s membranes, not to mention general cardiovascular health, and brain support. Even though there are plenty of foods out there that supply EPA and DHA, however, simply dieting isn’t enough to fully replenish and maintain your body’s natural supply of EPA and DHA. So if you’re running low and it’s not coming back up, you need a good enough supplement to keep your natural supply of these two Omega 3’s at a reasonable level.
But the effects of fish oil are only as effective as the speed at which they are absorbed into the human body. Megared’s formula, mixing normal fish oil with krill oil, doubled the rate at which the fish oil supplement was absorbed into the body after being introduced into the digestive system. Fish oil is primarily used by runners, to help their performance on the track and decrease their recovery time. So, they need the effects to activate as soon as they possibly can. As such, there is a need for fish oil that has found ways to make themselves dissolve faster once introduced to the body. Liquid fish oil does this by being easier to dissolve once in the stomach than a solid pill or capsule. However, as we’ve seen throughout the list, there are plenty of fish oil pills and capsules that have found their own means of making themselves easier to dissolve.
But potency is only half of the battle for the top spot. The other half is the purity of the supplement itself. Most supplements come with fillers, additives, artificial ingredients, and heaven knows what else, to try and increase the potency. But by lowering the purity of the product, this actually lowers the potency of its effects, thus ironically rendering the fish oil supplement completely pointless. Even if the product in question boasts the use of molecular distillation in order to guarantee ultra-refined fatty acids in its formula, this is not the same thing as pure.
What specifically takes away from the purity of a fish oil supplement? Really, anything that isn’t absolutely vital to the formula. So that means that the presence of additives and fillers such as soy, mercury, any animal parts, lab cross-contaminants, or any other unnecessary ingredients, resulted in docked points.
There are exceptions to this, however. Those additives took away from the formula. So that means that the only exception would be an additive that added to the effects. Which is why Megared’s fish oil supplement got as high as it did, despite the obvious additive. The krill oil added into the mixture made the effects more potent, and thus added points to its final score rather than take away.
Online retailers are only getting more powerful and more popular every single day. But even with that said, there’s nothing quite like the convenience (not to mention the lower cost from the lack of shipping fees) that comes from being able to buy something at your local store. Unfortunately, finding fish oil supplements available for purchase from multiple different local stores was tricky. Several of the entries on this list can only be bought online, and nowhere else. Points were docked, of course, but given the rarity of fish oils that were available outside of online retailers, and available in major pharmacies, we had to compromise on this one
Servings Per Day
Fish oil supplements leave a bad aftertaste in your mouth, and unless you specifically seek out a brand that takes them out, you also have to deal with burps that give you a supercharge of said aftertaste throughout the day. So obviously, people aren’t typically keen on having to take these pills more times than they’re comfortable with. Luckily, most fish oil pills, including every single one on this list, don’t have to be taken more than twice a day. Though there is another factor to consider on top of this one.
This refers to the size of the pills, or the amount of liquid you have to drink, whenever you have to take in your serving. Not only do these pills leave an aftertaste that can charitably be referred to as strong, but many of them have very large sizes when it comes to the pills themselves. So, the higher up entries were made sure to have small serving sizes just by default. This way, you’d know that the best fish oil supplements are the ones that you can swallow with ease. Of course, The liquid variety of these supplements don’t have this problem. Liquids go down easy, so if you don’t want to deal with the large pills, then just buy the liquid variety.
The drawback to a lot of these pills being only available online is that shipping and tax add quite a bit to an otherwise manageable price. As you can no doubt tell by following the links in the list proper, most of these entries rank in the double digits, comfortably. So, price became a bit more relative as a result. This is also the reason why the only one of these regularly available in pharmacies and stores, is also the one that costed the least.
Top 10 Picks
1. Dr. Tobias
Kicking off our list on the right foot, we have Dr. Tobias Omega 3 Fish Oil. Many who are familiar with the supplement will not be surprised to see it get top billing, because this has been on many an athlete’s radar for a very long time. And as we will soon demonstrate, the reasons for this are self-explanatory.
While we did promise you that fish oil wasn’t the disgusting idea the name may imply, we did not say that there was no fish involved. Indeed, most fish oil leaves you with a fishy aftertaste, which usually manifests in the form of burping. This is thanks to how long it takes to actually absorb the fatty acids in the supplements. Thankfully Dr. Tobias’ brand fixes this by coating the pills in an enteric substance that helps your body absorb the substances faster. Thus, drastically decreasing the fishy aftertaste.
To ensure the purity of the product and to make sure that it meets the expectations made by the label as much as possible, this supplement is put through a process known as molecular distillation. This is one of the very few surefire methods we have to purify a supplement of heavy metals and other harmful substances completely.
Cost and Value
In most retailers, you’ll find this supplement being sold for a very reasonable price, considering the high quality of the product. It isn’t the cheapest entry on this list, but it’s far from the most expensive, at least.
2. Viva Naturals
In the #4 slot, we have Viva Naturals Fish Oil. Now this here is a fish oil formula that is considered top shelf material. While not the cheapest in the world, it’s still affordable, and trust us, that is far from this fish oil’s only positive trait.
The reasons so many toxins like heavy metals get into the formulas of other fish oils is because they concentrate the omega-3’s in the formula using heat and chemicals, which can have side effects. This formula, on the other hand, uses a technique known as supercritical extraction. This concentrates the omega-3’s without risk of toxins or chemicals getting into the final product and is just a better way of concentrating overall.
Very High Potency
As a result of the means by which this fish oil is concentrated, 85% of that fish oil is from DHA and EPA, sporting a ratio of 3 to 1. In terms of market potency, not to mention the ratio of EPA and DHA, you can’t get much higher on both fronts than this product.
Cost and Value
As we said previously, this isn’t the cheapest option on the list, but it’s far from the most expensive. In fact, on average, we found the price of this fish oil to be at least half of what the cost of the previous entry generally was.
3. Kirkland Signature
In our second place spot, we have Kirkland Signature Fish Oil. This is a pretty above average store-bought brand of fish oil. Though that is not to say that it is ineffective as a supplement, far from it, in fact.
No Artificial Flavors
Some companies like to add in artificial flavors in order to mask the fishy aftertaste, but more often than not, it only makes things worse, adding the pungent taste of cherry to the taste of fish, not a good combination. This supplement does not have artificial flavors, removing any kind of pungent, unnecessary taste.
Low Toxin Levels
This fish oil may not be anything too terribly special when compared to its peers, but this is one definite upside it has to its peers. The toxin levels in each soft gel supplement are exceptionally low, making this supplement very safe to use.
Cost and Value
This supplement is far cheaper than the previous entry, almost half the cost, in fact. And on top of that, it’s far more accessible than most other leading brands, being available in almost any drug store chain you’re familiar with, including Costco and other online stores.
4. Nordic Naturals
Coming in at #3, we have Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Fish Oil. A rather presumptuous name, yes, but not one that isn’t earned. Nordic Naturals are considered by many to be one of the best brands of fish oil supplements out there right now. And what makes these supplements so special? Let’s find out.
The Ultimate Formula in Every Capsule
No more than two of these soft gel capsules every day will be more than enough to get you through the day. Every single unit of this fish oil supplement contains more than 1200mg of Omega-3, which is exactly the amount of daily dosage recommended by the AHA (American Heart Association). Not only leading to added effects but shown to go a long way to a healthy heart.
Caught in the Wild
Nothing necessarily wrong with growing your own fish and using them in your formula, but that can carry implications and other factors that may hinder the final product. However, the Nordic Natural Fish Oils are made with fish caught out in their natural habitats and then tested to ensure that the oils extracted from them are free of heavy metals.
Cost and Value
The big drawback of this type of supplement is the price. This isn’t the most expensive item on this list, but it’s definitely up there, with most retailers selling it for far more than some may consider being what it’s worth. While a quality supplement, it’s probably not worth what you will typically be charged for it.
5. Nature’s Bounty
And now for #5, in which we have Nature’s Bounty Fish Oil. The picture probably looks familiar to you, and there’s a very good reason for that. Nature’s Bounty is considered by many to be the go-to store-bought pharmaceutical brand out there, and for a good reason. What are those reasons for this product specifically? Well, to give you an idea.
It’s always good to know that the stuff you want to work for you has been tested and proven to work for others. And sure enough, Nature’s Bounty fish oils are put through rigorous quality and consistency testing before ever being considered to be sent out to market. There are other tests too, but we could spend a week going through them all, so hopefully, that gives you an idea of just how seriously they take this.
100% Pure Product
One of the many, many things tested by the microbiologists and manufacturing specialists that work at Nature’s Bounty is the purity of the product. This means that once sent out to market, the supplement has been tested and found to be completely pure and without any harmful toxins or other minerals. Any that are in there are not of any notable amount, and definitely won’t be harmful to you.
Cost and Value
This is probably one of the cheapest entries on the list. Which makes sense, seeing as how this supplement is sold readily in pharmacies and thus is very easy to get ahold of.
6. Optimum Nutrition
In our #6 spot, we have the famous Optimum Nutrition and their thrown hat into the fish oil ring. Now Optimum Nutrition does a bit of everything when it comes to supplements, but their fish oil is considered among their biggest successes. Why is that? Well, let’s take a look.
Easy to Swallow
Always helps to know that you can actually swallow the stuff you’re taking to help you work out. A lot of other pills on this list, including the previous two which we just covered, have very hard to swallow pill sizes that can be difficult for some to deal with. And the fishy aftertaste that comes when you don’t swallow fast enough doesn’t help either. Fortunately, these pills are very small and are easily able to be swallowed.
Only 1 Needed Per Day
If you’re not a fan of the taste of a fish oil supplement, then you likely aren’t keen on taking it more than once. Fortunately, these supplements come with enough potency only to need to be taken once a day. Quite the step up from previous entries.
Cost and Value
The best part about this product is the price. This is easily the cheapest item on the list, with a price that, while fluctuating depending on the store, still rarely tips over the $10 mark. Making this not only one of the best supplements on this list, but also one of the most affordable.
In our second to last entry, we have the Norwegian company Carlson Labs with their excellent, if over-ambitiously titled, Very Finest Fish Oil. Now, its placement on the list may label that as at least being only half true, but it’s still an excellent choice for this type of supplement.
If you have trouble swallowing pills, especially the very large very large variety that fish oil supplements so often come in, then this supplement should work out nicely for you. Instead of the big pills or capsules that so many come in, this is a liquid that you take one teaspoon of per day. So if you hate pills, or just can’t swallow them for whatever reason, this should do you just fine.
Most fish oil flavorings are, well, disgusting. But this one, whether liquid or soft gels, has a nice tangy lemon flavoring that blends well with the fish. That’s mostly because you’ll often find lemons cooked with fish because the two flavors complement each other well. So, a lemon flavoring for this supplement is actually a very good fit.
Cost and Value
Like before, this fish oil supplement sits at a very average price, but this one sits more on the expensive end than the last one. It still varies depending on what retailer you consult, but generally speaking, this one sits in the grey area, while wavering to the expensive end of that spectrum.
In the #7 spot, we have Megared Fish Oil Supplements. Megared isn’t nearly as well-known as other brands, but the discerning eye can still find quite a lot to like about it. By looking under the hood, we can find a few tactics it pulls to give it a leg up on the competition. What are these tactics? They are, as follows.
This fish oil doesn’t just utilize fish oil but adds in an extra dose of krill oil on top of that. This not only enhances the effects of the fish oil but also gives the pills a higher absorption rate. Meaning that you can absorb the effects of this fish oil twice or even three times as fast as the leading brands of fish oil.
Twice as Potent
The previous entries may be the most potent with just fish oil, but by adding krill oil into the mix, the effects of this pill make it even more potent than most store-bought brands combined. Not only is the absorption rate made faster and longer lasting, but the effects themselves are made drastically more potent, leading to longer performance and lessened recovery time.
Cost and Value
While not exactly cheap, this is far from expensive. This fish oil is typically found in online stores and some pharmacies, and for very affordable prices, at that.
9. Nature Made
Starting off our final 3, we have our #8 pick, Nature Made’s Burpless Fish Oil. This fish oil, unlike a lot of its contemporaries, is completely certified by the USP, deemed to be completely safe to use by their court. While their vote is not strictly necessary, it’s still a nice vote of confidence. The only question, of course, is what exactly inspired such confidence.
No More Fish Burps
Some brands help reduce the rate of fish burps, but this fish oil guarantees none at all. Thus, the biggest annoyance of taking this, otherwise excellent supplement, is completely neutralized. Which has caused this supplement to become very popular amongst health-conscious consumers.
There is no such thing as a healthy amount of mercury in your body, which has always been a big drawback to taking fish oil supplements. But this supplement has been specially purified in order to remove mercury from the formula completely.
Cost and Value
This supplement isn’t exactly cheap, but it isn’t too pricey either. It sits very comfortably in the typical price range of these fish oil supplements.
In our final entry, we have our #10 pick, Nutrigold’s Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil. This two pill Omega 3 fish oil was officially certified by the IFOS, who gave it 5 stars. Quite the excellent pedigree, but does it earn it? Being on this list, the answer is of course, yes.
Advanced Molecular Distillation
The secret behind the potency and purity of this supplement is a method known as advanced molecular distillation. This method allows this supplement to reach a level of purity and potency unknown to the leading brands.
Just 1 Serving Per Day
With other fish oil supplements, you have to take more than one at separate times a day for the effect to be of any notable significance. This one, however, lets you take the two you need to take each day at the same time. Thus, leading to faster activating, longer lasting effects, thanks in no small part to the omega-3’s, which have been distilled into a highly absorbable triglyceride form.
Cost and Value
The biggest downside to this item is the price, which is incredibly expensive for no more an amount than what you’d get at the store. But then, that’s likely the rub, because this supplement can’t be bought at any retailers, only online. Which, of course, ratchets up the price.