Fish oil is one of the most popular supplements on the market today, and you’ve likely heard rumors about how it can do everything from curing cancer to curing obesity.
At the same time, there are some serious safety concerns about products from the ocean, potentially contaminated with heavy metals.
Is fish oil safe? We investigate the best fish oil pills on the market today, plus uncover the truth about fish oil supplements, and how to stay safe while you’re taking them. Keep reading for our top picks!
Our goal with these reviews is to bring you the most honest, accurate information available. We’ve scoured the internet for the bes , most up-to-date information to serve you well. If there’s a supplement we don’t think you should take, we don’t include it on this list--only the best!
The Top 4 Best Fish Oil Pills
Below, we’ve rounded up our top picks for the best fish oil pills. Think of this as a cheat sheet that can help you cut through the rhetoric and get healthy!
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, Lemon Flavor - 1280 mg Omega-3-90 Soft...
- WHY OMEGA-3S - Research shows that the essential fatty acids EPA & DHA in fish oil support heart, brain, eye & immune...
- DOCTOR-RECOMMENDED FORMULA - Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega features high concentration omega-3 fish oil in soft gels....
- BETTER ABSORPTION, BETTER TASTE, NO FISHY BURPS - All of our omega-3 fish oil concentrates are in the triglyceride...
Nordic Naturals is one of the best fish oil pills makers in the market today, especially when it comes to fish oil and omega-3 supplements.
For this product, the Norwegian company utilizes wild-caught, sustainably sourced small fish such as sardines and process them directly in Norway in a biofuel-powered plant that produces zero waste.
You’ll find two kinds of omega-3s (EPA and DHA), both of which are highly beneficial and bioavailable forms of omega-3s. The Ultimate Omega line utilizes fish oil in the triglyceride form and flavors its capsules with a light lemon flavor.
Customers report zero fishy taste and no burping fish oil later. Nordic Naturals uses third-party testing to screen for environmental toxins (including heavy metal) and to guarantee purity.
In a reviewed labeled “Three months tells the story,” S. Westover reports, “Four pills per day for three months.....reduced total cholesterol from 246 to 214. HDL from 49 to 57.”
Another reviewer recounts her experience with Lupus while taking Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega: “This is the best I have ever tried for overall pain relief and helps lower my triglycerides. Best of all the ONLY fish oil that gives no aftertaste or fish burps.”
Dr. Tobias Omega 3 Fish Oil
Dr. Tobias Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement Triple Strength, 2,000 mg,...
- PREMIUM QUALITY & TRIPLE STRENGTH: 2,000 mg of fish oil delivering 1,400 mg of Omega-3's (800 mg EPA, 600 mg DHA) per...
- BETTER ABSORPTION & NO FISHY AFTERTASTE: Enteric coating for better absorption of the essential fatty acids and no fishy...
- 100% NON-GMO WILD-CAUGHT FISH: Sourced from fresh, wild-caught fish and made in an FDA registered & GMP-certified...
Dr. Tobias is a newer brand in the fish oil supplementation market, but it’s already the number one bestseller for its category on Amazon. And with well over 11,00 reviews--the vast majority of them positive--there are a lot of reasons to love this fish oil product!
Dr. Tobias’ Omega 3 Fish Oil supplements come in capsules that are wild caught and processed via molecular distillation.
Dr. Tobias uses an enteric coating that delays the capsule’s breakdown, significantly minimize any potential fishy taste or odor. The capsules do contain gelatin, however, so they won’t be suitable for vegans or vegetarians.
The Omega 3 Fish Oil capsules contain high amounts of both EPA and DHA, making them ideal for most health applications. The facility the capsules are sourced from is registered with the FDA and is a GMP-certified production facility.
Kath B writes, “Doctor ordered me to take fish oil for high triglycerides. Was dreading it because all others that I have tried produced disgusting burps/diarrhea. These taste great, go down easy, no burps or stomach upset.
As a bonus, after one week of taking them, my arthritis has disappeared. I take as directed, 2 pills, 3 times a day, with a meal. Thank God for these miracle pills!”
Dutchw48 also raves about these pills, saying, “We switched to Dr. Tobias when the Omega 3 brand we had been purchasing became unavailable.
Frankly, I wasn't too impressed with the previous brand. My wife said she felt some benefit, but I experienced no improvement.
After a few weeks using Dr. Tobias Omega 3 Fish Oil, I am pleased to report a marked improvement in my knees. I can walk with much less pain and difficulty, and I only occasionally need my cane!
I look forward to further improvement as we continue to use this product. It is so nice to find a "miracle" product that lives up to its promises!”
Barlean’s Omega Pals Fish Oil
Barlean is another one of the best fish oil pills maker, and while all of its liquid fish oil supplements are excellent, we’re highlighting this one since it’s so suitable for kids.
It’s liquid, and while you’d think taking a teaspoon or two of fish oil a day would be nasty, Barlean has managed to cleverly disguise the flavor.
This particular supplement is naturally sweetened with xylitol, and parents report again and again that it’s so delicious their kids ask for it every morning as if it were candy or a treat!
In addition to how delicious it is, Barlean’s fish oil supplements also have very high EPA to DHA ratios (roughly 3:2, which can be difficult to find and indicates quality). The fish is sourced off the coast of South America and is all wild caught.
Tracy Collins took the time to write a review about how much this product has helped her five-year-old son, diagnosed with ADHD.
She writes, “After about 2 1/2 weeks we started to see a noticeable difference in behavior and at 3 1/2 weeks his tantrums and aggression pretty much stopped!
It has been five weeks now, and it seems like we continue to see improvement. He LOVES the taste and is always happy to take his ‘medicine.’”
Another reviewer explains that fish oil was recommended by her son’s speech therapist because of his speech delay. She explains, “As soon as we started giving it to him, he had a language explosion.
We decided to give it to our 2nd son after he started showing speech delays and he started improving significantly as well within 1 week.”
Sports Research Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil
Omega-3 Wild Alaskan Fish Oil (1250mg per Capsule) with Triglyceride...
- BETTER THAN THE REST | Don't be fooled by cheap, mixed sourced Fish Oils claiming high quality. Our Fish Oil is sourced...
- EPA + DHA | Provides Essential Fatty Acids EPA + DHA that may help to support your overall health.
- PURE & CLEAN | We use AlaskOmega omega-3 fish oil sourced from only Wild Alaska Pollock from the Bering Sea. AlaskOmega...
Sports Research is not as established as Nordic Naturals or Barlean’s when it comes to the best fish oil pills, but it’s still one of our favorites.
It has an ultra-impressive 96% approval rating on Amazon no doubt in part thanks to its high-quality product. Here are a few of its certifications:
Sports Research sources its product from Wild Alaska Pollock found in the Bering Sea. The EPA to DHA ratio is roughly 3:1, which is somewhat lower than some of the capsules we’ve recommended here, but that might not be a problem, depending on what your needs and priorities are.
In his review, one cardiac patient product, “My last blood test showed my HDL (good) cholesterol had a 25% increase, my LDL (bad) cholesterol had an 8.75% decrease, and my triglycerides had dropped from 196 to 86 - that's a 56% decrease!
I'm hoping that by taking this product, I will be able to reduce or eliminate the statin I am currently taking. I cannot recommend this enough.”
Buyer’s Guide to the Best Fish Oil Pills
Who benefits from taking fish oil? As it turns out, a surprisingly large number of people should be taking it. Here’s why:
1. Fish Oil May Improve Your Mental Health
You’ve probably heard the most about fish oil as it relates to heart health or brain health, but did you know fish oil may also improve your mental health?
A 2013 study found that fish oil supplementation in animals (rats) decreased anxiety-like behaviors, as well as depression-like behaviors.
And, some studies have found correlations between fish oil (or, omega-3’s in the blood level--more on that later) and mental disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.
These are logical conclusions, considering how important a role omega-3’s, which are found in fish oil, play in our brain and neurological development and functioning.
2. Fish Oil May Improve Your Heart Health
Heart disease is a serious concern, but fish oil may help you. Studies as far back as the 80s have found correlations between eating fish and a lowered risk of heart disease.
As we’ve learned more, scientists believe that it’s the omega-3s in the fish oils that provide all the benefits.
Here’s what they do:
So, while fish oil supplementation hasn’t been directly proven to combat heart disease or strokes, there’s some solid evidence that it likely plays a vital role in preventing heart disease.
3. Fish Oil Can Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
One well-documented benefit to the best fish oil pills is that they can help reduce mental declines that ultimately result in brain shrinkage or Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, fish oil doesn’t seem to be able to lessen the impact of Alzheimer’s that’s already in progress, but if we can prevent it from the beginning, that’s still a win!
4. Fish Oil Can Help With Your Arthritis
A 2014 study found that patients suffering from arthritic pain in their necks or backs experienced the same amount of relief when taking fish oil supplements as taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen.
This is great news since NSAIDs can be very hard on the liver, especially when taken for long periods. Also, when patients with rheumatoid arthritis were given fish oil in a 2014 study, they experienced “significant reductions in disease activity” by the nine-month marker.
If you are dealing with rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory condition, fish oil is a great supplement to try.
5. Fish Oil May Help You Lose Weight
A 2007 study found that when combined with walking, overweight individuals who also supplemented with fish oil improved markers like cholesterol and triglycerides and reduced body fat.
That same year, a similar study looked at young adults who were overweight. Study participants were divided into two groups: one which restricted energy consumption (i.e., counted calories) and supplemented with fish oil and another who only restricted energy consumption.
The study did not find a difference in young women, but young men who supplemented with fish oil experienced 1 kg of additional weight loss after four weeks.
A more recent analysis of 21 studies concluded that there isn’t enough evidence to prove how or why fish oil may help people lose weight, but “subjects may benefit from reducing abdominal fat with fish oil supplementation especially when combined with life modification intervention.”
6. Fish Oil Can Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is something of a buzzword today, and that’s partly because of how scientists are beginning to understand the role it plays in everything from chronic disease to pain to mental health.
For example, researchers suspect that the reason fish oil may help to reduce depression is that it dampens the body’s production of cytokines, chemicals that trigger inflammation in the body.
This dampening effect doesn’t just benefit mental health; there’s a great deal of data now linking fish oil or fish consumption to the decrease of inflammatory conditions beyond heart disease and arthritis.
7. Fish Oil Can Even Help Your Skin
At least two studies (here and here) have found fish oil supplementation significantly benefits people suffering from psoriasis. And another study found it may even help with recovery from sunburn!
How to Read Your Fish Oil Label
(And Make Sure You’re Not Getting Scammed!)
While there’s an overwhelmingly large number of fish oil supplements on the market, the supplement market, in general, is poorly regulated which means that if you’re not careful and don’t educate yourself, you could be wasting your money on an inferior or even damaged product.
Here’s what you need to know about the best fish oil pills:
FORMS OF FISH OIL
There are three kinds of fish oil. Natural triglycerides are essentially the “first press.” They have the lowest concentrations of omega-3’s because they are the least refined.
Additional refinement results in ethyl esters, which deliver higher levels of omega-3’s. The final stage of refinement produces what’s known as synthetic triglyceride oil.
It is the most concentrated form of omega-3’s, and it is also the most bio-available. However, many individuals and brands consider it less pure since it is the furthest removed from the source.
You and your doctor can discuss which kind makes the most sense for you and your needs.
FISH OIL SOURCES
Your best fish oil pills should be clear about where it’s being sourced from. Otherwise, you run the risk of less-than-savory sourcing. Here’s what you can expect:
How to Make Sure Your Fish Oil is Fresh and Pure
It’s important to make sure your fish oil doesn’t smell fishy or highly potent as this can indicate that it’s rancid. This can happen even if it hasn’t passed its expiration date. Another indication of rancid oil is burping fish oil--this should rarely happen.
Your fish oil should also be certified by the International Fish Oil Standards Program (IFOS), a third-party certification that ensures its freshness and it should have the Current Good Manufacturing Processes (cGMP) stamp from the Food and Drug Administration to ensure safe manufacturing processes.
An additional certification to look for is a stamp from the Marine Stewardship Council, which ensures sustainable fishing.
How Much Should I Take?
You should work with your doctor to determine the exact dosage that’s best for you, but the American Heart Association recommends up to 3 grams of fish oil for daily consumption.
Are There Any Side Effects to Taking Fish Oil?
If you’re taking medication, you should consult with your doctor, but as long as you’re staying within the AHA’s recommended daily usage, you should only experience minor side effects, like a fishy aftertaste or loose bowels.
No matter which of these fish oils you pick, you can feel confident that you’re choosing one of the best fish oil pills on the market today. Enjoy!