Fish oil is about as close as you can come to an all-encompassing health supplement. It’s long been heralded for its ability to bolster the immune system (1) and promote cardiovascular health and lately there’s been talk of it potentially being used to treat ADHD, relieve anxiety, stave off depression, help mitigate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and perhaps even play a role in preventing some types of cancer. That’s a lot to put on the shoulders of any supplement. But if there’s one that can handle the pressure it’s fish oil.
Below are the 10 best fish oil supplements for 2020.
1. Nutrigold Triple Strength Fish Oil
Each capsule of Nutrigold Triple Strength Fish Oil contains 1,250 mg of high quality omega-3 fatty acids. Nutrigold fish oil is rich in both essential EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid). EPA and DHA are vitally important in the maintenance of cognitive function and eye health. They also regulate cell activity, enhance cardiovascular function and are important to people at both ends of the life cycle.
2. OmegaVia Ultra-Concentrated Omega-3
OmegaVia Ultra-Concentrated Omega 3 exhibits a high degree of purity, is free of toxins and heavy metals that sometimes plague lesser fish oil products and derives most of its potency from its powerful mix of EPA and DHA. OmegaVia goes out of its way (literally) to source their product from fish caught wild in the waters off Alaska. Even the packaging process the company employs is designed to bring less heat to bear on the fish oil, thereby preserving its purity and potency.
3. Viva Naturals Omega 3 Fish Oil
While the concentrations of EPA and DHA in Viva Naturals Omega 3 Fish Oil are not as high as they are in some other fish oil supplements the company provides you with a much larger dose which more than makes up for the comparatively low percentages. Viva Naturals includes no additives or complementary vitamins or mineral that might sully the product. It’s just a straight shot of 1,400 mg of EPA and nearly 500 mg of DHA.
4. Dr. Tobias Omega 3 Fish Oil Triple Strength
Dr Tobias Omega Triple Strength fish oil provides one of the most balanced capsules you’ll find anywhere. With 800 mg of EPA and 600 mg DHA it addresses cardiovascular, cerebral, skeletal and immune system issues with a high degree of effectiveness. Dr Tobias Triple Strength is 100% GMO free and tested by an independent 3rd party lab for purity and potency. Each capsule is enclosed in a specially formulated glaze that minimizes both the fishy smell and aftertaste.
5. Nature’s Bounty Omega-3 Fish Oil
Nature’s Bounty are some of the most widely distributed supplements in the country and it’s easy to see why. Their Omega 3 Fish Oil for instance is a potent blend of omega 3 fatty acids suspended in fish oil of the highest purity for easy digestion. While there’s no doubt Nature’s Bounty fish oil capsules contain some artificial preservatives and stabilizers most people will not find that fact problematic.
6. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega SoftGels
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega SoftGels are 100% free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and contain 1,280 mg of high potency EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids per capsule. Nordic Naturals provide their fish oil in its most bioavailable triglyceride form which means you don’t need a mega-dose to enjoy the benefits. They also imbue their capsules with a pleasant lemony smell which effectively neutralizes the fish odor you get with many omega 3 capsules.
7. the Vitamin Shoppe Omega-3 Fish Oil
With the Vitamin Shoppe Omega 3 Fish Oil the emphasis is squarely on EPA fatty acids. Each capsule contains 735 mg of EPA as opposed to a relatively small 165 mg of DHA. EPA is known to help alleviate symptoms of depression and to shorten the recovery time from serious wounds. It’s also thought to be effective in treating psoriasis, treating certain psychological conditions and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
8. Nature Made Omega-3 Fish Oil
Nature Made produce one of the better balanced fish oils on the market with 600 mg of EPA and 500 mg of DHA. If you are getting on in years and concerned about the risk of cognitive decline this may be the supplement for you since studies have shown that DHA may play a role in helping older individuals improve their overall mental function (2). Nature Made Omega 3 is free of artificial flavors and colors as well as starch and yeast and purified to remove mercury.
9. Optimum Nutrition Omega 3 Fish Oil
Optimum Nutrition Omega 3 Fish Oil is a good way to bolster your immune and cardiovascular systems and optimize cognitive function without going whole hog and consuming thousands of mgs per day. The dosage here is modest and assumes you are consuming a fair amount of omega 3-rich fish, dairy and green leafy vegetables in your regular diet. ON is known for the purity of the supplements that come from its GMP compliant lab.
10. NOW Ultra Omega 3 Fish Oil
NOW Ultra Omega 3 Fish Oil provides 500 mg of EPA and 250 mg of DHA to give you the robust support you need to boost brain function and help ensure heart and bone health. NOW capsules are molecularly distilled to ensure purity and won’t generate the burps like some other fish oil capsules will. NOW Omega 3 fish oil is GMO free although it does contain vitamin E derived from soy.
What are the Benefits of Taking Fish Oil?
As we mentioned briefly at the beginning the benefits of fish oil are many. Let’s take a closer look now at some of those benefits.
- Stronger bones and muscles – Omega 3 fatty acids have long been known for their ability to help people recover quickly from strenuous workouts. Such workouts are designed to stress the muscles so that they rebuild themselves bigger and stronger. Omega 3 can help facilitate that process. In addition, EPA and DHA go beyond simply helping muscles recover and grow they also help strengthen the bones those muscles are attached to (3). This ability is of particular interest to bodybuilders and those at risk of developing muscle wasting conditions like osteoporosis.
- Enhanced cognitive function – Along with helping the athletically inclined recover faster from their workouts omega 3s have also shown the ability to enhance brain function (4). Whether you are a professional who needs to be mentally sharp or simply wish to ward off some of the more odious effects of aging on the brain fish oil omega 3s can help. It won’t turn you into Einstein but its relative value when compared to doing nothing is immense.
- Improved eye health – Fish oil is believed to reduce the chances of suffering macular degeneration (5) and/or cataracts and may also help reduce or prevent instances of dry eye. The results related to macular degeneration are particularly encouraging and should get the attention of anyone who may be at risk for the condition, including smokers and those with a family history of the condition.
- Weight loss – Omega 3s as a weight loss vehicle? Apparently, if the science is to be believed (6). That science indicates that a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids can help people feel full on smaller amounts of food, thereby reducing the odds of overeating and helping you lose weight. While fish oil alone doesn’t have any fat burning capabilities, if taken in conjunction with a weight loss and exercise program it can help to optimize results.
- Cardiovascular health – There is a growing body of evidence that fish, and by extension fish oil, helps a person maintain healthy heart function (7). Because omega 3 fatty acids are able to reduce inflammation throughout the body while also reducing triglycerides it is believed they can, by extension, play a role in reducing blood pressure, reduce the chances of heart attack and slightly reduce incidents of blood clotting. The bottom line seems to be that getting plenty of omega 3s enables you to lower your risk of cardiac arrest and other heart-related ailments.
- Cancer prevention – The last item on our list is also the most controversial simply because one doesn’t want to fan the flames of hope when it comes to cancer unless there is compelling reason to do so. As of this writing there is no conclusive evidence that fish oil increases the risk of certain types of cancer but there is some evidence – and we emphasize some – that suggests it may play a role in helping to prevent certain types of cancer (8). More research however is needed.
Can Fish Oil Supplements Go Bad?
It is possible, yes. Unsaturated fats like omega 3s are susceptible to going bad if they are exposed to excessive amounts of light, heat or air. But such a fate can be avoided if you store your fish oil supplements in a cool place that does not get direct sunlight. In most cases fish oil supplements come in dark brown bottles specifically to fight off the effects of sunlight and oxidation. Be mindful too of the fact that oxidation not only spoils the effectiveness of fish oil supplements, it actually transforms them from beneficial to potentially dangerous. A rancid supplement could actually help contribute to some of the adverse health conditions you are trying to avoid. As such make sure you store your omega 3 supplements carefully and don’t keep them past their expiration date.
Are There Any Side Effects from Taking Fish Oil?
Side effects from fish oil are blissfully minimal which makes this most powerful of supplements even more attractive to many. The most common side effect is bloating, although many of the newer supplement formulations address and alleviate this problem. Mild heartburn has also been reported in some cases but not enough to cause concern.
How Can I Tell If I Have a Quality Fish Oil Supplement?
Since it is the EPA and DHA unsaturated omega 3 fatty acids you want from a fish oil supplement it’s important to check the amount that’s included in a particular capsule. Some may provide a high concentration while others simply give you a larger capsule with a greater amount of omega 3s at a lower concentration. Either approach is fine as long as the end result is that you get the amount you need. Talk to your doctor to determine exactly how much that is. While the ideal amount of omega 3 fatty acids the typical adult should be consuming each day is is in the 2,000 to 3,000 mg range (depending on your size) many people get a goodly portion of that already from their diet.(9) As such, consulting with your doctor is the best course of action before you begin looking for a fish oil supplement.
The Bottom Line
No supplement is all things to all people but fish oil may come closer than any other. Its myriad benefits are well-documented and it has the great advantages of being widely available, safe and affordable as well. Before you start looking for a fish oil supplement for yourself make sure it’s the right supplement for the health issue you wish to address and then talk to your doctor about exactly how much you should be taking and what kind (i.e. should it lean heavier toward EPA or DHA or be more evenly balanced between the two). Once armed with that information any one of the above high-quality supplements should serve you well.