The 10 Best Fish Oils
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in March of 2015. If you suffer from arthritis, inflammation, high cholesterol, acne, or a host of other ailments, incorporating some fish oil into your diet could potentially be just what the doctor ordered. Our selections include capsules and liquids that offer a wide range of the health benefits you'd experience by eating more fish, without ever having to worry about bones or the smell. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
February 04, 2020:
While plenty of researchers believe that obtaining your omega-3s from actual food is preferable to taking a supplement, many physicians will still recommend consuming fish oil pills for certain ailments. They're also handy if you rarely eat seafood.
It's best to eat a varied diet free of processed foods and sugars and heavy on plants to get the nutrients you need. A supplement is just that — a supplement to your diet, not to be relied upon entirely. In addition to getting the go-ahead from a doctor before incorporating fish oil into your routine, be aware that overdosing can have some serious side effects, so only take the recommended amount and never more.
Today we said goodbye to Barlean's Fresh Catch and Omegaboost Omega-3 due to availability concerns. We took the opportunity to add Barlean’s Seriously Delicious and Sports Research Support in their place. While many of the options on this list are certified by multiple agencies and third-party labs, we love that Sports Research Support goes above and beyond in this area.
Seriously Delicious is an excellent alternative to regular liquid fish oils and traditional soft gels and can be added to yogurt and blended drinks or taken on its own quite easily thanks to its fruity flavor. This makes it a great choice for kids, who are likely unable or unwilling to swallow large pills or lemon-flavored oils like Carlson Norwegian.
We wanted this list to feature fish sourced from varied parts of the world, in addition to salmon, cod liver, mackerel, and pollock varieties. We prioritized shelf-stable items that use gentle and immediate extraction processes and sustainable practices, undergo rigorous testing for impurities, and are certified by well-known bodies for peace of mind.
The Benefits Of Fish Oil
However, just because it's massively hyped doesn't mean that it's not, in fact, really good for you.
If you follow health news at all, you've no doubt heard that fish oil is one of the hottest supplements on the market. In fact, many people tout its benefits to such an extent that you'd be forgiven for thinking it can cure anything that ails you.
However, just because it's massively hyped doesn't mean that it's not, in fact, really good for you. While we'd stop short of suggesting that it be added to the water supply, there's a wide range of issues and conditions that may just benefit from a little fish juice.
The primary driver of fish oil's health benefits is its massive amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are fantastic for reducing inflammation in the body, making them a smart choice for helping to treat everything from heart disease to arthritis. In fact, there is some indication that upping your intake of Omega-3s can help you wean yourself off other painkillers, giving you the same benefit with a fraction of the impact on your body.
The National Institutes of Health recommend upping your Omega-3 intake if you suffer from high triglyceride levels, hypertension, or if you're at risk of secondary cardiovascular disease. It's important to note that just taking a fish oil capsule is not enough to treat or prevent these conditions, but it can be an excellent component of a well-rounded approach.
The stuff may even be good for your brain, as there is some evidence that it can help reduce the effects of depression and other mental illnesses. The thinking behind this is that depressed people suffer from low levels of EPA and DHA, so naturally a supplement is a good way to top off your tank.
It's not just good for living longer, either — you can also use it to make yourself more beautiful. It helps to hydrate your skin and hair, and since it reduces inflammation, it may even soothe those bags under your eyes and reduce other puffiness. It's also an effective treatment for psoriasis, whether taken orally or applied topically.
While fish oil may not be the cure-all that it's commonly touted to be, the fact remains that adding it to your diet can still do you a world of good. If you suffer from any of the conditions above — or if you just want to reduce the likelihood that you will someday — then add a capsule or two to your daily health regimen.
Trust us, it's a lot easier than dropping a couple trout into a blender.
Choosing the Right Fish Oil Supplement
Before you start taking any new supplement, you should consult your physician. This is critically important if you're currently on blood thinners, as fish oil can combine with them to increase the risk of hemorrhage, especially in large doses.
Once you get the all-clear, though, there are a few things you should look for when comparing labels.
Before you start taking any new supplement, you should consult your physician.
The first thing is to decide how much of each nutrient you'd like to get (this is something you should discuss on that doctor visit we recommended above), and then make sure that the pills you're considering will help you meet that goal. Not all supplements are created equal, and the amounts of DHA and EPA inside can vary wildly. In fact, you may even need to check out other sources of Omega-3s like krill oil to get the dosages you need.
Make sure that all of the nutritional information has been vetted by a reputable lab, as well. Look for labels that say "NSF," "USP," or "ConsumerLab," as these are all considered trustworthy independent sources. Supplements aren't very closely regulated, so manufacturers can make all sorts of claims — and back them up with phony lab results and labels — making it worth your while to check for a marker you can trust.
If you have any specific dietary requirements, such as a gluten-free or non-dairy formula, then definitely double-check on that before buying. You never know what other ingredients might have snuck in there with your fish juice, so due diligence is necessary.
Of course, if you really want to do a deep dive into your supplements, you can research everything from their environmental impact to mercury levels. This can be quite the undertaking, however, so at some point you'll have to trust that one of our more prominent selections are worth your time and money.
Other Easy Ways To Get Your Omega Fatty Acids
This is going to come as a shock to you — seriously, you might want to sit down — but if you want to get more of the benefits you'll find from fish oil, you should probably eat more fish.
You don't have to go hungry while eating heart-healthy, either.
Specifically, add more cold water fatty fish to your diet. These include salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines — so, basically eat like a Norwegian. Ideally, these fish will be wild-caught and harvested sustainably, as well.
Many nuts are high in Omega-3s, such as walnuts and chia seeds, as are spinach and eggs. You can probably tell where this is going: you need to eat more salads. Not only is it healthier for your heart, but you'll likely find it's better for your waistline. Just go easy on the ranch dressing.
You don't have to go hungry while eating heart-healthy, either. Many plant-based fats are excellent sources of Omega-3s while also being quite filling, so don't hesitate to toss an avocado in that salad, and go crazy with the olive oil.
Ultimately, you'll likely find that eating to maximize your Omega-3s will cause you to follow a pretty common sense diet. Cut back on the sugars and processed foods, and ramp up your fish and veggie consumption. Your heart will thank you.
Just don't go microwaving your fish at work, or else you might not live long enough to worry about heart disease.