We test and review fitness products based on an independent, multi-point methodology. If you use our links to purchase something, we may earn a commission. Read our disclosures.

Do you want to get stronger, start a podcast, and become a stand-up comedian like Joe Rogan? Then you’ve gotta keep reading…

Okay, maybe you won’t immediately be granted Hercules strength and a funny bone… But Joe Rogan’s supplement stack isn’t complete without fish oil and you might just catch some health benefits. However, fish oil products are similar to Joe’s epic home gym—plentiful with lots of options.

In a sea full of choices, how do you find the best fish oil supplement? Set sail on Voyage GGR as we navigate our top picks! 

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider.

RDs and Sports Nutritionists Who Have To “Sea” It To Believe It

Our testers are registered dietitians and sports nutrition experts who not only have extensive knowledge and experience in all things diet and health, but actually have “sea” it to believe it. This means we actually test products like the best green powders, and testing fish oil is no different.

We think of our testing and researching processes like catching the biggest fish: it takes patience and our undivided attention, but oh how it’s worth it to reel it in and share our honest and raw insight with you!

Best Fish Oil Supplements in 2023

Best Fish Oil for Heart Health: Kaged Omega-3 

Good for: Those looking for a pure product to protect and boost their heart health

Best Fish Oil for Heart Health

Kaged Muscle Omega-3

Product Highlights

  • Clean formula with fully disclosed ingredients 
  • 2-step process to purify oil
  • No fish burps
  • Formulated with triglyceride fish oil

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 100% wild caught
  • Fish burp-free
  • Easier to digest and absorb than other formulas
  • Sustainably caught and ethically stored

Cons

  • Comparably expensive
  • Out of stock often

Bottom Line

Kaged Muscle Omega-3 softgels are an innovative take on a classic supplement for those looking for something different.

Kaged Omega-3 is marketed as a premium triglyceride fish oil with triple-strength and max potency to support heart and brain health. It specifically contains 3,000 milligrams of fish oil, with 1,000 milligrams of that being eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 900 milligrams being docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). 

EPA and DHA are types of omega-3 fatty acids—specifically long-chain fatty acids—abundant in fatty fish, shellfish, and algae. Both EPA and DHA are essential fatty acids, meaning the body cannot produce them on its own and they should be an essential part of a balanced diet. 

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is another type of omega-3 fatty acid, although it’s sourced from plant-based foods such as flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and respective oils. While ALA can be converted into EPA and DHA omega-3s, the process is inefficient and warrants a dietary need for EPA and DHA.

Omega-3s are delivered in a few primary forms, including natural triacylglycerols (TAGs), acylglycerols and fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs). Evidence1 tells us TAGs lead to faster and higher increases in omega-3s compared to ethyl esters, so Kaged’s triglyceride formula may provide optimal absorption. 

The fish oil is also sourced from 100-percent wild-caught anchovies, in which wild-caught fish supply greater amounts of omega-3s compared to those conventionally-raised and caught. Kaged claims to be fish-burp-free, a common unpleasant side effect of taking fish oils. 

Oxidation and rancidity are risks for fish oil as well, though Kaged Omega-3 undergoes a patented, two-stage purification process to minimize any heavy metals. The fish oil contains glycerin that acts as an odorless and colorless preservative—their virtually clear capsule visualizes little to no rancidity. While it would be nice to see added vitamin E or another antioxidant to prevent oxidation, this is overall a good formula.

Kaged is also a proud recipient of Orivo, the world’s first and only lab-based technology that can validate the species and origin of the omega-3. Additional certifications include Friend of the Sea, a leading international certification standard for producers of fish oil and omega-3 supplements, and Dolphin Safe, which means Kaged is fully compliant with laws designed to minimize fatalities during fishing.

Dose instructions2 softgel capsules/day with food
Primary source(s)Fish oil; 100% wild-caught anchovies
EPA + DHA per serving1,100 mg of EPA900 mg of DHA
Cost per serving$29.99/30 servings = $1.00/serving

Best Budget Fish Oil Supplement: Kirkland Fish Oil 

Good for: Health- and finance-conscious consumers 

Best Budget Fish Oil

Kirkland Signature Fish Oil

Product Highlights

  • State-of-the-art purification process to remove mercury
  • Made from deep ocean water fish
  • 1000 mg fish oil and 300 mg omega-3s
  • Lower cost per pill than other supplements

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable (about $0.04 per serving)
  • USP-verified
  • Large pill quantity
  • Available on Amazon

Cons

  • Lower omega-3 concentration than other pills
  • If you want to buy in-store, you need a Costco membership

Bottom Line

Kirkland Signature Fish Oil is a great choice for those looking for a basic supplement in bulk. It is also great for those on a budget.

Kirkland Fish Oil provides 1,000 mg of fish oil broken down into a combined total of 250 milligrams of EPA and DHA—for only $0.04 per serving! The serving aligns with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations which recommends a daily intake of 250 milligrams of DHA+EPA for most adults. 

The fish oil is derived from mackerel, anchovy, menhaden, herring, and sardine with Peru origins. The fish are “deep ocean water fish,” which might offer more omega-3s compared to farm-raised fish based on research2 evaluating the value of farmed seafood.  

An image of Kirkland fish oil capsules

Kirkland is USP Verified, meaning the product has been independently verified and meets industry standards. It also claims to use “state-of-the-art purification processes” to remove mercury and other contaminants, while being devoid of gluten, yeast, and artificial colors and flavors.

Again here, there is no antioxidant protection to prevent oxidation, which would be ideal, but this is a good, low-dose budget product.

According to Nicole Davis, GGR editor and product tester, these softgels have “No taste or smell…thank God!” She reports no adverse effects and says, “For what this provides I think it’s a killer deal.”

Serving size1 softgel twice/day with a full glass of water, preferably with meals
Primary source(s)Fish oil; mackerel, anchovy, herring, sardine
EPA + DHA per serving250 mg of combined EPA+DHA
Cost per serving$16.99/400 servings = $0.04/serving (note to take two softgels/day, amounting to $0.08 per day)

Best Liquid Fish Oil Supplement: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Liquid  

Good for: Fish oil seekers who prefer sippable supplements

Best Liquid Fish Oil

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Liquid

Product Highlights

  • Liquid concentrate
  • Triglyceride form is better absorbed by your body
  • Non-GMO and third-party tested
  • Over 10 industry awards

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Friend of The Sea-certified
  • Better absorption
  • No fishy aftertaste
  • Doctor recommended

Cons

  • Liquid can be messier than capsules
  • Requires refrigeration

Bottom Line

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega in liquid form is a great alternative to pills. With clean ingredients and plenty of omega-3s, you are getting all the benefits in an easy-to-swallow package.

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Liquid offers a high-potency fish oil in liquid form. Because the liquid contains natural lemon flavor, it also wins for best-tasting fish oil!

The fish oil contains 2,840 milligrams of omega-3s per 1 teaspoon (or 5 milliliters) and offers a whopping 1,460 milligrams of EPA and 1,010 milligrams of DHA. The fish oil is sourced from 100% wild-caught anchovies and sardines and is in the triglyceride form for maximum absorption. 

An image of Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega fish oil

A natural preservative and antioxidant has also been added to reduce any risk of rancidity. The fish oil is free of gluten, milk derivatives, and artificial colors and flavors; it’s also non-GMO-verified and third-party purified and tested. 

Looking for alternatives and money-saving options? Softgel capsules and gummies are available, as well as subscribe-and-save options. 

This supplement tastes like “Lemon with a hint of the ocean but not much,” according to GGR writer and product tester Lauren Strong. “Totally fine on both taste and smell.” And no fishy burps, either!

Dose instructionsOne-half to one teaspoon daily (with food) or as directed by a healthcare professional
Primary source(s)Fish oil; anchovies and sardines
EPA + DHA per serving1460 mg of EPA1010 mg of DHA
Cost per serving$41.95/24 servings = $1.75/serving$71.95/48 servings = $1.50/serving

Best Soft Gel Fish Oil Supplement: Nature Made Burpless Fish Oil 

Good for: Those who prefer the flexibility of a softgel capsule

Best Soft Gel Fish Oil

Nature Made Burp-Less Fish Oil

Product Highlights

  • Coated softgels help prevent fish burps
  • Purified to remove mercury
  • 1200 mg of fish oil for a healthier heart
  • #1 pharmacist-recommended according to survey

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Comparably affordable
  • No fish burps
  • Widely available

Cons

  • Large pills
  • Lower omega-3 concentration than other brands
  • Capsules are a bit sticky

Bottom Line

Affordable and widely available at dozens of retailers and online, this fish oil is a convenient choice for a lot of people.

Nature Made Burpless Fish Oil is our top pick option for softgels, which tend to be easier to swallow due to their gentle flexibility. The soft gelatin capsules may also improve bioavailability and reduce damage during production, as well as offer sufficient coating to reduce “fishy burps.” 

fish oil roundup feature photo capsules next to bottle on counter

Two softgels, or a serving size, offer a total of 360 milligrams of EPA and 240 milligrams of DHA sourced from weight-caught ocean fish. They also contain preservatives and antioxidants—such as triethyl citrate and tocopherols (the form of vitamin E used in nutritional supplements)—that might lower total oxidation, increase oil stability, and improve overall quality according to a 2014 study3. Since this is a low dose overall, this would be a good product for those already eating at least two servings of oily fish per week.

This Nature Made fish oil is purified to remove harmful compounds like mercury. It’s gluten-free and produced without artificial flavors and colors as well. 

GGR editor Amanda Capritto tested this fish oil supplement and found it to be a pleasant experience overall: no burps, no fishy aftertaste, and the flexible capsules went down easily. Her only complaint is that the capsules feel slightly sticky in-hand.

Dose instructions2 softgels/daily with water and a meal
Primary source(s)Fish oil; wild-caught ocean fish
EPA + DHA per serving360 mg of EPA240 mg DHA
Cost per serving$15.79/60 capsules (30 servings) = $0.26/serving$34.99/200 capsules (100 servings) = $0.35/serving

Best Gummy Fish Oil Supplement: Nature Made Fish Oil Gummy 

Good for: Kids at heart looking to support their hearts and health

Best Gummy Fish Oil

Nature Made Fish Oil Gummies

Product Highlights

  • Gummies make taking fish oil easier
  • USP-certified
  • Contains both EPA and DHA
  • Orange, lemon, and strawberry flavored

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Gummies can be easier to take than pills
  • Widely available
  • Relatively affordable

Cons

  • Comparably low in omega-3s
  • Fishy taste and smell is not completely masked

Bottom Line

Convenient and good-tasting, Nature Made Fish Oil Gummies are great for those looking for a daily supplement for heart health, but not ideal for those who need a higher dose of omega-3s.

Nature Made Fish Oil Gummies offer omega-3 benefits packaged into “so yum” gummies. While they do contain added sugar (3 grams per serving to be exact) they also provide almost 60 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA to supplement a balanced diet.

The gummies are free of synthetic dyes, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and gluten—but not free of fruity flavors! Coming in strawberry, lemon, and orange flavors, the fruity gummies help mask the flavor and smell of the fish oil.

An image of Nature Made fish oil gummies

Like other Nature Made products, the gummies are verified by the USP. So chew with peace of mind knowing the fruity fish gummies meet standards related to verified ingredients, potency, and manufacturing processes. 

GGR staff writer Anthony O’Reilly tested these fish oil gummies and said he’d “eat an entire jar if they weren’t fish oil supplements.” He noted no profound side effects, although he quips, “There’s more sugar in these than I’d usually like, but I guess that’s what makes them taste good.”

Dose instructions2 gummies/day
Primary source(s)Fish oil; tuna
EPA + DHA per serving9.5 mg of EPA47.5 mg of DHA
Cost per serving$17.29/90 gummies = $0.38/serving (45 servings)$23.59/150 gummies = $0.31/serving (75 servings) 

Best Fish Oil Supplement for Kids: Barlean’s Omega Pals 

Good for: The growing little fishies in the sea

Best Fish Oil for Kids

Barlean’s Seriously Delicious Omega Pals

Product Highlights

  • Liquid omega-3 supplement for kids to help brain development
  • Can be taken alone or mixed in food or drink
  • 3 fruit flavors to choose from that taste like smoothies, not fish
  • Emulsified for better absorption 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easier for kids (and adults) to swallow
  • No artificial sweeteners or flavors
  • Ultra-purified
  • Can be mixed with fruit juice, smoothies, etc.

Cons

  • Lemon flavor can be too sour for some
  • Very oily texture

Bottom Line

Great-tasting and with the option to mix into food or drink, Barlean’s Seriously Delicious Omega Pals is a great option for omega supplements for kids.

Using Barlean’s Ultra-Purified Fresh Catch Fish Oil, Barlean’s Omega Pals is a fish oil created for kids to support their growing bodies and brains. It contains 540 milligrams of combined DHA and EPA per serving.

While a pediatrician can help determine the right dosing, the European Food Safety Authority suggests that infants and young children (under 2 years) should consume 100 milligrams of DHA per day. Older children (ages 2 to 18 years) should aim for a daily intake of 250 milligrams of DHA according to a 2018 critical review4.

An image of Barlean's Omega Pals fish oil for kids

Because swallowing a big capsule—especially with a fishy aftertaste—can be a challenge for kids (and adults, too!), the fish oil is thoughtfully blended to mimic the taste and texture of a fruit smoothie. If slurping down the recommended 1.5-teaspoon serving is still challenging, it can even be mixed into smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal!

Barlean’s Seriously Delicious Omega Pals also offers a fish oil with eye nutrition, as well as a flaxseed oil option if needing to avoid fish oil for whatever reason. Parents can rest easy knowing the fish oil is free of added sugar, GMOs, gluten, dairy, and artificial flavors and colors. 

Dose instructions1.5 tsp daily for kids ages 1+ 
Primary source(s)Fish oil; anchovy, sardine, and/or mackerel
EPA + DHA per serving330 mg of EPA210 mg of DHA
Cost per serving$14.26/29 servings = $0.49/serving

Best High-Dose Fish Oil Supplement: Wiley’s Finest Peak Omega-3 Liquid  

Good for: People fishing for a high-dose fish oil with an enjoyable, fresh flavor

Best High-Dose Fish Oil

Wiley’s Finest Peak Omega-3 Liquid

Product Highlights

  • Liquid with natural lemon flavor
  • 90% triglyceride form
  • Every batch tested for harmful contaminants
  • 2300 mg of omega-3s per dose

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easy-to-take liquid
  • Triglyceride form is easily absorbed
  • Free of contaminants
  • No fish burps
  • High dosage

Cons

  • High cost per serving
  • Must take with food

Bottom Line

Wiley’s Finest Peak Omega-3 Liquid is a great fish oil supplement option for those looking for a liquid that has a high dose of omegas.

Wiley’s Finest Peak Omega-3 Liquid is a concentrated fish oil in the highly absorbable triglyceride form. The lemon-flavored fish oil liquid provides 1400 milligrams of EPA and 900 milligrams of DHA to support heart, joint, mental, and overall health. It also contains vitamin E to preserve the oil, which is important.

The U.S.-based fish oil is sourced from sustainable Alaskan pollock caught by American fishers and purified by American workers. It’s prepared in a family-owned-and-operated facility and tested for contaminants such as mercury and heavy metals. 

An image of Wiley's Finest liquid fish oil

The fish oil is MSC-certified, which means the wild fish meets international best practices for sustainable fishing. It’s also been third-party tested by the SQF program to verify the safety and quality. 

Anthony O’Reilly, GGR staff writer, tested the Wiley’s omega-3 liquid and noted that it tasted so lemony it’s “almost like a lemon drop” and “actually tastes pretty good.” That’s quite the big deal when you’re talking about liquid fish oil. 

Dose instructions1 tsp/day with food
Primary source(s)Fish oil; wild Alaska pollock
EPA + DHA per serving1400 mg of EPA900 mg of DHA
Cost per serving$39.99/4 oz (25 servings) = $1.60/serving$65.99/8 oz (50 servings) = $1.32/serving

Best Vegan Fish Oil Supplement: Calgee Vegan Omega-3 

Good for: Followers of vegan lifestyles searching for rich omega-3 sourcing 

Best Vegan Fish Oil Supplement

Calgee Vegan Omega-3

Product Highlights

  • 450 mg of DHA and EPA per serving
  • Eco-friendly and sustainable
  • Tapioca softgels made in a FDA-registered facility
  • Recyclable and compostable packaging

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Fish burp-free
  • Carrageenan-free
  • Vegan and allergen-free
  • Third-party tested
  • Supports sustainability

Cons

  • Lower omega-3 content than fish-based supplements
  • Recommended to take with a meal

Bottom Line

For anyone living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, Calgee’s Vegan Omega-3 is a great supplement choice.

Calgee Vegan Omega-3 is sourced from algal oil, or schizochytrium sp. algae specifically. Algae5 is claimed to be the ultimate source of very-long chain PUFAs, which are consumed by fish and then by humans. (Remember your biology lesson on the food chain?)

When comparing the marine oils6, algal oil is higher in DHA and lower in EPA whereas fish oil has greater amounts of EPA than DHA. However, vegan and fish-based oils are valuable sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The oil is also protected by a vegan, tapioca-based softgel rather than gelatin like other fish oil supplements. 

One quick scroll through the website and it’s pretty clear (pun intended) Calgee prides itself on transparency, as well as sustainability. Calgee even showcases its latest Certificate of Analysis and is a proud member of 1% for the Planet, pledging 1% of annual sales to environmental nonprofits.

Calgee is so sure of its product that they offer free shipping on all orders, and if you aren’t completely satisfied with the product for 30 days, they’ll provide you a full refund—no return required!

Dose instructions2 softgels/day with a meal
Primary source(s)Algal oil; Schizochytrium sp. algae
EPA + DHA per serving150 mg of EPA300 mg of DHA
Cost per serving$28/60 capsules (30 servings) = $0.93/serving 

Best Krill Oil: Onnit Krill Oil  

Good for: People curious about effective fish oil alternatives 

Best Krill Oil

Onnit Krill Oil

Product Highlights

  • Phospholipids are easier for the body to absorb
  • Carotenoids help support immune function
  • Krill are harvested in the Arctic, away from industrial pollution
  • Krill fishing is a sustainable, tightly regulated practice

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easy absorption
  • Fewer contaminants
  • Contains healthy ingredients other fish oils do not (e.g., carotenoids)
  • Vanilla flavor

Cons

  • Not for those with shellfish allergies
  • Must take with food

Bottom Line

Onnit Krill Oil is a great supplement for those looking to try something different or want added benefits in their omega supplement. Krill is a type of shellfish, so this supplement is not suitable for those with shellfish allergies.

Onnit Krill Oil is produced from krill, a type of small crustacean rich in marine omega-3 fatty acid, unlike other fish oil supplements prepared with fatty fish. 

Also unlike fish oil, which mostly provides DHA and EPA in the triglyceride form, up to 65% of EPA and DHA occur in phospholipids according to research out of the Journal of Nutritional Science7. Despite the differences in these forms of EPA and DHA delivery, krill oil still exerts positive health benefits like reducing triglycerides and blood glucose levels. 

Krill oil is a rich source of astaxanthin8, a pigment that provides krill their color and elicits beneficial properties thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Astaxanthin shows to play beneficial roles in fighting against diseases like cancer, as well as protecting neurological, cardiovascular, eye, and skin health. 

An image of Onnit Krill Oil capsules

Onnit Krill Oil further highlights that krill is a more sustainable option compared to other fish oils, as the biomass of krill is more than double the biomass of human beings. Harvesting krill is also tightly regulated and proudly certified by Friend of the Sea. 

“The softgels have a very mild sweet taste as you swallow them,” says GGR writer Lauren Strong. “The ingredients include ‘ethyl vanillin’ so I assume that is the taste I’m picking up on.” She reports no detectable side effects or bad tastes.

Dose instructions2 softgels/day, preferably in food
Primary source(s)Krill oil; crustacean shellfish (krill)
EPA + DHA per serving130 mg of EPA60 mg of DHA
Cost per serving$29.25/60 softgels (30 servings) = $0.98/serving

Other Fish Oil Supplements We Tried and Researched 

While we believe the products we picked are some of the best fish oil supplements on the market, others still have room on Voyager GGR! Additional supplements we tried, researched, and approve of include, but are not limited to:

  • Bare Performance Nutrition Strong Omega
  • Carlson’s The Very Finest Fish Oil
  • HUM Nutrition OMG! Omega The Great
  • Throne Super EPA

How We Picked and Tested the Best Fish Oil Supplements 

In a sea full of options, how did we pick our favorites? Instead of throwing out a wide net, we cast our line and reeled in the best fish oil supplements mostly based on high-quality sourcing, variety, and the testing of each. 

Sourcing and Bioavailability 

Not all fish oil supplements are created the same and we made sure to select products that are best supported by research. Specifically, we picked fish oils that offered the most bioavailability.

As we’ve mentioned throughout our top picks, wild-caught fish sources tend to offer more omega-3s compared to farm-fresh. We also mostly focused on fish oils in the triglyceride form, including Kaged Omega-3’s premium triglyceride fish oil, because it offers greater absorption compared to other forms like ethyl esters. 

Variety

No person is the same—everyone has their own dietary needs, preferences, and goals. That said, we made sure to test and offer a wide net of reputable options. 

Prefer a fish oil gummy (created for adults) over capsules? Try out Nature Made Fish Oil Gummy. Looking for an option for your kiddo? Barlean’s Omega Pals to the rescue!

Product Testing

Here’s the thing about supplements—while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates both finished dietary supplement products and dietary ingredients, they are not authorized to approve dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness. Or, supplements might contain sketchy ingredients in even sketchier doses.

But because we care about what we and you should put into our bodies, we are hyper-aware of whether or not products undergo third-party testing. Verifications through the USP and other third-party testers signifies that the fish oil has been reviewed under specific safety and quality standards.

Brand Reputation 

How one feels about various brands is personal and can vary from one person to the next and that’s okay! For us, we select products based on brand trust and encourage consumers to be mindful of a brand’s reputation by:

  • The quality and integrity of the brand’s products, including if they’ve been third-party tested
  • Easily and readily accessible customer support
  • Reviews consumers leave on their website and social media profiles, along with reviews on other seller sites such as Amazon
  • Return policies

With most information readily available to us on the internet, it’s not too challenging to get a pulse of a brand’s reputation. No matter if we’re narrowing down the best creatine or fish oil, we make sure to take the extra step and evaluate the brand from various angles. 

Why You Should Take a Fish Oil Supplement  

The benefits of fish oil are mostly tied to heart and brain health, although it can offer so much more. We took a deep dive into the research and were even more impressed with fish oil’s possibilities and applications.

Heart Health

Just as it’s nearly impossible to chat about best probiotics without bringing up gut health, the same rings true with omega-3s and heart health. We could dive into the benefits of omega-3s, EPA, and DHA for heart health all day; but we can’t leave the other fin-tastic health benefits sitting on the shoreline, so we’ll try to keep it (semi) brief… 

A 2020 study published in Nutrients9 suggests omega-3s can modify a variety of cellular processes linked to lipid metabolism, inflammation, plaque build-up, and blood clots. Omega-3s have a notable role to lower triglyceride levels, which are a type of fat that can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke if levels are high in the blood. 

According to a report published in Circulation10, treatment with omega-3 PUFA supplements is reasonable for patients with prevalent coronary heart disease (CHD) such as a recent heart attack. And another study11 shows fish oil supplements containing a total of 4.8 grams of EPA plus DHA may decrease triglycerides by 14.4% on average due to fish oil supplements containing a total for 4.8 grams of EPA plus DHA.

The 2020 study9 also compared EPA and DHA, further suggesting fish oil supplements with varied EPA/DHA ratios offer similar effects on total lipids. A similar systematic review4 suggests high DHA fish oil can protect the heart against heart attack and arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) while improving heart function following a stroke. 

A study published in Preventative Cardiology12 hints that recommending fish oil supplements to people with hypertension may be reasonable, too. Even if reductions in blood pressure are small, decreases of just 2 mmHg in systolic blood pressure have been estimated to cause a 10% lower stroke mortality and about 7% lower mortality for ischaemic heart disease or other vascular causes in middle age!

Truly, omega-3s and heart health go together like lamb and tuna fish (Big Daddy, anyone?) or maybe more so like Coop and home gym essentials. And overall, omega-3 fatty acids can improve triglycerides, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other risk factors for the leading cause of death in the entire world—otherwise known as heart disease. 

Brain and Mental Health

Omega-3 fatty acids are vital components of phospholipids that form the structures of cell membranes, DHA especially being high in the brain. Research13 stresses the critical need for omega-3s and DHA for brain health, hinting marine oil may benefit behavior, mood, and other brain disorders such as:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder 
  • Autism 
  • Depression 
  • Borderline personality disorder (mood instability and impulsive aggression)
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Hostility 
  • Anxiety 
  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Seasonal affective disorder 
  • Suicidal ideation 

Overall, the researchers suggest taking a daily marine omega-3 supplement may be a cost-effective strategy for supporting brain and mood health.

Fitness Performance and Recovery

And of course we jump at the chance to talk about all things fitness. And we aren’t just grabbing at straws here—there truly is supporting evidence!

The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3s have been hinted to reduce muscle soreness and enhance recovery and subsequent performance. Research published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine14  suggests 3,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can minimize the severe, delayed-onset muscle soreness that results from strenuous eccentric strength exercise.

Another study published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine15 details that DHA sourced from both fish and algal oils may reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness and stiffness while protecting against the loss of joint range of motion often caused by strenuous eccentric exercise.

The researchers tidy their data into a general suggestion: DHA is relevant to athletic populations to help facilitate recovery and allow for better performance during training and competition. DHA supplementation might also benefit non-athletic populations, including those starting new exercise programs and physical therapy patients more prone to muscle soreness.

Additional research14 suggests daily intake of high-DHA fish oil could be a useful adjunct to exercise programs aimed at improving body composition and decreasing cardiovascular disease risk in overweight individuals. Fish oil may improve heart rate at rest, as well as during and after exercise.

Other Possible Health Benefits

Cardiovascular and brain health tend to be at the core of the omega-3s health benefits. However, omega-3 EPA and DHA might also be effective for4:

  • Preventing certain types of cancer, including breast and colorectal cancers 
  • Reducing the risks of cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia
  • Protecting against various eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eye disease
  • Improving arthritis symptoms such as joint pain, swelling, and stiffness 
  • Lowering allergy risks, especially in children
  • Improving the quality of life for people living with multiple sclerosis16 
  • Bolstering the immune system and functions

Needless to say, the potential benefits of fish oil and omega-3s are compelling. If you want to dip your toes in the fish oil waters, learn how to choose the best fish oil supplement for you next.

How to Choose the Best Fish Oil Supplement for You  

If interested in adding fish oil to your supplement shelf, how do you choose? The picks above offer great starting points, but you can narrow your selections to choose the best fish oil for YOU with these tips.

Evaluate Your Health Needs and Goals

This is where we tell you to discuss your health needs and goals with your doctor, dietitian, and/or another healthcare professional. Their expertise can help guide you to a fish oil they believe will provide you with an effective and safe dose.

For instance, while the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recommends a dose of 250 milligrams per day of EPA plus DHA for most adults, the AHA recommends 2 to 4 grams per day for patients requiring triacylglycerol (TAG) lowering4. Needless to say, dosing can wildly differ based on specific goals and it’s best to dose responsibly.

Different populations also have varying omega-3 recommendations and needs, including pregnant women, children, and older adults. High doses of omega-3s could increase the risk of bleeding, especially concerning if taking a blood thinner, so it’s important to discuss these details with a healthcare team. 

Identify Your Dietary Needs and Preferences

Whether you’re dealing with a fish allergy or following a vegan diet, it’s important to identify your dietary needs and preferences and match them to an oil right for you. In these aforementioned cases, algae omega-3 oil would be a great option. 

Fish oil comes in various forms—like softgels, liquids, and gummies—so factor in your intake preference. If worried about any fishy smell or taste, go for a flavored option such as Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Liquid’s lemon-flavored fish oil.

Also, check out the dosing and serving sizes. If you need a higher dose, you might consider getting a more concentrated fish oil to lower the number of capsules to take. 

Review the Brand and Product Label

Just as we tested out products factoring in the brand and product, we encourage you to do the same. Key callouts and takeaways include:

  • Look for the DHA and EPA on the back product label. This is because most fish oils only list the TOTAL omega-3s or fish oil (like 2,000 mg of fish oil) on the front. The number appears enticing, but it often does not represent the EPA and DHA the supplement contains.
  • Review the sourcing of the oil, including if the fish is wild-caught and in the absorbable triglyceride form.
  • Evaluate whether or not the product has been third-party tested and certified.
  • Inspect the brand as a whole, looking specifically for a positive customer track record and accessible customer support resources.

Test and Assess

It’s not so uncommon to take a supplement and assume it’s doing its job. However, we encourage you to track your supplement journey just as you would track your workouts and fitness progress and adjust accordingly. 

While and after taking the fish oil consistently, track any noticeable effects. Evaluating can be as subjective as “I feel like my mind is sharper!” and as concrete as reducing your blood triglycerides.

After tracking your progress, assess whether or not the fish oil has been worth your while. If not, the beauty is that many other options are on the market that might be worth hooking onto!

FAQs

Which fish oil do cardiologists recommend?

Board-certified cardiologist Dr. Todd Hurst tells WebMD whether or not you should take fish oil depends on who you ask. However, he advises his patients a high dose of omega-3 can be effective in lowering high triglycerides while the benefits of a lower dose are likely small. Like our testers at GGR, he also encourages finding a high-quality supplement manufactured by a reputable company.

Like most nutrition experts, Dr. Hurst encourages a food-first approach to not only obtain omega-3 fatty acids, but protein, vitamin D, and other nutrients sourced from fish that fish oil lacks. According to the AHA, we should be aiming for two servings of fatty fish per week. 

Even despite the general tug of war regarding the risks and benefits of fish and fish oil—such as fish offering protein and other trace minerals while fish oil being more convenient to consume without great mercury risk—we always fall back on “supplements are meant to supplement a balanced diet and not replace it.”

Which fish’s fish oil is the best?

Research4 suggests the most abundantly produced and available fish oils globally are from anchovies, menhaden, and herring. The most commonly studied is anchovy oil, although all are characterized by higher concentrations of EPA than DHA.

Is there a difference between omega-3 and fish oil?

The biggest difference between omega-3s and fish oil is that all fish oils contain omega-3s whereas not all omega-3s are sourced from fish. Think of omega-3s as the umbrella that could also encompass algae and flax oils in addition to fish oil. Regardless, both omega-3s and fish oil are great sources of EPA and DHA.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

References

  1. Neubronner J, Schuchardt JP, Kressel G, Merkel M, von Schacky C, Hahn A. Enhanced increase of omega-3 index in response to long-term n-3 fatty acid supplementation from triacylglycerides versus ethyl esters. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Feb;65(2):247-54. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.239. Epub 2010 Nov 10. PMID: 21063431.
  2. Bibus DM. Long-chain omega-3 from low-trophic-level fish provides value to farmed seafood. Lipid Technol. 2015 Mar;27(3):55-58. doi: 10.1002/lite.201500006. PMID: 26097289; PMCID: PMC4467565.
  3. Carvajal AK, Mozuraityte R, Standal IB, et al. Antioxidants in Fish Oil Production for Improved Quality. J Am Oil Chem Soc. 2014; 91:1611-1621. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11746-014-2508-0
  4. Ghasemi Fard S, Wang F, Sinclair AJ, Elliott G, Turchini GM. How does high DHA fish oil affect health? A systematic review of evidence. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(11):1684-1727. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2018.1425978. PMID: 29494205.
  5. Harwood JL. Algae: Critical Sources of Very Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids. Biomolecules. 2019 Nov 6;9(11):708. doi: 10.3390/biom9110708. PMID: 31698772; PMCID: PMC6920940.
  6. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; 2006–. Marine Oils. 2023 Sep 19. PMID: 30000958.
  7. Rundblad A, Holven KB, Bruheim I, Myhrstad MC, Ulven SM. Effects of krill oil and lean and fatty fish on cardiovascular risk markers: a randomised controlled trial. J Nutr Sci. 2018;7:e3. Published 2018 Jan 17. doi:10.1017/jns.2017.64
  8. Davinelli S, Nielsen ME, Scapagnini G. Astaxanthin in Skin Health, Repair, and Disease: A Comprehensive Review. Nutrients. 2018;10(4):522. Published 2018 Apr 22. doi:10.3390/nu10040522
  9. Yang ZH, Amar M, Sampson M, et al. Comparison of Omega-3 Eicosapentaenoic Acid Versus Docosahexaenoic Acid-Rich Fish Oil Supplementation on Plasma Lipids and Lipoproteins in Normolipidemic Adults. Nutrients. 2020;12(3):749. doi:10.3390/nu12030749
  10. Siscovick DS, Barringer TA, Fretts AM, Wu JH, Lichtenstein AH, Costello RB, Kris-Etherton PM, Jacobson TA, Engler MB, Alger HM, Appel LJ, Mozaffarian D; American Heart Association Nutrition Committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; and Council on Clinical Cardiology. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (Fish Oil) Supplementation and the Prevention of Clinical Cardiovascular Disease: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2017 Apr 11;135(15):e867-e884. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000482. Epub 2017 Mar 13. PMID: 28289069; PMCID: PMC6903779.
  11. Yang ZH, Amar M, Sampson M, et al. Comparison of Omega-3 Eicosapentaenoic Acid Versus Docosahexaenoic Acid-Rich Fish Oil Supplementation on Plasma Lipids and Lipoproteins in Normolipidemic Adults. Nutrients. 2020;12(3):749. doi:10.3390/nu12030749
  12. Campbell F, Dickinson HO, Critchley JA, Ford GA, Bradburn M. A systematic review of fish-oil supplements for the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2013;20(1):107-120. doi:10.1177/2047487312437056
  13. DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH. The Importance of Marine Omega-3s for Brain Development and the Prevention and Treatment of Behavior, Mood, and Other Brain Disorders. Nutrients. 2020;12(8):2333. doi:10.3390/nu12082333
  14. Jouris KB, McDaniel JL, Weiss EP. The Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on the Inflammatory Response to eccentric strength exercise. J Sports Sci Med. 2011;10(3):432-438. 
  15. Corder KE, Newsham KR, McDaniel JL, Ezekiel UR, Weiss EP. Effects of Short-Term Docosahexaenoic Acid Supplementation on Markers of Inflammation after Eccentric Strength Exercise in Women. J Sports Sci Med. 2016;15(1):176-183. 
  16. AlAmmar WA, Albeesh FH, Ibrahim LM, Algindan YY, Yamani LZ, Khattab RY. Effect of omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil supplementation on multiple sclerosis: a systematic review. Nutr Neurosci. 2021;24(7):569-579. doi:10.1080/1028415X.2019.1659560

Further reading

General Purpose Barbell Guide Cover Image
General Purpose Barbell Guide

The general purpose barbell is the barbell for anybody at anytime. It can be used for most movements and do a good job at all of them. These are our picks. Read more

Home Gym vs. Gym Membership: Why Home Gyms are Better Cover Image
Home Gym vs. Gym Membership: Why Home Gyms are Better

Do you want to get stronger, start a podcast, and become a stand-up comedian like Joe Rogan? Then you’ve gotta keep reading…Okay, maybe you won’t immediately be granted Hercules strength and a funny bone… But Joe Rogan’s supplement stack isn’t complete without fish oil and you might just catch some health benefits. However, fish oil products are similar to Joe’s epic home gym—plentiful with lots of options.In a sea full of choices,  » Read more about: Best Fish Oil Supplement (2023): Top Picks In A Sea Full Of Options  » Read more

Triathlon Training Tips: Everything You Should Know Before Race Day Cover Image
Triathlon Training Tips: Everything You Should Know Before Race Day

Use our guide to triathlon training to prepare for your first multisport race or level up to a longer distance. Read more

Sole SB900 Review (2023): Where Durability and Simplicity Meet Cover Image
Sole SB900 Review (2023): Where Durability and Simplicity Meet

In this Sole SB900 review, we’ll go over the details of this solidly built cycling bike to help you decide if it’s right for your home gym. Read more