Better Health Review
Supplement Collage: The TOP Products on the Market Today

The TOP Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements on the Market Today

After a comprehensive evaluation of top Omega-3 fish oil supplements available to consumers today, we offer the following recommendations to help you choose the best daily Omega-3 fish oil supplement.

01
Norwegian Gold
Super Critical Omega™
(60 caps)

Norwegian Gold Ultimate Fish Oils | Super Critical Omega
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Total Omega Concentration: wholewholewholewholewhole
Purification Standards: wholewholewholewholewhole
Overall Convenience: wholewholewholewholewhole
Additional Support: wholewholewholewholewhole
Fish Gelatin Capsules: wholewholewholewholewhole
Cost: wholewholewholewholewhole

OVERALL SCORE: 5.0
wholewholewholewholewhole

Part of ReNew Life’s Norwegian Gold line of ultra-concentrated Omega-3 fish oils, Super Critical Omega is our top choice. It’s the whole package, everything we want in a pure, effective and guaranteed safe daily Omega-3 fish oil supplement.‡ For starters, the convenient one-a-day dose packs a whopping 1,025 total Omegas per single capsule—higher than any other fish oil we reviewed. (See A Word about Dosing, at right). The prescription-strength, super-concentrated formula (over 95% total Omegas) is particularly good for older adults and those with critical needs such as heart health, coronary disease, and joint pain and inflammation, but also provides total-body proactive support for those seeking an effective daily fish oil supplement.

Super Critical Omega also includes 1,000 IU of Vitamin D₃ for added skin and bone support.‡ Natural orange flavor.

Why We Love Norwegian Gold

As fish oil supplements go, the Norwegian Gold line from ReNew Life stands out when it comes to purity, potency and variety. Six unique formulas feature their exclusive Ultragest™ Technology—combining enteric-coated gel caps proven to provide 3X more Omega-3 absorption and an exclusive multi-step refinement process to ensure a highly concentrated, ultra-purified Omega-3 product with zero trans fats.

All Norwegian Gold oils have earned a 5-star rating by the International Fish Oil Standards program (IFOS), guaranteeing that they “exceed or meet all U.S. and international standards for purity, potency and freshness” and are free of harmful contaminants such as PCBs, pesticides and mercury.

Bonus: Test results for each batch number of Norwegian Gold fish oils may be viewed on the IFOS website. Added lipase (a natural fat-splitting enzyme) ensures more complete oil digestion, and natural fish gelatin capsules are great for fish-eating vegetarians and others who wish to avoid pork- or beef-derived gelatin products. Norwegian Gold also used dark-blue glass bottles to protect the oils from heat, light and moisture.

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02
Minami Nutrition PluShinzO-3™ (30 caps)

PluShinzO-3
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Total Omega Concentration: wholewholewhole
Purification Standards: wholewholewholewhole
Overall Convenience: wholewholewholewholewhole
Additional Support: wholewholewholewholewhole
Fish Gelatin Capsules: wholewholewholewholewhole
Cost: wholewholewholewholewhole

OVERALL SCORE: 4.5
wholewholewholewholehalf

An effective and convenient daily Omega-3 fish oil supplement, PluShinzO-3 contains a combined total of 635mg Omega-3 EPA and 195mg Omega-3 DHA (over 90% total Omega concentration) to support heart health and increase stamina.‡ Its unique “Anti-aging Complex” includes 30mg Coenzyme Q10 and 75mg tocotrienols from Vitamin E to promote cell and tissue health, as well as natural antioxidant compounds, garlic and folic acid to promote healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels and support overall health.‡

The essential fatty acids in PluShinzO-3 are sourced from smaller species of deep-sea fish and purified using a patented, environmentally friendly CO₂ distillation process. According to the company literature, “All Minami Nutrition products meet or exceed U.S. standards for contaminants such as mercury, lead, cadmium, PCBs, pesticides and dioxins.” Natural orange flavor. Natural fish gelatin capsules.

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03
Nordic Naturals Omega-3D™ (60 or 120 caps)

Omega-3D
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Total Omega Concentration: wholewholewhole
Purification Standards: wholewholewholewholewhole
Overall Convenience: wholewholewholewholewhole
Additional Support: wholewholewholewholewhole
Fish Gelatin Capsules: wholewholewholewholewhole
Cost: wholewholewholewholewhole

OVERALL SCORE: 4.5
wholewholewholewholehalf

Omega-3D is an effective daily Omega-3 fish oil supplement and a great choice for first-time fish oil users looking to support cellular and cardiovascular health.‡ We liked this product in particular for its refreshing lemony flavor that cut back on the typical fishy aftertaste, as well as the added Vitamin D₃(1,000 IU) and Vitamin E (30 IU). Although each capsule contains only 690mg of Omega-3s (330mg EPA, 220mg DHA, and 140mg “Other Omega-3”), it also contains small amounts of beneficial Omega-5, Omega-6, Omega-7 and Omega-9 fats, all of which have been shown in studies to support overall health.‡

Nordic Naturals uses only purified deep-sea fish oil, and all of their products are third-party tested to ensure exceptional standards for freshness, purity and potency. According to their website, the quality level of their fish oil products “exceeds both the Norwegian Medicinal Standard and European Pharmacopoeia Standards” and they adhere to GMP facility standards. Natural fish gelatin capsules.

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04
Garden of Life® Oceans 3™
Beyond Omega-3™
(60 caps)

Oceans3
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Total Omega Concentration: wholewholewholewholewhole
Purification Standards: wholewholewholewholewhole
Overall Convenience: wholewholewhole
Additional Support: wholewholewholewhole
Fish Gelatin Capsules: n/a
Cost: wholewholewholewholewhole

OVERALL SCORE: 3.5
wholewholewholehalf

With 1,275mg Omega-3 in a 2-capsule serving, Oceans 3 is an excellent choice for powerful daily Omega-3 support. Oceans 3 also uses Garden of Life’s OmegaXanthin™ Blend—a combination of “ultra pure, high potency fish oil” and antioxidant-rich astaxanthin and fucoxanthin from sea algae to promote cardiovascular and immune system health, as well as to support healthy eyes, skin, bones and joints.‡ Oceans 3 PureMax® technology uses a multi-stage molecular distillation process to ensure a highly concentrated, pharmaceutical-grade Omega-3 product that meets or exceeds the Norwegian Medicinal Standards and European Pharmacopoeia Standards for peroxides, mercury, lead, dioxins and PCBs. Garden of Life also employs sustainable harvest practices to limit environmental impact.

Price Note: For those following the “Advanced Usage Serving Size” of 6 caps per day, the 60-cap bottle provides only a 10-day supply, which could get pricey depending upon your needs.

Capsule Note: Oceans 3 capsules are made from beef-derived gelatin. Capsules must also be refrigerated immediately after opening. Natural strawberry flavor.

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05
ReNew Life OilSMART™ Omega-3•6•9 (60-90-120-ct)

OilSMART
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Total Omega Concentration: wholewholewhole
Purification Standards: wholewholewholewholewhole
Overall Convenience: wholewholewholewhole
Additional Support: wholewholewholewholewhole
Fish Gelatin Capsules: n/a
Cost: wholewholewholewholewhole

OVERALL SCORE: 3.5
wholewholewholewhole

Sourced from both purified fish oil and cold-pressed flaxseed and borage oils, ReNew Life’s OilSMART Omega-3•6•9 stood out for a few reasons, one of which is its unique multi-Omega blend. OilSMART combines essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats with beneficial Omega-9 fats to provide broad-spectrum daily and proactive support.‡

Though it lacks the convenience of a one-a-day supplement, the 3-softgel serving provides 2,070mg total Omegas (850mg Omega-3, 730mg Omega-6, 490mg Omega-9). This beneficial combination promotes optimal heart, brain and immune function; provides added support for the eyes, skin, joints and mood; and helps to soothe and lubricate the bowel to ease elimination and promote regularity.‡

Capsule Note: OilSMART caps are made from pork-derived gelatin.

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06
Spectrum Essentials® Fish Oil (60, 100, 250 caps)

Spectrum
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Total Omega Concentration: wholewholewholewhole
Purification Standards: wholewholewholewhole
Overall Convenience: wholewholewholewhole
Additional Support: wholewholewholewholewhole
Fish Gelatin Capsules: n/a
Cost: wholewholewholewholewhole

OVERALL SCORE: 3.5
wholewholewholewhole

Spectrum® makes a wide variety of natural products, including cooking oils, condiments and fiber products, as well as their Spectrum Essentials line of nutritional oils. For those on a budget, you can’t go wrong with Spectrum Essentials Fish Oil—starting at only $9.99 for 60 soft-gel caps.

Although lower in total Omega-3s than some of the fish oil supplements we reviewed (with a combined 800mg Omega-3 per capsule), Spectrum is a solid choice for first-time users or those who do not have specific health concerns and simply want an effective daily fish oil supplement. The combined 360mg EPA and 240mg DHA (plus 200mg “Other Omega-3”) in Spectrum Fish Oil support healthy cardiovascular function and help to reduce inflammation, as well as helping to support memory and nervous system function.‡ Includes 200 IU vitamin A to support skin and eye health.‡ Sourced from non-threatened species of wild-caught fish. Third-party tested to ensure PCBs, dioxins, mercury, lead and other contaminants are below detectable levels.

Capsule Note: Spectrum Fish Oil capsules are made from beef-derived gelatin.

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07
Carlson® Elite Omega-3 Gems
(60, 90, 180, 300 caps)

Carlson
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Total Omega Concentration: wholewholewholewhole
Purification Standards: wholewholewhole
Overall Convenience: wholewholewholewhole
Additional Support: wholewhole
Fish Gelatin Capsules: n/a
Cost: wholewholewholewholewhole

OVERALL SCORE: 3.0
wholewholewhole

Carlson Nutritional Supplements has a strong reputation for producing high-quality, effective fish oil supplements to provide daily cardiovascular and overall support for those who do not eat an oily fish diet.‡ Elite Omega-3 Gems contain 800mg Omega-3s per capsule (400mg EPA, 300mg DHA, 100mg “Other Omega-3s”) and are also a good choice for first-time users or those who do not have specific health concerns. Although well-priced at just under $20 for 60 caps, the recommended dosage is between 1 and 5 capsules daily, so those seeking a higher amount of Omega-3s may be better off with a more highly concentrated one-a-day formula such as Norwegian Gold’s Super Critical Omega. According to their website, their fish oils are tested regularly for freshness, purity and potency by an “independent, FDA-registered laboratory” and are “free of detrimental levels of mercury, cadmium, lead, PCBs and 28 other contaminants”.

Capsule Note: Carlson fish oil capsules are made from beef-derived gelatin.

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08
Barlean’s Fresh Catch® Fish Oil Omega-3 EPA/DHA (100 or 250 caps)

Barlean’s
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Total Omega Concentration: wholewholewhole
Purification Standards: wholewholewholewholewhole
Overall Convenience: wholewholewhole
Additional Support: wholewholewhole
Fish Gelatin Capsules: n/a
Cost: wholewholewholewholewhole

OVERALL SCORE: 3.0
wholewholewhole

Another good choice for effective daily support, Barlean’s Fresh Catch Fish Oil had the best price—starting at only $10.99 for 100 capsules. However, recommended dosage is “2 to 6 softgels daily with a meal” so costs could add up depending upon individual need. Still, with 780mg total Omega-3s per single capsule Barlean’s is ideal for first-time users or those looking to maintain already good health.‡ Founded in 1972, Barlean’s has a long history of superior quality, environmental responsibility and sustainable harvest practices. According to the company’s website, their Fresh Catch Fish Oil is a “pristine source of ultra-purified pharmaceutical grade fish oil providing naturally occurring levels of EPA and DHA for your vibrant health and energy.” Third-party tested to verify freshness, purity and potency. Natural orange flavor. Opaque bottles and dark-colored capsules safeguard oils from light and environmental conditions.

Capsule Note: Barlean’s Fresh Catch Fish Oil capsules are made from animal-based gelatin.

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09
LOVAZA® Omega-3 Fatty Acids (60, 120 caps)

Lovaza
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Total Omega Concentration: wholewhole
Purification Standards: wholewholewholewholewhole
Overall Convenience: whole
Additional Support: whole
Fish Gelatin Capsules: n/a
Cost: whole

OVERALL SCORE: 1.5
wholehalf

With a combined total of 465mg of EPA and 375mg of DHA in each 1-gram capsule, LOVAZA is a good choice for daily Omega-3 supplementation. According to the product website LOVAZA is the “only FDA-approved medication made from Omega-3 fish oil” and is subject to an FDA-approved “5-step purification process” to ensure a highly purified end product. Company literature also states that LOVAZA has been clinically proven—along with diet—to reduce very high triglyceride levels. However, it should be noted that upon review our experts found nothing in LOVAZA that cannot be found in many high-quality fish oil supplements available without a prescription and at a much lower cost. Still, LOVAZA may appeal to consumers who are new to the dietary supplement market and may prefer a fish oil formula that comes with a prescription from their doctor.

Although effective, Lovaza received low scores in two major categories: convenience and cost. Many consumers do not want the inconvenience of having to visit their health care provider for a prescription medication when they can purchase a similar- or even superior-quality fish oil at their local health food store or mass-market provider for less money.

Capsule Note: LOVAZA capsules consist of both pork- and beef-derived gelatin.

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About Our Scoring System

Our analysts have developed a 6-point scoring system based on the most important traits of superior fish oil supplements. The following is a breakdown of how we determine the overall score:

1. Total Omega Concentration: 30%
2. Purification Standards: 30%
3. Overall Convenience: 20%
4. Additional Support: 10%
5. Fish Gelatin Capsules: 5%
6. Cost: 5%

Once the individual scores have been calculated, each product is assigned an overall 1-5 rating (5 the best). Example:

Total Omega Concentration: wholewholewholewhole
Purification Standards: wholewholewholewhole
Overall Convenience: wholewholewholewhole
Additional Support: wholewholewholewhole
Fish Gelatin Capsules: wholewholewholewhole
Cost: wholewholewholewhole
OVERALL SCORE: 4.0
wholewholewholewhole

Total-body Benefits of Fish Oil

Omega-3 fish oil supplements are among the most widely researched and highly recommended nutritional supplements. The essential Omega-3 fats found in fish oil, along with certain types of Omega-6 fats, provide the basis for healthy cellular development in the body and nourish active tissues (brain, heart, eyes, kidneys). They have been shown also to support healthy cholesterol levels, helping to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL) levels.

Heart Health

Research from both the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health has shown that fish oils assist with optimum cardiovascular function and may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Because of their ability to promote a healthy inflammatory response in the body, further studies have shown that Omega-3 fats may be effective in helping to relieve joint and muscle pain.

Brain Health

Fish-derived Omega-3s may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease in older adults by helping to increase focus and improve memory. As such, they have been used to help with symptoms of both Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Skin conditions such as eczema have also shown improvement with fish oil supplementation.

Immunity

Omega-9 fatty acids also play an important role in helping to achieve and maintain optimum health. Though not considered essential (as the body can produce limited amounts on its own) beneficial Omega-9 fats help reduce inflammation and have also been shown to support healthy immune function. Together, a combination of Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 fats also supports healthy bowel function by helping to soothe and lubricate the bowel and ease elimination.

Different Types of Omega-3s

There are three types of Omega-3 fatty acids. The two you may be familiar with most are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), found primarily in cold-water fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel. Other than fresh seaweed, plant foods rarely contain these beneficial fats.

In contrast, a third type of Omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is found primarily in dark-green leafy vegetables, flaxseed oil, and certain vegetable oils. However, ALA must first be converted by the body into EPA and DHA to obtain their benefits, but depending upon the individual, ALA conversion may be limited. For this reason, it is important to read labels and make sure your fish oil supplement contains higher amounts of EPA and DHA.

Both EPA and DHA are important to overall health. For example, EPA has been shown to benefit the heart, joints and immune system, while DHA provides added support for the brain, eyes and nervous system. For this reason, it is best to choose a daily fish oil supplement with both EPA and DHA.

Can’t I Just Eat Fish? Why Do I Need a Supplement?

Omega-3 fatty acids (and Omega-6 fats) are considered “essential” because the body cannot produce them on its own, so they must be obtained through diet. The problem, however, is that the majority of Americans do not consume enough of these foods to truly benefit from the Omega-3 content, so supplementation is recommended to make up for what we lack from our daily diet.

In addition, significant evidence has contributed to a growing concern about eating fish because of high levels of mercury. Because many larger species of fish may contain mercury and other pollutants as the result of prolonged environmental exposure, the American Heart Association and others caution that people should limit their consumption of certain types of fish.

The main advantage of fish oil supplementation has to do with the purification techniques used during the manufacturing process to ensure the absence of mercury, PCBs and other contaminants. Another advantage of fish oil supplementation is that it is more economical. In fact, it is less expensive to consume a daily capsule of fish oil than it is to eat wild-caught salmon every day.

A Word about Dosing

For daily total-body support, the majority of experts recommend consuming between 1,000mg and 2,000mg per day, with higher totals recommend for those with known health problems such as coronary artery disease or elevated triglyceride levels. It is important to note also that dosing should be based on the amount of EPA and DHA Omega-3 EFAs in a product, not on the total amount of fish oil.

What is Lipase? Why is it so Important?

How do you know if you’re getting the most out of your daily oil supplement? One good way to tell is by making sure it contains Lipase. This powerful fat-splitting enzyme is one of the most important ingredients to look for when choosing the right oil supplement, because it helps the body absorb the healthy oils so you can enjoy all of the benefits they provide.

Essentially, soon after you swallow an oil capsule it enters the upper portion of your small intestine (also known as the duodenum). There, bile salts secreted by the gall bladder work to break up the surface tension of the healthy fats and split them into thousands of smaller droplets of oil, similar to the way dish-washing liquid works on a pan filled with greasy water. That’s where Lipase comes in. Lipase helps to break those smaller droplets of oil into a form that is more easily digested by the body, making this important enzyme a key player in the overall process of oil digestion.

Plus, Lipase helps prevent the fishy aftertaste and unpleasant repeat that many people experience when supplementing with fish oil.

What Benefits Does a Daily Fish Oil Supplement Provide?

  • Nourish active tissues, including brain, heart, eyes and kidneys‡
  • Support healthy immune system and nervous system function‡
  • Support circulatory health and healthy metabolism‡
  • Soothe and lubricate the bowel to ease elimination‡
  • Nourish and support healthy colon cells‡
  • upport brain health and development‡
  • Promote a healthy hormone balance‡
  • Promote a positive mood‡

What Makes a Superior
Fish Oil Supplement?

  • Total Omega Concentration
  • High Levels of EPA and DHA
  • Superior Purification Standards
  • Overall Convenience/Cost
  • Additional Support
  • Fish Gelatin Capsules
  • Added Lipase
 

Fish Oil Supplements and Essential Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish oil supplements have Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), a type of polyunsaturated fats referred to as “good fats”. They include Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats, found primarily in cold-water fish, flax seeds and certain vegetable oils, and they are considered essential because the human body cannot produce them on its own. In addition to supporting the structure and function of every cell in the body, EFAs help lubricate the colon and promote gastrointestinal health. Although not considered essential (as the body can produce limited amounts on its own) Omega-9 fats are also important, as they have been shown to support the immune system and promote a healthy inflammatory response in the body. While each is important to our overall health, the typical American diet is most deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids. The World Health Organization recommends at least 2 grams of Omega-3 oils per day.

‡ This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.