The best fish oil
Fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to your heart, brain, and blood pressure. However, most of us don't eat enough fish to reach optimal levels of the EPA and DHA omega-3s, which is why fish oil supplements are booming in popularity and often recommended by health experts.
Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous manufacturers of fish oils, and you want to be sure to pick a product that's not rancid or contaminated. This buying guide will explain how to pick a fish oil that's both safe and effective. Our top choice is Arazo Nutrition's triple-strength omega-3 supplement sourced from wild-caught fish.
Considerations when choosing fish oils
Purity: Because our seas are polluted, fish often contain harmful levels of contaminants like mercury. Consuming too much fish or fish oil that contains these contaminants can do harm to you body, so it's important to choose a fish oil supplement that is purified of contaminants.
Independent testing: One way to ensure purity is to select a product that has been tested for purity and potency by an independent lab. Look for seals of approval on the product's label by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) or by the National Science Foundation (NSF). If a product has neither certification, you can request a certificate of analysis (COA) from the manufacturer. This will reveal any contaminants found by an independent lab in the supplements.
Freshness: Fish oil is touted for its anti-inflammatory properties; however, if the oil has gone rancid it'll have the opposite effect. Fish oil that smells like fish gone bad is one indication of rancidness. Also, store your fish oil in a dry, cool place or the refrigerator to avoid it turning.
Dosage: When it comes to dosage, pay attention to the amount of omega-3s per serving rather than the milligram amount of fish oil. Most nutrition experts recommend at least 500 milligrams total of omega-3s per day, which are often listed in different ratios of DHA and EPA. Be aware that dosage may not refer to the amount in a single fish oil softgel but the daily serving of two or three softgels.
Features of fish oil
Sustainability: To avoid harmful fishing practices and to opt for more environmentally friendly fish oil, select a product that has been verified by the Marine Stewardship Council.
Flavor: To avoid fishy burps, it may help to select a "flavored" lemon fish oil supplement. Although, this won't affect the taste when you swallow the softgel, if you do happen to burp, you may get a whiff of lemon instead of fish.
Wild-caught: Many nutrition experts consider wild-caught fish to be healthier than farm-sourced fish, and the same goes for fish oil supplements. However, wild-caught fish oils can carry a higher price tag.
Fish oil prices
When looking at fish oil prices, it's often helpful to look at price per serving rather than the price of the overall bottle. Fish oils range in price from 20 to 50 cents per serving.
Q. Do fish oils only come in softgel form?
A. No, if you have a hard time swallowing pills, you can purchase a liquid fish oil. In this form, we highly recommend a flavored product to mask the fishy taste.
Q. Is fish oil safe to ingest while pregnant?
A. Yes, as long as you select a product purified of contaminants. In fact, it's good for neural fetal development and may also protect the baby against other health issues. This is why you see prenatal vitamins containing DHA and EPA omega-3s.
Fish oils we recommend
Best of the best: Arazo Nutrition Omega-3 Fish Oil Triple Strength
Our take: A high-quality fish oil containing a whopping 2,250 milligrams of omega-3s.
What we like: Each serving contains 1,200 milligrams of EPA and 900 milligrams of DHA. Sourced from wild-caught fish. Lemon flavor.
What we dislike: Dosage is three softgels a day, which makes for costly supplementation.
Best bang for your buck: Kirkland Signature Fish Oil
Our take: A long-lasting supply of fish oil at an unbeatable price.
What we like: Each bottle contains 400 softgels. Each softgel contains 300 milligrams of omega-3s derived from wild-caught fish.
What we dislike: May cause fishy aftertaste.
Our take: High-quality fish oil at a decent price.
What we like: Potent dosage at 2,000 milligrams. Independent-lab tested and distilled for purity. Coating prevents softgels from sticking together as well as fish burps.
What we dislike: Nothing.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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