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There are numerous health benefits from including omega 3 fatty acids in your diet on a daily basis. Not only does this nutrient help your body, it has also been proven to assist with brain function.
While the human body can convert raw materials or other fats into most of the kinds of fats that it needs, this is not true for omega 3 fatty acids. The body can’t make these essential fats from scratch, so it has to get them from food. However, it’s not easy to include omega 3 fats in your diet, as it is only available in a small number of food options. As such, many people forget to include this nutrient in their eating habits. That’s why it’s important to consider taking an omega 3 supplement.
That said, choosing the best omega 3 supplement can be a daunting task. There are hundreds of different fish oil brands available, and not all of these products accurately state the amounts of important ingredients.
In this article, we’ll provide a quick overview of omega 3 fatty acids, their benefits, and what to look for when choosing your omega 3 supplement. Finally, we’ll give you a review of our top nine picks.
Don't have time to read the entire review?
If you're a busy person who doesn't have time to read this entire review, we've simplified everything. Here is a table that provides a quick rating of the omega 3 supplements.
|Best Overall Choice: Viva Naturals Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Runner-Up Option: Life & Food Omega 3 Supreme Strength||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Best Value for the Money: Nordic Naturals - Ultimate Omega||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Most Budget-Friendly: Nature's Bounty Fish Oil||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Best Multivitamin with Omega 3 for Women: Ritual’s Essential Multivitamin for Women||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Best Omega 3 for Vegans: Zenwise Health Vegan Omega 3 Supplement||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Best Omega 3 for Children: Nordic Naturals Children’s DHA Gummies||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Most Eco-Friendly, Sustainable Omega 3 Supplement: Sports Research Omega-3 Wild Alaskan Fish Oil||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Best Fish Oil for Pescetarians: Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil Peak Epa||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
What Are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?
Omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oils, are a critical part of cell membranes that affect the function of the cell receptors. They start the production of hormones that regulate blood clotting, improve blood vessel function, regulate genetic functioning, and reduce inflammation.
They have also been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke, can help minimize the effects of lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and can help protect you from cancer and other health conditions.
Omega 3 fats make up a family of polyunsaturated fats. The three main omega 3s are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). While EPA and DHA come mainly from animals and algae, ALA can be found in plants, vegetable oils, leafy greens, and nuts.
As many as 90% of adult Americans have suboptimal levels of EPA and DHA, which suggests a need for supplementation, especially for people with (or who are prone to developing) heart disease. Because of the widespread deficiency in this important nutrient, food companies around the world have started creating omega 3 fatty acid fortified products such as bread, mayonnaise, yogurt, popcorn, milk, orange juice, children's pasta, eggs, and infant formula.
8 Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
1. Supports healthy blood flow to the brain.
Omega 3s help prevent blood platelets from clumping together, which keeps blood flowing freely to the brain. It also keeps you arteries smooth, which prevents plaque from building up and preventing blood from reaching the brain.
2. Are said to protect against breast cancer, heart diseases, Alzheimer's, asthma, and fatty liver.
Omega 3s have been tied to numerous heart-health benefits, including a reduction in triglycerides, a reduction in blood pressure, an increase in healthy cholesterol, and a reduction in inflammation—which also helps combat asthma, which is caused by inflammation in the lungs.
Omega 3s have also been linked to a decrease in mental decline due to aging and Alzheimer's disease because people who eat omega 3s have an increase of gray matter in their brains, which is the tissue that processes information and memories.
These essential fats have also shown promise in the fight against breast cancer, and they can reduce inflammation and liver fat in people who have been diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is the most common cause of chronic liver disease.
3. Omega 3s are vital for early development.
Developing infants need omega 3s for proper brain development. Supplementing with omega 3s has been linked to several benefits in children, including improved brain function, a reduced number of behavioral problems, improved communication and social skills, decreased risk of ADHD, and a decreased risk for developmental delays.
As a baby's brain rapidly develops in the womb, the mother sheds excess DHA stores in her body to support her child. If there is a deficiency, the child’s development could be inhibited. Because of these benefits, it is important for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers to supplement their diets with omega 3s.
4. Improves skin health.
If you have dry skin, omega3 (and especially EPA) can benefit your skin and hair. EPA regulates the oil production in your skin, and keeps your skin hydrated. Omega 3s can also protect your skin from damage. When your body is exposed to UV rays, free radicals are generated in your body, which can damage cells and lead to premature aging of the skin. Omega 3s are an antioxidant that protects your skin from these substances.
These fats not only protect your skin against sun damage, they can also help repair it. EPA helps prevent your body from releasing enzymes that destroy collagen, helping you avoid developing wrinkles. Preliminary research has also suggested that omega 3s could also help prevent skin cancer. Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, omega 3s can also relieve uncomfortable skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema.
5. Prevents visual problems.
DHA is especially important in the maintenance of proper eye health. There is a lot of DHA located in the retina, where it keeps the photoreceptor membrane healthy and ensures the best production of vision via light transmission.
An omega 3 deficiency has been associated with dry eyes and inferior eye structure development in children. It is also associated with higher rates of macular degeneration and damage to the retina.
6. Improves quality of sleep.
Studies have suggested that people who consume higher levels of dietary omega 3s have fewer instances of insomnia or interruptions in sleep. Because chronic inflammation can negatively impact sleep quality (due to its tendency to increase the number of stress hormones in the body), this may explain why omega 3s improve sleep. They help reduce inflammation and lower the stress hormones that are associated with a lack of sleep.
7. It improves bone strength and helps treat arthritis.
Getting enough omega 3 fatty acids in your diet is important for optimal bone health. Poor bone health is linked to chronic inflammation in the body. If you reduce inflammation in the body, you will benefit your bone health.
Omega 3 intake may also improve bone health by helping regulate your calcium balance and osteoblast activity. Because of its ability to fight inflammation, omega 3s can also help reduce the pain associated with arthritis.
8. Helps reduce inflammation.
As you have likely noticed, one of the principle benefits of supplementing your diet with additional omega 3 fats is that it has a profound anti-inflammatory effect. Inflammation is the basis of almost all chronic diseases, so this benefit is highly sought after.
Studies have shown that increasing your intake of omega 3 fatty acids can slow the progression of many chronic inflammatory disorders, including autoimmune and neurological disorders.
7 Things Look for When Buying Omega 3 Supplements
1. Type of Omega 3
You want to find a supplement that is as close to natural as possible. When looking at the type of omega 3s, you should specifically check for the EPA and DHA contents because these are the most critical types of omega 3s. You should also know that a supplement containing 1000 mg of fish oil per capsule won't do much for your health if the EPA and DHA contents are both very low.
2. Actual Amount of Omega 3
Similar to above, you want to know which fats are specifically included in this fish oil, and in what amounts. Don't be attracted to labels that advertise any amount of “fish oil.” You want to specifically look for the amount of EPA so you know that the supplement will benefit your health.
3. Form of Omega 3
There are four forms of omega 3 supplements to choose from, and knowing which is which can help you pick which one will offer you the best daily dosage. To make sure that the supplement you are interested in offers the best body absorption, you should see if it contains free fatty acids (FFA), rTG (triglycerides and reformed triglycerides), and phospholipids (PL) rather than ethyl esters (EE).
Supplements that are less processed and have fewer ethyl esters are superior because your body cannot easily absorb ethyl esters. You also want to check for “GOED standard of purity” marks because this indicates the supplement is safe and holds all of the ingredients that are listed on the label.
You’ll find that most fish oil supplements contain between 500 and 2,000 mg of omega 3s per dose. You should talk to your doctor to help you choose the right dosage for your specific needs, but your daily fish oil consumption should not exceed 3000 mg.
5. Purity and Authenticity
Did your supplement undergo certification from the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) Program? GOED? Eurofins Scientific? Labdoor? These third-party tests not only show that the product is safe, but also mean that they likely contain what they say on the label.
6. Expiration Date
Fish oil products typically have an average of two to three years catch-to-capsule time. Fish oil is highly prone to oxidation, so it is important to check your capsules every so often by smelling them.
Once they begin to smell strongly in any way, it is important to throw them away. In order to not accelerate the expiration of your supplement, store your fish oil properly. Some supplements need to be refrigerated, while others must be stored at room temperature away from any sunlight.
Is your supplement certified by the MSC? Environmental Defense Fund? In addition to the fish oil itself, it’s important to know that the fish that was used to create your supplement was harvested in a sustainable and ethical way. You also want to make sure that the species is not under any kind of ecological threat.
Contraindications: When NOT to Take an Omega 3 Supplement
Fish oil supplements should not be taken by everyone, because some people may experience adverse side effects. Because they are not suitable for some people, check with your doctor before taking an omega 3 supplement. In general, you should likely avoid these supplements if you:
Are allergic to any fish products or any fish oil components, such as EPA and DHA.
Don't take omega 3 supplements if you have an allergy to fish or nuts. While it is clear that you should avoid these if you are allergic to fish, rare incidences of skin rashes have been reported by people taking fish oil supplements who had other food allergies, such as to nuts.
Are on blood-thinning medications.
When it is taken in high doses, fish oil can thin your blood and prevent it from clotting. Persons who suffer from bleeding disorders, bruise easily, or take blood thinners should seek advice from their doctors before taking fish oil supplements.
Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding should not take fish oil supplements without talking to their doctors due to the possibility of ingesting mercury. According to the FDA, mercury can harm a developing child's nervous system. Also, fish oil could contain polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins, which can harm both a child and a mother's health.
Now that we have discussed what you want to look for in an omega 3 supplement and some things to be wary of, let's review the best products that are on the market today.
The 9 Best Omega 3 Supplements
1. Best Overall Choice: Viva Naturals Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement
This is the best high-concentration fish oil available. This organic supplement has the highest bioavailability and is easy for your body to absorb into your bloodstream to improve brain health.
This is achieved by using a supercritical extraction process to concentrate the omega 3s in the fish oil without using heat or chemicals, resulting in a purified fish oil that gives you three time more omega 3s in each serving than other leading supplements can provide. Each serving provides 2,200 mg of fish oil, 1,400 mg of EPA, and 480 mg of DHA.
The oils are delivered to your body in triglyceride form and have been clinically proven to be more bioavailable for your body, which provides value to this product because you get more out of every serving than from other products.
This product has a unique formulation that naturally supports improved health and wellness. The supplement is primarily made up of omega 3 fish extracts, but it also includes glycerin, purified water, and vitamin E. It is free from fillers and non-GMO.
2. Runner-Up Option: Life & Food Omega 3 Supreme Strength 1400 mg
This supplement has the best absorption of anything offered on the market. This omega 3 supplement is formulated to provide you with an optimal omega 3:6 ratio. The fish oil concentrate has 1050 mg of omega 3, which is made up of at least 664 mg of EPA and 336 mg of DHA. This supplement is pharmaceutical-grade, comprised of 75% omega 3s, which surpasses Labdoor quality testing and GOED standards.
These distilled capsules are made from wild Alaskan-caught pollock. They are cleaned, refined, and tested to ensure product quality. The capsules are easy to swallow and have an enteric coating for maximum absorption.
3. Best Value for the Money Nordic Naturals – Ultimate Omega
This is the best choice because it provides ultimate support with 1280 mg of omega 3s to improve the health of your heart, brain, and mood. Nordic Naturals uses a unique formulation for this supplement, as well as proprietary manufacturing and extraction procedures to ensure the high amount of EPA and DHA in their product.
The supplement also contains Vіtаmіn E аnd rosemary еxtrасt, because Nordic Naturals found through research conducted over a period of several years that vitamin E and rosemary extract are able to improve the lоng-tеrm frеѕhnеѕѕ of fish oils.
This supplement has not shown any negative side effects on the body, and is safe to use. You may be able to take this supplement even if you have a shellfish allergy because the oil is derived from sardines and anchovies.
4. Most Budget-Friendly: Nature's Bounty Fish Oil
Nature's Bounty Fish Oil is high quality fish oil, laboratory tested and quality guaranteed. Nature's Bounty gets their fish directly from Peru, where the government has high standards that protect their waterways and ensure sustainable fishing.
The Peruvian government also works closely with the Marine Research Institute to manage fish stocks, and fisheries must meet rigorous quality checks, so this fish oil is high in quality, and harvested in a sustainable and ecologically friendly way. Nature’s Bounty brings you this powerful Omega 3 supplement at a surprisingly affordable price, making it a great value for the money.
Nature's Bounty Fish Oil contains EPA and DHA, two powerful Omega-3 fatty acids. This supplement has no GMOs, no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, no artificial sweeteners, no preservatives, no sugar, no starch, no milk, no lactose, no gluten, no wheat, no yeast, no shellfish, and no sodium, so it's safe for people with dietary restrictions. The softgels are easy to swallow and have no fishy taste. Each tablet contains 1,200 mg of fish oil, with 360 mg total of Omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Best Multivitamin with Omega 3 for Women: Ritual’s Essential Multivitamin for Women
Ritual believes in multivitamins that are based on science and has set out to make the perfect vitamin. Their multivitamin formulas aren't full of vitamins that you already get in food but are focused on providing the essential nutrients most diets lack, with no unnecessary ingredients or fillers.
They are a company that values transparency and give you insight into all their global partners and supply chain, so you understand the impact of your vitamin choices. They take science and transparency so seriously that they invested in a university-led clinical trial, which proved that Ritual Essential for Women increased Vitamin D and Omega-3 DHA levels in 12 weeks, by more than 40%.
Ritual’s Essential Multivitamin for Women has 9 essential nutrients, filling in the gaps women really need. This vitamin has folate, Omega-3, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, iron, Vitamin K2, boron, Vitamin E, and magnesium. This multivitamin is certified vegan, with omega-3s and vitamin D from plant sources. It's also non-GMO, and gluten and allergy free, with no colorants or synthetic fillers.
The innovative Ritual capsule has a beadlet-in-oil design that separates oily and dry ingredients so you can get all your nutrients in a single capsule. This unique capsule delivers nutrients slowly, to be gentle on the stomach and encourage better bio-absorption. The pills are small, and have no shellac, fillers, or additives. Mint essence in each bottle gives the vitamins a fresh smell.
6. Best Omega 3 for Vegans: Zenwise Health Vegan Omega 3 Supplement
All too often we think of fish oil as the best source of Omega-3 fatty acids, and it can be hard to find vegan sources of Omega-3s. But marine algae is also an excellent source of Omega-3s, and not only is it vegan, but it gives all the benefits of Omega-3s without a fishy smell, taste, or aftertaste.
Fish oil may also be harmful to aquatic species, and contain mercury, so marine algae Omega-3s are a good choice even for non-vegans. Other plant-based sources of Omega-3s are high in ALA, but this supplement is high in EPA and DHA, for a great source of vegan Omega-3s.
The Zenwise Health Vegan Omega 3 Supplement derived from marine algae. It is sustainably sourced, grown in controlled conditions free of ocean toxins. It contains no impurities, PCBs, or other contaminants. Each softgel tablet contains 225mg of Omega-3s, with 75mg of EPA and 150mg of DHA.
7. Best Omega 3 for Children: Nordic Naturals Children’s DHA Gummies
Recent studies seem to indicate that people in all age groups, including children as young as 0 months old, can benefit from omega 3. However, medical experts encourage natural food sources of omega 3 for younger children. Omega 3 supplements are recommended for children 2 years old and above.
There are results from small research studies that seem to indicate that omega 3 supplementation has some benefits for children diagnosed with ADHD. Nevertheless, there aren’t any published results yet from large-scale studies to validate these findings. Considering the potentially adverse effects of taking any food supplement, it’s best to consult a pediatrician before administering omega 3 to your child.
Nordic Naturals is committed to providing safe and effective nutritional supplements for people of all ages. The formulation for their Children’s DHA Gummies is backed by research and created by nutritional experts. The gummies go through rigorous testing to ensure that the product is safe and effective for children.
Kids will love its tropical punch flavor. Also, since it’s in gummy form, it is chewable and easier to swallow than capsules and tablets. You will no longer have to struggle to convince your children to take their supplements.
These gummies are non-GMO, dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free. They do not contain artificial colors or flavors. For added convenience, the gummies are individually sealed in foil packs.
8. Most Eco-Friendly, Sustainable Omega 3 Supplement: Sports Research Omega-3 Wild Alaskan Fish Oil
This supplement is sourced from wild Alaskan pollock from the Bering Sea, and is comprised of 88% omega 3s per serving. They provide you with essential fatty acids that can help support and improve joint, skin, and cardiovascular health. This supplement is at the top of the market when it comes to oil freshness, with a maximum total oxidation of five.
The omega 3 concentrate on these supplements is the first to achieve certification as being sustainable and traceable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The supplement is encapsulated in pescatarian-friendly fish gelatin capsules.
9. Best Fish Oil for Pescetarians: Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil Peak Epa
This might be the right supplement for you if you are a pescatarian because they come in a tilapia gelatin soft gel. The soft gels are all-natural and concentrated to deliver four times the amount of omega 3s than other supplements.
This supplement is made using a unique patented distillation process that helps to keep the oil fresh to help reduce fishy burps, bad aftertaste, or fishy smell. All of the ingredients in this product are high-quality, non-GMO, free from gluten, grain, and dairy, and have no artificial flavors or colors. The supplement is tested by a third-party company and is also free from heavy metals such as mercury, PCBs, lead, cadmium, and arsenic.
Wiley’s Finest omega 3 supplements are made from sustainable, Alaskan wild-caught fish. The supplements are purified and packaged at a family-owned-and-operated facility in America, unlike other fish oil supplements, which are produced from anchovy oil caught in various countries and simply encapsulated in the US.
Like many other supplements, not all fish oil products are created equal. Consider your reason for wanting to take an omega 3 supplement and consult your doctor if you have any of the contraindications mentioned above.
That said, if you’re ready to choose one, consider Viva Naturals Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement. This product offers the best overall value and is beneficial for most people. This is also a good supplement to start if you have never taken an omega 3 supplement before.