There’s a lot of health advice out there, some qualified and some gimmicky. It can be hard to sort through what’s worth listening to and what you can let pass by without changing your routine. Some fitness experts will tell you running on a treadmill is one of the best forms of cardio you can find. Others will say it ruins your knees. Evidence suggests that short-term usage of melatonin supplements to get a good night’s sleep can have positive effects, however certain experts say it’ll actually disrupt your sleep cycle even further. Knowing which supplements to take is even trickier, which is why when it came to covering the best fish oil supplements you can purchase on the web, we decided to ask a certified nutritionist.
What Is Fish Oil?
One of your first questions may be: what is fish oil? And does it taste fishy?
Serena Poon is a Certified Celebrity Nutritionist, Chef and Reiki Master. She’s the founder of Just Add Water and Culinary Alchemy, and has been guiding the nutrition plans of Hollywood’s elite for close to 5 years. She walked us through what fish oil is, and how fish oil supplements are made.
She explained that “fish oil is fatty acids that have been extracted from fish…The fish go through a process in which the oil is extracted usually by a pressing process or through the use of solvents. After, the oil is refined to ready it for human consumption.”
What Health Benefits Do Fish Oil Supplements Have?
Taking fish oil supplements regularly can have a great impact on your physical health, including anti-inflammatory effects, a boost to your mood and brain, and an improvement on your energy levels.
“Fish and fish oil contain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These polyunsaturated fatty acids make up the membranes that surround your cells and also support energy and brain function,” said Poon. Emphasis added by the author.
She went on to say that “omega-3 fatty acids are also known to be mood boosters, have anti-inflammatory properties and have been shown to support protection against a number of conditions. Omega-3s definitely fall into the “healthy fats” category!”
Healthy fats are a part of a nutritious diet, and while Poon clarified that the best way to receive these nutritional benefits is to eat fish regularly, if you don’t have access to it or don’t enjoy the taste, fish oil supplements are a great way to make up the difference.
How Much Fish Oil Should You Take?
Poon recommended talking to your doctor about the addition of any supplement to your diet, including fish oil.
“Eating fish is the preferred way to garner the benefits from these polyunsaturated fatty acids, but if you aren’t able to eat enough fish, then you can seek out a high quality fish oil supplement. Always purchase supplements from a trusted source and make sure to work with your doctor to develop a supplementation plan that supports your unique body and needs,” said Poon.
She noted fish oil can be contraindicated by certain medications or conditions, which is why it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before adding a new supplement to your routine.
In terms of which brands you should aim for, Poon didn’t offer direct recommendations, so the brands below are our top picks based on the criteria she set out. She said “when looking for a fish oil supplement, [one should] look for a brand that operates with integrity, has third-party certifications and is transparent about their sourcing. With fish products, you want to choose an option that has a sustainable certification. For the best support, reach for a fish oil supplement that contains both DHA and EPA.”
1. Nature Made Fish Oil
Nature Made is one of the most trusted supplement brands according to other nutritionists we spoke to, so we decided to make it our top pick. Their fish oil comes from deep ocean water fish that are wild caught and not farm raised, a sustainable practice. They’re made from carefully-selected, high-quality ingredients and have been purified to remove mercury as well.
2. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Fish Oil Supplement
Nordic Naturals’ supplements are made with high-concentration fish oil in triglyceride molecular form, the same found naturally in fish, to increase absorption as much as possible. They’re made with a lemon flavor to mask any fish smell or taste, and the brand is certified sustainable and non-GMO.
3. Nature’s Bounty Fish Oil Omega-3 Supplement
Nature’s Bounty also makes a great fish oil supplement that’s mercury-free, non-GMO and made in a facility that’s been audited by the United States Pharmacopeia and STR (Specialized Technology Resources). They have numerous quality checks throughout their manufacturing process, and they have a Scientific Advisory Council that regularly evaluates the company’s practices, furthering their trustworthiness.
4. Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil
These Wild Alaskan Omega-3 Supplements from Wiley’s Finest are made in a mini size designed to be easy to swallow. The fish oil comes from wild-caught Alaskan Pollock and has an SQF Quality Shield, rendering it certified food safe. Their supplement is also made using a distillation process designed to reduce fishy burps and the unpleasant aftertaste you can get from other supplements.
5. Dr. Tobias Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement
The potency of this supplement from Dr. Tobias is higher than with other supplements, so be sure to talk to your doctor before adding this one to your routine. It contains 3x the Omega-3’s of other brands, with 2,000 mg. of fish oil in every dose. Each capsule contains an ideal ratio of 800 milligrams of EPA and 600 milligrams of DHA, and the enteric coating on each capsule is designed to help improve absorption.