Have you noticed yourself becoming more aware of your health needs?
Have you ever wondered about the benefits of fish oil?
What is it? What does it do? Do I need it?
These common questions come up often around on the most highly consumed dietary supplements:
Omega-3 fish oil.
This article will highlight the 5 of the top omega 3 fish oil supplements to help you become a better informed consumer when deciding if and which Omega-3 fish oil is right for you.
our top 5 picks
What is fish oil?
Fish oil, packed with fatty acids, one being omega-3, come from oily fish.
If you are not eating 1-2 servings of fish on a weekly basis, supplementing your diet with fish oils can help fulfill your bodies need for omega-3 fatty acid intake.
Fish oil is derived from the fat, or oil, from the tissue of fish.
Typically the fish used to make up the oils in common fish oil tablets are the more oily fish such as tuna, mackerel, cod, anchovies, and herring.
Health benefits of fish oil
Fish oil, being a good source for your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, offer important health benefits.
The World Health Organization recommends a weekly intake of 1-2 portions of fish.
The intake of the proper amount of fish, and omega-3 in turn, aid in helping to protect against a myriad of preventable diseases and ailments.
Be it due to cost, dietary restrictions, or just the average Western diet, if you are not getting the recommended 1-2 portions of fish per week, every week, fish oil supplements are available to ensure you get your needed omega-3’s.
Fish oils are made up of about 30% Omega-3’s with the other 70% being other types of fats.
In addition to Omega-3, unprocessed fish oil provides vitamin A and D.
While Omega-3’s can be found in plant based sources, when derived from fish, the type and quantity of Omega-3’s are greater.
Fish oils contain EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), both of these items should be taken into consideration when consuming fish oils.
So, what are these health benefits?
Often the most discussed benefit from getting a proper amount of fish oil/Omega-3’s is heart health.
According to the World Health Organization, heart disease is a global leader in causes of death.
Heart disease can arise through a number of risk factor; factors that may be reduced or mitigated through consumption of fish and/or fish oil supplements according to studies.
According to the National Institute of Health, the benefits of fish oil in relation to heart health include the following:
Plaque: plaque building up in arteries can harden, leading to health risks and fatalities.
Fish oil may aid in preventing these plaques.
Triglycerides: fish oil may help in lowering triglycerides from 15-30%
Cholesterol levels: while fish oil does not lower your LDL (the bad cholesterol) it can increase your good cholesterol, your HDL levels.
Arrhythmias: an arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm that may lead to heart attacks.
Fish oils may help reduce these cases of fatalities. In fact people who eat seafood one to four times a week are less likely to die from heart disease (1).
Blood Pressure: blood pressure is essentially a numeric reading of how hard your heart is working to move your blood throughout your body.
For those with high blood pressure, fish oil can aid in reducing that pressure.
More benefits of Fish Oil
Another large area of benefits coming from fish oil are in the arena of mental health.
Omega-3 fatty acids play important roles in brain function, normal growth and development, and inflammation.
Deficiencies have been linked to many health problems, including cardiovascular disease, some cancers, mood disorders, arthritis, and more (2).
The human brain is composed mainly of fat, roughly 60%, and much of that of that is coming from Omega-3 fatty acids.
Do to the high levels of Omega-3, some studies have shown that the absence of Omega-3 levels can contribute to mental illnesses and disorders and that fish oil supplementation can assist in deterring the onset and/or deterioration of symptoms of certain psychotic disorders.
If one is going after a more aesthetic reasons for increased Omega-3 supplements will be happy to learn that fish oils may decrease weight and inches around your waist.
Obesity, a common and ever growing issue in US health, is defined by one having a body mass index of more than 30.
Taking fish oil, or consuming more oily fish, can lower obesity by aiding in improving one’s body fat to muscle composition which in turn can lower your risk of other diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Other advantages that may be seen through proper intake of Omega-3’s include eye and vision health, reduction in inflammation, aid in skin health, pre and post natal health, bone health, and the slowing of mental decline. You can see the benefits of fish oil for men here.
Downsides of Fish Oil Supplements
A few of the most common disadvantages include the belching, if you are vegan, and the danger of environmental pollutants.
The bleaching, the occasional non-so-pleasant experience felt when taking any dense pill.
While not a big deal to some, for others this aspect is seen as less than a neutral fact.
Next, the issues of taking a fish oil pill if you are a vegan.
First and foremost is the issue of the product being derived from an unconsenting living being, the second issue for vegans is the presence of gelatin in many pills.
And finally, the pollutants found in fish and are therefore present to some degree in the process of forming and consuming fish oils.
Arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium found in water systems have been known to accumulate in fish.
Even with industrial strength methods to process the product, these elements may still be present.
Top 5 Omega 3 Supplements Reviewed
Below you'll find our top 5 fish oil supplements.
You'll see the pro's and con's of each product helping you narrow down your search.
Shall we begin?
Offering 3,000 mg fish oil supplements with 1,200 mg of EPA and 900 mg of DHA, BioSchwartz is of the highest concentration available for Omega-3 fish oil supplements.
Offering such a concentration is great with its other noted marks of being burpless and having no fishy aftertaste (thanks to the absorption process) and non-GMO pharmaceutical grade pills.
The supercritical extraction method used (proprietary method) aids in eliminating oxidation, the feared fishy aftertaste, and the belching that may occur with other fish oil products.
The gelatine in the softgel pills are derived from a bovine source.
The fish used in this product are sustainably caught from the waters of Iceland.
The nordic fish oil derived from these fish are tested with each batch and found to have zero contaminants.
BioSchwartz Omega-3 fish oil is tested by third-party testers as well as being manufactured in an FDA-approved facility to ensure quality and purity.
Dr. Tobias’ Omega-3 fish oil offers a triple strength, burpless, non-gmo, NSF-certified product to its consumers.
With each pill containing 2,000 mg of fish oil from wild fish and 1,400 mg of that being Omega-3 fatty acids per serving, this product offers 3-4 times as much Omega-3 intake compared to similar brand names.
With Dr. Tobias’ product, consumers are sure to meet the recommended 600 mg of DHA per day in just a single serving.
Dr. Tobias offers a system of delivery for improved absorption.
This effectively means that the fishy aftertaste some other pills have as well as the burping are less likely due to faster absorption of the product into the body.
This is due to this products’ enteric coating. Using molecular distillation, Dr. Tobias’ fish oil is purified from heavy metals and other toxins that may be present in fish oils.
This product uses bovine gelatin, which is the same type used in Jello and other food-grade gelatins safe for those with pork allergies.
Viva Naturals Omega-3 fish oil supplements come in a high concentrated form with 2,200 mg of fish oil per serving, along with 1,400 mg of EPA and 480 mg of DHA.
Viva Naturals use the methodology of supercritical extraction which provides triple the amount of fish oil compared to other competitors.
This product provides its Omega-3’s in triglyceride form.
As opposed to ethyl ester fish oil, which are harder to absorb, those used with trigliceride formulas help aid in providing you absorb the most Omega-3’s as well as aiding in less of the belching and fish taste that can occur through poor absorption.
The fish used with this product are caught in the wild in Peru under sustainable fishing methods, never farm-raised.
By using smaller fish such as sardines, anchovies and mackerel, which are known to have few toxins in them than bigger game such as salmon due to their placements on the food chain.
The Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega SoftGels, as opposed to many other fish oils, are coated and offered as a softgel for easy swallowing.
The task of taking such a pill is also eased by the lemon flavor offered.
Nordic Naturals offer a concentration of Omega-3’s and other ingredients in fish oils such as EPA.
The amount of Omega-3’s per servicing is 1,280 mg per serving (which exceeds the daily recommended dosage suggested by the American Heart Association).
Each serving also provides its amounts of EPA and DHA in triglyceride molecular form for optimal and easy absorption.
This methodology of absorption is the easiest for the human body to absorb, which aids in the fishy taste and belching that may occur with improper absorption.
The fish used in Nordic Naturals is caught in the wild and is sustainably sourced.
This product also offers its product as dairy and gluten free.
Precision Naturals’ Omega-3 fish oil consists of 60% Omega-3 fatty acids (along with gelatin, water, glycerol, and a natural citrus flavor).
This product offers quality in both its lower levels of pollutants as well as a heightened concentration of EPA and DHA (as opposed to consumption of actual fish), which, have been shown to, in too low of doses, up the risk for many cognitive decline causes.
Also beneficial to the brain is that high amount of Omega-3’s and the link between the functionality of the brain and consumption of Omega-3’s with slowing down brain atrophy in older populations.
Omega-3’s are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and Precision Natural’s high levels of Omega-3’s act as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Sourcing of the materials going into this product are as such: Precision Naturals are sourced specifically from anchovies.
The gelatin found in this product is sourced from bovine (as opposed to porcine).
Based on the criteria on what to look for when shopping around for an Omega-3 fish oil, out of the options presented here, swimming to the top of the chart is Viva Naturals Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement.
As we have seen, most fish oils are so similar in their claims that it can be really tough to truly know which is best for you to consume.
Viva Naturals won due to its care of using better quality and less toxic fish in the beginning of their production.
While toxin removal is done well by many brands, Viva Naturals aids in this work by eliminating the use of some fish that may contribute more to the need to eliminate in the first place.