Your Guide For Finding The Right Omega-3 Fish Oil | Smarter Reviews

Your Guide For Finding The Right Omega-3 Fish Oil

We'll show you what to look for and reveal the 3 biggest mistakes shoppers make when choosing a fish oil

If you visit any North American home, you'll most likely find a fish oil supplement in the pantry. Omega-3 essential fatty acids have become a household name, and everyone knows how critical they are for supporting the heart, brain, joints, skin, and more. 

Unfortunately, there are so many Omega-3 fish oils on the market that it's easy to assume a one-size-fits-all mentality and simply grab any brand off the grocery store shelf. Many of these products, however, won't provide the right nutrients, and in some cases, may hurt more than help. 

We created this guide to help you avoid choosing an ineffective and potentially harmful fish oil. We'll show you what to look for, what to avoid, and the top mistakes buyers make when purchasing their omega-3 supplements. 

Choosing the Best Omega-3 Supplement for yOU

The best omega-3 fish oil supplements are always processed and manufactured by reputable companies, using natural sources, and tested thoroughly for harmful or undesirable contaminants within the ingredients. 

Unfortunately, many brands don't live up to these standards, and shoppers don't realize they're buying a substandard product. With that in mind, we listed some common mistakes made when purchasing an omega-3 supplement.

What Not to do when buying a fish oil 

  •  Skip the Research
      •       Many shoppers believe that, since fish oils generally contain similar ingredients, it doesn't matter which brand they choose. This is not the case. Many supplements contain ineffective and potentially harmful additives, so it's critical to do your research before buying. 

  •  Rely on Amazon Reviews
  •       Millions of Americans look to Amazon reviews before purchasing their products, but most don’t realize that up to 60% have been paid for. Some companies compensate individuals for positive reviews, regardless of whether they've tried the product or not. Risking your health with reviews that are likely false is too dangerous a game to play when you’re choosing an ingestible supplement.

  •  Prioritize Price Over Quality
    •       We found that many lower-priced and generic fish oil supplements contain hydrogenated, or poor-quality oils, pesticide residues, mercurial particulates, and in some cases, toxic synthetic ingredients. Try to prioritize finding a fish oil with the qualities listed below, even if that means they cost a little more than your local grocery store's generic brand. 

Another way to avoid choosing the wrong fish oil is to read its ingredient label. Here's what to look for, and what to stay away from:

Try To Look For:

  • High amounts of EPA/DHA and at least 500 mg to 1000 mg of fish oil
  •  Variety of omega-3 sources, including high-quality supplementation
  •  Natural fish oil formulas that contain wholesome, potent ingredients

Try To Avoid:

  •  Mercury, PCBs, or other harmful, unwanted contaminants
  • Artificial colors, flavors, or additives
  •  Synthetic or unnatural ingredients

Fish oil is so popular that many of us already know some of the information above, so we've included some lesser-known tips for even the most omega-3-savvy:

3 Secrets For A Quality Fish Oil

Serving Size Matters

      • The daily recommended fish oil serving size is 500 mg to 1000 mg, but in many cases, taking 1000 mg to 2000 mg of daily fish oil can actually boost and intensify the healthful effects of EPA and DHA. We suggest finding a high-potency, high-concentration formula that packs a powerful punch.

Purity Is Power

      • Try to make sure that the ingredients in your fish oil is unaltered and free of environmental or other undesired toxic elements, so that you are getting the purest, most potent formula possible. Third-party analyses can certify that the supplement passes these tests with flying colors.

Maximum EPA & DHA

Many omega-3 fish oil supplements don't specify the exact levels of EPA and DHA that are contained in the fish oil, and that is a huge red flag. The standard for EPA/DHA levels in fish oil should total a minimum of 500 mg per serving. Always check the label to ensure that EPA/DHA levels are clearly listed.

Our Unique Ranking System

At Smarter Reviews, we employ a comprehensive evaluation system to analyze and measure the full value of products, by looking at the ingredients, safety, projected effectiveness, return policies, and overall customer satisfaction. This method is known as the Smarter Reviews Ranking System.

In addition to ranking products, we also collect research from the latest studies and clinical trials. Choosing the best product is easy with Smarter Reviews. We offer a clear-cut system that covers the most important criteria, and takes into account the experienced personal reviews of our valued Smarter Shoppers. We've taken the guesswork out of the process, so you can shop smart, and save on time and money.

The 5 Best Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements on the Market

Based on our own extensive research, combined with the metrics provided by our Smarter Reviews Ranking System, and consideration of numerous reviews by Smarter Shoppers just like you, we've compiled a list of what we've found to be the top five products in this category, on the market today.

Review

Omega | fish oil
advanced support

Total Ranking

245 votes

9.4/10

A

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 9.5/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 9.4/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

  • Value
  • 9.3/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Return Policy
  • 9.5/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.1/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 9.4/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Potent 2000 mg mega serving size of fish oil
  • High-quality EPA/DHA
  • 800 mg max strength EPA, 600 mg pure DHA
  • Completely natural formula with no fillers
  • Third-party tested and certified by G.M.P.
  • Excellent return policy
  • Made in the U.S.A.

CONS

  • Due to popular demand, frequently out of stock
The Bottom Line

Omega | Fish Oil Advanced Support by HealthWise ranked #1 in our list of top five best omega-3 fish oil supplements on the market. It won for a wide array of reasons, not least of which is the natural, pure, powerful formula that contained no artificial fillers, binders, or synthetic components. The fish oil proved to be extremely high quality, and a strong contender with its 2000 mg serving sizes. These servings included 800 mg of max strength EPA and 600 mg of pure DHA in every single serving. We found very few competitors that could match that level of potency and purity while maintaining a similar quantity of fish oil. The company stands behind its products with a fantastic 90-day return policy, and high marks in customer satisfaction. For these reasons, HealthWise secured the #1 top spot.

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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Review

Super Critical Omega-3 TG

Doctor Formulated Omega 3 Fish Oil Softgels - Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil Supplement with 2,400 mg of Omega-3 Fatty Acids - 1,200 mg EPA + 750 mg DHA per Serving - Burpless Softgels (90 Count)

Total Ranking

193 votes

9.1/10

A-

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 8.9/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 9.2/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

  • Value
  • 9.2/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Return Policy
  • 9.1/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.1/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 8.9/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Decent concentration of EPA and DHA
  • Purified formula
  • Formulated by doctors

CONS

  • Contains additives like sorbitol (sugar)
  • Has other unnecessary ingredients
  • Sold as a weight-loss supplement
The Bottom Line

Super Critical Omega-3 TG by RealDose Essentials came in a close second place in our top five list of omega-3 fish oil supplements. It contains a strong concentration of EPA and DHA, as well as naturally derived fish oil, which was purified and processed. Unfortunately, some Smarter Shoppers didn't like that the product contained additives and sugar (sorbitol), not to mention pectin, gelatin, and other unnecessary ingredients that got in the way of its overall effectiveness. This product was also pitched as a weight loss supplement, which should never be the primary purpose behind taking an omega-3 fish oil supplement. Nevertheless, it's a strong #2 pick.

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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Review

Ultimate Omega

Nordic Naturals - Ultimate Omega, Support for a Healthy Heart, 60 Soft Gels (FFP)

Total Ranking

274 votes

8.7/10

B+

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 8.5/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 8.7/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

  • Value
  • 8.7/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Return Policy
  • 8.6/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.1/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 8.8/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Well-known brand name
  • Solid levels of EPA/DHA, if not as high as our #1
  • Concentrated formula

CONS

  • Contains unnecessary additives/ingredients
  • Complaints about the freshness of product
  • Uncertainty regarding the effectiveness
The Bottom Line

Nordic Naturals is a pretty well-known name in the supplement industry, and this product earned the #3 bronze spot on our top five list. Unfortunately, the ingredients list includes unnecessary additives like rosemary extract as a preservative, gelatin and glycerin-based capsules, and other components that could only get in the way of its effectiveness. Levels of EPA and DHA were decent, if not as high as our #1 pick, Omega | Fish Oil Advanced Support by HealthWise. Some Smarter Shoppers complained about the freshness of the product, and the visual appearance of the capsules and packaging. Some were unsure how to feel. Sadly, all the uncertainty has kept Ultimate Omega in the third place spot

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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Review

Omax3 Ultra-Pure
Softgels


Omax3 Omega 3 Fish Oil Triple Strength 60 Caps

Total Ranking

167 votes

8.4/10

B

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 8.2/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 8.4/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

  • Value
  • 8.5/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Return Policy
  • 8.2/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.1/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 8.5/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • High concentration of EPA and DHA
  • Developed by physicians
  • Respectable ingredients

CONS

  • Not vegetarian (contains bovine gelatin)
  • Not potent enough
  • Too expensive for most
  • Moderate effectiveness
The Bottom Line

Omax3 Ultra-Pure by Omax3 is a solid choice for #4 fish oil supplement, even though there were some obvious drawbacks. Smarter Shoppers loved that there was a high concentration of both EPA and DHA, as well as being developed by physicians. However, Omax3 Ultra-Pure fish oil contained bovine gelatin, which makes it impossible for vegetarians to consume. Some consumers also felt that the ingredients were not potent enough to produce any desirable results. Cost was also ranked as an issue for consumers as well. Considering the relatively pure ingredients and it's overall rank, we were disappointed that customer satisfaction was not higher. Still, Omax3 comes in at a solid #4 pick.

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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Review

Omega XL


OmegaXL All-Natural Omega-3 Supplement, 60 Count - All Natural Joint Pain Relief

Total Ranking

219 votes

8.2/10

B-

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 8.3/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 8.4/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

  • Value
  • 8.4/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Return Policy
  • 7.8/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.1/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 8.3/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

Vote and Review

5/10


PROS

  • Proprietary blend
  • Relatively effective proprietary formula

CONS

  • Mussel-sourced omega-3, not from typical fish
  • Unspecified EPA/DHA amounts
  • Not highest quality
  • Limited, conditional money-back guarantee
The Bottom Line

OmegaXL ranks high enough on our list to reach a decent #5 spot, however, it should be noted that OmegaXL is a mussel-sourced omega-3 product. It contains a 300 mg proprietary blend. The amounts of EPA and DHA contained are oddly not specified. Smarter Shoppers found that the product offered only 40 mg of "fish" oil, which is far too low to be ultimately effective. It is also not derived from the highest-quality fish oil sources available. There were many negative reviews on Amazon to see. They do offer a 90-day money-back guarantee, albeit a very conditional one that does not include shipping cost. In the end, the product did well enough to earn the #5 spot, but its disadvantages prevented it from reaching a much higher rank on our top five list.

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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Citations

  1. University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., 5 Aug. 2015. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids
  2. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. N.p., Aug. 2015. Web. 24 June 2017. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/omega3/introduction.htm
  3. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. N.p., 2012. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/
  4. Igennus Healthcare Nutrition. N.p., n.d. https://igennus.com/nutrition/omega-3-science/omega-3-deficiences/
  5. Kidd, Parris M. Alternative medicine review 12.3 (2007): 207
  6. DeFilippis, Andrew Paul, Michael J. Blaha, and Terry A. Jacobson. Current treatment options in cardiovascular medicine 12.4 (2010): 365-380.
  7. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, Nov. 30, 2011: 47(1); 49-58, T. Grimstad, et al.
  8. A Randomized Controlled Trial, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, November 2011: 25(8); 1725-34, J. K. Kiecolt-Glaser, et al.
  9. Lobraico JM, DiLello LC, Butler AD, Cordisco ME, Petrini JR, Ahmadi R.
  10. BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2015 Oct 14;3(1):e000107. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2015-000107. eCollection 2015. PMID: 26504524
  11. Fontani, G., et al. European journal of clinical investigation 35.11 (2005): 691-699.
  12. Papanikolaou, Yanni, et al. Nutrition journal 13.1 (2014): 1
  13. Ulven, S. M., Kirkhus, B., Lamglait, A., Basu, S., Elind, E., Haider, T., Pedersen, J. I. (2011). Lipids, 46(1), 37-46. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11745-010-3490-4
  14. Takaichi, Shinichi, et al. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 136.2 (2003): 317-322.
  15. Tominaga, K., Hongo, N., Karato, M., & Yamashita, E. (2012). Acta Biochimica Polonica, 59(1), 43.
  16. Yoshida, Hiroshi, et al. Atherosclerosis 209.2 (2010): 520-523.
  17. Schuchardt JP, Schneider I, Meyer H, Neubronner J, von Schacky C, Hahn A. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2011;10:145. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-10-145

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Author

Tom

Tom is a lifelong nutrition enthusiast who recently retired from his career in pharmacology to write about natural health. When he isn't researching health products, Tom enjoys exploring local farmers markets and growing his own organic vegetables.

Tom at tom@smarter-reviews.com

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