2017 Most Trusted Omega-3 Supplement Awards

The Top Healthful Omega-3s Voted by Smarter Shoppers Like You

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.

Do I Really Need an Omega-3 Supplement?

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating at least two, 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, etc.) per week, while the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) titled an article "U.S. adults are not meeting the recommended levels for fish and omega-3 fatty acid intake." 13

The NHANES concluded that omega-3 fatty acids are deemed important and dietary supplementationin addition to food sourcesmay need to be considered to achieve (omega-3) recommendation levels in the American population. 13

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are essential for a reason, and it's clear that supplementation may be needed to meet the daily amount our bodies use.
But how do we know which kind of omega-3 fatty acid supplement is best?

Smarter Reviews has spent months compiling extensive research of omega-3 products to help you choose the right supplement for your needs.

What are Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3s are commonly found in fatty fish like salmon, small shellfish like krill, and in many vegetable oils. There are three main omega-3 EFAs: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is the most common omega-3, and is found in vegetable oil, nuts, flax seeds, leafy vegetables, and some animal fats.*3 EPA and DHA are commonly found in fatty fish.3

Omega-3 101: Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids Revealed

Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) are found throughout our bodiesin fact, they help protect and insulate each and every one of our cells. Perhaps one of the reasons why omega-3 EFAs are so popular is because of the wide range of health benefits they have been shown to provide in hundreds of clinical studies throughout the years.

Additionally, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, omega-3s "have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles against cancer and other conditions."  3

Unfortunately, our bodies cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids. That's just one reason why it is imperative to obtain EFAs through the foods we eat, and through dietary supplementation.

Choosing the right Omega-3 Supplement

Omega-3 EFAs are the most widely used supplements in the United States, and many companies are making omega supplements that are—unfortunately—not necessarily in the consumer's best interests.

Reading the label is one of the most important things you can do to prevent a bad experience when choosing the best omega-3 supplement. The lists below highlight certain things you should avoid and notable things you need to look for.

TRY TO Avoid:

  •  Heavy metal contamination (mercury and PCBs)*
  • Artificial colors*
  • Caramel color*
  • Dioxins

ALWAYS Look For:

  • Omega-3 sources (preferably Krill)
  • Total Omega-3 content*
  • High amounts of EPA and DHA*

What is the Best Omega-3 Source?

When choosing the best omega-3 supplement, one of the main things you should look for is the source of omega-3. Fish oil has traditionally been a popular source for omega-3s, but due to the emergence of heavy metals in bodies of water, and overfishing in our oceans, krill oil has significantly grown in popularity.

Over the past year, many of our Smarter Shoppers have asked, "What omega-3 supplement should I take—krill oil or fish oil?"

We researched the answer and found several reasons why krill oil may be the superior choice.

Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil

Absorption

  • Krill and fish oil similarly contain EPA and DHA, but they differ in the way that the omegas are bonded. The omegas in krill oil are mostly bonded to phospholipids while in fish oil they are bonded to triglycerides. The fat cells in humans are also in phospholipid form. A study done on the metabolic effects of krill oil concluded that the omega-3s from krill oil may be more readily and effectively absorbed after ingestion and distribution into the bloodstream.14   Furthermore, the unexpectedly high content of free EPA and DHA in krill oil might have a significant influence on its bioavailability. 21

Purity

  • In addition to krill oil's perhaps greater absorption, krill oil is known to have less fishy aftertastes when a high quality supplement is used made with pure krill oil.

Astaxanthin

  • Krill oil is a major source of astaxanthin, and has strong antioxidant activity.15 Astaxanthin cannot be produced by humans, and has a natural, intense, red color found on krill, lobster, and crayfish. It is also naturally occurring in flamingo feathers.17    This powerful antioxidant may help reduce rough skin, and results may suggest that astaxanthin can improve skin condition in all layers of the skin, in both women and men.16    Astaxanthin has also been shown to significantly increase HDL-cholesterol levels.18     Unfortunately, fish oil does not contain astaxanthin—however, astaxanthin can be fed to farmed seafood for coloring.17

***Safety Warning*** - A notable concern when deciding to choose between fish oil and krill oil is the rising contamination levels in our oceans.

  • Mercury

    Mercury is a highly reactive heavy metal, and the long-term exposure to low levels of mercury are highly misunderstood.18    Mercury may make people susceptible to arherosclerotic disease—a disease in which plaque builds inside your arteries.18
  • PCBs

    PCBs—or polychlorinated biphenyls—are a group of manufactured organic chemicals. PCBs account for 209 individually chlorinated chemicals.19    PCBs typically have a higher concentration in fish, even with low levels of PCBs in the water.

The major concerns with these two contaminants are that they are persistent in our oceans, and they accumulate up the food chain. Basically, big fish eat little fish, and since big fish are higher up the food chain, the concentration levels of heavy metals (mercury and PCBs) has an increased chance of being dangerous to humans. 19-20

Since fish oil may be extracted from the tissues of fish that are higher up the food chain, it might be more contaminated. However, krill are at the very bottom of the food chain, their lifespans are shorter than fish, and since krill eat algae they are relatively free of dioxins and PCBs. 20

2017's Top 5 Omega-3 Supplement Brands on the Market

We tested 72 different omega-3 supplements, and based on our 5 pillars of excellence: ingredient safety, projective effectiveness, value, return policy, and customer satisfaction, we discovered the Top 5 Omega-3 Supplements of 2017.

Review

ANTARCTIC Krill Oil Platinum

Total Ranking

147 votes

9.5/10

A+

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 9.7/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 9.6/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Value
  • 9.3/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

  • Return Policy
  • 9.6/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 9.6/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Uses a clinically studied krill oil formula
  • 1500 mg of Pure Krill Oil with 270 mg of EPA, 180 mg of DHA, 300 mg of phospholipids, and 300 mcg of astaxanthin
  • Made with a patented (MSO®) Multi-Stage Oil extraction process
  • 100% natural with zero synthetic ingredients
  • Certified by IFOS (The International Fish Oil Standard program that certifies purity, potency, and freshness)
  • Lemon oil coated, easy-to-swallow pills
  • 90-day unconditional 100% money-back return policy
  • Made in the USA
  • Free shipping available
  • Krill-derived omega supplement

CONS

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

1MD's Antarctic Krill Oil Platinum is Smarter Review's number one choice. This superior omega-3 supplement uses a scientifically studied krill oil formula that contains 1500 mg of krill oil, and provides 270 mg of EPA and 180 mg of DHA—one of the best omega quantities and ratios we've seen. 1MD has done their homework and has brought us an outstanding krill oil formula with no synthetic fillers or artificial ingredients. 1MD stands by their products by offering a generous 90-day unconditional money-back guarantee.

1MD is endorsed by two board-certified doctors, and this is the only brand we found to work with top physicians. They also offer bundled discounts— click below to learn more about their specials.

*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

Total Ranking

151 votes

9.1/10

A-

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 8.9/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 9.1/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Value
  • 9.3/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

  • Return Policy
  • 9/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 8.7/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Contains 650 mg EPA and 450 mg DHA
  • No GMOs
  • MSC-certified sustainable

CONS

  • Fish-derived omega supplement
  • Omegas are bonded to triglycerides, which may be less absorbable
  • Counterfeit products are often sold on Amazon
  • Strong fishy smell/taste
  • Pills can stick together*
  • Poor customer service*
  • Conditional 30-day return policy
The Bottom Line

While Nordic Naturals does have a good reputation, reviews of this product were highly mixed with roughly 30% complaining about mild stomach aches and cramps.* Multiple reviewers bought bottles that contained capsules that were stuck together.* Many reviews indicated a pungent fish smell or aftertaste. Nordic Naturals offers a lower-end 30-day return policy with strict guidelines. Most importantly, this product is not derived from krill, and may not be as readily absorbed or effective.

*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

MegaRed Ultra Concentration
Omega-3 Krill Oil

Total Ranking

573 votes

8.4/10

B

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 8.4/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 8.7/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Value
  • 8.1/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

  • Return Policy
  • 7.9/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 8.8/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Many positive customer reviews*
  • 225 mcg of astaxanthin (from krill oil)
  • Krill-derived omega supplement

CONS

  • Only contains 750 mg of krill oil
  • Contains artificial sweeteners
  • No money-back guarantee offered
The Bottom Line

MegaRed by Schiff is a well-known and popular brand name. However, this product contains a significantly lower amount of krill oil than the others on this list. It also contains the artificial sweetener sorbitol. After thoroughly searching the website we cannot find any sort of money-back guarantee to be found. These setbacks bump it down our top 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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Review

Ovega-3

Total Ranking

453 votes

7.7/10

C+

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 8/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 7.7/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Value
  • 7.4/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

  • Return Policy
  • 8.1/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 7.5/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Vegetarian and vegan friendly
  • Contains 320 mg of DHA and 130 mg EPA
  • Gluten and GMO-Free

CONS

  • Contains caramel color and other additives
  • Plant-derived omega supplement which has been shown to be less absorbable by the body
The Bottom Line

Ovega-3 is a plant-based omega-3 supplement that contains 320 mg of DHA and 130 mg of EPA omega-3 fatty acids. This product works well if you have any dietary allergies or restrictions (fish, shellfish, soy, milk, eggs, nuts, and wheat) because Ovega-3 is made from a vegetarian/vegan plant source. However, this product does contain caramel color and other additives you don't want. This product is not derived from krill and may not be as readily absorbed or effective because of its plant base.

*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

Total Ranking

263 votes

7.0/10

C-

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 7.2/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 6.9/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Value
  • 7.6/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

  • Return Policy
  • 6.7/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 6.8/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

Vote and Review

5/10


PROS

  • 300 mg proprietary blend
  • Has only 40 mg of mussel oil

CONS

  • Amounts of EPA and DHA are not specified
  • Many customers are unhappy with the product overall*
  • 90-day (conditional) guarantee
The Bottom Line

Omega XL is a mussel source omega product. It contains a 300 mg proprietary blend. The amounts of EPA and DHA in this product are not specified. We found the product only offers 40 mg of mussel oil, which is obviously low and not krill-based. We found many negative reviews about the product on Amazon. They offer a 90-day conditional money-back guarantee that does not include shipping. Ultimately, this was the bottom of our top five.

*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. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. N.p., n.d. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/
  4. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. N.p., 2012. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/
  5. Igennus Healthcare Nutrition. N.p., n.d. https://igennus.com/nutrition/omega-3-science/omega-3-deficiences/
  6. Kidd, Parris M. Alternative medicine review 12.3 (2007): 207
  7. DeFilippis, Andrew Paul, Michael J. Blaha, and Terry A. Jacobson. Current treatment options in cardiovascular medicine 12.4 (2010): 365-380.
  8. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, Nov. 30, 2011: 47(1); 49-58, T. Grimstad, et al.
  9. A Randomized Controlled Trial, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, November 2011: 25(8); 1725-34, J. K. Kiecolt-Glaser, et al.
  10. Lobraico JM, DiLello LC, Butler AD, Cordisco ME, Petrini JR, Ahmadi R.
  11. BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2015 Oct 14;3(1):e000107. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2015-000107. eCollection 2015. PMID: 26504524
  12. Fontani, G., et al. European journal of clinical investigation 35.11 (2005): 691-699.
  13. Papanikolaou, Yanni, et al. Nutrition journal 13.1 (2014): 1
  14. 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
  15. Takaichi, Shinichi, et al. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 136.2 (2003): 317-322.
  16. Tominaga, K., Hongo, N., Karato, M., & Yamashita, E. (2012). Acta Biochimica Polonica, 59(1), 43.
  17. Kidd, Parris. Altern Med Rev 16.4 (2011): 355-64.
  18. Yoshida, Hiroshi, et al. Atherosclerosis 209.2 (2010): 520-523.
  19. Wisconsin Department of Health Services. N.p., n.d. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/environmental/pcb-fish.htm
  20. Wellwise.org. N.p., n.d. http://krill-oil.wellwise.org/krill-oil-side-effects/krill-oil-dangers
  21. 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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Tom

Tom is a retired Navy veteran who loves a good backyard barbecue, days on his boat fishing and spending time with his grandkids.

Tom at tom@smarter-reviews.com

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