There's no doubt about it: Fish oil supplements have long been a source of contention in the health community. With loads of information out there, it's tough to tell what works and what's worthless. Here's the good news: The best fish oil supplements actually have tons of potential health benefits, like the ability to help manage heart disease and lower blood pressure.
Researcher and doctor Stefan Jackowski agrees, but only in regard to fish oil that meets very specific standards. "Based on our research," he states, "it's important to look for omega-3 supplements with a high concentration (often called high purity) of EPA and DHA. Aim for products that contain at least 80 percent long chain poly unsaturated fatty acids (LC PUFAs)." That means that looking at the label is more important than ever when considering which fish oil to buy. Look for capsules that have at least 80 percent LC PUFAs out of the total milligrams in each capsule.
And what about toxins that can show up in even the purest fish oil products? While there currently aren't any brands that list potential toxins on their labels, Dr. Jackowski says the fatty acids in these supplements can become oxidized and toxic over time. There's a simple solution, though. "Checking the expiration or product manufacture date can give you a sense of potential elevated levels of oxidation," he says. So basically, just make sure your supplements aren't nearing their expiration date, and when they are, be sure to replace them ASAP.
To get the touted benefits of fish oil, it's important to look for a high concentration of LC PUFAs in a minimal amount of capsules, made with the least amount of artificial flavoring as possible. Here's a list of four high-quality fish oil supplements that meet Dr. Jackowski's recommendations.
1. The Best High-Concentration Fish Oil Supplement
Langer Nutrition Max Heart Health Fish Oil
Langer Nutrition's supplements offer more bang for your buck with a super high dosage of fish oil per serving at 2600 milligrams. Even more importantly: They meet Dr. Jackowski's guidelines by boasting a solid 85 percent fatty acid rate in each capsule. Purified with liquid chromatography, these supplements are also pure and refined, so you don't have to worry about heavy metals or other toxins when you're taking them. The only downside is that each dose is three gel caps, which won't do any harm, but is slightly annoying.
2. The Best Fish Oil Supplement For A Sensitive Stomach
Nature's Nutrition Triple Strength Fish Oil
Sometimes fish oil supplements can be hard to take multiple times per day, especially when they taste like they came straight out of the ocean. Luckily, Nature's Nutrition fish oil supplements have formulated a "burpless" gel cap to help reduce any icky aftertaste. This supplement still contains an 80 percent fatty acid rate and is flavored ever-so-slightly with lemon. Reviewers rave about the taste and scent of these supplements, one writing, "I [don't] burp a fishy taste in my mouth or throat. The lemon flavor helps a lot covering the fish oil smell. Amazing product that I do not ever go without."
3. The Best Sustainable Fish Oil Supplement
AlaskOmega Omega-3 Wild Alaskan Fish Oil
Made with oil sourced from only wild Alaska pollock, AlaskOmega's soft gel caps are both high-quality and environmentally-friendly. These supplements are certified sustainable and traceable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), and per Dr. Jackowski's standards, they boast an 88 percent fatty acid content in each capsule. Plus they're completely flavor-free. On top of that, this brand offers a refund for up to ninety days if the supplements aren't exactly what you're looking for.
4. The Most Rigorously Tested Fish Oil Supplement
Kiva Omega-3 Triple Strength Fish Oil
Kiva's fish oil supplements are both powerful and very safe. Each batch is tested by a third party for heavy metals, PCBs, and other contaminants, and the brand is five-star certified by the International Fish Oil Standard (IFOS) program. Made with wild-caught fish and containing a fatty acid rate of over 80 percent, this supplement is perfect for anyone worried about toxins in their supplements. Just be sure to toss them before the expiration date!
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