Finding a good-quality omega-3 supplement can be a tricky business. If you're looking for a fish oil source, you want to make sure that it's sustainable, as natural as possible and free of harmful contaminants like heavy metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and it should contain a generous dose of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—the active forms of omega-3s our bodies use and the most important ones for health. If it's a vegan source, as well as being pure and natural, you also want your supplement to be in a form that your body can effectively use.
To save you the hard work, we've tracked down five top-quality omega-3 supplements made by companies who prioritize purity, potency, freshness, sustainability and science-backed sources and technology.
Lion Heart Omega 3 Liquid Fish Oil, $184 (3 x 5.07 fl oz)
www.ahalife.com; tel: 855-848-3778
Just one teaspoon (5 mL) of this pleasant-tasting fish oil—a natural triglyceride form from wild sardine, anchovy and mackerel—provides a whopping 2,000 mg EPA and 1,000 mg DHA. You'd have to swallow a lot of capsules to get the same dose from other brands. Made in Norway and bottled in the UK using only certified sustainable fisheries and small (lower down the food chain so less polluted), wild fish, every batch is certified and awarded a 5-star purity and quality rating from the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS)—and you can view the test results on the Bare Biology website.
There's nothing artificial added whatsoever, just a little natural Sicilian lemon oil for flavor and vitamin E to preserve the oil. One bottle will last one month if you take one teaspoon a day, or two months if you take a half teaspoon.
Peak Omega-3 Lemon Fish Oil, $59.99 (8.45 fl oz)
www.wileysfinest.com; tel: 855-514-4088
A global leader in sustainable omega-3 supplements, Wiley's Finest claims to have the most extensive line of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified products of any fish oil brand worldwide.
All of the company's products meet the standards set by the Global Organization for EPA and DHA (GOED) for levels of PCBs, dioxins, heavy metals and other common contaminants in fish oils, and this particular product, a mild-tasting liquid made from concentrated wild Alaskan pollock oil triglycerides, has also received a five-star rating from the IFOS.
The only additives are natural vitamin E (certified non-GMO mixed tocopherols) and natural lemon flavoring, and one teaspoon (5 mL) of the liquid will supply an impressive 1,300 mg EPA and 850 mg DHA. This 4.23-oz bottle is enough for 50 servings.
Echium Seed Oil 1000 mg, $13.75 (60 capsules)
Ideal for vegans and vegetarians, this supplement is made from the seeds of Echium plantagineum, a plant rich in omega-3 stearidonic acid (SDA), which is readily converted to EPA1 and seems to be superior to other plant oils, like flaxseed/linseed oil, for boosting EPA levels in humans.2 Each two-capsule serving provides 144 mg SDA as well as 325 mg alpha-linolenic acid (another omega-3), 146 mg linoleic acid (an omega-6), 112 mg gamma-linolenic acid (an omega-6) and 146 mg oleic acid (an omega-9).
With twice as much omega-3 as omega-6 fats, the oil supplies an ideal balance of the beneficial fatty acids. The supplements are third-party tested for purity, active ingredients, nutritional value and safety; approved by the Vegetarian Society; and free from dairy, gluten, lactose, soy and yeast. One box of 60 capsules will last for one month.
Ultimate Omega Junior, $29.95 (90 soft gels)
www.nordicnaturals.com; tel: 800-662-2544
Designed for children aged five years and up, these easy-to-swallow soft gels—half the size of standard soft gels—provide 325 mg EPA and 225 mg DHA per serving (two soft gels). Made from sustainably harvested sardine and anchovy from the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru, they can also be chewed—the all-natural strawberry flavor means there's no horrible fishy taste.
As with all Nordic Naturals products, Ultimate Omega Junior contains the natural triglyceride form of fish oil and is guaranteed to meet or exceed the stringent quality standards set by the European Pharmacopoeia Standard (EPS), Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the Global Organization for EPA and DHA (GOED). Every batch is third-party tested for purity and freshness, and certificates of analysis are available on request.
Only natural vitamin E and rosemary extract are used as preservatives, and the gels contain no gluten, milk derivatives, or artificial colors or flavors. One bottle of 90 soft gels will last 45 days.
Plant-Based Omega-3, $44.99 (2 fl oz)
www.ora.organic; tel: 858-429-5591
Made from fish-free algae, Ora's omega-3 formula—which you spray directly into the mouth—is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans, providing 600 mg DHA per serving. Algae can be an effective alternative to fish oil for supplying both DHA and EPA,3 plus it's a much more sustainable and direct source (fish only contain omega-3 because they eat algae), which doesn't contain any of the nasty contaminants found in fish oil.
In fact, the algae in Ora's omega-3 supplement is grown in pure water outside of the ocean, and thus free of pesticides, heavy metals and other pollutants. The fruity-tasting supplement is also free of wheat, gluten, yeast, soy, milk products, iodine and all artificial additives. A bottle will last you a month.