• Tue, Jan 8 2013

Supplement Showdown: Which Fish Oil Brand Is Best?

shutterstock_111147896Are all fish oil supplements created equal? Certainly not. Different brands contain differing amounts of omega-3s, the essential fatty acids that give fish oil its power. They’re made from different types of fish (sardines and anchovies are best, though herring, tuna or salmon will also do) from different sources. And they come at quite varied price points, too. So which fish oil brand is best? See for yourself. Here’s a quick comparison of five popular brands.

 

21st Century
imagesPrice: $9.99 for 60 pills (17¢ per pill)
Fish oil per pill: 1000 milligrams, including 180 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 120 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both types of omega-3 fatty acids
Fish type: Not listed
Fish source: Not listed

 

Nature Made

coupon-nature-made

Price: $7.99 for 180 pills (4¢ per pill)
Fish oil per pill: 585 mg, including 94 mg EPA and 187 mg DHA
Fish type: Anchovy, sardine
Fish source: Not listed

 

Nature’s Bounty
Natures-Bounty-Fish-OilPrice: $8.99 for 130 pills (7¢ per pill)
Fish oil per pill: 1200 mg, including 216 mg EPA and 144 mg DHA
Fish type: Not listed
Fish source: Not listed

 

Spectrum

300 (1)Price: $6.99 for 60 pills (12¢ per pill)
Fish oil per pill: 1000 mg fish oil with 180 mg EPA and 120 mg DHA
Fish type: Wild-caught anchovies, mackerel and sardines
Fish source: “Deep artic Norway” (reputedly the best source, with fewer heavy metals, dioxins and PCBs)

Twinlab

300Price: $8.99 for 50 pills (18¢ per pill)
Fish oil per pill: 1500 mg, including 234 mg EPA and 156 mg DHA
Fish type: Sardine, anchovy
Fish source: “Made from deep sea cold water fish”

 

When comparing labels, keep in mind that words like extra-distilled, high-potency, super-distilled, pharmaceutical grade, professional grade, pure, purified and natural are marketing claims that have no particular meaning in terms of quality or fish source.

Sources: http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/food/fish-oil-summary.htm; company websites

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  • http://bebrainfit.com/ Deane Alban

    Now we know prices and source, but I don’t see how this information helps you know which supplements are best!

    • http://www.facebook.com/enbrown Elizabeth Nolan Brown

      Well “best” is subjective, but knowing the price, potency and fish source can let people determine which fish oil supplements fit their needs, was my thinking. None of these are bad, so it’s more, like, how much do you want to spend? How much does disclosure of fish source matter to you? Do you just need a little omega-3 boost or a big one? That was the idea anyway

  • Jennifer B

    The best brand is Nordic Naturals :)

  • mvf

    GNC Triple strength is the best – no fish burps and actually high levels of the EPA and DHA. These are all pretty low, i.e., not worth it.

  • Kim C Maine

    Although this article gives us some prices and very light information on fish oil comparisons, I would never buy or trust a brand that is sold at department stores and grocery stores or doesn’t specify the source of the fish oils. My family’s health is too important to risk ingesting a product which comes from farm raised fish or isn’t 3rd party verified for contaminants of heavy metals. I’ll stick with the more costly ones. “You get what you pay for”. Sorry Elizabeth, I was hoping for more by the title.

  • Joe Schmo

    Terrible article. Terrible sample brands. We’re you paid for this article?

    One of the key ways you determine the best brand is the potency of the fish oil which is determined by the total percentage of EPA and DHA to total listed omega 3 content.

    Fish oil sourced from the larger fish such as tuna, mackeral and salmon is not good because they’re carrying higher quantities of PCBs and heavy metals by being higher on the food chain. This is why sardines and anchovies are preferable because they are much smaller and lower on the food chain.

    You’re not going to find a good brand at these prices. You’re going to be looking at closer to 40-60/bottle for something of quality.