Fish oil pills — and other kind of Omega-3 supplements, which we’ll discuss below — are among of the toughest supplements to buy. They’ve been linked to scores of benefits, everything from lower inflammation to better mental health, but figuring out the right product for your needs is trickier than ever. You have to decide what is the best Omega-3 supplement for you. It might not even come from fish, which is why we’ve included three non-fish varieties in our list, but you also need to take into account the dosage, the ratio of fats, the sourcing… it’s a headache. We know.

That’s why we’ve looked at dozens of products to take the guess work out of the process. Take a look at our picks below, which are currently sitting in the fridge at BarBend HQ — we tried ’em all.

Check out our top picks, right underneath this video:

2020 Best Omega-3 Supplements

We’ve had a lot of funky tasting capsules and squinted at a ton of nutrition labels to land on our ultimate list of the best Omega-3 supplements you can buy — and they’re not all made of fish.

Best Omega 3 Supplement Overall: Nutrigold Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil

To land on the best of the best, we balanced dosage, transparency, sourcing, and additives. The winner is…

nutrigold triple strength omega 3

Nutrigold Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil Highlights

Nutrigold Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil is our pick for the best fish oil on the market. For starters, it just gives you more Omega-3: 2.6 grams per serving, considerably more than any of the other entries on our list.

But it ticks just about every other box you could ask for in one of these products. Sourced from wild Alaskan salmon, it’s not just 5-star certified from The International Fish Oil Standards™ (IFOS), known for having the most stringent quality controls for purity, potency, and freshness, but it’s also certified sustainable from the Marine Stewardship Council, which is heavily invested in ending overfishing and keeping fish oil sustainable. It also meets standards from the World Health Organization, the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED), and Consumerlabs.

This product is molecularly distilled to remove heavy metals and other contaminants and it’s third party verified to be totally free from allergens like gluten, milk, peanut, shellfish, and soy.

Nutrigold Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil
Nutrigold Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil
Nutrigold Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil

Nutrigold delivers more Omega 3 than any other reputable product we looked at, plus it has certifications from The International Fish Oil Standards, the Marine Stewardship Council, and it meets standards from the World Health Organization, GOED, and Consumerlabs.

Who Should Buy Nutrigold Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil

  • Those who want as much Omega-3 as possible; this has the most potent dosage we’ve seen. (Relative to the quality, anyway.)
  • People concerned with sustainability; this has been certified by IFOS and Marine Stewardship Council and meets standards of GOED and ConsumerLabs.
  • Folks with allergies; this has been third party verified to be free from gluten, milk, peanut, shellfish, and soy.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Nutrigold Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil

  • Those who don’t eat beef; while it’s certified kosher, the capsules are nonetheless made with bovine gelatin.
  • Penny pinchers; this isn’t the cheapest, but keep in mind it has a large dose.

It’s a little pricy, but we feel the potent dosage makes up for it. So long as you’re fine with beef, there aren’t many reasons to avoid this powerful, rigorously tested Omega-3.

Most Responsibly Sourced Omega 3: Sports Research Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil

The fish oil industry is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, emptying tons and tons of fish out of oceans and farms. Many consumers rightfully have concerns about sustainability, and we think this is the best option.

sports research omega 3

Sports Research Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil Highlights

Sports Research Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil got our vote. It’s the first fish oil to get certifications from the International Fish Oil Standards, the Marine Stewardship Council, and NSF International, and the fish is made with AlaskOmega®, oil sourced from wild Alaskan pollock from the Bering Sea.

There are a few other controls that some consumers may like, such as the fact that it’s Igen tested to make sure there are no genetically modified organisms, and it’s remarkably fresh. The fish oil is extracted from the pollock’s trimmings immediately after catch and the final product never exceeds a TOTOX (Total Oxidation) value of 5 out of 26. (That’s from GOED’s standards.)

Sports Research Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil
Sports Research Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil
Sports Research Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil

Sports Research has more certifications than we've ever seen: 5 stars from the the International Fish Oil Standards, certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, certified by NSF International, and its oxidation is tested to ensure freshness.

Who Should Buy Sports Research Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil

  • Those who value transparency; it’s certified by IFOS, Marine Stewardship Council, and NSF International.
  • People who avoid farmed fish; this is from wild Alaskan pollock

Who Shouldn’t Buy Sports Research Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil

  • Some find the capsules a little too large to swallow easily.
  • Penny pinchers; it’s on the pricy side.

These days, most fish oil products have the marketing wherewithal to get certified by at least one of these bodies, but Sports Research went the extra mile, here. They deserve their spot as the best for sustainability.

Best Omega 3 for Pescetarians: WHC UnoCardio x2

A lot of fish oil products — including our top pick on this list — are encased in gelatin, and that gelatin is often made from beef or pork. Maybe you abstain from certain animal products for religious reasons, health reasons, or another reason, but this is a good pick if you don’t want pig in your fish.

whc unocardio

WHC UnoCardio x2 Highlights

WHC’s UnoCardio is the best fish oil for pescetarians. Made with fish gelatin, it has a remarkably potent serving of 1.27 grams of Omega-3s per serving and it contains natural rosemary flavor to help minimize fishy burps.

The main draw here is the serving size, but this Belgian company is also certified by Friend of the Sea for their sustainable farming practices and the product has a remarkably high rating from third party testing site Labdoor for its purity and label accuracy.

WHC UnoCardio x2
WHC UnoCardio x2
WHC UnoCardio x2

Made with fish gelatin, WHC's offering has natural orange flavor to help with fishy burps, they have very high purity and label accuracy ratings from Labdoor, and they're certified by Friend of the Sea for sustainability.

Who Should Buy WHC UnoCardio x2

  • Pescetarians; the capsules are made from fish gelatin.
  • Those who value Friend of the Sea’s certification.
  • If you value third party testing, this has a very high rating from Labdoor.
  • Travelers; they come in easily transportable blister packs.

Who Shouldn’t Buy WHC UnoCardio x2

  • If you’re concerned about waste, you may not love the blister packs.
  • People who value IFOS ratings.

It’s got a nice certification from Friend of the Sea and the flavorings to mask fishy burps. Add that to the super transportable blister packs and it’s not hard to find people who prefer these pescetarian pills.

Best Krill Oil: Bronson Antarctic Krill Oil

Krill oil contains natural preservatives and some unusual phospholipids you don’t find in fish oil, so some prefer to take it for their Omega-3s.

bronson krill oil

Bronson Antarctic Krill Oil Highlights

Bronson Antarctic Krill Oil is our favorite on the market. Made from krill all the way from Antarctica, it stands out in the market by using SuperbaBoost krill oil, which is made from FlexiTech™ fractionating processing that helps to ensure a high concentration of essential nutrients and compounds.

Krill oil doesn’t produce fishy burps, it contains more phospholipids (that may help the nutrients to absorb) and it contains astaxanthin, a natural (and bright red) antioxidant that helps protect the oil from oxidation.

Bronson Antarctic Krill Oil
Bronson Antarctic Krill Oil
Bronson Antarctic Krill Oil

Made with krill all the way from Antarctica, Bronson has a high concentration of nutrients and the natural antioxidants help to prevent spoilage.

Who Should Buy Bronson Antarctic Krill Oil

  • Those who want extra antioxidants with their Omega-3s.
  • People who dislike fishy burps.
  • Anyone concerned about the longevity of fish oil may prefer the fact that krill oil has natural preservatives.
  • If you’re worried about heavy metals, you’ll be glad to know this has been verified 100% free from them.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Bronson Antarctic Krill Oil

  • Folks who only buy krill oil that’s certified for sustainability; there are no certifications on this product.
  • Penny pinchers; there are just 200 milligrams og Omega-3 per serving, so the serving may need to increase based on your needs.

Bronson’s krill is well made, longlasting, has extra antioxidants, and is free from heavy metals, soy, and gluten; we think most customers will be satisfied with its quality.

Best Vegan: NuTru Vegan Omega-3

Yes, you can get Omega-3s from plants, but the only way to get the important (and absorbable) EPA and DHA fatty acids is to go to the same place the fish get theirs: algae.

nutru vegan omega 3

NuTru Vegan Omega-3 Highlights

NuTru Vegan Omega-3 is our favorite plant-based Omega-3 supplement. Fish ultimately their Omega-3s from algae, the only source of vegan EPA and DHA.

Most vegan Omega-3 supplements only contain DHA, but NuTru contains both EPA and DHA, helping it to stand out in the crowded market.

The fact that it’s vegan also means there’s no risk of contamination from mercury, and they’re grown on a sustainable basis to minimize any negative effects on the eco system. Finally, it has the highest ranking on Labdoor, a well regarded third party testing site that ensures accuracy and purity of ingredients.

NuTru Vegan Omega-3
NuTru Vegan Omega-3
NuTru Vegan Omega-3

Unlike many plant-based Omega-3 products, NuTru's offering provides both EPA and DHA, plus they're grown sustainably and have the highest ranking from third party tester Labdoor.

Who Should Buy NuTru Vegan Omega-3  

  • Those who want a vegan Omega-3 with both EPA and DHA; it’s remarkably rare
  • People who value rigorous third party testing; Labdoor has given the product very high marks.
  • Anyone concerned about mercury and heavy metals in animal-based Omega-3s.

Who Shouldn’t Buy NuTru Vegan Omega-3  

  • Folks who want a lot of Omega-3; there are 450 milligrams per dose, which is more than most competing vegan products, but not as high as most fish oils.

NuTru has an impressive algae supplement that should prove an effect way to add Omega-3s to plant-based diets, or those who simply want to limit the carbon footprint of their Omega-3 supplements.

Best Green Lipped Mussel Supplement: Swanson Green Lipped Mussel

If you’ve spent much time searching for different kinds of Omega-3, there’s a good chance you’ve come across green lipped mussel — and if you haven’t, it’s worth knowing about its potential advantages.

swanson green lipped mussel oil

Swanson Green Lipped Mussel Highlights

Swanson Green Lipped Mussel Oil is our favorite pick. Many prefer green lipped mussel oil because it’s seen as more sustainable and it usually contains a rare kind of Omega-3 called eicosapentaenoic acid or ETA, which may help with inflammation(1).

Swanson’s pills contain the whole animal ground up into powder and freeze dried on site, which helps to preserve freshness, and they’re third party tested and made in accordance with FDA and FTC guidelines. Note that we’re also a big fan of the product from New Zealand Pure Health, but it’s a little tricky to get shipped to the US.

Swanson Green Lipped Mussel
Swanson Green Lipped Mussel
Swanson Green Lipped Mussel

Third party tested, freeze dried onsite to preserve freshness and a source of the rare Omega-3 called eicosapentaenoic acid, Swanson's Green Lipped Mussel Oil topped this category of Omega-3.

Who Should Buy Swanson Green Lipped Mussel 

  • If you’re concerned about sustainability, green lipped mussel is generally considered a good choice.
  • Worried about inflammation? The extra Omega-3 fatty acid ETA may provide some extra benefits, here.
  • People who value third party testing of their supplements.
  • Folks concerned about the freshness of their products; this is freeze dried on site for freshness.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Swanson Green Lipped Mussel 

  • Those who like to avoid “fishy” smells; this is made from ground up mussels and it smells like it.
  • Folks looking for a really big dose of Omega-3; the product only reveals the mussel content, not the grams of Omega-3.

They’re a great option for people who want a wider variety of Omega-3s: there’s not just EPA and DHA but also ETA and OTA, making for a very bioavailable supplement.

Best Fish Oil for No Fishy Burps: Athletic Greens Omega 3

Everyone knows that fishy burps can be the biggest bummer with ingesting capsules full of oil from fish! This is our favorite product for avoiding them.

athletic greens omega

Athletic Greens Omega 3 Highlights

Athletic Greens’ Premium Omega 3 is our pick for those who don’t like fishy burps. The company is best known for their green superfood powder but they’ve branched out into other supplements, with their fish oil really catching our eye.

Besides adding some flavoring, the trick to minimizing fishy burps is freshness. Many brands sit in warehouses and on store shelves for months if not years, but Athletic Greens’ is brought from the ocean to the consumer as quickly as possible and we can attest ourselves that we had no fishy burps.

It’s also ultra distilled for purity and it’s certified by Friend of the Sea, an organization dedicated to ensuring sustainable aquaculture.

Athletic Greens Omega 3
Athletic Greens Omega 3
Athletic Greens Omega 3

No fishy burps and made from wild caught Icelandic fish, Athletic Greens's Omega 3 is more sustainable and user friendly than some competitors.

Who Should Buy Athletic Greens Omega 3

  • Those who value certifications; this one is certified by Friend of the Sea.
  • Folks who don’t like fish breath! This is so fresh that there are no fishy burps.
  • People concerned about contaminants will be glad to know this is ultra distilled to remove them.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Athletic Greens Omega 3

  • People who don’t eat beef or pork; the oil is encased in gelatin.
  • Penny pinchers; the product isn’t cheap.

We love Athletic Greens’ fish oil and given it’s certified by Friend of the Sea, ultra distilled for contaminants, and it’s made from wild caught Icelandic fish, we think it’ll reach most consumers’ benchmarks.

Why Take Omega-3 Supplements?

A wide variety of effects have been ascribed to Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).


Taking in plenty of EPA and DHA appears to be a way to help reduce inflammation. Some research suggests that fish oil supplements can be valuable for reducing joint pain associated with inflammatory conditions like arthritis, and one study published in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition even found that they took help to reduce (though not eliminate) the need for anti-inflammatory drugs among people with inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.(2)(3)

Managing inflammation isn’t just for people with chronic conditions, though. Chronic inflammation has been linked to everything from heart disease to diabetes to cancer, so reducing it where possible could be in everyone’s interest. Folks who work out a lot experience more inflammation than the average person and some research suggested that 1 to 2 grams of Omega-3s per day helped to “counteract exercise-induced inflammation” following strength training.(4)(5)

Torwaistudio / Shutterstock

Mental Health

There’s decent evidence to suggest that keeping your Omega-3s relatively high could help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and improve cognition among those already suffering from some forms of cognitive impairment.(6)(7)

Some contest these links — it’s a little less concrete than the anti-inflammation effects — but there’s even an argument to be made that the anti-inflammatory effects can play a role in treating depression.(8)(9) More research is needed, but fish oil, especially fish oil that’s over 60 percent EPA, has been seen to reduce both depression and anxiety in some research.(10)(11)

Heart Health

Evidence is a little mixed, but we’ve seen more than a few studies have seen Omega-3s (especially DHA) to reduce triglycerides (12)(13)(14)(15). Positive effects have also been seen on patients with high blood pressure, though it doesn’t seem to be as effective at lowering the pressure of folks with regular blood pressure.(16)(17)(18)(19)(20)

fish oil capsules


There’s no official recommended intake, but the World Health Organization and the US Department of Health and Human Services suggest a minimum of 250 to 500 milligrams per day, though you should note many of these studies were using two to four grams per day to achieve their effects.

Note though that your intake should also take into account your Omega-6 fatty acids.


Omega-3 Vs Omega-6

It’s important to note that it’s equally as important to keep your Omega-6 intake low as it is to keep your Omega-3. While the latter is usually found in naturally raised fish and meat, the former is high in processed seed oils and fried foods, as well as more “natural” foods like chicken and nuts.

Of course, the average person eats more processed and fried foods than they should which means that the ratio of Omega-3 to -6 is off balance. Research suggests that a 1:4 or even 1:2 ratio is ideal for reducing the risk of heart disease and some cancers, but the average person eats closer to 1:10 or even 1:25 in some studies.(21)

Unless your diet is very Paleo and jam packed with fish, it’s smart to take Omega-3 supplements and reduce your consumption of fried and processed food to help the process.

Filet of salmon

How We Choose the Best

So how did we land on this list? Below are the criteria we used to make sure we’re landing on the cream (or oil) of the crop.


Studies vary a lot in the dosages — one found that 14 grams of fish oil per day for five weeks helped improve some markers of inflammation among post-menopausal women.(22) But as mentioned, the closest thing to a recommendation we’ve got is 250 to 500 milligrams per day of a combination of EPA and DHA. Our favorite supplement delivered a solid 2.5 grams, but we didn’t penalize too harshly for lower amounts.


EPA is a little more closely linked with inflammation and DHA has a closer tie with mental health and they’re usually dosed equally, but we didn’t penalize if the dosages weren’t exactly the same. Some limited research suggests to go more heavy on the EPA if you’re after reducing inflammation rather than emphasizing mental benefits but this isn’t concrete enough to recommend and in any case, preferences are too individual for us to prefer one ratio over another.(23)


Third Party Testing

There are several third party testers and regulatory bodies that can be employed by producers of Omega-3 supplements.

The most popular is probably The International Fish Oil Standards™ (IFOSS), who awarded five stars to our Best Overall and Most Responsibly Sourced picks. The Ontario-based organization focuses on three main categories: the label accuracy, or the amount of active ingredients claimed on the label; the presence of contaminants like mercury and radiation, which they state can outweigh the beneficial health effects of fish oil; and stability, or how quickly the product is likely to degrade. IFOS is the only organization that tests fish oil products by batch and lot number to make sure they each have the right components, don’t contain contaminants, and are stable and fresh for consumption.

The other organization you hear about the most often Marine Stewardship Council, which is more focused on sustainability. A global nonprofit organization, they work with fisheries, grocery stores, restaurants, and supplement companies to improve fishing practices, combat fraud, promote transparency, and help ensure that generations to come can enjoy seafood. Every fishery is independently assessed to figure out the impact on wild fish populations and they also track the supply chain to make sure all of their certified fish oil can be traced back to an approved fishery.

fishing boat
Tomasz Kozal/Shutterstock

Friend of the Sea also approved some of the supplements we looked at. Their mission is broader than MSC, working not only with fish oil supplements but also shipping and cruise lines and whale watching companies. But the Italian organization’s mission is still focused on sustainability: a project of the World Sustainability Organization, they carry out yearly audits onsite by independent international certification bodies, and their requirements include waste and energy management, social accountability, no significant impact on the seabed, and not affecting animals deemed “overexploited” by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization.

Labdoor is another highly regarded company that emphasizes label accuracy. An approval from Labdoor is highly valued in all areas of nutritional supplements — the completely independent company purchases products off of retail shelves and online sites and then send samples to an FDA-registered laboratory for chemical analysis.


Particularly for the fish based Omega-3s, responsible sourcing can be a priority for some consumers. This is where the certifications from IFOSS, Marine Stewardship Council, and Friend of the Sea come into play.


Nobody wants rancid fish oil. Besides following the guidelines we’ve described below, we gave extra points to products that freeze their product soon after harvesting, which helps to maintain freshness.


We’re not of the mind that Omega-3 supplements should have only Omega-3s and nothing else at all. Some additives can be useful: rosemary or oregano extract, for instance, appears to help inhibit their oxidation.(24) Tocopherols also seem to help protect against contaminants.(25)

We therefore prefer fish oils with ingredients like these, water, and glycerin (to maintain the shape of the capsules).

[Looking to lose weight and gain muscle? Check out our calorie calculator to work out the rest of your diet]

YARUNIV Studio/Shutterstock

Best Food Sources of Omega-3

You’re unlikely to eat enough algae to get a good serving of Omega-3 — that’s why we tend to turn to fish, who eat enough of the stuff that it accumulates in their fat. (Or they eat enough of the fish that eat the algae… or enough of the fish that eat enough of the fish that eat… you see what we mean.)

In a hundred grams, these are the animals that are highest in Omega-3 according to Nutritiondata.

  • Mackerel: 5,134 milligrams
  • Salmon: 2,260 milligrams
  • Anchovies: 2,113 milligrams
  • Herring: 1,729 milligrams
  • Sardines: 1,480 milligrams
  • Oysters: 672 milligrams
  • Halibut: 669 milligrams

Caviar is higher, with 6,789 milligrams per 100 grams, but few people are going to consume that much caviar at once.

But what about vegan sources?


Do Vegan Omega-3s Work?

Omega-3s sources from algae are a good source EPA and DHA, which is why it’s the base of the vegan product we’ve recommended. But all the other plant-based foods that are frequently touted as good sources of Omega-3, such as chia, walnuts, and flaxseeds, are not.

Most vegan Omega-3s are alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. The problem with ALA is that the body needs to convert it to EPA and DHA, and it’s estimated that about 90 percent of it is lost in the process.(26) Plus, if you’re eating a lot of Omega-6 (as we tend to do), it appears to make it even harder for the body to make this conversion.(27)

Basically, you need to consume ten times the amount of ALA to get roughly the same amount of EPA/DHA. That said, really high amounts of ALA have been linked to an increase in risk of prostate cancer.(28) It’s also been linked to lower risks of heart disease and diabetes, but doubling down on ALA might be an iffy strategy.(29)

fish skull


Does Fish Oil Go Bad?

Fish oil expires. It’s animal fat, after all, and it can go rancid and lose its effectiveness. In fact, polyunsaturated fatty acids are highly prone to oxidative degeneration, according to a 2015 paper in Journal of Nutritional Science it’s one of the supplements that are the most prone to degradation.(30) One study even looked at 171 supplements from 49 brands in Canada and found that 50 percent exceeded limits for at least one measure of oxidation.(31)

The risk of oxidation is affected by exposure to oxygen and light, temperature, antioxidant content, and the presence of water and heavy minerals. To minimize risks it’s smart to keep your fish oil in the fridge. The expiration date should be printed on your bottle, and while that date is meant to undershoot the expiration and take into account that many people might not store them well, it probably refers to when the gels will expire if left unopened.

Here some tips.

  • Buy them one month at a time so you’re not stockpiling older supplements.
  • Once they’re open, start taking them every day.
  • Check to ensure the oil is clear, not cloudy
  • The coating should be springy, not soft
  • If they smell bad, don’t take ‘em.
Image via Shutterstock/Evan Lorne

Before You Buy Omega 3 Supplements

Before you click that ‘purchase’ button, it’s worth running through this quick checklist so you really know what you’re after.

Get the Right Dosage

As we’ve mentioned, there’s no official recommendation for how much Omega-3 you should consume in a day, but most aim for at least a gram.

Consider the Rest of Your Diet

Research suggests that the efficacy of taking more Omega-3 relies in part on your intake of Omega-6, which is high in processed oils, fried foods, and most plant fats. Try to eat more fat from wild caught seafood, grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, coconut, chia, and olive oil.

Decide If Sustainability Matters

This isn’t to say that all uncertified fish oil is terrible for the planet, but if sustainability is a priority, look for one of the aforementioned certifications or go with something with less environmental impact like krill oil or algae.

Speak With a Physician

Before making any changes to your diet or supplement regimen, visit a doctor to find out if it’s the right move for you and what other measures you should be taking for your overall health.

best fish oil

Wrapping Up

It doesn’t matter if your priority is purity, the environment, or staying plant-based, the best Omega-3 supplement for you is here. We’ve done the hard work of weighing the countless competing supplements on the market — pick one of the best and enjoy. Just remember to keep ‘em in the fridge.


1. Koto T, et al. Eicosapentaenoic acid is anti-inflammatory in preventing choroidal neovascularization in mice. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Sep;48(9):4328-34.
2. Maroon JC, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain. Surg Neurol. 2006 Apr;65(4):326-31.
3. Rajaei E, et al. The Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Patients With Active Rheumatoid Arthritis Receiving DMARDs Therapy: Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. Glob J Health Sci. 2015 Nov 3;8(7):18-25.
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