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Omega-3 fatty acids are present in fish and some other food sources. Although study findings suggest that a diet rich in omega-3 provides health benefits, researchers are less certain about the effectiveness of supplements.
This article considers the possible benefits of omega-3 supplements and explains what to look for when buying them.
- Best for heart health: Life Extension Super Omega-3 EPA/DHA Fish Oil, Sesame Lignans & Olive Extract
- Best for immune health: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega
- Best for hair health: Briogeo B. Well Vegan Omega-3, 6, 9 + Biotin
- Best for inflammation: Natural Force Pure Omega-3
- Best for joint health: O.N.E. Omega
- Best for vegans: Truvani’s Plant-Based Omega
Omega-3 fatty acids are part of a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that support several functions in the body.
According to the
- High doses of omega-3 can help reduce triglyceride levels in the blood.
- These fats may help alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Dietary omega-3 may help prevent heart disease, but supplements may not.
The NCCIH also notes that other claims about fatty acids, whether from a person’s diet or supplements, are either inconclusive or remain unsupported by the findings of studies.
A 2019 study found that omega-3 supplements did not lower incidences of cardiovascular disease events. However, a 2020 article published on the same group after further analyses found that in people who ate less than
Another trial, known as REDUCE-IT, had similar results relating to cardiovascular events and death. The researchers found that in comparison with a placebo, omega-3 supplements reduced high blood triglyceride levels and the risk of cardiac-related events or death.
However, participants all had high triglyceride levels at baseline and were on statin therapy. This could mean that the results apply only to specific groups of people and not the general population.
It is also important to note that the researchers used icosapent ethyl (Vascepa), which is a prescription omega-3 fatty acid. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has
According to a 2019 journal article, the REDUCE-IT study is an anomaly among other studies that generally show limited evidence of omega-3 reducing the risk of cardiovascular events. Though the author urges further research, they also acknowledge that taking an omega-3 supplement is likely not a bad idea.
In 2019, the
The authors of a
- rigorous regulatory standards
- the consistency of effectiveness
- the consistency of safety
When selecting an omega-3 supplement, a person should consider the following:
- how much the supplement will likely cost
- certifications from third-party reviewers for safety and purity standards
- the product’s dosage
- supplement type, such as gummy or capsule
The Association of UK Dietitians recommends that people check the vitamin A content of omega-3 supplements, as daily vitamin A intake from food and supplements combined should not exceed 1.5 milligrams (mg).
In addition, individuals should choose products that have the least amount of heavy metals or fillers.
Medical News Today selects omega-3 supplements that meet the following criteria:
- Ingredients: MNT chooses products that contain high quality ingredients and are free of fillers, artificial flavors, and preservatives.
- Dosage: MNT selects products that contain safe doses of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Quality: MNT chooses products that are third-party certified or have undergone testing by an independent lab for safety and quality whenever possible.
- Vetting: MNT selects supplements that its team of medical experts has vetted and approved.
Many omega-3 supplements are available to buy. Below, we list seven products that people may wish to try.
|Life Extension Super Omega-3 EPA/DHA Fish Oil, Sesame Lignans & Olive Extract||Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega||Briogeo B. Well Vegan Omega-3, 6, 9 + Biotin||Natural Force Pure Omega-3||O.N.E. Omega||Truvani’s Plant-Based Omega|
|Type||softgels||softgels or liquid||softgels||liquid||softgels||capsules|
|Serving size||4 softgels per day||2 softgels per day|
or 0.5–1 tsp per day
|2 softgels per day||1 tsp per day||1 softgel per day||2 capsules per day|
five-star certification from IFOS
Friend of the Sea (FOS) certified
certified paleo-friendly and keto
Marine Stewardship Council certified
|third-party tested||third-party tested|
|Best for||heart health||immune health||hair health||inflammation||joint health||vegans|
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication. Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Best for heart health: Life Extension Super Omega-3 EPA/DHA Fish Oil, Sesame Lignans & Olive Extract
- contains olive leaf extract and sesame lignans to support heart health
- third-party tested
- five-star certification from the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS)
Life Extension’s Super Omega-3 soft gelatin capsules or softgels contain a formula that comprises EPA, DHA, sesame lignans, and olive extract. Research suggests that both sesamin, a lignan in sesame, and olive leaf extract may help prevent heart disease.
The company offers different types of supplements that come in different quantity options.
According to the product page, a person should take four softgels with food per day. They should ask a doctor if the product is safe for them if they take any medications or have a bleeding disorder.
IFOS gives this product five-star certification. It is also gluten-free and uses non-genetically modified organisms (GMO) products.
Best for immune health: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega
- sourced from wild-caught sardines and anchovies
- third-party tested
- available in softgel and liquid form
These omega-3 supplements are from wild-caught sardines and anchovies, and according to the Nordic Naturals website, they support the brain, heart, and immune system.
They have a fresh lemon taste and come in two forms. The softgels contain 1,280 mg of omega-3 and are available in counts of 90–210. The liquid contains 2,840 mg of omega-3, and a person can buy a 4- or 8-ounce (oz) bottle.
This product is GMO-free.
The company recommends that people take two softgels per day with food. They can also ask a doctor if they can take two softgels with food twice daily.
Individuals who purchase the liquid form should take a half teaspoon (tsp) to one tsp per day. Once they open the bottle, they can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Best for hair growth: Briogeo B. Well Vegan Omega-3, 6, 9 + Biotin
- vegan-friendly and cruelty-free
- free of gluten, sulfates, silicones, parabens, and artificial dyes
- suitable for all hair types
Briogeo’s B. Well, softgels contain omega-3 derived from algae to support healthy hair.
This product is vegan-friendly and suitable for people who have straight, wavy, curly, and coiled hair. They do not contain sulfates, silicones, parabens, or artificial dyes. They are also gluten-free.
The bottle contains 60 softgels, and the company recommends taking two softgels with food per day. Individuals may notice that they have a marine odor.
People who buy these supplements receive free samples of other selected products and can also benefit from 30-day returns.
Best for inflammation: Natural Force Pure Omega-3
Nature Force’s liquid omega-3 contains EPA, DHA, and docosapentaenoic acid. The company claims this product can reduce inflammation and support brain function.
It has a lemon cake flavor and does not contain any fillers or synthetic colors. The products undergo third-party tests for safety and purity standards.
Natural Force uses a manufacturing facility that is certified according to regulations set out by the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices.
The liquid comes in a UV-light-blocking amber glass bottle. The manufacturer recommends taking 1 tsp daily. People can add it to smoothies, tea, coffee, and other drinks.
Natural Force provides a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Best for joint health: O.N.E. Omega
- only one softgel per day required
- produced using a solvent-free extraction method for purity
- third-party tested
Pure Encapsulations’ O.N.E. Omega is a fish oil supplement that provides 1,000 mg of combined EPA and DHA per serving.
According to the manufacturers, this supplement is made with fish oil produced through a solvent-free extraction method, resulting in a more concentrated, highly purified product.
The company claims that this supplement can support the integrity of the joints and connective tissue while also promoting heart, skin, and brain health.
O.N.E. Omega is available in two sizes, which contain either 30 or 60 softgel capsules per bottle. The company recommends people take one softgel per day with a meal.
It is also non-GMO and tested by an independent lab for safety, strength, and quality.
Best for vegans: Truvani’s Plant-Based Omega
- certified vegan and gluten-free
- third-party tested
- sustainably sourced
Featuring 500 mg of plant-based DHA sourced from algal oil per serving, Truvani’s Plant-Based Omega supplement is vegan-friendly and certified gluten-free.
It is also cruelty-free and sustainably sourced, using algae grown in a controlled environment with minimal processing and freshwater usage.
Additionally, Truvani’s Plant-Based Omega is third-party tested for heavy metals and contaminants to ensure purity and potency.
Each bottle contains 60 capsules, and the manufacturer recommends taking two capsules per day, with or without food.
Truvani also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for all products.
However, a higher amount of fish oil may be beneficial for people with certain health conditions.
For example, the American Heart Association recommends consuming 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA per day for individuals with heart disease and notes that supplements should be taken only under the direction of a healthcare professional.
Therefore, a person should work with a medical professional to determine the appropriate dosage based on their needs and take supplements only as directed.
Omega-3 is associated with only minor side effects. According to the
- bad breath
- gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, heartburn, or diarrhea
- an unpleasant taste in the mouth
- bad-smelling sweat
They also note that while researchers found a link between high omega-3 levels and prostate cancer in some studies, the findings are not conclusive.
People taking medications for blood clotting should talk with a doctor before starting the supplement due to possible complications.
There are several dietary sources of omega-3,
For people who do not eat or enjoy seafood, omega-3s are also present in plant-based foods and oils, such as:
However, it is important to understand that not all Omega 3 sources are created equal.
DHA and EPA are found primarily in seafood, whereas ALA mainly comes from plants. People need more DHA than other types of omega-3 because this is the type predominantly found in brain tissue and needed for brain function.
ALA can convert into EPA and DHA within the body. But in some cases, depending on a person’s overall health and the levels of other nutrients in their body, this conversion may be inefficient.
As recent research indicates, people who do not consume animal-based foods can end up with a deficit of DHA. However, the research on ALA conversion is still not conclusive and more research is necessary. To be safe, a person may want to monitor their health in consultation with a doctor and take DHA supplements if necessary.
Another way to supplement omega-3 is to look for foods fortified with fatty acids. These can include:
A person should speak with a doctor before starting any new supplement, including omega-3.
People taking blood clotting medication should not take the supplement before asking a doctor, as the combination can lead to complications.
Anyone pregnant or nursing should also speak with a doctor before taking omega-3.
Below are some common questions about omega-3 supplements.
What is fish oil good for?
Fish oil supplements also help increase a person’s intake of omega-3 fatty acids. While more research is needed on the effects of fish oil specifically, omega-3 fatty acids have been
Which are the best omega-3 supplements?
The supplements listed in this article are all suitable options that can help increase a person’s intake of omega-3 fatty acids to round out their diet. A person should consider their budget, dietary needs, and dosage requirements to find the best supplement for them.
Is it good to take omega-3 every day?
Taking omega-3 daily may benefit those who do not regularly consume fish or other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. However, a person should work with a doctor to determine whether daily supplementation is necessary based on their needs.
Omega-3 supplements may provide some benefits by boosting heart health and lowering levels of triglycerides in the blood. Many of the other claims regarding their benefits require additional research.
A person interested in taking omega-3 supplements should speak with a doctor first. If they decide to take the supplement, they should opt for products that have undergone a third-party review for safety and purity.