uses JavaScript to provide the best possible experience for our content, but your browser has it disabled. Learn how to enable it here.


Is Fish Oil Safe? -- fish oil capsules up close

Answer:'s tests of fish oil supplements have found none to contain mercury and most, although not all, to have only trace levels of PCBs (which can't be fully avoided since PCBs are found in water everywhere). A serving of fish meat is likely to contain far more contamination than a fish oil supplement. However, we have found some supplements to contain less fish oil than listed and some to be spoiled. In addition, the enteric coatings on some supplements have not worked properly.

Clinical studies have shown fish oil to be safe, but it is recommended that you get no more than 2 grams (2,000 mg) of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) from fish oil supplements per day.

For details, including our test results and comparisons of fish oil supplements and dosage recommendations, see our Fish Oil Supplements Review.

Join today to unlock all member benefits including full access to all CL Answers and over 1,300 reviews.

Join Now

Join now at


Join the conversation

December 9, 2019

Fish oil supplements (EPA and DHA) do seem to lessen my arthritis knee pain. However, the effect is not as long lasting as I would like. How many grams is it safe for me to take? I would like to split the dosage so that I can take them at least twice a day. I use supplements from very reliable sources. I am hoping that I can take 4 grams total....2 grams of EPA and 2 Grams of DHA. Could you please advise?
December 9, 2019

Hi Lida -- Fish oil can help with rheumatoid arthritis, as discussed in our Fish Oil Review at . You probably don't need to take a dose as high as what you mentioned, though, which is a dose similar to what is taken to lower triglyceride levels from highly concentrated fish oil sold as prescription medicine or supplements. The reason why concentrated fish oil is used is to avoid taking larger amounts of regular fish oil which has a lower concentration of EPA and DHA. You need about 3 times as much regular fish oil to get the same amounts of EPA and DHA in very highly concentrated fish oil. So to get 4 grams of EPA and DHA combined, you would need to take about 12 large softgels daily of regular fish oil. This could cause bleeding issues.

You can see our Top Picks for highly concentrated fish oil supplements in our Fish Oil Review at

December 9, 2019

I use Carlson elite gems DPA and same for DHA. Each capsule contains 1 gram so essentially I am taking just Two capsules to get 2 grams.
December 9, 2019

Right. It has a high concentration, although not quite as a high as prescription fish oils and certain supplements that we list in our report as "very" high concentration.

December 9, 2019

Sorry that should have read EPA

December 10, 2019

That should have said EPA

harold jitschak17530
February 10, 2019

In know that fis oil as a supplement is highly promoted , realizing the contamination of many kinds of fish.
I know that a lot is published about the benefit of fish oil, but there are also publications which doubt these benefits.
Anyhow: fish oil is a "drug" as it is distilled oil from the fish and the meat of the fish is not consumed and I suppose one can't even guess what the difference is between whole fish [in ideal clean circumstances] and a part of the fish [just the oil]
The future may teach us, like happened with so many extracted products.
If you have more information about this issue then please publish this for our readers. Thanks

Join today to unlock all member benefits including full access to CL Answers

Join Now

Join now at