MENU
ConsumerLab.com Answers

Proper Daily Fish Oil Dosage

Question:
The suggested daily serving for my fish oil supplement, three 1,000 mg softgels, seems like a lot. Do I really need to take this much?

Answer:
First, it is very good that you are questioning the suggested dose on your supplement. Unlike OTC and prescription drugs, recommendations on supplements are not set or approved by the FDA and often vary widely from product to product, even among those which have the same ingredients. Supplements are actually classified as a food and not a drug. This is also why supplement labels don't refer to a "dose" but to a "serving size."

If you are taking fish oil for general cardiovascular health (as opposed to treatment for elevated triglycerides, for example), or because you think you might not be getting enough omega-3s from your diet, a single 1,000 mg softgel (providing  about 300 mg EPA and 200 DHA) should be sufficient. This amount of EPA and DHA is roughly equivalent to the amount of omega-3s obtained from two servings of fish per week, as suggested by the American Heart Association. In fact, health agencies in some countries suggest that even half that amount may be adequate.

If you are taking fish oil for a specific health concern, a higher dose may be beneficial.  Specific amounts for purposes such as the treatment of high triglycerides, improving mood, reducing anxiety, and even maintaining weight during chemotherapy, are listed in the ConsumerTips section of the Fish and Marine Oil Supplements Review.  Be aware that there are safety concerns with high doses of fish oil, particularly a risk of bleeding and immune suppression (see the Concerns and Cautions section of the Review).  The Review includes our tests and comparisons of dozens of fish oil supplements.



Also see these related CL Answers:



What is the difference between forms of vitamin K2? >>



See other recent and popular questions >>
Comments
Add Comment

Dale11538   January 1, 2017
I always see information on how good fish oil is...but, what about plants oils such as YES Ultimate EFA oils? Is there something about fish oil that I am not getting with this formula?

ConsumerLab.com   January 2, 2017
Hi Dale - Please see this CL Answer https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/fish_or_flax_oil/

Dale11567   January 4, 2017
Hmm...I will question my Doctor on that...Thanks!

Roger432   January 27, 2015
It is "very good" you question the suggested dose. But BE AWARE that you have to read the label because VERY few of the actual products you see on the shelves have the amount of omega-3's mentioned here. Many have 180 mg DHA and 120 mg EPA, and lots have ridiculous amounts like 60 mg and 40 mg. These are contained in 1000 mg capsules of fish oil, or even 1200/1500mg, obviously containing other oils. ConsumerLabs tests many higher-quality products, but many in the real world contain much less. Buyer beware.

These are MUCH more like foods than they are like drugs, so 1000 mg is about 1/5 tsp. You need to get over yourself thinking 3 capsules is a lot. Many of the first studies were done with people taking 10 to 20 capsules of the 180/120 size. They actually used super-concentrated oils containing 750 mg per capsule. The concentrated capsules contain much more per capsule, but often cost vastly more. So 3 1000 mg "average" capsules containing 180/120 each is surprisingly realistic, especially for brain issues like depression and ADHD, which is my specialty.

Monique196   October 5, 2014
Hello:
What are the best brands of Fish oil on the market? Thank you.

ConsumerLab.com   October 6, 2014
Hi Monique - You can find our tests results and comparisons of fish and other marine oil supplements here: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/fish_oil_supplements_review/omega3/

Robert11536   January 1, 2017
hi doses of omega-3 fish oil's are anti-inflammatory as well. I take about 2 g of EPA daily. This keeps my bursitis down to a very low level.

ConsumerLab.com   January 2, 2017
Hi Robert - Thank you for sharing your experience. Please see the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Fish Oil Review for more about high doses of EPA/DHA: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/omega3/#cautions

This CL Answer initially posted on 11/22/2013. Last updated 8/8/2017.

Add Comment...

Share your thoughts and comments about this topic in the space below. Please abide by the following rules:
  • If you make a statement of fact, such as whether a type of treatment does or does not work, state your basis -- such as personal experience or a published study.
  • If you make a positive or negative comment about a product, note whether or not you have a financial interest in the product or in a competing product.
  • Please be respectful in your tone.
  • Please do not submit any type of HTML markup or scripting as it will not be accepted.
Comment:

Add Comment...

Share your thoughts and comments about this topic in the space below. Please abide by the following rules:
  • If you make a statement of fact, such as whether a type of treatment does or does not work, state your basis -- such as personal experience or a published study.
  • If you make a positive or negative comment about a product, note whether or not you have a financial interest in the product or in a competing product.
  • Please be respectful in your tone.
  • Please do not submit any type of HTML markup or scripting as it will not be accepted.
Comment:

Edit Comment...

You can modify your comment below. Please be aware the comment will have to approve the changes before they will be shown:
Comment: