- What are the benefits of fish oil? Taking a supplement with EPA and DHA from fish oil (or other source, such as krill oil or algae) offers a wide range of potential benefits for mental health, treating inflammatory disease, maintaining muscle, and even cancer prevention (see What It Does). As far as cardiovascular and cognitive (and memory) benefits, eating fish at least twice each week may do you more good than taking a fish oil supplement, although, if you eat fish, be aware that some types can be high in mercury -- see Getting EPA and DHA from Food).
- How much fish oil should you take? Different amounts of EPA and DHA have been used for different purposes. A general daily dose is about 300 to 500 mg of EPA and DHA, while some treatments (such as for high triglycerides) involve doses as high as 4,000 mg per day (see What to Consider When Using - Dosage). Focus on the amounts of EPA and DHA in a product rather than the amount of total oil, since the concentration of EPA and DHA in oils ranges from about 33% to 85% and, for some uses, you may want more EPA or more DHA (see the comparison graph and second column of the Results table below for amounts of EPA and DHA and concentration levels, as well as amounts of "the other omega-3" DPA, and omega-7 fatty acids).
- When is the best time to take fish oil? Taking fish oil with a meal containing other fats may improve absorption. If you need a high daily dose, dividing the dose over the course of the day may reduce any unpleasant aftertaste and "fishy burps." Enteric-coated capsules can also reduce these effects but may possibly reduce absorption.
- What is the best form of fish oil? Fish oil in supplements is generally first processed to purify it. This often involves modifying its chemical form. While all forms can help raise EPA and DHA levels and do so equally well if taken with a high-fat meal, if not taken with a high-fat meal the "re-esterified triglyceride" form may be the best absorbed, with up to 76% greater absorption than from the more common "ethyl ester" (or just "triglyceride") form (see ConsumerTips -- Forms of Fish Oil). You can check the form of each product in the 2nd column of the table below.
- Which fish, krill, and algal oils are the best? Choose a supplement listed as Approved by ConsumerLab.com in the table below, because not all supplements contain their listed amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, and some may be rancid or contaminated. If you need a high dose, it may be more convenient to pick one with a higher concentration (see the 4th column of the column of the Results table) so that you can take fewer and/or smaller pills or other units. Compare prices to save money (see comparison graph and 5th column of the Results table). To save time, see our Top Picks — these are Approved products that offer exceptional value compared to other products in their categories, including fish oils in softgels, enteric-coated capsules, bottled liquids, as a prenatal supplement, for children, and for pets, as well as our Top Picks for krill oil and vegetarian algal oil (from algae). We also have Top Picks for getting DPA (the "other omega-3") and omega-7 fatty acids. You'll see that you can get high-quality supplements for just pennies a day. Be mindful of added ingredients, like vitamins, so you don't unintentionally exceed tolerable intake limits for these.
- How should fish oil be stored? Store oils out of heat and light — refrigeration is a good idea, particularly for opened bottles of liquid fish oil (see Keep It Fresh).
- Which fish oil supplements are most like prescription omega-3 drugs? Some supplements have similarly high amounts and concentrations of EPA and DHA as found in prescription omega-3 drugs like Vascepa and Lovaza, but at lower cost. See how they compare.
- What are fish oil's side effects? Is fish oil safe? Although generally safe, high amounts of EPA and DHA may suppress the immune system. It's best to limit daily intake of EPA and DHA from supplements to no more than 2 grams, unless medically indicated. Fish oil may also thin the blood and slightly lower blood pressure. See Concerns and Cautions for more information. As mentioned, take fish oil with food to reduce fishy burps, a common side effect.
Fish Oil, Krill Oil, and Algal Oil Omega-3 (DHA & EPA) Supplements Review
Find the Best Fish Oil & Compare to Prescription Omega-3 Drugs. See Our Top Picks Among Fish Oil & Other Omega-3 Supplements for Adults, Children and Pets.
Medically reviewed and edited by Tod Cooperman, M.D.
Alphabetical list of fish oil, krill oil, and algal oil supplements compared in this review
Barlean's Omega Pals - Chirpin' Slurpin' Lemonade Flavor
Cardio Tabs Enteric-Coated Omega-3
Carlson Elite EPA Gems
Carlson Maximum Omega 2000 - Natural Lemon Flavor
Deva Vegan Omega-3 DHA
Doctors Foster + Smith Premium Plus Omega-3 - For Dogs
Freshfield Vegan Omega-3 DHA + DPA
Garden of Life Minami Platinum Omega-3 Fish Oil - Orange Flavor
GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil
GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil Mini
Kirkland Signature [Costco] Fish Oil 1,000 mg
Kori Pure Antarctic Krill Oil
Life Extension Super Omega-3
Member's Mark [Sam's Club] Extra Strength Krill Oil
Nature Made Fish Oil 1,400 mg
Naturelo Omega-3 Triglyceride Fish Oil
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega - Lemon Flavor
NutriGold Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil
Omegavia EPA 500
Omegavia Ultra Concentrated Omega-3
Oslomega Kids Omega-3 Fish Oil
Pet Honesty Wild Caught Omega-3 Fish Oil - For Dogs & Cats
Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. Omega
Puritan's Pride Triple Omega 3-6-9
Sisu Wild Fish Oil Omega 1,000 mg
Thinkmist Prenatal DHA
Vitacost Synergy Super EPA Omega-3
Viva Naturals Antarctic Krill Oil
Whole Foods Market Prenatal DHA
Wild Fish Oil
In this comprehensive review, you'll discover:
- Which fish oil and omega-3 and omega-7 supplements failed or passed testing and why.
- ConsumerLab.com's Top Picks for fish oil supplements for adults, woman who are pregnant, children and pets
- The latest information on benefits of fish oil and omega-3s and -7s, as well as what they cannot do.
- Direct comparisons (including amounts of EPA, DHA, and DPA, as well as palmitoleic acid and total omega-7s) and quality ratings for fish, krill and algal supplements -- including those for pregnant women, other adults, children, and pets.
- Comparisons with prescription fish oils Vascepa and Lovaza.
- Which products provide the best value and which are most concentrated (so you can take fewer or smaller pills) including softgels, liquids, and enteric-coated pills.
- Differences in the forms of fish oil in each product: natural triglyceride, ethyl ester, re-esterified triglyceride, and phospholipid.
- The dose of the omega-3s (EPA and DHA) and omega-7s (palmitoleic acid) for specific uses -- and how much is too much.
- Side-effects and cautions with supplements made with fish oil, krill oil and other marine oils.
Latest Clinical Research Updates for Fish Oil /Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements
Krill Omega-3s to Lower Triglycerides?
Fish Oil to Prevent Depression?
For information about other supplements promoted for depression, see our answer to the question: What are the best supplements for depression and anxiety?
Fish Oil for Dry Eye?
Fish Oil for COVID?
Trout for Omega-3s?
Caveat With Prescription Fish Oil Study
Omega-7s for Muscle Pain?
Statins Plus Fish Oil?
Fish Oil and Colon Cancer
What Is Omega-10?
Fish Oil and Fatty Liver Disease?
Fish Oil for Migraine?
DHA & Preterm Birth
Fish Oil Interaction With Medication
Fish Oil for Memory?
Which Form of Fish Oil Is Best Absorbed
High-Dose Fish Oil for COVID?
Omega-7s to Lower Cholesterol?
Fish Oil & Testosterone?
Heart Risk With Fish Oil
High-Dose Fish Oil Concern
Fish Oil for Liver Disease?
Fish Oil & Vitamin D for Macular Degeneration?
Best Absorbed Form of Fish Oil?
Algal Oil for Attention?
Fish Oil for Menopause?
Fish Oil and Eye Bleeding
Fish Oil During Pregnancy
Fish Oil Slows Atherosclerosis
Fish Oil for Arthritis?
Omega-3s and the Brain
Fish Oil for Improved Insulin Sensitivity?
Benefit of Eating Fish
Generic Fish Oil Approved
Does Fish Oil or Curcumin Increase Brain Blood Flow?
A Food to Slow Cognitive Decline?
Also see our Top Picks for canned tuna and salmon.
EPA vs. DHA from Fish Oil
Fish Oil and Heart Disease
Fish Oil for Diabetes?
Avoid Quality Problems With Fish Oil
Fish Oil & Fertility
Fish Oils Not Equal on Cardio Benefit
Fish Oil Approved for Elevated Triglycerides
Fish Oil for ADHD?
Fish Oil & Colon Cancer
Fish Oil & Colon Cancer
Fish Oil Can Reduce Cognitive Decline
Fish Oil Plus Statins for High Triglycerides
How to Use Fish Oil for Depression
Fish Oil to Improve Cognition?
Omega-3s for Cognition?
Fish Oil in Pregnancy?
Best Supplement for Depression
Omega-3s for Lowering Triglycerides
Adding Fish Oil to Statins?
Fish Oil Heart Claim
Fish Oil for Heart Failure?
Statins Plus Fish Oil?
Fish Oil During Pregnancy
Powerful Combination for Alzheimer's
Prescription Fish Oil Lowers Heart Attack Risk
Bioengineered Salmon Approved
Fish Oil for Asthma?
Maintaining Muscle With Fish Oil?
Fish Oil Bleeding Risk?
Better Absorbed Fish Oil?
High EPA Fish Oil Lowers Cardiovascular Risk for Some
Mixed Results for EPA/DHA Fish Oil
DHA for Toddlers?
Omega-3s & Healthy Aging
Fish Oil Drug May Help
Anxiety and Fish Oil
Fish Oil & Diabetes
Dry Eye, Fish Oil and Contact Lenses
Fish Oil for Heart Health?
Also, learn what fish oil can or cannot do for other health conditions, such as arthritis, in the What It Does section of the review. (See our Top Picks among fish and marine oils.)
Fish Oil for Depression?
Fish Oil for Depression?
Krill Oil for Strength?
Eat Fish for Heart Health
Fish Oil for Joints
Fish Oil for Cognition?
Fish Oil for Dry Eye?
Fish Oil for Ulcerative Colitis
Disheartening Fish Oil News
A Reason to Take Fish Oil With Statins?
Can Fish Oil Help Statins?
Fish Oil for Stress?
Fish Oil for Focus in Kids?
Fish Oil for Endurance
Fish Oil for Depression
Fat Fish vs. Lean Fish
Spoiled Fish Oil Is Less Effective
Omega-3s for Age-Related Cognitive Decline?
DHA to Boost Children's IQ?
DHA for Rheumatoid Arthritis?
When Does Fish Oil Help the Heart?
Omega-3s for Arthritis
Omega-3s for Cognitive Decline
Fish Oil and Bleeding Risk
Fish Oil for Migraine
Reducing Asthma Risk in Children With Fish Oil
Supplement vs. Prescription Fish Oil?
Fish Oil for Psychosis?
Fish Oil for Strength?
Omega-3s Drop in Farmed Salmon
Omega-3 and -6 Improves Reading Skills in Children
Omega-3s and Diabetic Eye Disease
Fish Oil Helps After Heart Attack
Fish Intake During Pregnancy Increases Child's IQ
Fish Oil & Antidepressants
How Fish Oil May Help With Depression
Fish Oil and Blood Pressure
Sale of GMO Salmon Halted
Fish Oil Helps in Schizophrenia
This impact on depression has also been suggested as one reason why fish oil has shown some benefit in people with cognitive decline. Details about the studies and products used, including our tests and reviews of similar fish oil supplements, are found in the Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Review >>
Omega-3's and Cognition
A study has been underway which evaluates the effects of krill oil in adolescents with lower educational performance. It was recently reported that baseline testing (before starting krill) of the students showed a positive association between levels of EPA + DHA in their blood and performance on some, but not all, measures of cognitive performance. Get the details in the Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Review (Including Krill, Algae, Calamari, Green-lipped Mussel Oil) >>
Genetically-engineered Salmon: How it Compares
Fish Oil Freshness
Fish Oil for Depression
Does Fish Oil Slow Cognitive Decline?
Fish Oil and Alzheimer's Disease
Problem with Too Much Krill Oil
Fish Oil for Dry Eye
Fish Oil Increases Muscle/Strength
Treating ADHD with Omega-3s?
Fish Intake and Breast Cancer Risk
Avoid Fish Oil When Getting Chemotherapy
Green Lipped Mussel Oil Reduces Pain and Inflammation After Exercise
Lower-dose Fish Oil Helps with Epilepsy
Fish Oil May Prevent Cognitive Decline
DHA for Periodontitis (Inflammation Around Teeth)
Don't Be Fooled by "Good Source of Omega-3s" Claim
Fish Oil May Reduce Risk of Blood Clots
Help for Acne from Omega-3 & -6 Oils
Does Fish Oil Help During Pregnancy?
Fish Oil Lowers Blood Pressure
Fish Oil Study Finds No Heart Benefit
Fish Oil / Alpha-Lipoic Acid for Alzheimer's
Too Much Fish Oil May Cause Adverse Effects
Fish Oil and Arthritis
Fish Oil Linked to Prostate Cancer?
Fish Oil for Brain Function
Fish Oil and Stress
Fish Oil No Help for Heart Disease?
Omega-3s Linked to Less Heart Disease and Longer Life
What You Need to Know About Fish Oil
Stroke and Fish Oil
Fish Oil Helps Memory
What's the Best Omega-3 for Depression?
Fish Oil Benefit Questioned
Fish Oil for Strokes and Heart Attacks?
Heart Benefits of Fish Oil Supplements in Doubt
Fish Oil Tested for Multiple Sclerosis
Fish Oil During Pregnancy Reduces Allergy in Infants
Fish Oil for Strength
Algal Oil vs. Fish Oil
Concern with Rancid Fish Oil
Fish Oil's Impact on Cognitive Decline
Suicide and Omega-3
Fish Oil and Anxiety
DHA in Pregnancy
Fish Oil Helps Treat Depression
Did you hear that DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil) might raise the risk of prostate cancer?
Fish Oil and the Eye
Fish Oil Helps in Chemotherapy
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The "Last Updated" date indicates when new clinical information or new product information was most recently added. In the full review, the newest information is highlighted in yellow and, if a new product is added, it is footnoted in the results table, showing the date added to the review.