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Looking for the best fish oil supplements? Our team of registered dietitians considered quality, sourcing, taste, and cost when compiling this comprehensive list. Our best overall pick is Nordic Naturals.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fats that play important roles in many processes in your body, including those involving inflammation, immunity, heart health, and brain function (1).
EPA and DHA, which are primarily found in fish, are the biologically active forms of omega-3 fatty acids. ALA is found in plant foods, and your body must convert it to EPA and DHA in order to use it (2).
If you don’t regularly consume fish, taking a fish oil supplement can be a quick and convenient way to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Keep reading to see our picks of the 15 best fish oil supplements.
Fish oil is a source of omega-3 fats, which offer a number of health benefits.
Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and may have a positive effect on many conditions thought to be related to chronic inflammation — particularly heart disease. EPA and DHA may also help lower high triglyceride levels, a risk factor for heart disease (1, 3).
Additionally, omega-3s play a key role in vision and eye health, as they’re necessary for eye development and may help in the treatment of dry eye disease (4).
Omega-3s are also important for brain health. During infancy and childhood, they’re necessary for proper neurological development (1, 5).
In adults, omega-3 supplementation may play a role in preventing stroke and cognitive decline (6).
When rounding up the best fish oil supplements, we considered the following factors:
Vetting: All the products included were vetted to ensure they meet Healthline’s medical and business standards, including but not limited to:
adhering to allowable health claims and labeling requirements, per Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations
manufactured in facilities that adhere to current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs) established by the FDA
produced by medically credible companies that follow ethical, legal, and industry best standards
Quality: In addition to the quality of ingredients, we looked at the company’s testing and manufacturing processes. The products selected are made by companies that provide objective measures of trust, such as having their supplements validated by third-party labs.
Fish oil source: We prioritized supplements with oil from smaller fish because they are typically lower in mercury than larger fish (7).
Price: We included products to suit a variety of budgets.
There are several factors to consider when selecting a fish oil supplement:
Supplement quality: It’s important to check the ingredient list carefully and steer clear of supplements containing fillers or artificial ingredients. Ideally, look for products that have undergone third-party testing and are certified by an independent organization such as IFOS, USP, NSF International, or the TGA.
Dosage: Pay close attention to the dosage, including the amount of EPA and DHA. Some products may also contain ALA, a form of omega-3 fatty acid found in plants that is converted to EPA and DHA in small amounts (2).
Fish oil source: You may want to consider the source of the fish oil as well. Ideally, opt for smaller, sustainably caught fish, like sardines and anchovies, which tend to contain lower levels of mercury (7).
Supplement type: There are also several forms of fish oil supplements, including softgels, liquids, or gummies. While some prefer the convenience and ease of capsules, liquids and gummies may work better for others.
The most common side effect of fish oil supplements is fishy burps, but there are now several “burpless” fish oil products on the market that claim to cut down on this unpleasant but harmless side effect.
If you experience nausea or vomiting after taking fish oil, check the expiration date. The oil may deteriorate and become rancid. Consider taking the supplement with a meal to decrease any uncomfortable side effects.
You can take fish oil every day. However, taking high doses of fish oil (at least 900 mg of EPA plus 600 mg DHA) over time may promote immune system suppression because of the powerful anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fats (1).
It’s important to check the dosages of EPA and DHA in your fish oil before you purchase so that you don’t buy one that could lead to this effect.
When is the best time to take fish oil?
The best time to take fish oil is when it’s most convenient and easiest for you to remember. Fish oil doesn’t offer immediate benefits, so what’s most important is that you take it consistently (19).
However, if you experience side effects from fish oil supplements, such as nausea or acid reflux, you may find the supplement easier to tolerate by splitting it into two smaller doses throughout the day.
Whether you take it in the morning, in the afternoon, or at night, experts recommend taking a fish oil supplement alongside a fat-containing meal for optimal absorption (20).
Is fish oil good for your hair?
There hasn’t been a great deal of research on fish oil for hair, but a 2018 study suggested that fermented fish oil could promote hair growth due in part to its DHA content (21).
However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of fish oil on hair health.
What medications should not be taken with fish oil?
In high doses, omega-3 products and fish oil supplements can have blood-thinning effects. For this reason, you should not take them without a healthcare professional’s approval if you’re also taking a blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin or another anticoagulant (1).
Useful supplement shopping guides
Check out these two articles to help you make supplement shopping a breeze: