TOP 10
FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS

SEE OUR 30 PRODUCT REPORTS.
WE TEST. YOU DECIDE.


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Due to the overwhelming popularity of this report, LabDoor is currently expanding the depth and breadth of our omega-3 analysis. Updated grades and rankings, including complete analyses of twenty new omega-3 supplements, plus PCB testing on all fifty omega-3 supplements, will be available soon. For more information on our entire fish oil analysis, please click here .


TESTING SUMMARY

ANALYSES PERFORMED

183 analytical chemistry assays on 30 best-selling fish oil supplements in the United States.

MUST-SEE STATISTIC

Label accuracy was a major issue for fish oil supplements. Total omega-3 content ranged from -60.0% to +62.5% versus their stated label claims.

UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM

Chewable and liquid-formulated fish oil supplements contained much lower EPA + DHA concentrations than their softgel counterparts.

LabDoor analyzed 30 best-selling fish oil supplements in the United States, measuring total omega-3 content, EPA and DHA quantities, vitamin D and CLA amounts, methylmercury concentration, and total oxidation values.

21/30 products demonstrated omega-3 levels that varied by over 10% off their label claims, 15 of which recorded a 25% variance between actual versus claimed content. EPA + DHA content also showed significant ingredient variance, ranging from -50.7% to +90.2% versus its stated label claims.

Every product contained measurable amounts of mercury, with 3 products recording 50% or greater of the allowable mercury content per serving. The majority of products passed oxidation (freshness) assays, although 1 product recorded a TOTOX score above the upper limit and 6 more products measured within 5% of the upper limit.


RANKINGS

   
   

FISH OIL | HIGHEST QUALITY LABDOOR’S QUALITY RANKING Compares products based on their label accuracy, manufacturing purity, nutritional value, ingredient safety, and projected efficacy.

FISH OIL | BEST VALUE LABDOOR’S VALUE RANKING Compares products based on their quality score and average price.

01 Product Image

Dr. Tobias Optimum Omega 3 Fish Oil

A
02 Product Image

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega D3

A
03 Product Image

Axis Labs Citrus Omega Fish Oil

A
04 Product Image

GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil

A
05 Product Image

NOW Foods Ultra Omega 3 Fish Oil

A-
06 Product Image

MRM Smart Blend

A-
07 Product Image

Nordic Naturals Baby's DHA

A-
08 Product Image

Nature Made Fish Oil

A-
09 Product Image

GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil Plus Krill

A-
10 Product Image

Nutrigold Triple Strength Omega-3 Gold

A-
• • •
11 Product Image

GNC Triple Cod Liver Oil

B+
12 Product Image

GNC Ultra Triple Strength Omega 1000

B+
13 Product Image

New Chapter Wholemega

B+
14 Product Image

Barlean's Organic Oils Omega Swirl Fish Oil

B+
15 Product Image

Coromega Omega-3

B+
16 Product Image

Sundown Triple Strength Odorless Fish Oil

B+
17 Product Image

Nature's Bounty Fish Oil

B+
18 Product Image

Kirkland Signature Omega-3 Fish Oil Concentrate

B+
19 Product Image

MusclePharm Fish Oil

B
20 Product Image

Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Purified Fish Oil

B
21 Product Image

Carlson Labs Very Finest Fish Oil

B
22 Product Image

Optimum Nutrition Fish Oil

B-
23 Product Image

MET-Rx Fish Oil with Vitamin D

B-
24 Product Image

Bodybuilding.com Foundation Series Fish Oil

B-
25 Product Image

GNC Fish Oil 1000

B-
26 Product Image

Nordic Naturals Nordic Omega-3 Fishies

C+
27 Product Image

Natrol Omega-3

C+
28 Product Image

Top Secret Nutrition Fish Oil & CLA

C
29 Product Image

MET-Rx Triple Omega

C-
30 Product Image

Nature Made Cod Liver Oil

D
01 Product Image

Nature Made Fish Oil

 
02 Product Image

Axis Labs Citrus Omega Fish Oil

 
03 Product Image

NOW Foods Ultra Omega 3 Fish Oil

 
04 Product Image

Kirkland Signature Omega-3 Fish Oil Concentrate

 
05 Product Image

GNC Triple Cod Liver Oil

 
06 Product Image

Dr. Tobias Optimum Omega 3 Fish Oil

 
07 Product Image

GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil

 
08 Product Image

MRM Smart Blend

 
09 Product Image

Nutrigold Triple Strength Omega-3 Gold

 
10 Product Image

GNC Fish Oil 1000

 
• • •
11 Product Image

Bodybuilding.com Foundation Series Fish Oil

 
12 Product Image

Carlson Labs Very Finest Fish Oil

 
13 Product Image

Optimum Nutrition Fish Oil

 
14 Product Image

MusclePharm Fish Oil

 
15 Product Image

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega D3

 
16 Product Image

Natrol Omega-3

 
17 Product Image

Coromega Omega-3

 
18 Product Image

Nature Made Cod Liver Oil

 
19 Product Image

MET-Rx Fish Oil with Vitamin D

 
20 Product Image

GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil Plus Krill

 
21 Product Image

GNC Ultra Triple Strength Omega 1000

 
22 Product Image

Nordic Naturals Baby's DHA

 
23 Product Image

Sundown Triple Strength Odorless Fish Oil

 
24 Product Image

MET-Rx Triple Omega

 
25 Product Image

New Chapter Wholemega

 
26 Product Image

Nature's Bounty Fish Oil

 
27 Product Image

Barlean's Organic Oils Omega Swirl Fish Oil

 
28 Product Image

Top Secret Nutrition Fish Oil & CLA

 
29 Product Image

Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Purified Fish Oil

 
30 Product Image

Nordic Naturals Nordic Omega-3 Fishies

 

SCIENTIFIC TESTING RESULTS

FISH OIL | LABEL ACCURACY

  • Total omega-3 content varied by an average of 24.3% versus the stated label claims, compared to a 31.6% average variance in EPA content and a 20.3% average variance in DHA content.
  • Nature Made Cod Liver Oil, MET-Rx Fish Oil with Vitamin D, and Top Secret Nutrition Fish Oil & CLA were all penalized for failing to disclose EPA & DHA content on their product labels.
  • Nature Made Fish Oil was ranked #1 in overall label accuracy, recording just a 2.8% variance in total omega-3 content and measuring within 5% of its EPA & DHA claims.

KEY FINDING

EPA + DHA content ranged from -50.7% to +90.2% versus its products' stated label claims.


FISH OIL | PRODUCT PURITY

  • Every fish oil supplement contained measurable amounts of mercury, with the category averaging 2.9 PPB (parts per billion) of mercury. LabDoor set its upper limit for mercury content at 10 PPB. The worst offenders were Nature Made Cod Liver Oil and Natrol's Omega-3, which both recorded mercury levels of 6 PPB.
  • Our scientists also focused on each oil's freshness, measured by the degree of oxidation. Oxidation occurs in two phases: primary (measured by peroxide values) and secondary (measured by p-anisidine values). Total oxidation is formalized into a quantitative score, TOTOX. All products recorded measurable levels of oxidation; the category averaged a TOTOX score of 21.3 (Upper Limit = 26). The majority of products measured scores above 20.

KEY FINDING

12/30 products recorded peroxide levels (measure of primary oxidation) at or above the upper limit.


FISH OIL | NUTRITIONAL VALUE

  • Each product's Nutrition Facts label was algorithmically analyzed to compare total calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and carbohydrate content per serving. Additionally, all vitamin content was compared to established upper limits for these nutrients.
  • Our scientists also measured the concentration of EPA + DHA content in each serving. Average EPA/DHA concentration was measured at 41%, a figure that ranged from 2-94% in the 30 products analyzed in this study.

KEY FINDING

Non-softgel fish oil supplements contained far lower concentrations of EPA and DHA content, likely due to the addition of inactive ingredients like fillers and sweeteners.


FISH OIL | INGREDIENT SAFETY

  • Fish oil safety is strongly tied to product purity. Contamination (mercury concentration) and rancidity (TOTOX score) both may contribute to the development of adverse health effects.
  • Added inactive ingredients also contribute to product safety. Eight supplements in this study contained ‘natural’ flavors such as citrus-derived additives. One product, Coromega Omega-3, also contained benzoic acid, a popular antibacterial agent linked to carcinogenic risks when combined with vitamin C.

KEY FINDING

Every product contained measurable amounts of methylmercury, with 3 products recording 50% or greater of the allowable methylmercury content per serving.


FISH OIL | PROJECTED EFFICACY

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are clinically shown to improve cardiovascular conditions (including hyperlipidemia, coronary heart disease, and hypertension) and, according to limited evidence, may also improve cognitive performance, reduce anxiety, enhance athletic performance, and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
  • Fish oil supplements in our study averaged 435.7mg EPA + 239.8mg DHA in a single serving. These average values were stretched by outliers on both extremes of the spectrum. Nature Made Cod Liver Oil measured only 50mg EPA + 50mg DHA per serving while Dr. Tobias Optimum Omega-3 Fish Oil recorded a category-high 920mg EPA + 600mg DHA per serving (460mg EPA + 300mg DHA per capsule).
  • As a point of reference, Lovaza, an FDA-approved omega-3 supplement, contains 465mg EPA + 375mg DHA per capsule.

KEY FINDING

Based on current scientific research, existing international standards, and recommendations from medical experts, LabDoor set a daily intake standard of 1000mg EPA + DHA, consisting of 400mg EPA and 600mg DHA, for the purposes of our calculations.

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