The 8 Best Fish Oil Supplements of 2021, According to a Dietitian

Plus, what to consider—from form and dosage to ingredients

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Our Top Picks
Made from the highest quality ingredients, contains potent omega-3s, and is easy to take with no fishy aftertaste.
Sustainably-sourced using wild-caught, smaller fish.
Best Budget Runner-Up:
Now Foods Ultra Omega-3 at Amazon
Enteric-coated and odor-controlled, so it’s unlikely to produce fish burps or cause nausea or reflux.
A recipient of numerous awards for taste and quality.
Best Sustainably-Sourced:
Carlson EcoSmart Omega-3 at Amazon
Made from highly sustainable calamari species.
Provides 205 milligrams of EPA, 480 milligrams of DHA, and 145 milligrams of other omega-3s from anchovies and sardines.
Best Vegan Omega-3 Supplement:
Nordic Naturals Algae Omega at Amazon
Made with algae oil, this vegan supplement contains 715 milligrams of Omega-3, including both EPA and DHA.
Best Liquid for Kids:
BARLEAN'S Omega Pals at Amazon
Take it alone or mixed into water, juice, smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal.

Fish oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are shown to boost heart health, improve mood, and reduce joint inflammation. Fish oil generally contains two forms of omega-3s: DHA and EPA, which are found in shellfish and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and trout. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of low-mercury fatty fish per week, but if you don't like the taste of fish or are not a fan of cooking it, a fish oil supplement can help you meet your omega-3 needs.

Omega-3 fish oil supplements may even be beneficial for the whole family. Omega-3s support neurodevelopment during pregnancy and infancy, and protect against childhood allergies and improve ADHD behaviors. They can even reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease throughout one's lifespan.

Choosing a high-quality fish oil supplement is essential to ensure you're not consuming harmful ingredients like mercury. There are many options and forms on the market to help you meet your needs, including gummies, capsules, and liquids.

What to Look for in a Fish Oil Supplement


Fish oil usually features two types of omega-3 fatty acids: DHA and EPA. In supplement form, these omega-3s come as triglycerides or are refined into ethyl esters, which allow chemists to adjust the specific DHA and EPA concentrations.

Some research suggests that triacylglycerides (another name for triglycerides) are absorbed better than their more processed ethyl ester counterparts. For the most absorbable omega-3s, look for the terms FFA (free fatty acids), TG (triglycerides), or rTG (re-esterified triglycerides) on the label.


A general daily dose is approximately 300 to 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA, but there are no established recommended daily amounts for EPA and DHA. However, adequate intake recommendations based on one's age and sex exist for ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid found mainly in plant oils. Always speak with your health care provider about the appropriate dosage when considering adding a fish oil supplement to your wellness routine.

Quality Assurance:

To ensure you're getting high-quality omega-3 fatty acids without any harmful contaminants or chemicals like mercury, choose a clean, sustainable, third-party tested fish oil supplement. Note that governmental fish oil quality standards don’t exist in the United States.

Look to the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED), the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS), and California’s Proposition 65 for voluntary guidelines. Certifications such as Marine Stewardship Council, Friend of the Sea, GOED, and IFOS assure that products meet these high standards for purity, potency, and freshness.

Additional Ingredients:

Some fish oils contain complementary, fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin A and vitamin D that work with omega-3 fats to boost health. When selecting a fish oil supplement, consider all ingredients on the label, making note of any possible allergens, and discuss them with your health care provider.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements—you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here

Here are the best fish oil supplements.

Best Overall: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega

An excellent fish oil supplement is made from the highest quality ingredients, contains potent omega-3s, and is easy to ingest with no fishy aftertaste. Nordic Naturals' Ultimate Omega checks all these boxes. The soft gels have a fresh lemon taste and are made from 100 percent wild-caught sardines and anchovies.

Each two-soft-gel serving contains 1280 milligrams of total omega-3s—with 650 milligrams EPA, 450 milligrams DHA, and 180 milligrams of other omega-3s. The non-GMO verified supplement is in the highly absorbable triglyceride molecular form and is composed of over 90 percent triglyceride-form omegas.

Like all Nordic Naturals' fish oil products, Ultimate Omega is Friend of the Sea certified, third-party purity tested, and backed by over 50 research studies. And if you're not a fan of swallowing pills, Nordic Naturals offers the same product in liquid form.

Best Budget: InnovixLabs Triple Strength Omega-3, 200 Capsules

InnovixLabs Triple Strength Omega-3 Concentrated Fish Oil is a high-quality product without a big price tag. The concentrated formula delivers more omega-3 per pill than other fish oil pills—so you can get all the benefits in fewer capsules.

The pill’s all-natural enteric coating means there’s no odor or fishy aftertaste, and doesn't cause fish burps. InnovixLabs uses fish that are wild-caught, using sustainable fishing methods. This fish oil is verified by multiple third-party testing and is IFOS 5-star certified for purity, potency, and freshness.

Best Budget Runner-Up: Now Foods Ultra Omega-3 500 EPA/250 DHA

NOW Ultra Omega 3 Fish Oil is another fish oil supplement that delivers a lot of bang for your buck. It’s manufactured under strict quality control standards and tested to be free from harmful mercury, PCBs, and other contaminants.

The soft gel is enteric-coated and odor-controlled, so it’s unlikely to produce fish burps or cause nausea or reflux. Each soft gel contains 500 milligrams of EPA and 250 milligrams of DHA to support brain health.

Additionally, NOW is a member of GOED, a global organization focused on increasing the consumption of EPA and DHA. The GOED logo is also an indicator of quality, as GOED members are required to certify that they will adhere to voluntary quality benchmarks.

Best Liquid: Carlson The Very Finest Fish Oil

If you have trouble swallowing pills and aren't a fan of gummies, you may want to try Carlson Labs' The Very Finest Fish Oil. Each teaspoon of the potent liquid provides 1,600 milligrams of omega-3s, with 800 milligrams EPA and 500 milligrams DHA from Norwegian fish oil. The liquid's slightly lemon-y taste makes it palatable and easy to swallow, with no bad aftertaste or fishy burps.

Carlson Labs recommends taking the supplement once or twice daily at mealtime. Evidence suggests that consuming fish oil supplements with a high-fat meal may improve the absorption of EPA and DHA.

A recipient of numerous awards for taste and quality, this fish oil is made with the highest quality, deep cold-water fish using traditional, sustainable methods. Carlson carefully manages the fish oil’s production, from sea to store, and guarantees its freshness, potency, and purity. It's also IFOS and IGEN non-GMO certified. Note that this product requires refrigeration.

Best Sustainably-Sourced: Carlson EcoSmart Omega-3

Choosing a sustainably sourced fish oil supports the long-term well-being of the oceans and protects the vitality of harvested species. Most of the EPA and DHA for supplements are sourced from small fatty fish in coastal waters that deplete global fish stocks—however, Carlson Labs' EcoSmart Omega-3 is made from a highly sustainable calamari species. The potent supplement is Friend of the Sea and IFOS certified. It's good for you—and the earth.

Each two soft gel serving contains 720 milligrams of DHA and 280 milligrams of EPA. The slight citrus flavor masks any fishy taste, and the product uses vitamin E as a preservative instead of artificial ingredients.

You can rest assured knowing that the gluten-free supplement is regularly tested by independent labs to ensure that it is free of harmful levels of mercury, cadmium, lead, and other contaminants.

Best Prenatal: Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA

Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA Softgels

The World Association of Perinatal Medicine recommends that pregnant women consume at least 200 milligrams of DHA daily to support infant brain, retina, and nervous system development. Research suggests that infants whose mothers supplemented with DHA during pregnancy had a healthier immune system.

One serving of Nordic Naturals' Prenatal DHA provides 205 milligrams of EPA, 480 milligrams of DHA, and 145 milligrams of other omega-3s from anchovies and sardines. The soft gels also provide 400 IU of highly absorbable vitamin D3 for an added immune boost and support the growing fetus' increased vitamin D needs. The unflavored soft gels are easy-to-swallow and won't make you queasy. Plus, like all top-quality Nordic Naturals supplements, the product is third-party purity tested and non-GMO verified.

If you don't finish all the supplements while pregnant, you may want to keep taking it in the postpartum period, pending your healthcare provider's approval. Evidence shows that DHA boosts mood in moms—especially in the postpartum period—as the fetus and placenta deplete the EPA and DHA stores from the mother during pregnancy.

Best Vegan Omega-3 Supplement: Nordic Naturals Algae Omega 715 mg Omega-3 - Plant-Based EPA & DHA

Getting both EPA and DHA omega-3s on a vegan diet can be difficult, as that combination is most commonly found in fish. However, algae also contain these heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3s. Think of it as going directly to the source, as the omega-3s in fish like mackerel, anchovies, herring, and sardines primarily comes from their plankton and algae-rich diet. Salmon is higher on the food chain, and feeds off these smaller fish, retaining the omega-3s from their algae diets.

Nordic Naturals Algae Omega is made with algae oil and contains 715 milligrams of Omega-3, including 195 milligrams of EPA and 390 mg of DHA. Additionally, it is third-party tested for potency and purity, certified vegan, non-GMO verified, and sustainably sourced.

Best Liquid for Kids: BARLEAN'S Omega Pals Chirpin' Slurpin' Lemonade Fish Oil

While many parents want their kids to get the beneficial omega-3s in fish oil, forcing them to take fishy-smelling supplements is no fun. That’s where Barlean’s Kids Omega Pals Chirpin' Slurpin' Lemonade Fish Oil comes in. Thanks to its natural lemonade flavor, the liquid supplement tastes delicious, without any artificial flavors or colors. It is also sweetened with xylitol, a sugar alcohol that is considered safe by the FDA.

Whether your kids take the supplement alone or prefer it mixed into water, juice, smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal, it goes down smoothly and doesn’t produce any fishy burps. Omega Pals is made with the highest quality, ultra-purified, natural triglyceride fish oil, and it contains no mercury or other heavy metals. This non-GMO and gluten-free fish oil is emulsified, so it has three times the absorption rate of regular fish oil or soft gels.

One 1.5 teaspoon serving contains 330 milligrams of EPA, 210 milligrams of DHA, and 135 milligrams of other omega-3 fatty acids. To properly preserve the fish oil, store the product in the refrigerator after opening.

Final Verdict

For a great fish oil supplement in capsule form, try Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega (view at Amazon). With 1280 milligrams of total omega-3s—with 650 milligrams EPA, 450 milligrams DHA, and 180 milligrams of other omega-3s—it has all you need, conveniently packaged in two soft gel capsules.


How much fish oil should I take each day?

While there are no specific recommendations for fish oil supplementation dosage, there are recommendations for total omega-3 fatty acid intake. Current guidelines advise a daily intake of 250 to 500 milligrams of omega-3s from both DHA and EPA—the two main omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil—and 1,100 milligrams or 1,600 milligrams total omega-3 daily intake for women and men respectively.

Most fish oil supplements supply around 300 milligrams of combined DHA and EPA per 1000 milligrams. Be sure to check the supplement label for serving size and total amounts of DHA and EPA. Alternatively, you can simply eat two 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish a week to meet your DHA and EPA needs.

What does fish oil do?

Fish oil is an excellent source of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat is considered an essential nutrient—since our bodies do not produce it, we must obtain it from our diet.

There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids. The main types found in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These two types are important for brain growth and development. They are also more readily absorbed by the body than the third type, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is mostly found in plant-based sources.

Fish oil may have heart-protective effects, as it may raise “good” HDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and reduce blood pressure. It might also aid weight loss, fight inflammation, and reduce anxiety.

What Experts Say

"Fish oil is a treasure trove in the world of nutrition, thanks to its supportive role in keeping the majority of the cells in our body healthy. Fish oil also plays a huge role in maintaining a strong immune system, which is especially vital in this day and age. When taking a supplement, be sure it comes from a reputable brand with transparent labeling and ingredients."— Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, MS, RD

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I am careful to recommend supplements. I spent time reviewing the most current clinical research on fish oil and omega-3 supplementation and looking at multiple products and brands. I believe that the fish oil supplements in the round-up are made by trusted brands, and I would feel comfortable recommending these to clients and patients in my clinical practice.Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

Alex Aldeborgh, MS, RD contributed to the FAQ section of this article.

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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