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You’ve probably heard that omega-3 fats are essential to the human body. However, it is one type of fat that the body cannot simply produce. Instead, it must come from food and supplements, like nuts, vegetable oils and fish. One of the benefits of fish oil in a supplement is that you can take it every day to help ensure your body is getting enough omega-3s.
Fish oil is fat or oil extracted from fish tissue. It typically comes from oily fish like herring, tuna, anchovies, trout, salmon and mackerel. The best fish oil will offer an excellent source of omega-3 fats. Your body uses omega-3s as a base for hormones that regulate blood clotting, control inflammation and control artery wall function. As a result, experts believe there are numerous health benefits of fish oil.
Of course, before you add fish oil to your daily supplement regimen, it’s wise to learn more about it. For instance, when you know the other benefits of fish oil, who benefits most from it and any potential side effects, you can make an informed decision about whether you should begin taking it.
Known Benefits of Fish Oil
- Evidence suggests fish oil can significantly reduce blood triglyceride levels. High triglyceride levels can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and pancreatitis. Omega-3s may also slightly improve HDL or “good” cholesterol.
- Fish oil supports brain health. For example, it may improve brain function in older adults at risk for cognitive decline. And several studies show it could be beneficial to mental health, potentially decreasing depression and stabilizing moods.
- Omega-3s like those in fish oil may boost eye health. For example, they can reduce dry eye and help prevent eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration.
- Research shows that omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory properties. Some research suggests that fish oil could help manage inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as coronary heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis and even migraines.
- Along with inflammation, fish oil can support a healthy liver. It may reduce the amount of fat in the liver and reduce symptoms of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which fat accumulates in the liver.
Risks, Side Effects and Considerations
Most adults can benefit from taking fish oil. However, there are a few instances when you might want to avoid this supplement. For instance, because it can decrease your body’s ability to form blood clots, people who take anticoagulant medication, commonly known as blood thinners, should avoid fish oil. Higher doses can also elevate blood glucose, making it potentially unsuitable for diabetics.
Fish oil may slightly lower blood pressure, which could be significant if you are already taking medication for hypertension. It can also decrease vitamin E levels. Milder side effects can include bad breath, heartburn, a fishy aftertaste and rash — especially in people with fish or shellfish allergies.
As with any new supplement, it’s a good idea to talk to your primary care provider before adding fish oil to your daily vitamins.
Also, not all fish oils are created equal. Taking a moderate dose, such as one capsule per day with your largest meal, of a high-quality brand can help you reap the benefits of fish oil without experiencing adverse side effects. Following are some of the top-rated omega-3 fish oil brands available on Amazon.
Dr. Tobias extra-strength fish oil soft gel capsules contain the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Each dose provides 1,400 milligrams of omega-3. In addition, the pills have a special coating to support absorption while decreasing the fishy aftertaste that comes from some fish oil supplements. And since the company sources wild-caught fish and uses an advanced purification process, you don’t have to worry about GMOs or toxins.
This fish oil supplement has more than 32,800 ratings at Amazon with 4.6 stars overall. Many customers who’ve reviewed the soft gels say that it helps with symptoms of dry eye and that they find it a high-quality product. They also like that this fish oil, less than $32 for 180 capsules as of this writing, has high levels of EPA and DHA, which are beneficial types of omega-3 fatty acids.
“We use this as an accompaniment to a prescription for omega-3,” one reviewer wrote. “The pharmacy version is more expensive, and this helps stretch our dollars.”
This supplement has a high dose of omega-3s in each pill. Made with natural lemon oil, they have a mild flavor that prevents an unpleasant fishy taste. The fish oil is sourced from wild-caught fish using sustainable and traceable practices and is triple certified by Marin Trust, Friend of the Seas and Dolphin Safe.
Arazo Nutrition fish oil is discounted to $24.95 for 120 soft gels as of this writing. There is also a 5% off coupon available on the product page. The supplement has 4.6 stars overall with more than 25,300 ratings.
Nature Made is the supplement brand that’s most recommended by pharmacists in nine product segments, so you can feel confident taking this fish oil supplement. These capsules are coated to reduce fishy-tasting burps or aftertaste. In addition, they are gluten-free, dairy-free and have no added color or artificial flavors.
The supplement has more than 12,800 ratings at Amazon and an impressive 4.7 stars out of 5. Customers who reviewed the fish oil call it “truly burpless” and easy to swallow with no aftertaste.
“I decided to try these Nature Made Softgels because my cardiologist mentioned the brand along with a few others,” wrote reviewer Patty T. “The serving size is two soft gels and they are big but I have no problem swallowing them. They are soft and go down easy.”
At about $14 for 150 soft gels, Nature Made fish oil provides 300 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per soft gel, with 250 milligrams of EPA and DHA.
This fish oil supplement is extracted using a proprietary method from sustainably caught fish from Iceland. Each serving delivers 1,200 milligrams of EPA, 900 milligrams of DHA, and 150 milligrams of other omega-3s. BioSchwartz fish oil, $16.17 for a 30-day supply of 90 soft gels at Amazon, has lemon flavor added to counter any fishy aftertaste. The capsules are manufactured without GMOs, soy, gluten, milk, egg, wheat, peanuts and artificial ingredients.