The 10 Best Omega-3 And Fish Oil Products In 2018

Anders Nedergaard
af Anders Nedergaard - PhD & MSc in human biology

Looking for the best fish oil? Candidlab have analyzed the content and assessed the quality of omega-3 content in each product. The price has been assessed in relation to the alternatives on the market. Find the top 10 fish oil supplements on the market in 2018 here, now.

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THE BEST OMEGA-3 FISH OIL ON THE MARKET

  • Myprotein Omega 3

    1. Myprotein Omega 3

    Myprotein Omega 3
    Total score 8.9
    Total score
    8.9
     

    1. Myprotein Omega 3

    Myprotein Omega 3 is the best fish oil supplement available on the market. It is an effective supplement that covers 100% of EFSA’s recommended daily dosage of the important omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Furthermore, Myprotein Omega 3 is one of the cheapest omega 3 supplements available on the market with a daily price of 0.09 pounds.

    8.9
    Vendor Price Shipping Total  
    Myprotein 7.99 £ 2.95 £ 10.94 £ Go to store
  • 2. Olimp Gold Omega 3

    Olimp Gold Omega 3
    Total score 8.6
    Total score
    8.6
     

    #2 Olimp Gold Omega 3

    Olimp Gold Omega 3 is the second best omega 3 supplement in our tests. It satisfies EFSA (European Food Safety Authority)’s daily recommendations, qualifying it as a sensible product. The price is also favorable, with a daily serving price of 0.1 pounds.

    8.6
    Vendor Price Shipping Total  
    Amazon 12.17 £ 0 £ 12.17 £ Go to store
    Powerbody 14.61 £ 2.95 £ 17.56 £ Go to store
    HPnutrition 14.9 £ 4.9 £ 19.8 £ Go to store
  • 3. Myprotein Omega Balance

    Myprotein Omega Balance
    Total score 7.9
    Total score
    7.9
     

    #3 Myprotein Omega Balance

    Myprotein Omega Balance ended up in third place, despite containing reasonable amounts of Omega 3’s at a decent price. However, it is margins that makes the difference in this product category. The daily dosage supplies you with 1200.0 mg of EPA and DHA, which is sufficient to saturate health benefit for fish oil according to current guidelines. In addition to that, the price for daily usage is 0.23.

    7.9
    Vendor Price Shipping Total  
    Myprotein 25.19 £ 2.95 £ 28.14 £ Go to store
    Ebay 31.49 £ 0 £ 31.49 £ Go to store
  • 4. Reflex Omega 3

    Reflex Omega 3
    Total score 7.9
    Total score
    7.9
     

    #4 Reflex Omega 3

    Reflex Omega 3 is a product of high quality and putting it in the upper third in quality score. On the other hand, it costs 0.23 pounds per day. Therefore, the price is not in the top third of the test.

    7.9
    Vendor Price Shipping Total  
    Dolphin Fitness 6.9 £ 0 £ 6.9 £ Go to store
    Amazon 9.42 £ 0 £ 9.42 £ Go to store
    Cardiff Sports Nutrition 6.9 £ 2.99 £ 9.89 £ Go to store
  • 5. Biotech Omega 3

    Biotech Omega 3
    Total score 7.7
    Total score
    7.7
     

    #5 Biotech Omega 3

    Biotech Omega 3 costs 0.26 pounds per day and thus ended up in the middle third of the tested fish oil products. The price is not competitive enough to bring this product among the best products available on the market.

    7.7
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HOW WE REVIEW OMEGA-3 SUPPLEMENTS

omega-3 supplements are scored on price and expected efficacy (quality). The process for assesing and calculating the price score can be found on the page ‘How we review’ while the system quality score is outlined below. Price and quality are given equal weights in the total score. We primarily review the quality of the omega-3 and fish oil products based upon their content of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

Essential fatty acids

There are only two essential groups of fatty acids. The word essential refers to the fact that our bodies cannot produce them. Therefore, we need these two groups of fatty acids from either our diets or from supplementation in order to maintain regular function and stay healthy. The first one is the omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and the omega-6 fatty acid LA (linoleic acid).

omega-3 fatty acids

Research has shown that at there are at least 6 physiological relevant omega-3 fatty acids that all exist in nature to various degrees. However, the most important ones, from a physiological perspective, are ALA, EPA and DHA. ALA is found in plants – especially in seeds and flax seeds. Our bodies will convert ALA, through a long chain of chemical pathways, to EPA and DHA. The vast majority of physiological effects connected to omega-3 fatty acids are derived from EPA and DHA. The probable reason is that both are transformed into a variety of signal substances, the most important being prostaglandins and leukotrienes. These signal substances act anti-inflammatory and help regulate the immune system, metabolism, recovery, wound healing and much more (1, 2).

As mentioned, ALA is converted to EPA and DHA in the body. EPA can also be converted to DHA and vice versa (neither can be converted back to ALA). However, the conversion is not always effective and can be futher compromised by metabolic diseases (such as diabetes), genetic polymorphisms or high intake of omega-6 fatty acids. This means that intake, whether from diet or supplementation, of EPA and DHA is superior to ALA and the remaining omega-3 fatty acids, in meeting the bodily requirements for omega-3 fatty acids and the downstream cytokines and hormones they give rise to.

Why not omega-6 fatty acids?

Omega-6 fatty acids work in the same way as omega-3s in the way that there is a handful of physiologically relevant omega-6 fatty acids that are all found in nature. Furthermore, the main effects of omega-6 fatty acids are derived from prostaglandins and leukotrienes made from omega-6 fatty acids (different from those the omega-3 fatty acids are converted to).

There are several reasons why it is usully inappropriate to increase consumption of omega-6 fatty acids. First of all, several of the signal substances that your body will make from omega-6 fatty acids, are pro-inflammatory. Second, most people already get plenty of omega-6 from their diet and, third, omega-6 fatty acids competes with omega-3s for some of the same enzymes, which means that an imbalance in the ratio between the two can greatly influence which prostaglandins and leukotrienes are produced.

This is the reason why the scientific literature often mention that the balance between the omega-3 and -6 in the diet has independent significance, in addition to the absolute amounts of omega-3 and -6 consumed. The western diet typically has a ratio of omega-6 and -3 between 50:1 and 100:1 while the proposed optimal ratio is between 4:1 and 1:1 (3).

What does omega-3 supplementation do?

In the case of insufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids or perhaps a low intake ratio of omega-3 relative to omega-6, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may offer a range of interesting biological effects.

omega-3 supplementation lowers the level of triglycerides (fat) in the blood. This effect is observed both in healthy subjects as well as individuals with elevated levels of triglycerides (4).

Supplementation with omega-3 decreased blood pressure in some, not all, studies. Lower blood pressure was primarily observed in people with high blood pressure to begin with (5, 6).

It is generally reported that omega-3 supplementation has anti-inflammatory properties and although that might be true it is a vague description. Scientific research has shown that supplemtation of omega-3 can reduced pain under conditions where inflamation plays a central role. For example in inflammatory gout diseases (7-10).

If someone already suffered from a blood clot, it is very well documented that supplementation with omega-3 significantly reduces the risk of dying from another blood clot – by up to 30% (11). For the general healthy population, the evidence is less clear. Some studies observe a decrease in mortality, while others do not (12-14).

DHA is also especially important during the fetal development for the formation of the brain. Public health organizations have specific recommendations for intake of DHA during pregnancy in most countries.

How we review omega-3 fish oil supplements

When we calculate our quality score the individual weights of essential omega-3 fatty acids are as follows ALA: 20%, EPA: 40% and DHA: 40%. For each of these three fatty acids we score them, linearly, for up to 1600 mg of ALA, 250 mg of EPA and 250 mg of DHA, getting 100% at the threshold score and above. Furthermore, for each of these ingredients the maximum scores continue up to halfway towards the TUL (tolerable Upper Level of Intake) border. If the content of a supplement crosses this border the score will decrease, linearly, until it returns to zero at the TUL limit. There is no TUL for ALA but it is 1800 mg for EPA and 3200 mg for DHA. Note that all of these values are analysed per serving as defined by the manufacturer.

FAQ

What is the recommended intake?

In Europe, EFSA (Europen Food and Safety Authority) recommends an intake of 250 mg in total of EPA and DHA for the general population. When pregnant the intake should be increased by 100 to 200 mg DHA (15). In Scandinavia, it is recommended that 1% of your daily energy intake should be from omega-3 fatty acids – this recommendation is not focused exclusively on EPA and DHA (16). In the US, it is recommended by Institute of Medicine that adult men consume 1600 mg of ALA and a minimum of 160 mg of EPA + DHA. Furthermore, they recommend 1100 mg of ALA and a minimum of 110 EPA + DHA for women (17). This recommendation can under normal circumstances be met by consuming fat fish two to three times a week (there are between one and two grams of EPA and DHA in total per 100 grams of fat fish like salmon and herring).

Can you get too much omega-3?

It may be possible to get too much omega-3, since many of the signal substances that the essential fatty acids are converted to kan have relevant biological effects. One of the biggest concerns is bleeding disorders and disturbances in the ability to regulate the immune system appropriately. EFSA’s safety panel has examined the litterature and states that combined amounts of EPA and DHA up to 5 grams per day, and up to 1.8 grams of EPA per day by itself, are considered safe for adult persons (18).

What about rancidity, environmental toxins and heavy metals?

Heavy metals will bind to adipose tissue and certain proteins in the body. This is why heavy metals are increasingly contentrating up through the food chain. In the ocean, the large predatory fish are at the top of the food chain and thus where heavy metals, and other environmental toxins, are most concentrated. Therefore, this has given rise to concern as to whether humans kan consume too many heavy metals by consuming fatty fish or fish oil.

Likewise, polyunsaturated fatty acids are susceptible to odidation – commoncly called rancidity. The body cannot use omega-3 fatty acids that are oxidized, which is why rancidity causes a loss of the biologically relevant fatty acids. In addition, rancidity typically also results in a more fishy taste as well as odor. It has been speculated if rancid fatty acids could have an adverse effect. However, there is not much research available. EFSA has set af point of reference and conclude that there currently is no evidence to suggest that rancidity could make fish oil products harmful (19, 20). Rancidity (oxidation) does reduce the amount of EPA and DHA and thus make the fish oil less biologically active. However, there is no reason to connect rancidity to any adverse effects. It is also worth noting that there has not been screened for rancidity in, by far, most of the scientific studies conducted with fish oil. This means that most of the supplements used in these studies have had varying degrees of rancidity and still found the health benefits that we have previously outlined.

In Denmark, the consumer organization ‘Tænk’ has recently tested ten different fish oil products for heavy metals and rancidity. They found that the levels of environmental toxins and heavy metals were far below the permitted levels for all the products. Furthermore, the wast majority were completely free of both environmental toxins and rancidity. This indicates that contamination is not an issue – at least in this test.

There are international certification programs, such as IFOS, where brands, producers or manufacturers can get their fish oil product tested. By passing the test they will obtain certification of purity but there is no evidence to suggest that it is associated with better biological activity in fish oil supplements.

Reference list

  1. Arterburn LM, Hall EB, Oken H. Distribution, interconversion, and dose response of n−3 fatty acids in humans. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2006;83(6):S1467–1476S.
  2. Wall R, Ross RP, Fitzgerald GF, Stanton C. Fatty acids from fish: the anti‐inflammatory potential of long‐chain omega‐3 fatty acids [Internet]. Nutr. Rev. [published online ahead of print: 2010];http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00287.x/full. cited
  3. Simopoulos AP. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomed. Pharmacother. 2002;56(8):365–379.
  4. Friedberg CE, Janssen MJ, Heine RJ, Grobbee DE. Fish oil and glycemic control in diabetes. A meta-analysis. Diabetes Care 1998;21(4):494–500.
  5. Colussi G, Catena C, Novello M, Bertin N, Sechi LA. Impact of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on vascular function and blood pressure: Relevance for cardiovascular outcomes. Nutr. Metab. Cardiovasc. Dis. 2017;27(3):191–200.
  6. Miller PE, Van Elswyk M, Alexander DD. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid and blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am. J. Hypertens. 2014;27(7):885–896.
  7. Senftleber NK et al. Marine Oil Supplements for Arthritis Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials [Internet]. Nutrients 2017;9(1). doi:10.3390/nu9010042
  8. Lewis JS, Sandford FM. Rotator cuff tendinopathy: is there a role for polyunsaturated Fatty acids and antioxidants?. J. Hand Ther. 2009;22(1):49–55; quiz 56.
  9. Goldberg RJ, Katz J. A meta-analysis of the analgesic effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation for inflammatory joint pain. Pain 2007;129(1-2):210–223.
  10. Lee Y-H, Bae S-C, Song G-G. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: a meta-analysis. Arch. Med. Res. 2012;43(5):356–362.
  11. Bucher HC, Hengstler P, Schindler C, Meier G. N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am. J. Med. 2002;112(4):298–304.
  12. Hooper L et al. Risks and benefits of omega 3 fats for mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review. BMJ 2006;332(7544):752–760.
  13. Chen G-C, Yang J, Eggersdorfer M, Zhang W, Qin L-Q. N-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of all-cause mortality among general populations: a meta-analysis. Sci. Rep. 2016;6:28165.
  14. Wan Y, Zheng J, Wang F, Li D. Fish, long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids consumption, and risk of all-cause mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis from 23 independent prospective cohort studies. Asia Pac. J. Clin. Nutr. 2017;26(5):939–956.
  15. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies (NDA). Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for fats, including saturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, and cholesterol. EFSA Journal 2010(8 (3)):1461–1568.
  16. Nordic Council of Ministers. Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2012: Integrating nutrition and physical activity. Nordic Council of Ministers; 2014:
  17. Institute of Medicine et al. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. National Academies Press; 2005:
  18. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products NAA (nda). Scientific Opinion on the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) [Internet]. EFSA Journal 2012;10(7). doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2012.2815
  19. Cameron-Smith D, Albert BB, Cutfield WS. Fishing for answers: is oxidation of fish oil supplements a problem?. J. Nutr. Sci. 2015;4:e36.
  20. Collins JD et al. Scientific Opinion on Fish Oil for Human Consumption [Internet]. EFSA Journal 2010;8(10).http://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/scientific_output/files/main_documents/1874.pdf. cited

Last modified: 7. August 2018

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