There's no doubt about it: Fish oil supplements have long been a source of contention in the health community. With loads of information out there, it's tough to tell what works and what's worthless. Here's the good news: The best fish oil supplements actually have tons of potential health benefits, like the ability to help manage heart disease and lower blood pressure.
Researcher and doctor Stefan Jackowski agrees, but only in regard to fish oil that meets very specific standards. "Based on our research," he states, "it's important to look for omega-3 supplements with a high concentration (often called high purity) of EPA and DHA. Aim for products that contain at least 80 percent long chain poly unsaturated fatty acids (LC PUFAs)." That means that looking at the label is more important than ever when considering which fish oil to buy. Look for capsules that have at least 80 percent LC PUFAs out of the total milligrams in each capsule.
And what about toxins that can show up in even the purest fish oil products? While there currently aren't any brands that list potential toxins on their labels, Dr. Jackowski says the fatty acids in these supplements can become oxidized and toxic over time. There's a simple solution, though. "Checking the expiration or product manufacture date can give you a sense of potential elevated levels of oxidation," he says. So basically, just make sure your supplements aren't nearing their expiration date, and when they are, be sure to replace them ASAP.
To get the touted benefits of fish oil, it's important to look for a high concentration of LC PUFAs in a minimal amount of capsules, made with the least amount of artificial flavoring as possible. Here's a list of four high-quality fish oil supplements that meet Dr. Jackowski's recommendations.