The past couple of years were when I first began taking fish oil supplements. At first, people would recommend me different brands. As someone completely new to fish oil, I didn’t know what to expect or what I needed from a supplement, so I ended up trying a few for a couple months and then switching to see if it made any difference. As noted in some of my previous reviews, I take care of anything I put in my body, making sure to at least do some brief research prior to purchasing.
On this post, I will go over why you might need to take fish oil supplements, some of the benefits you may get as a result of consuming daily, and also go over possible side effects. I will then review the two best fish oil supplements you can take and why I trust putting those in my body every day.
Why you might need to take fish oil:
Bone or joint pain
If you have ever found yourself unable to do something active because of pain in your joints, you might want to consider fish oil. In fact, some of you may already have been recommended by your doctor, as fish oil is a popular suggestion especially in the older ages. Naturally, as we get older, our bones slowly start to thin and our joints get slightly weaker. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, and the two most important ones, EPA and DHA, are known to get rid of joint pain and/or stiffness.
Fish oil, namely the fatty acids inside them, is known for balancing your cholesterol levels. It increases the amount of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), otherwise known as the “good cholesterol” because of its work in cleaning the inner walls of your bloodstream. It processes out the low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or the “bad cholesterol”, named because it can pile up in your vessels and cause blood clots, which increases the risk for heart attacks. A higher HDL level generally means lower risk for heart attacks, so taking fish oil, along with a healthy and varied diet, is very beneficial.
Results of taking fish oil:
The benefits of fish oil are wide and varied. Many people come back reporting they experience a certain benefit, and others report something different. It is no miracle drug, but it definitely has good effects on the body. As such, the results below are not necessarily what you will experience.
I also label it a “supplement”, since the body naturally uses its ingredients and there are no real side effects. The only “side effect” to mention is a potential aftertaste of fish in your mouth. Also, although the supplements are components you can get from a regular diet, it is possible to take too much fish oil; increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your body can actually backfire and cause harm to your bones and joints, so please be wary of that. As long as you follow the instructions, at most 2 supplements a day, you will reap the following benefits.
An increase in mood and energy
Have you ever had a period of time where you ate so poorly and just felt you were in a hole? Usually, when diet is poor, energy levels tend to match. If you don’t get enough supplementary foods that are high in protein and vitamins, your energy and mood suffers. That is why it is easy to fall into the trap of eating junk food for a month and subsequently not wanting to go to the gym.
Fish oil is great for those that lack its essential elements in their regular daily diets. As a result, you gain higher omega-3 and omega-6 levels, which can complete your diet, bringing your mood higher and your body able to function better.
According to this research study, supplementation with fatty acids (again, along with an already-good diet) can boost memory. The researchers studied 18-25 year olds with diets that were good, but were lacking in omega-3 and omega-6. They found that an increase in these fatty acids, with the help of fish oil, for an extended period of time actually boosted their memory and helped their cognitive abilities.
Healthier eyes, face, and hair
This one, like the other results, vary from person to person, but people report that they have healthier eyes, healthier skin on the face, and/or healthier hair. While vision was most likely not affected, people say the whites in their eyes are clearer. Skin can also get that “glowing” effect, and acne can be significantly reduced. Wrinkles generally will likely remain the same, but skin all around can be much smoother. Also, people taking fish oil sometimes report a change in hair, from normally dry to much healthier and vibrant.
Improve fat metabolism
It seems counter-intuitive to take something with fatty acids and then expect better metabolism, which means a faster rate of burning fat. Results are going to be tough to measure, but fish oil potentially has the ability to turn fat-storing cells into fat-burning cells. Because of this, fat gain can be reduced over time.
The typical joint pain and cholesterol balance
I didn’t want to include this because I wrote it in the above section, but I did anyway because there may be readers just skimming looking for the “benefits of fish oil” and come through this list. Again, fish oil is very popular in helping to deal with persistent joint pain when moving around. Also, over time cholesterol levels can balance out, giving you a higher ratio of HDL levels compared to LDL levels.
So what are the best fish oil supplements?
Finally, we can move on to discussing the best fish oils. These are supplements that I have taken for at least 6 months each. I have used only 4 supplements total, as I don’t see the need in trying too many brands, but I did want to get varied with them, since you never know which product is best suited for you.
This is easily my favorite fish oil supplement and the one I use daily now. The part that sold me was Nature Made’s transparency in regards to contaminant levels. Right on their product page, they list the exact fish that make up their supplement:
The two supplements that did not make it on this list refused to give out which fish the oils were extracted from and from which area they were harvested. That information might not be important to some, but I try to be as immaculate as I can with what goes in my body. Besides, fish farms tend to have fish with deficiencies that natural fish do not have.
Other reasons I love Nature Made’s product include no aftertaste (this varies from person to person, but I personally get no taste during consumption or even after burping) and affordability. Nature Made by a fair margin makes fish oil that is very cost-effective per bottle. Just one bottle costs a few bucks cheaper than most of their competitors and last around 5 months.
Before anything, I should note that the only reason I moved on from Optimum Nutrition was its cost per bottle. Besides that, everything else is perfect with Optimum Nutrition’s fish oil, and I would keep it near the top for its quality.
ON’s product is the typical supplement, containing good amounts of EPA and DHA, the two most crucial fatty acids found in fish oil. However, the biggest difference is that they put a “special coating” on top of the supplement to make it easier to digest, and consequently try to reduce the aftertaste that some products give off. Again, it varies but I found no taste during or after consumption. Also, the special coating helps with upset stomachs, typically received when consuming fish oil without first taking a meal. Even on an empty stomach, I find I don’t get any grumbling feelings, so I can safely report that it works.
The price is the biggest motivating factor for placing it second. The fish oil definitely works and is very effective, even getting rid of upset stomachs and ridding of the “fishy” taste. But it is a few dollars more expensive than many top brands. This shouldn’t be a deal breaker for those that love Optimum Nutrition, as you are paying for a top-tier company that has made many great products relating to well-being before.
For more on the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, please refer to Dr. Axe’s video below. I have been following Josh for a few months now and his video is a great introduction for those considering taking the supplements.