Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Why trust us?

Best omega-3 supplements to introduce into your diet, according to experts

Fish oils can improve brain, eye and heart function while boosting your overall health

Daisy Lester
Monday 29 January 2024 11:38 GMT
<p>Make sure to look for one with the greatest amount of EPA and DHA when buying omega 3 supplements  </p>

Make sure to look for one with the greatest amount of EPA and DHA when buying omega 3 supplements

Whether you’re dabbling in collagen or looking to improve your overall health with multivitamins, it can be tricky to know where to start when it comes to supplements.

A buzzword in the modern wellness world, fish oil (which contains omega-3) is actually one of the oldest dietary supplements. Used toward the end of the 1800s to treat a variety of diseases, it’s rooted in centuries of scientific research.

But what does it actually do? “Omega-3 fatty acids are important in supporting development and function of all organ systems in the body,” Professor Peter Calder told The Independent. “They promote brain and eye development in infants and children, and cognitive function right across the life course.”

Omega-3 essentially means “healthy fats”, which help the heart and blood vessels to work properly while assisting our body to control inflammation. “Through these effects, they promote health and decrease risk of many diseases,” Calder added.

“The important thing with omega-3s is that our bodies cannot produce them on their own, so, we are reliant on dietary intake,” nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr explains. “It can be tricky to get adequate omega-3s in our diet, especially if you struggle to eat oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies and sardines, which are some of the best sources and provide EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).” That’s where supplements come in.

Read more: The best supplements to take, according to experts

When choosing a supplement, make sure to look for one with the greatest amount of EPA and DHA. “The ratio of these depends on the aim you have by taking omega-3s. For example, if you’re focusing more on brain health, DHA may be higher than EPA,” Lenherr says. It’s also important to look for products that are IFOS certified (a third-party testing programme for fish oils that helps test purity, quality and safety) and sustainable supplements (look for Friends of The Sea or Marine Stewardship Council certification).

While there’s no reference daily intake (RDI) set for omega-3 in the UK, the cholesterol charity Heart UK suggests adults should have around 500mg of combined EPA and DHA per day. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, there are algae-based supplements that can also provide EPA and DHA.

Read more: The best menopause supplements, according to an expert

As always, it’s worth checking with your doctor or nutritionist before taking new supplements, particularly if you have specific health concerns, are on medication or you’re pregnant (many omega-3 supplements aren’t recommended in pregnancy, owing to vitamin A). Those on blood thinners should also tread with caution, as taking high doses can thin the blood.

If you’re keen to dip your toe into the world of omega-3 but don’t know where to begin, we’ve rounded up the best supplements to invest in, as recommended by experts.

Inessa advanced omega-3 food supplement: £24.99, Amazon.co.uk

Helping you get all the omega-3 you need in one clinical-strength softgel, each dose of Inessa’s fish oil contains 480mg EPA and 360mg DHA, while coming in natural triglyceride form for high bioavailability. Recommended to support heart, brain and eye health, the omega-3 gels can also help maintain healthy blood pressure, exercise recovery and general wellness. “This is the best value premium omega-3 on the market, as the amount of omega-3 you get per capsule is great and leaves no fishy aftertaste,” Lenherr says.

Buy now

Nordic Naturals ultimate omega fish oil supplements: £30.49, Amazon.co.uk

Nordic Naturals’s supplements are perfect for those looking for a higher dose of omega-3. The brand suggests two softgels for your daily dose, equating to 1,280mg total of omega-3 (650mg EPA and 450mg DHA). Lenherr says the brand’s products have “undetectable levels of environmental toxins, such as PCBs and heavy metals, so is a great quality supplement brand you can fully trust”. Sourced from wild-caught sardines and anchovies, the softgels are lemon-flavoured, to help eliminate the fishy aftertaste found in many omega-3 supplements. Plus, they’re certified by Friend of the Sea.

Buy now

Bare Biology life and soul omega-3 fish oil: £31.95, Amazon.co.uk

Bare Biology’s fish oil supplements contain 1,460mg per two capsules, covering all your needs with both of the key types of omega-3: EPA and DHA. According to Lenherr, this is the “strongest, purest fish oil you’ll find.” You’ll also find “vegan omega-3 (£31.95, Barebiology.com) and an omega specifically targeted at pregnancy (£22.95, Barebiology.com)”. Bare Biology sources from sustainably caught Norwegian fish, and the brand claims there’s no fishy aftertaste. Touted as easy to swallow and gentle on the tummy, anyone 12 years old and upwards can take the supplements.

Buy now

Wild Nutrition pure strength omega-3: £35, Wildnutrition.com

Supporting heart, brain and eye function, Wild Nutrition’s MSC sustainably sourced supplements are to be taken four times a day for an optimum dose. Each dose contains 800mg of EPA and 400mg of DHA, with the softgels described as easy to swallow and kind to your digestion. “Wild uses fully food-grown supplements, with no synthetic nutrients or fillers, and it is Marine Stewardship Council sustainably sourced,” Lenherr explains.

Buy now

MyProtein essential omega-3: £8.99, Myprotein.com

MyProtein’s omega-3 supplements contain EPA and DHA, helping to contribute to the normal function of the heart. Packaged into a convenient softgel, it contains 300ml omega-3 fish oil per serving, or there’s a vegan alternative with 500ml DHA algae oil per serving (£9.99, Myprotein.com). A fuss-free addition to your daily routine. Plus, 90 capsules for less than £10, they are pleasingly affordable.

Buy now

Voucher codes

For discounts on supplements and other offers, try the links below:

Looking for more dietary supplements? We’ve rounded up the best protein powders and the best magnesium supplements

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in