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Buyer’s Guide to Cod Liver Oil Capsules and Soft Gels
If you’re looking for a convenient way to take fish oil, cod liver oil capsules is one way to do it.
Packed with omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); you also get a natural source of vitamins and other nutrients. It’s no wonder this healthy oil has been a household favorite for generations!
However, how do you choose the right product to get the most health benefits and the best bang for your buck?
Here’s my guide to help you choose the best cod liver oil capsules or soft gels.
Pros and Cons of Soft Gels and Capsules
Just like fish oil capsules there are a number of advantages and disadvantages of cod liver oil soft gels compared to liquid oils.
Advantages of Soft Gels:
Protects the oil from tampering
Lessens free radical production
Helps keep ingredients stable
Protects against UV radiation and light
Soft gels are easy to take with you
Disadvantages of Soft Gels:
You get less omega 3 fatty acids per dose, compared to using a liquid cod liver oil supplement
You may pay a higher cost per dose of omega 3’s on a gram for gram basis.
Ingredients of Soft Gels and Capsules
You’ll find a variety of different ingredients used to make the soft gels or capsules.
The most common ingredient used to make soft gels is gelatin which may be made from animal collagen (tissues, bones and skin).
You can also get soft gels made from non-animal sources, typically plant-based ingredients.
The soft gel capsule may also contain water, glycerin, and plant cellulose. Manufacturers may add lubricants to prevent the ingredients from clumping together.
Here’s more detailed information how soft gels are made.
Comparison of Two Top-Selling Cod Liver Oil Capsules
|Nordic Naturals||Carlson Labs|
|EPA||82 mg||90 mg|
|DHA||125 mg||120 mg|
|Other Omega 3||45 mg||30 mg|
|Vitamin A||130 – 300 iu||2000 iu|
|Vitamin D||1-4 iu||250 iu|
|Vitamin E||15 iu||10 iu|
|Cost per Bottle||$19.95||$12.40|
|Cost per Soft gel||$0.22||$0.12|
You can see the omega 3 fatty acids levels are similar, but there’s a difference in the amount of vitamins per soft gel.
Nordics Naturals offers a range of the natural levels of Vitamin A and D in their oil. Carlson Labs has added Vitamins A and D to provide a consistent amount per dose.
If your cod liver oil capsules contain minimal amounts of Vitamins A and D, you can always supplement with a multivitamin to get these extra vitamins. Some companies may also add Vitamin E to help prevent oxidation of the oil.
You can see there’s also a difference in cost per bottle and soft gel.
In the fish oil industry, I truly believe you get what you pay for. Both companies provide highly purified fish oils, but I believe Nordic Naturals offers a more premium cod liver oil and this is reflected in the price.
How to Choose the Best Cod Liver Oil Soft Gels
One of the main things to look at is the type of cod liver oil you’re getting. You should look for cod liver oils that have been purified and tested to provide adequate amounts of the omega 3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The ingredient label should also list the milligram amounts per dose of each fatty acid.
The best cod liver oil supplements use only 100% pure cod liver oil.
Some cod liver oil pills may contain cod liver oil and other oils such as soybean oil, sardine oil, anchovy oil, and tuna liver oil.The front of the bottle may say you’re getting cod liver oil but in reality you’re paying for a cheaper blend of oils.
Be sure to look at the the amount of Vitamins A and D in your cod liver oil. My personal preference is cod liver oils that provide only natural amounts of vitamin D. Some manufacturers will add synthetic Vitamins A and D to the oil to give a standard dose.
If you only want natural cod liver oils (in their purest state) you should choose an oil that hasn’t had other oils or artificial vitamins added. Not all cod liver oil supplements are the same, so remember to read the ingredient labels.
A good source of information is the website of the company that made your cod liver oil. Most reputable companies will provide information on the source of their fish oils, how the oils are made, tell you if other ingredients are in their products, and provide guarantees of testing for purity and quality.
Ensuring you’re getting quality ingredients will help you avoid cod liver oil side effects.
Cost of Cod Liver Oil Soft Gels
Prices for cod liver oil capsules can vary. I’ve found that the average prices for a good quality 1000 mg. pure cod liver oil soft gel are $15 – $20 per bottle of 100 capsules. So you’re looking at paying about an average price of 15 – 20 cents per soft gel.
Some of my favorite brands include Nordic Naturals and Carlson Fish Oils. Both companies are the leading manufacturers of good quality, highly purified & tested fish oils. If you’re looking for a liquid cod liver oil, Twinlab Norwegian Cod Liver Oil has an emulsified cod liver oil that’s reported to increase absorption and digestion better than regular cod liver oils.