Buyer’s Guide to the Best Cod Liver Oil Capsules

open hand full of cod liver oil capsule soft gels

If you’re looking for a convenient way to take fish oil, cod liver oil capsules is one way to do it.

This fish oil is an excellent source of the 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 that it’s been used as a household favorite for generations.

However, if you’re thinking of using this popular marine oil, you may be wondering if cod liver oil capsules or soft gels are the best way to take them?

Well, here’s my guide to help you choose the best cod liver oil capsules based on a number of important factors.

Pros and Cons of Cod Liver Oil Soft Gels and Capsules

Just like fish oil capsules, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages to using cod liver oil soft gels.

I like to switch back and forth between soft gels and liquid oils, but you may have personal reasons for choosing to use a particular form.

The following list shows the difference between the two forms:

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

  • No aftertaste

Disadvantages of Soft Gels:

  • You may get less omega 3 fatty acids per dose, compared to using a liquid oils

  • You may pay a higher cost per dose of omega 3’s on a gram for gram basis.

Ingredients of Soft Gels and Capsules

bottle of cod liver oil capsules being poured into a bowl

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

Here’s a comparison of a 1000 mg. soft gel from two fish oil companies – Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil Capsulesand another popular brand, Carlson Labs Super Cod Liver Oil Soft Gels:

Nordic NaturalsCarlson Labs
EPA82 mg90 mg
DHA125 mg120 mg
Other Omega 345 mg30 mg
Vitamin A130 – 300 iu2000 iu
Vitamin D1-4 iu250 iu
Vitamin E15 iu10 iu
Average Cost per BottleStarting at $19.95Starting at $12.40
Average Cost per Soft gel$0.22$0.12

  • You can see that the omega 3 fatty acids levels are similar, but there’s a difference in the amount of vitamins per soft gel.

  • The Nordics Naturals cod liver oil offers a range of the natural levels of Vitamin A and D. 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.

  • There’s also a large difference in the cost per soft gel.

In the fish oil industry, I truly believe you get what you pay for. Both of these 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 Capsules and Soft Gels

If you read my Guide to Choosing the Best Cod Liver Oils, you’ll learn that the most important thing 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.

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 blend of oils.

I believe that the best cod liver oil supplements use only 100% pure cod liver oil.

Also be sure to look at the the amount of Vitamins A and D. Some manufacturers will add synthetic Vitamins A and D to the oil to give a standardized dose.

hand holding bottle of Swiss Naturals Cod Liver Oil Capsules

If you only want pure, natural cod liver oils, you should choose an oil that hasn’t had other oils or artificial vitamins added. I prefer using products that only contain natural amounts of vitamin D.

A good place you can try to get more information on a particular product or brand is by checking the company website. Most reputable companies will provide really helpful information that they think their customers may want to know about their products.

And a higher quality product may also reduce your risk for possible cod liver oil side effects.

How Much do Cod Liver Oil Capsules and Soft Gels Cost?

I’ve found that the prices for cod liver oil capsules can vary from brand to brand. In my experience, the average price range for a good quality 1000 mg. pure cod liver oil soft gel was from $15 – $20 per bottle of 100 capsules.  So at this cost, you’re looking at paying an average of 15 – 20 cents per soft gel.

Some of my favorite brands include Nordic Naturals and Carlson Fish Oils. I think that both of these companies are the leading manufacturers of good quality, highly purified & tested fish oils.

If you’re looking for a liquid cod liver oil, I’d recommend Twinlab Norwegian Cod Liver Oil. It’s an emulsified cod liver oil that’s reported to increase absorption and digestion better than regular cod liver oils.

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