In today’s post we will look at Costco’s Fish Oil selection and compare them to my two “gold standard” fish oil supplements.

This will be the ultimate cost benefit analysis and will hopefully help you make a better decision about the best fish oil supplement for your needs and budget.

Kirkland Signature™ vs. Nature’s Bounty® vs. Nature Made® vs. Nordic Naturals® vs. Carlson®

Some time ago I changed the way I recommended fish oil.  This was mostly based on anecdotal evidence from “those in the know” that certain brands were far superior, not only in taste but in quality and efficacy.

This has been backed up by scant evidence.  And the more research I do the more I have began looking again at traditional low cost brands. Especially those from Costco.

I have been sending my patients to Costco for years.  Mostly because of availability, quality and their wonderful bulk pricing.  Not everyone can afford to fork out $324 (The cost of a 1 year supply of Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega).

This was a fun blog post to write because the results were completely surprising and I will probably change my fish oil as a result.

And the winner is? (Scroll to the bottom to see the results)

Kirkland Signature™

 

Omega-3 Fish Oil Concentrate
1000 mg

400 Softgels (not enteric coated)

IMG_0445IMG_0438
(click to enlarge)IMG_0454

 

Kirkland Signature Fish Oil Concentrate with Omega-3 Fatty Acids, 400 Softgels, 1000mg

Price: 8.89
Cost per pill after tax: $0.02
Each fill lasts 122 days
Cost over 12 Months: 21.60
Total EPA/DHA per day: 900 mg(at dose of 1 tab three times daily)Info Sheet (Click to Enlarge)

Costco 1000 mg product details

Suggested Use:

Take one softgel three times daily with a full glass of water, preferably after a meal.

Supplement Facts:
Serving Size:Softgel

Each Softgel Contains

  • Calories 10 (Calories from Fat 10)
  • Total Fat 1 g
  • Saturated Fat 0.5 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
  • Cholesterol 10 mg
  • Natural Fish Oil Concentrate 1000 mg

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

(EPA/DHA and other Omega 3) 300 mg

EPA: ?

DHA:?

Nature’s Bounty®

All Natural Maximum Strength Fish Oil
1400 mg, 980 mg Omega-3

130 Enteric Coated Liquid Soft gels

IMG_0442IMG_0447IMG_0446

Nature’s Bounty Fish Oil 1400 mg 130 Softgels

Price: 19.89
Cost per pill after tax: $0.16
Each fill lasts 130 days
Cost over 12 Months: $57.60
Total EPA/DHA per day: 980 mg Info Sheet (Click to Enlarge)

Natures Bounty Maximum Strength Fish Oil

Directions:
For Adults, take one (1) softgel daily, preferably with a meal.

Serving Size: 1 Soft gel

  • Calories 15, Calories from Fat 15
  • Total Fat 1.5 g
  • Saturated Fat 0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
  • Cholesterol < 5 mg

Fish Oil 1,400 mg (1.4 g)

  • EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) 700 mg
  • DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) 280 mg
  • Total Omega 3 Fatty Acids 980 mg

Nature Made®

Fish Oil 1200 mg

Maximum Strength, 375 Soft gels (not enteric coated)

IMG_0450IMG_0451IMG_0452 Nature Made Fish Oil 1200 Mg Burp-less, Value Size, 200-Count

Price: 12.99 (sale price)
Cost per pill after tax: $0.04
Each fill lasts 94
Cost over 12 Months: $57.60
Total EPA/DHA per day (based on 2 tabs 2x per day): 960 mg Info Sheet (Click to Enlarge)

Natures Made Costco Fish Oil

Suggested Use:
Take one to two softgels two times daily with a meal

Serving Size: 2 Softgels 

Supplement Facts

  • Calories 25
  • Calories From Fat 20
  • Total Fat 2.5 g
  • Saturated Fat 1 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g
  • Cholesterol 25 mg
  • Protein < 1 g

Fish Oil Concentrate 2400 mg

Omega-3 (EPA)  360 mg

Omega-3 (DHA) 120 mg

Other Omega-3 120 mg

Kirkland Signature™

Enteric Coated Omega-3 Fish Oil Concentrate 1200 mg

One Per Day Formulation 180 Softgels

IMG_0444IMG_0435IMG_0434 Kirkland Signature Enteric Coated Fish Oil Omega 3 1200 MG Fish Oil, 684 MG of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, 180 softgels

Price: 15.29
Cost per pill after tax: $0.09
Each fill lasts 180
Cost over 12 Months: $32.40
Total EPA/DHA per day (based on 2 tabs 2x per day): 684mg

If you take 2 pills per day to reach 1368 mg of EPA/DHACost over 12 Months: $64.80

Info Sheet (Click to enlarge)
Costco Enteric Coated Fish Oil

Suggested Use:

Take one softgel daily with a full glass of water

Serving Size: soft gel

Supplement Facts:  

  • Calories 10,
  • Calories from Fat 10
  • Total Fat 1 g
  • Cholesterol 10 mg

Fish Oil Concentrate 1200 mg

Omega 3 EPA 410 mg

Omega 3 DHA 274 mg

Now a Look at the “Premium Brands”

Ultimate Omega®

120 softgels

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(click to enlarge)
SF_CLO-flavored
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Lemon 1000 mg 180 Soft Gels

Price: 49.95
Cost per pill after tax: $0.45
Cost per dose: 0.90
Each fill lasts 60 days
Cost over 12 Months: $324.00

Suggested Use:
Two softgels daily with food, or as directed by your health care professional or pharmacist.

Supplement Info:

Total Omega 3: 1280 mg
EPA 650 mg
DHA 450 mg
Other Omega 3: 180 mg

 

ELITE OMEGA-3 GEMS

90 Soft gels

Elite Omega-3 Gems
(click to enlarge)
carlson info
Carlson Labs Elite Omega-3, 800 mg, Gems Fish Oil Soft Gels, Natural Lemon Flavor, 120 Count

Price: 29.90
Cost per pill after tax: $0.36
Cost per dose: 0.36
Each fill lasts 90 days

Cost over 12 Months: $129.20
(based on 1 pill per day)

Suggested Use: 1-5 tabs per day

Supplement info: per pill

Omega 3 from fish oil: 800
EPA : 400mg
DHA: 300 mg
Other Omega 3: 100mg

 

Fish Oil Cost vs. Dose Comparison

Kirkland Brand *Natures Bounty Enteric Coated Nature Made *Kirkland Enteric Coated Nordic Naturals *Carlson Labs Elite Omega-3 Gems
12 month cost $ 21.60 57.60 57.60 32.40
(62.80)
324.00 129.20
cost per day $ 0.06 0.16 0.16 .09
(.18)
0.90 0.36
EPA/DHA Total mg. 900 980 960 684
(1360)
1280 800
Tabs Per Day 3 1 4 1
(2)
2 1

* Denotes best of class based on all criteria

Discussion

The Costco Comparison

Based on ease of use (total tabs per day), cost, EPA/DHA ratios, and palatability. Both the Natures Bounty Enteric Coated and the Kirkland Brand Enteric Coated fish oil seem like very good deals.

I have taken the enteric coated Kirkland brand tabs and found that even though they are enteric coated they taste poor and still cause the proverbial “fish burps”.  I have yet to try the Nature’s Bounty brand but I think I will give it a try.

Premium Brands

When it comes to premium brands I currently take Nordic Naturals – Ultimate Omega/Lemon Taste soft gels.  After seeing the comparison and price structure it seems as though Carlson Labs may be a better bet. You would get significantly more omega 3 with a good EPA/DHA ratio at a lower cost. I have heard they are also quite palatable and have a good track record for quality and purity.

Final Thoughts

I will probably continue to dish out the extra dough for a premium fish oil. I say this because I have found since taking the Nordic Naturals I never get a fishy aftertaste and I feel confident in the quality of the fish oil.  For the first time I actually look forward to taking my fish oil… Something I used to hate while taking the Costco brand. The end result over the last 9 months is that I have hardly missed a dose.  My serum cholesterol levels have been better than ever (not that that probably matters but it is a good metric).

  • Triglycerides:36
  • HDL:56
  • LDL: 46

Some Interesting Food for thought:

Omega 3 Mania

  1. Doctor Mercola Beating up on Costco
  2. Evolutionary Psychiatry: Just Eat Fish (Also a truly awesome blog)
  3. Marks Daily Apple:
    1. Definitive Guide to Fish Oil 1
    2. Definitive Guide to Fish Oil 2

Awesome tool to calculate your med costs

  1. Medication Cost Calculator