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Nordic Naturals scores an A for its sustainable and safe fishing practices, transparency through publicly available third-party test results, and their innovative range of products.
Welcome to our Nordic Naturals review!
From the icy waters of the Lofoten Islands to their sunny headquarters in Watsonville, California, Nordic Naturals has brought the benefits of Norwegian fish oil to the world.
Although they have a lofty goal to “make the best products on the planet,” Nordic Naturals has certainly delivered, as they have maintained their status as the number one omega-3 supplement brand in the United States.
After speaking with Chrissy Benvenutty, Sales Specialist, we learned even more about how Nordic Naturals sets themselves apart from the competition, with the highest standards for quality, purity, potency, and sustainability.
Not only do they provide top-tier omega-3 and fish oil supplements, but they’re also constantly innovating with new products and lines, including gummies, probiotics, and vitamins and minerals.
For these reasons, which we’ll get into in great depth, we awarded Nordic Naturals an A grade—here’s how they did it.
An award-winning fish oil that’s gained the #1 spot in the U.S. due to its non-fishy taste and high-quality concentrated omega-3 content. Made exclusively from 100% wild-caught sardines and anchovies.
Purified deep sea fish oil (from anchovies and sardines), soft gel capsule (gelatin, glycerin, water, natural lemon flavor), natural lemon flavor, d-alpha-tocopherol (antioxidant), rosemary extract (a natural preservative).
Twenty-five years ago, founder and CEO Joar Opheim learned the hard way that the United States didn’t have the same quality fish oil that he was used to in his native Norway.
After growing up as a gymnast who sought out high levels of omega-3 fats, Joar moved to the U.S. to get his MBA—and found that American fish oil was not up to his standards.
When Joar traveled back to Norway, he started forgoing precious suitcase space to fill his bags with fish oil to share with his omega-depleted American friends—and the idea of Nordic Naturals was born.
Although Nordic Naturals has been established for over 25 years, the history actually goes back about 1,000 years to the Lofoten Islands, where the current fishermen’s ancestors spent their days on the Norwegian seas.
Utilizing the same nutrient-dense and fatty fish that have sustained Norwegian people for generations, Joar has revolutionized both the fish oil and supplement industries, creating a gold standard for quality, testing, and purity.
There are several common concerns about fish oil supplements, including low sustainability due to overfishing, rancidity from oxygen exposure, toxin or heavy metal accumulation, and, of course, those awful fishy burps.
Nordic Naturals has overcome all of these obstacles—and then some—by vertically integrating their process from start to finish, and never wavering from their strict quality, purity, and freshness standards, which are backed up by certifications and third-party testing.
As Joar states in this illuminating short documentary, “It’s not easy; it’s not even always fun to do; it’s very resource intensive; it’s very capital intensive, but if you’re going to lead a field, you don’t have a choice—that’s what you have to do.”
It’s not easy; it’s not even always fun to do; it’s very resource intensive; it’s very capital intensive, but if you’re going to lead a field, you don’t have a choice—that’s what you have to do.Joar Opheim, Founder of Nordic Naturals
Every brand we review is assessed according to this set of universal factors—here’s what Nordic Naturals scored:
This combination of factors and subfactors led us to an overall “A” rating for Nordic Naturals, backed by their highest-quality ingredients, excellent website experience, stellar sustainability practices, and more.
Now, let’s take a deeper dive into these categories, starting with the vital component of quality.
Sustainable sourcing, rigorous testing and manufacturing practices, great taste, and ample certifications led us to award Nordic Naturals with the highest grade for quality.
Quality is not something that Nordic Naturals is lacking—even when we take into account all of our assessed subcategories, including:
Some of the products our team received included the liquid Ultimate Omega supplement—with no oily leakage ruining the rest of the package—and the Stress Gummies, both of which had functional and durable packaging.
Sourcing and ingredient formulation quality were also top-tier.
Their flagship products—the omega-3 supplements—are sourced from sustainable fisheries in Norway and the South Pacific, and the fish oils are all bottled in an oxygen-free, nitrogen-rich environment to promote freshness and great taste.
One of the reasons Nordic Naturals’ fish oil products have such high potency is because they are in triglyceride form—the natural form that the fat is found in the fish—which our bodies can better recognize and absorb.
This is in contrast to many other fish oil supplements on the market, which are found in “ethyl ester” form.
Although all fish oil has to be converted into the ethyl ester form during concentration processes, most companies stop there to save costs—but Nordic Naturals takes an extra step, adding enzymes to reassemble the natural triglyceride structure.
The end result?
Fish oil that is 90% triglycerides and 70% more absorbable than ethyl ester-based fish oil, allowing you to reap the benefits of supporting healthy brain function, heart health, mood, and overall wellness.*
And no need to worry about overfishing here—the healthy fisheries that Nordic sources their fish oil from are Friend of the Sea Certified, which guarantees the fisheries maintain strict standards for fishing methods, by-catch reduction, and social accountability.
All Nordic Naturals products, from fish oil to probiotics and more, are dairy-free, gluten-free, and do not contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
They also work with Eurofins, a globally recognized leader in GMO testing, to ensure that all products are non-GMO.
Every supplement is also thoroughly third-party tested, from the raw ingredient to the finished product, ensuring they pass strict international measures of quality, as well as California’s Prop 65.
Lastly, Nordic Naturals’ Sport line is Certified for Sport by NSF International and the production facilities are cGMP-manufactured.
Let’s take a closer look at the catalog Nordic Naturals has to offer.
Omega-3 supplements are the cornerstone of what Nordic Naturals does—and they do it well.
Plus, their Ultimate Omega Zero Sugar Gummy Chews are the first of their kind and no one else in the industry has this product right now.
DHA is essential for memory, mood, cognition, and this supplement provides almost one full gram of the brain-supporting ingredient in a tasty strawberry flavor.
Purified deep sea fish oil (from anchovies and sardines), soft gel capsule (gelatin, glycerin, water, natural strawberry flavor), natural strawberry flavor, d-alpha tocopherol (antioxidant), rosemary extract (a natural preservative).
Nordic Naturals also has a digestive health line, featuring digestive enzymes and various probiotic formulas, including Nordic Flora Probiotic Immune Health, Nordic Flora Probiotic Women’s Balance, and Kids Nordic Flora Probiotic Gummies.
A probiotic formula containing four bacterial strains, prebiotics, and 12 billion CFUs of probiotics per serving, this product is designed for everyday wellness, immune functioning, and digestive support.
Nordic Flora Daily Blend (Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS®-1, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum); FOS (fructooligosaccharides); Microcrystalline cellulose, capsule (vegetable cellulose), silica.
For those who’d rather chew than swallow a supplement, Nordic Naturals has several tasty and effective gummy options, including Vitamin D3 Gummies, Zero Sugar Curcumin Gummies, and Stress Relief Gummies.
Chrissy is a huge fan of the gummy line, telling us, “I love their gummies, and I always wanted to know, ‘Why does this product work better?’… And, there is a huge difference with the consistency of the gummy [compared to others]. I can tell that I’m taking an actual vitamin and it’s not some sugary, gooey, chewy thing.”
I love their gummies, and I always wanted to know, ‘Why does this product work better?’… And, there is a huge difference with the consistency of the gummy [compared to others]. I can tell that I’m taking an actual vitamin and it’s not some sugary, gooey, chewy thing.Chrissy Benvenutty, Sales Specialist at Nordic Naturals
Plus, a few of Nordic’s newest releases are their Women’s and Men’s Multivitamin Gummies, Immune Gummies, and the highly innovative and antioxidant-loaded Blue Light Eye Defense—for those of us who spend our days staring at screens.
A delicious tropical flavor with zero sugar, omega-3 gummy chews are perfect for all of the non-pill takers out there. Plus, they provide almost as much omega-3 as the soft gels, at 1200mg of concentrated omega-3s per serving.
Purified deep sea fish oil (from anchovies and sardines), purified water, xylitol, fish gelatin, erythritol, glycerol, sodium citrate, natural flavors, gum arabic, citric acid, ascorbic acid, paprika extract (for color), stevia.
Nordic Naturals is also in the vitamin and mineral space, carrying products including Vitamin B Complex, varying concentrations of Vitamin D3, Vitamin C Gummies, Multi-Minerals, Vitamin A, and Zinc Glycinate.
With in-depth educational materials, third-party testing, and COAs for all products, Nordic Naturals receives an A for their transparency.
Secretive brands are never a good thing—most consumers want to know what’s in a product, how it’s made, and who’s making it.
Fortunately, Nordic Naturals is an open book, with ample information about the company’s origins and current processes, from the boat to the bottling.
The sardines and anchovies for the fish oil concentrates are wild-caught from the South Pacific, the cod for the cod liver oil is caught in Norway, and all fish oil products are then processed in Norway and shipped to the US.
Nordic Naturals’ facilities are focused on both sustainability and quality.
As we learned from Chrissy, alarms will sound if air has leaked into any capsules or bottles—oxygen is a Kryptonite for fish oil, causing rancidity and oxidation that creates both poor taste and reduced potency.
The Norwegian facility is powered by unused fish fat that’s a byproduct of the fish oil manufacturing process.
Certificates of Analysis (COAs) with third-party testing information are readily available on their website, and you can also access most of the COAs via QR codes on the products.
However, we did not get a QR code on all of the products we received, possibly due to older packaging.
Also, the QR code does not take you directly to the product’s certificate, but rather to a general page where you enter the product’s lot number.
While relatively easy to do, some of the less tech-savvy consumers may have trouble with the extra step in this process.
They’re also transparent with their shipping and return policies, which were easy to find on the site.
Nordic Naturals’ organized, well-designed, and informational website makes it easy to browse, shop, and learn about the products, the benefits, and the company itself.
With a minimalist blue-and-white design, functional features, and educational material on just about every page, Nordic Naturals earns an A+ from us.
The embedded videos about their sourcing and their team members were informative and welcomed, and several other pages in the drop-down menu provided ample educational information about both the products and the mission behind the company.
The e-commerce shopping experience is intuitive and simple, with drop-down menus going by either category of supplement or health interest (i.e. immune support or athletic performance), product family, individual ingredient, or life stage.
The site performed smoothly on both mobile and desktop devices, with no noticeable bugs or annoying pop-ups.
Nordic offers four customer service contact options, most of which came with prompt replies, but some pain points include an unreturned phone call and slightly subpar return policies.
Nordic Naturals provides four lines of communication—text, live chat, email, and phone—and we received helpful replies on the live chat within minutes.
However, while the email response time was prompt (less than 30 minutes), the one-sentence response appeared to be just the bare minimum.
We also called the phone number and left a voicemail, but never received a call back.
Lastly, their shipping and return policies are just okay, with a 30-day return window for unopened products in their original packaging.
We like to see a no-risk and money-back guarantee, not just for unopened products—especially when something potentially taste-sensitive like fish oil is on the table.
Overall, we like the wide range of available customer service channels but would love a more generous return policy, leading us to award Nordic Naturals with a B+ in this category.
While there are hundreds of fish oil products to choose from, Nordic Naturals has claimed the #1 brand ranking for good reasons, making their pricier supplements worth the cost in our book.
Nordic Naturals has built up quite a catalog, with almost 60 fish- or omega-containing products alone, with varying concentrations of EPA and DHA, making it difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison with other brands.
Briefly, here’s a cost summary of their most popular omega-3 products (at the time of publication):
Let’s attempt a comparison with a couple of other popular brands:
|Product||EPA/DHA Levels (per serving)||Price|
|Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Softgels||650mg EPA; 450mg DHA||$27.95 for 30 servings($0.93/serving)|
|Thorne Super EPA||425mg EPA; 270mg DHA||$33.25 for 90 servings($0.37/serving)|
|Cymbiotika “The Omega” Liquid||50mg EPA; 500mg DHA||$72.00 for 30 servings($2.40/serving)|
As you can see, prices vary widely—but so do the concentrations of omega-3s.
Because we’ve vetted Nordic Naturals and know that the quality, purity, and potency are top-notch and the omega-3 bioavailability is high, we think that less than a buck per serving of high-quality omega-3 oil is well worth it.
Overall, when we take into account price compared to competitors, and value based on ingredient quality, we award Nordic Naturals with a solid A.
This was an almost-immediate A+, as we considered Nordic Natural’s vast array of sustainable actions, clinical research, benefit to public health, and industry disruption with almost three decades of delivering high-quality fish oil all over the world.
Last but not least, this somewhat ambiguous category encapsulates how much impact the brand has in the world—from philanthropic efforts to scientific research to innovation and industry disruption.
Starting with innovation, Nordic Naturals is definitely not lacking in new ideas—they could’ve just stuck in the omega-3 fish oil game, but they’ve branched out to dozens of other categories.
According to them, they “followed the science” to other nutrients that paired well with omega-3s, creating supplement combinations to target certain health needs, like their Omega Vision product that combines fish oil with the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
This wide range of supplements and product lines means that every person at every life stage can find something useful at Nordic Naturals (even for our furry friends).
Nordic Naturals also gives back to the community, as they participate in philanthropic efforts like the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program and the Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County, which are local to their Watsonville, CA facility.
They also support Vitamin Angels, a global organization that helps ensure their vitamins reach women and children around the world who need them most, as well as projects like Plastics for Change and Second Harvest Heartland.
Next on our list is sustainability, which Nordic Naturals has been doing right since the beginning.
From powering their Norwegian plant with unused fish fat to preventing overfishing and bycatch, Nordic Naturals is a highly sustainable company that values the planet and its oceans.
Lastly, the impact that Nordic Naturals has had on human health is unquestionable, especially when considering that omega-3 fish oil was essentially new to the supplement scene at the time of Nordic’s 1995 founding (especially a non-fishy fish oil—nothing like your great-grandma’s cod liver oil).
Now, with over 50 published studies from top-ranked California institutions like Stanford, UCLA, and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, it’s clear that scientists, doctors, and consumers alike value this brand and what it has to offer (and so do we).
Two of the products our team tried were the Stress Relief Gummies and the Ultimate Omega Liquid—both of which receive honorary A+ ratings (as we don’t technically rate this highly subjective section).
The Stress Relief Gummies smell surprisingly good (anyone who’s ever had ashwagandha supplements knows that is usually not the case) and taste even better, with a berry taste that seems to melt in your mouth.
The Ultimate Omega liquid lived up to its “not fishy” claims—the liquid was refreshingly light and lemony and didn’t leave a weird aftertaste or oily residue in your mouth.
Although we didn’t try all of the (hundreds of) supplements, we’re sure that the quality and taste are similarly excellent in the other product lines.
Yes, based on an extensive rating system, The Nutrition Insider has deemed Nordic Naturals a great company, with an overall “A” grade.
The FDA does not approve dietary supplements—however, Nordic Naturals is cGMP-certified, which meets the FDA’s standards for supplements.
No, Nordic Naturals fish oil products are made in Norway and bottled in California.
Nordic Naturals has several certifications, including:
– Friend of the Sea
– Non-GMO through Eurofins
– NSF Certified for Sport on their sports line
– LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified at their California facility
While all fish contain some mercury, Nordic Naturals’ fish oil products are purified to levels well below the recommended mercury limits, as verified by their third-party Certificates of Analysis for each product.
Yes, every single one of Nordic Naturals’ products is third-party tested, and the results are easily accessible online.
Nordic Naturals is owned by Joar Opheim, the Norwegian founder of the company.
Overall, Nordic Naturals receives a solid A rating with high points awarded for impressive quality, sustainable manufacturing processes, transparent practices, and stellar brand value.
The only areas of improvement would be their return policy and price point—which is still great considering the quality of ingredients going into them.
As Chrissy concluded, “[Nordic Naturals] changed my life. They helped support my kids’ health and they were the only brand that actually made a difference for my daughter…. That should speak volumes.”
She continues, “I trust their quality, I trust what they come out with… I know it’s going to work and I know that it’s safe.”
Well said, Chrissy!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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