Conversion pixel
Eye Health

Slimy Things Fish Oil Marketers Do

written by Vin Kutty

comments 3 comments

fish oil label

There are a lot of fish oil brands duking it out.

But sometimes, competition brings out the weasel is fish oil marketers.

Experts and smart shoppers are on to these weasels. But people just starting to take fish oil pills often get suckered.

One of the most common slimy things is label puffery – making the product look better than it actually is. Sometimes they do it without breaking the law.

That takes skill!

Example 1: Confusing Fish Oil Pills Label

Finest Natural Extra Strength Fish Oil 1760 mg

Labels of fish oil pills are often misleading

Label says 1760 mg. But you get only 435 mg Omega-3 per pill.


How is that possible?

Well, 1760 mg is the amount of fish oil in 2 pills. So each pill has 880 mg of fish oil. That’s neither here nor there.

How much fish oil you take does not matter. What matters is how much Omega-3 is in the fish oil pill.

If you look at the back, you will see that the serving size is 2 softgels. And you get 870 mg of Omega-3 if you take 2 softgels. So divide 870 by 2 and get 435 mg Omega-3 per pill.

I’ve been sniffing out these tricks for a while and am pretty good at figuring out the Omega-3 content per pill. But I don’t expect new fish oil users to reverse engineer the truth.

It’s like solving for ‘x’ in algebra class. No thanks.

1760 is a much bigger number than 435. And a lot of people in a hurry probably fall for this.

Matter of fact, on the product’s web page, a nurse, yes, nurse, left a comment that said “My dose is 3000 mg Omega-3. With this product, I only have to take it twice a day.”

Who wants to tell this person that they are only getting 870 mg and not 3000 mg?

Example 2: Confusing Fish Oil Pills Label

Inflated nutrition content info on the back

Confusing fish oil pills label

How much Omega-3 per pill?

It’s not 1490 mg. That’s for sure.

The answer is: 745 mg per pill. But that’s not anywhere on the label!

Note that the serving size is 2 pills.

Why can’t they just make the damn serving size one pill? Just tell me what’s in ONE pill!

By the way, 745 mg of Omega-3 is not bad at all. That’s better than 90% of fish oil pills out there. No need for label puffery.

If you want to figure out how much EPA and DHA is in each pill, you’ll have to do more math. It’s not 745. 745 mg is TOTAL Omega-3. EPA + DHA = 670 mg. (894 + 446)/2 = 670 mg.


Dr. William Davis, a Milwaukee cardiologist, compares this to pulling into a gas station because the sign said $1.50…NICE BARGAIN, right? But then when you’re filling up your tank, you read the fine print that $1.50 is for a half gallon of gas.

Those bastards!

Technically, the gas station was telling the truth.

So are these fish oil labels.

Unfortunately, the responsibility and time it takes to become informed is on YOU, my friend.

But if I can help you out-think slimy marketers, email me.

Bottom-line: look for the number of servings. And look for the amount of Omega-3 per pill. How much fish oil you take does not matter – what matters is how much Omega-3 you take every day.

  1. I have a couple of comments to make regarding labeling. First of all, many consumers are not aware of the “good stuff” to look for when purchasing a fatty acid suplement. If the net capsule contents reads 1000mg and a competing product only lists the EPA and DHA amounts on the back of the label, then the uneducated comsumer choses the 1000mg product anyway. The only “fair” way to combat this issue would be for some agency to regulate labeling requiring all nte cap contents be in place, OR ONLY the EPA, DHA amounts for example. Marketing ploy….maybe, but it is the companies jobs to educated on their products, so sink or swim in my opinion. I 100% agree with truthful advertising, accurate advertising, and easy to understand labeling. Bute easy to understand depends on who is reading or interpreting the information.

    • Hi Kel – a few thoughts:

      1. Buyer beware is always a smart saying. Uneducated consumers will get taken. It’s the ‘taken’ part that bugs me because commerce does not have to dishonest.

      2. FDA is the regulatory body in charge of dietary supplement labeling. Unfortunately, ‘supplement facts’ regulations are not very tight, especially when it comes to fish oil and Omega-3.

  2. I went the opposite direction. I picked Finest Natural Extra Strength Fish Oil 1760 mg by looking for a supplement that was strong. All I looked at were the quantities of EPA and DHA; I didn’t notice the 1760 until I went back to Walgreen’s to re-load.

Leave a Reply