- Green lipped mussel oil contains a fair amount of omega 3s
- Total serving of omega 3s lower than other fish oils
- Omega XL is mostly olive oil!
- Studies backing up main ingredient all funded by manufacturer
- $70 for 100mg of mussel oil is a rip-off!
Omega XL is currently one of the most sought-after omega 3 supplements in existence. It is billed as a kind of “upgraded” fish oil complex. In reality though, it is just an over-priced, needlessly complicated supplement. The compounds we want from fish oil are DHA, EPA, ALA, and Vitamin E. Where we get these nutrients from is irrelevant; we just want the best possible doses in the purest, most bio-available form. Omega XL is neither pure nor amazing in terms of bio-availability. We actually have no idea how much DHA or EPA we get per serving – it’s probably mostly olive oil! In any case, our top rated omega 3 supplement provides more DHA than Omega XL’s total dosage.
Omega XL Review: What makes this fish oil supplement so special?
Omega XL (sometimes written OmegaXL) is one of the leading fish oil supplements on the market today. This product has an astonishingly high profile in the US and Canada, as the manufacturer Great Healthworks Inc spends a fortune each month on TV, online and radio advertising. It’s little wonder that every month thousands of people search for Omega XL reviews, as well as specific information on how this supplement helps with joint pain and arthritis (one of its advertised benefits). So what does this omega 3 supplement claim to do?
According to the Great Healthworks website, Omega XL delivers some specific benefits that make it better than other omega 3 supplements:
- Provides 22 times more free fatty acids than fish oil
- Provides free fatty acids that are better absorbed than standard fish oil
- Relieves pain by reducing inflammation
- No fishy aftertaste
This is an interesting angle for Great Healthworks to take. All omega 3 supplements lower inflammation, and by extension, they can reduce joint pain in people with inflammation-induced arthritis. But they’re saying that Omega XL provides omega 3 fatty acids that are better absorbed than the fatty acids in “normal fish oils”. On top of that, they’re saying Omega XL has 22 times more fatty acids than fish oil!
That’s a lot of omega 3s!
The question is, does Omega XL really deliver on these impressive promises?
Does Omega XL really work? Is it effective for joint pain? Is it safe? Will Omega XL cause side effects? Is this really the best omega 3 supplement on sale today? or are there better alternatives? To find out answers to all these questions and more, read our full, detailed Omega XL review below.
Omega XL ingredients
Since Great Healthworks claim that Omega XL is of significantly higher quality than other fish oil supplements, we need to take a very close look at the ingredients.
Here is the Omega XL ingredients list as shown on the bottle:
In case that image doesn’t load properly for some reason, here is a list of the ingredients in Omega XL:
- OmegaXL Proprietary Blend – 300mg
- Green lipped mussel extract (PCSO-524)
- Omega fatty acids
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Vitamin E
- Green lipped mussel extract (PCSO-524)
As you can see, OmegaXL uses a proprietary blend rather than giving us exact dose information. This means we actually have no idea which fatty acids we’re actually getting, or how much of them we get per serving! Since Omega XL’s main selling point is that it contains 22 times more omega 3 fatty acids than fish oil – and better omega 3s for that matter – you’d think they’d want to show that on the label! For all we know, this blend could be 99% olive oil anyway!
We’ll now go into the OmegaXL Proprietary Blend in a little more detail. We will explain what the ingredients do, what the scientific research says, and then at the end we’ll tell you what we make of the formula as a whole. Please post your questions in the comments section at the bottom of the review.
Green Lipped Mussel Extract (PCSO-524) – Dose Unknown
It is difficult to take any of the claims made about green lipped mussel extract seriously when the manufacturer website contains no details about what it is or what omega 3 fatty acids it provides.
The spokespeople for Great Healthworks go out of their way to tell us over and over again that Omega XL provides 22 times more fatty acids than fish oil, and that these “free” fatty acids are much more bioavailable than the fatty acids in “regular” fish oil. We’re repeatedly told that instead of providing ‘just’ EPA and DHA, Omega XL provides over 30 “healthy” fatty acids.
But nowhere are we told what these fatty acids are or how much we get per serving! As such, we can’t discuss the effects of the individual fatty acids on health or performance. We can, however, look at some of the clinical trials carried out on this particular mussel extract: PCSO-524.
Mussel extract scientific evidence: Not convincing
There are two main studies used to support the claim that green lipped muscle extract produces significant health benefits. There’s this trial, which seems to show that supplementation with PCSO-524 drastically reduces joint pain and improves quality of life. This must be where Great Healthworks get their figures from for this claim:
However, that isn’t quite accurate, as the study participants given fish oil rather than mussel oil did experience significant reductions in joint pain:
“A significant improvement of overall health condition was observed in 88% of Group A patients. In contrast, 59% of patients from Group B showed improvement (Table 7). Two Group A patients and one Group B patient could not clearly define any change or improvement.”
So the standard fish oil group did see improvement, and the improvements wasn’t all that different in scale to the group given PCSO-524!
But this isn’t the only problem we’ve found in these studies.
In this trial we find out that PCSO-524 is actually a combination of green lipped muscle oil, extra virgin olive oil, and Vitamin E (as we’re told on the bottle of OmegaXL). We are also given the ratios of the ingredients in PCSO-524; each serving of OmegaXL is only about 33% green lipped mussel extract, and the other 66% is olive oil!
What’s more, in neither study do the researchers actually use a placebo as control. In the first cited study, they use regular fish oil, and in the second, they use olive oil. We therefore cannot compare how much of an added benefit you get from the consumption of green lipped mussel oil on top of regular olive oil or in comparison to fish oil.
The main issue with both of these studies, however, is that they are funded by the manufacturer of Lyprinol. This supplement is identical to OmegaXL in that it contains nothing but PCSO-524. The only difference between these two products is that OmegaXL gives you twice the dose.
We don’t need to tell you why this is a problem; it’s no coincidence that manufacturer-funded studies tend to show that a supplement works like gangbusters.
The only studies showing significant improvements from the consumption of PCSO-524 were funded by the maker of a PCSO-524 supplement. They do not use proper controls or placebo groups. In both cases, researches used doses far higher than you get from Omega XL. Great Healthworks, and Larry King, misrepresents the findings of the studies on the OmegaXL website. It turns out that this patented blend is mostly olive oil anyway.
Are you convinced? We sure aren’t!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Dose Unknown!
As stated above, we think around a third of the Omega XL “proprietary blend” (a.k.a PCSO-524) is just extra virgin olive oil. However, Great Healthworks refuses to tell us exactly how much of any component makes up their proprietary blend. So, in this review we have to treat the doses as unknown.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil has been found to have a slight but positive effect on inflammation, cholesterol, triglycerides, and overall heart health. People who consume more olive oil – in place of saturated animal fats – suffer less from inflammation related diseases too.
But that doesn’t mean extra virgin olive oil makes for a good supplement. Olive oil has never been found to be effective for the things that Omega XL promises; joint pain relief, reduced back pain, reduced blood pressure, or any of the other health benefits Larry King talks about on their advertorials.
Is Omega XL good for arthritis and joint pain relief?
Any good review of Omega XL needs to confront the question of joint paoin relief. This is one of the main beenfits claied by Omega XL’s manufacturer; that it reduces joint pain and eases the symptoms of arthritis. According to the manufactuer, it does this by suppressing inflammation.
Omega 3 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation. In particular, theomega fatty acids EPA and DHA acutrely and significantly reduce systemic inflammation. Inflammation is one of the poriomary causes of joint pain, and it is thought to be an underlying cause of certain types of arthritis (i.e. rheumatoid arthritis).
Omega XL claims to deliver a large dose of “over 30” highly bioavailable fatty acids that reduce inflammation, thereby reducing joint pain and assuaging the symptoms of arthritis.
Those of you who have read our review of Omega XL up to now will know this is absolute rubbish. Any supplements that provide a good serving of EPA and DHA will reduce inflamation and, by extension, help ease joint pain, back pain, and arthritis. The EPA and DHA are the substances which actually reduce inflammation and ease joint pain, so you just want to focus on getting as much of those fatty acids as possible.
The best omega 3 supplement on the market right now provides 1100mg of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega XL is 300mg in total size, and about 200mg of that is probably olive oil! A standard fish oil supplement would be better than Omega XL for joint pain and arthritis!
Omega XL vs Fish Oil vs Algae Oil: Why green lipped mussels?
There is absolutely nothing special aout green lipped mussels. Omega XL is just using this arbitrary fact as a way to market their product to innocent, gullible people.
If you’re looking for an omega 3 supplement for general health purposes, then the omega 3 content itself is what is most important. Other factors to consider are dosages of the individual fatty acids, their bioavailability, heavy metal and toxin content, and price.
No matter what lens you use to examine green lipped mussels, there is absolutely nothing special about these crustaceans. The omega 3s from green lipped mussels is no different to the omega 3s found in standard fish oil supplements. You still get EPA and DHA, and you still get all o the toxins, pollutants and heavy metals found in all marine life (the waters of New Zealand are no cleaner than the waters of Antarctica, which is teaming with plastics and heavy metals).
In fact, your average fish oil supplement will have two or three times the EPA and DHA that you get fro Omega XL!
The best omega 3 supplements today are obtained from algae. Algae is where fish ultimately get their omega 3s from in the first place, so you’re cutting out the middleman. This means they can offer larger doses of DHA and EPA without any toxins or pollutants (especially if the algae is grown in controlled conditions).
If there’s one thing we want you to take away from this Omega XL review, it’s this; don’ be fooled by marketing gimmicks designed to sell you products you do’t need for 5 times their fair price. A standard fish oil product will give you twice the DHA and EPA that you get from Omega XL, with no difference in bioavailability. If you want to avoid pollutants, go for algae oil.
Our thoughts on the Omega XL formula
Suffices to say, we aren’t particularly impressed with this omega 3 supplement. The makers of Omega XL would like you to believe that this is some incredible, groundbreaking product destined to replace fish oil as the go-to supplement for joint pain, heart health and cognitive function.
But the evidence suggests otherwise.
OmegaXL provides 300mg of a PCSO-524. This may sound very scientific and novel, but it is just a blend of olive oil and mussel oil at a 2:1 ratio. According to the studies we’ve seen, that mussel oil is about 25% DHA and 25% EPA, which means you get about 25mg of each omega 3 fatty acid from a serving of Omega XL.
These are laughably small servings when compared to other fish oil or omega 3 supplements on the market; one vegan omega 3 supplement (derived directly from algae) which we selected at random delivers over 100mg of DHA per serving!
What about all the other “free fatty acids” in Omega XL? Haven’t studies shown that it is more effective than fish oil for easing joint pain?
We’ve only been able to find two studies carried out on Omega XL’s active ingredient, PCSO-524. Both of these studies were funded by a supplement manufacturer who sells PCSO-524 supplements. Both studies used doses far higher than what you get from Omega XL. Neither one used a proper control group, instead opting to use a group given fish oil or olive oil. In both cases, the “control” groups showed marked improvements comparable to the PCSO-524 group (contrary to what Great Healthworks say).
This is not what we would call convincing scientific evidence. The fact that Omega XL’s manufacturer purposefully misrepresented the results of one study – claiming fish oil didn’t work at all – is worrying. We smell a crook!
All-in-all, this is a pretty terrible omega 3 supplement.
We know many of you will be fooled by all the “clean blue waters of New Zealand” stuff, and the vague claims about containing 30 “free” fatty acids that are more bioavailable than the fatty acids in fish oil (we’re never told what these are – must be TOP SECRET).
But don’t be fooled. Omega XL is over-priced and, in our eyes, completely unproven. Better supplements are available for joint pain, cognitive performance, and heart health.
Omega XL Side Effects: Is it safe?
Is Omega XL safe? Will it cause side effects?
Although we’re less than convinced of this supplement’s efficacy, we are confident that it is unlikely to cause side effects in the vast majority of users. OmegaXL is mostly olive oil, which many people consume in very large quantities every single day.
While generally safe for regular consumption in large amounts, people may find that consuming extra oil of any kind causes side effects, including:
- Stomach cramps
These side effects usually go away once you stop taking the oil supplement, and in most cases the side effects alleviate without cessation as your body gets used to the extra oil.
The other ingredients in Omega XL are mussel oil and vitamin E. Both of these substances have been studied in clinical trials and are thought to be generally safe for regular human consumption.
In none of the trials on PCSO-524 mussel extract did participants report serious side effects. In fact, some participants dropped out of the fish oil group due to side effects including indigestion and bad breath.
Consuming a small amount of Vitamin E every day is unlikely to cause any adverse effects at all.
The only concern we have about Omega XL from a safety standpoint is the fact that the main active ingredient is mussel oil.
It is therefore potentially contaminated with heavy metals like mercury, as are most marine animals today. We would always recommend using an omega 3 supplement sourced from algae to avoid this issue.
So Omega XL looks like it is highly unlikely to cause side effects in any users. We are not aware of any long-term health risks associated with the consumption of this product. The only side effects associated with an increased consumption of omega 3 fatty acids is some initial indigestion and diarrhea. These are rare and typically transient side effects.
Omega XL Review Conclusion: Does this omega 3 supplement work?
There are some specific questions you probably want answering in a detailed Omega XL review. Is Omega XL a good supplement for reducing joint pain, promoting heart health, and supporting cognition? Is it a good omega 3 supplement? Is it worth the massive $70 price tag?
No. We don’t think you can possibly say “yes” to any of these questions.
Omega XL is a heavily over-priced omega 3 supplement. On top of that, the manufacturer – Great Healthworks – and their affiliates like Larry King make some very shady claims about their product. The website misrepresents the clinical data on the active ingredient, PCSO-524.
The makers of Omega XL make their green lipped mussel extract out to be a big deal. But their “proprietary blend” is only about 33% mussel extract; the rest is regular old olive oil!
There’s nothing special about “green lippeed” mussels or the waters of New Zealand anyway! Even if this was 100% green lipped mussel extract, we still wouldn’t be impressed.All oceanic waters are polluted now, even Antarctica, so the seas around New Zealand are not as clean as these guys claim!
Great Healthworks do not even say what fatty acids are in Omega XL, although they do say that there’s “over 30” and that they’re significantly more bioavailable and effective than the fatty acids in fish oil.
Honestly, Omega XL reeks of a scam to us.
There’s the vague claims, the pseudo-science, and the celebrity endorsements that usually come with outright rip-offs. If you’re interested in using this omega 3 supplement, we recommend going back and reading our full Omega XL review – you might change your mind!
If you want a high quality omega 3 supplement to reduce joint pain, promote heart health and support cognitive function, you can do a lot better than Omega XL! See our Performance Lab Omega 3 review to learn about our current top rated omega 3 supplement.
Is Omega XL approved by the FDA?
No, Omega XL is not approved by the FDA. No nutritional supplements are FDA approved as they do not fall under the agency’s remit. However, we are sure that the FDA would not approve of the blatantly false claims made by Great Healthworks and Larry King in order to try and sell this product. The omega 3 fatty acids from New Zealand mussels is not particularly bioavailable, and the dosages in Omega XL are low ny industry standards. Most of the formula is olive oil anyway.
How many Omega XL pills per day?
Ideally, none! Omega XL is never going to deliver the benefits promised by the manufacturer. No research supports the claims that the omega 3 from New Zealand mussels are special in some way; quite the opposite. Omega XL is the most expensive way to consume DHA, EPA and olive oil we’ve ever seen. So the ideal Omega XL dosage per day is 0 pills.
What are the ingredients in Omega XL?
Omega XL is made up of omega 3 fatty acids (nobody knows which ones), extra virgin olive oil, and Vitamin E. We have no idea about dosages, as Omega XL does not state ingredient servings on the bottle o the website. However, research on the “patented” ingredient PCSO-524 suggests that it is 66% olive oil, and 33% green mussel oil, with some Vitamin E thrown on top.
Brian Johnson is a former academic researcher, psychologist, and tireless proponent of bio-hacking. Brian has dedicated all of his time since leaving academia and private practice to promoting the benefits to be obtained from the application of biotechnology and bio-hacking supplements. He has years of experience with nootropics, as well as prebiotics, probiotics, and other natural nutritional supplements. He has published scholarly research on natural nootropics; you can find his papers on his Google Scholar page.