Cod Liver Oil

Cod-liver oil, pale yellow oil obtained primarily from the liver of the atlantic cod, gadus morhua, and other types of the family gadidae. Cod-liver oil provides vitamins a and d. It was commonly utilized in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries to treat and prevent rickets, a disease characterized by malfunctioning bone growth that is triggered by a lack of vitamin d. Prevalent fortification of milk with vitamin d in the united states and europe start in the 1930s gotten rid of rickets as a significant public health problem, and with that physicians stopped advising the use of cod-liver oil. It is still offered in health food stores as a vitamin supplement, as a treatment for joint discomfort triggered by arthritis, and as a preventive of heart disease– although these last advantages have actually not been shown scientifically. Cod-liver oil is likewise utilized in feeds for poultry and other animals.

Chemically, cod-liver oil is a normal fish oil. It is high in omega-3 fats, an important element in nutrition but one that makes it subject to oxidation, rancidification, and destruction of vitamin a when it is exposed to air. Cod-liver oil is a mix of glycerides of many fatty acids, primarily oleic acid, gadoleic acid, and palmitoleic acid. Both vitamin a and vitamin d toxicity can result from the intake of big amounts of cod-liver oil. [1]

History of cod liver oil as an internal treatment

Folklore and custom tell us that cod liver oil has likewise been used therapeutically in plasters, salves, and lotions by people indigenous to those areas, and composed records document its use in the last couple of centuries. English doctor samuel kay of the manchester infirmary is credited with being the first to present the internal medical use of cod liver oil (from newfoundland), around 1776.1 thomas percival and robert darbey, likewise doctors at the infirmary, chronicled its spectacular effects in the treatment of persistent rheumatism, and percival reported their outcomes to the medical society on october 7, 1782. Experiments and observations by other medical professionals, especially ones in germany, followed.

By the 1830s, cod liver oil was likewise being utilized to treat tuberculosis,2 rickets,3,4 malnourishment, osteomalacia (softening of the bones), and some eye conditions.5,6 its appeal continued to grow in the next century, as the health of the basic population enhanced, no doubt due to a mix of aspects, consisting of a much better understanding of nutrition and health.

The two world wars hindered the importing and exporting of cod liver oil, leading to lowered supply throughout the european continent. The valuable oil was understood to be a dietary powerhouse, including adequate quantities of vitamins d and a, that could aid with wartime poor nutrition in kids. In 1943, pope pius xi inquired about the possible procurement of newfoundland cod liver oil “to be kept at [the vatican’s] disposal so it can be dispersed at the end of the war in those regions where the health conditions of bad children demand it.” 7 as a result, 6 lots of the oil were shipped to continental europe in 1946.

Author and reporter mark kurlansky reports that throughout world war ii, the british ministry of food “provided totally free cod-liver oil for pregnant and breast-feeding females, children under five, and grownups over forty … The british government, believing that the oil had produced the healthiest children england had ever seen, despite bombings and rationing, continued the program until 1971.” [2]

Benefits of Cod Liver Oil

Here are 9 scientifically supported advantages of cod liver oil.

1. High in vitamins a and d

Many cod liver oil is extracted from the liver of atlantic cod.

Cod liver oil has actually been used for centuries to ease joint pain and deal with rickets, a disease that causes fragile bones in kids.

Although cod liver oil is a fish oil supplement, it’s quite different than regular fish oil.

Regular fish oil is drawn out from the tissue of oily fish like tuna, herring, anchovies and mackerel, while cod liver oil is drawn out from the livers of cod.

The liver is rich in fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins a and d, which offer it an excellent nutrient profile.

One teaspoon (5 ml) of cod liver oil provides the following:.

  • Calories: 40
  • Fat: 4.5 grams
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: 890 mg
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.1 grams
  • Hydrogenated fat: 1 gram
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1 gram
  • Vitamin a: 90% of the rdi
  • Vitamin d: 113% of the rdi

Cod liver oil is exceptionally nutritious, with a single teaspoon supplying 90% of your daily requirements for vitamin a and 113% of your day-to-day requirements for vitamin d.

Vitamin a has lots of roles in the body, consisting of preserving healthy eyes, brain function and skin.

Cod liver oil is also among the very best food sources of vitamin d, which has an important role in maintaining healthy bones by managing calcium absorption.


Cod liver oil is really healthy and offers nearly all of your daily requirements for vitamins a and d.

2. May minimize swelling

Inflammation is a natural process that assists the body fight infections and heal injuries.

Regrettably, in some cases, inflammation can continue at a low level for extended periods of time.

This is referred to as persistent inflammation, which is damaging and may increase the threat hypertension and numerous illness, such as heart problem.

The omega 3-fatty acids in cod liver oil might lower chronic inflammation by reducing the proteins that promote it. These include tnf-α, il-1 and il-6.

Cod liver oil likewise consists of vitamins a and d, which are effective antioxidants. They can decrease swelling by binding and neutralizing harmful totally free radicals.

Remarkably, studies also reveal that individuals who lack vitamins a and d are at a higher threat of persistent inflammation.


The omega-3 fats in cod liver oil might assist reduce proteins that promote persistent inflammation. Cod liver oil is likewise an excellent source of vitamins a and d, both of which have antioxidant residential or commercial properties.

3. May improve bone health

It’s exceptionally crucial to preserve healthy bones as you age.

This is because you begin losing bone mass after age 30. This can lead to fractures later in life, especially in females after menopause.

Cod liver oil is a great dietary source of vitamin d and might minimize age-related bone loss. That’s because it assists your body take in calcium, which is a needed mineral for strong bones, from the gut.

In fact, research studies show that when accompanied by a diet high in calcium, taking a vitamin d supplement like cod liver oil can decrease bone loss among adults and reinforce fragile bones in kids.

Getting enough vitamin d from foods and supplements like cod liver oil is particularly crucial for people who live far from the equator, a their skin does not get enough sunlight to synthesize vitamin d for as much as 6 months of the year.


Cod liver oil is abundant in vitamin d, which aids with preserving strong and healthy bones. It is particularly crucial for individuals who live far from the equator.

4. May lower joint discomfort and improve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that’s identified by damage to the joints.

There is presently no remedy for rheumatoid arthritis, but research studies recommend that cod liver oil might minimize joint discomfort and improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis like joint tightness and swelling.

In one study, 43 individuals took a 1-gram pill of cod liver oil everyday for 3 months. They discovered it minimized signs of rheumatoid arthritis, such as early morning stiffness, pain and swelling.

In another study in 58 individuals, scientists investigated if taking cod liver oil would decrease pain from rheumatoid arthritis enough to assist patients lower their use of anti-inflammatory medications.

By the end of the research study, 39% of individuals who took cod liver oil comfortably reduced their use of anti-inflammatory medication by over 30%.

It is thought that the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil may help reduce swelling in the joints and safeguard versus damage.


Thanks to cod liver oil’s capability to lower inflammation, it might help in reducing joint discomfort in those who experience rheumatoid arthritis.

5. May support eye health

Vision loss is a huge health problem, affecting over 285 million individuals worldwide (26trusted source).

There are many reasons individuals lose their vision, but two of the leading causes are glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (amd).

Both of these illness can arise from persistent swelling.

Nevertheless, the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin a in cod liver oil have been revealed to safeguard versus eye diseases triggered by swelling.

Research studies in animals have discovered that omega-3 fats reduce risk aspects for glaucoma, such as eye pressure and nerve damage.

In another study in 666 individuals, scientists found those who consumed the most omega-3 fatty acids had a 17% lower risk of early amd and 41% lower threat of late amd.

Additionally, diets high in vitamin a might reduce the danger of glaucoma and amd, compared to diet plans lower in vitamin a.

In one study in 3,502 individuals aged 55 and over, researchers found that individuals who consumed the most vitamin a had a much lower risk of glaucoma than those who ate the least vitamin a.

Although vitamin a is terrific for eye health, it’s not recommended to take high doses of it, as it may cause vitamin a toxicity.


Cod liver oil is an excellent source of omega-3 and vitamin a, both of which may secure against vision loss from inflammatory eye diseases like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (amd).

6. May lower cardiovascular disease risk

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, impacting over 17.5 million individuals each year.

Studies have actually shown individuals who regularly consume fish have a much lower threat of heart disease. This result can be attributed to its omega-3 fat content.

Omega-3s have actually been shown to have numerous benefits for your heart, including:.

Reducing triglycerides: omega-3 fats in cod liver oil might reduce blood triglycerides by 15– 30%. Decreasing blood pressure: lots of studies have actually discovered that omega-3 fatty acids might decrease high blood pressure, specifically in individuals with hypertension and high cholesterol.

Increasing hdl cholesterol: omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil can raise excellent hdl cholesterol, which is linked to a lower threat of heart problem.

Avoiding plaque formation: animal research studies have actually discovered that cod liver oil might minimize the danger of plaques forming in the arteries. Plaque accumulation can narrow the arteries and cause a heart attack or stroke.

While taking fish oil supplements like cod liver oil may minimize risk aspects for heart problem, there is little evidence that it can prevent heart disease or strokes.

Unfortunately, couple of studies have actually specifically taken a look at the association of cod liver oil and heart problem, as many research studies categorize cod liver oil as regular fish oil.

Thus, more particular research on cod liver oil and heart problem danger elements are required to make a clear link between the two.


Cod liver oil might help in reducing threat elements for heart problem. Studies particularly on cod liver oil and heart disease danger aspects are needed, as a lot of study halls cod liver oil with routine fish oils.

7. May improve symptoms of anxiety and depression

Anxiety and anxiety prevail diseases that together affect over 615 million individuals worldwide.

Remarkably, studies recommend there might be a link in between persistent swelling and anxiety and anxiety. Many studies have found that the omega-3 fats in cod liver oil can lower inflammation and minimize symptoms of stress and anxiety and depression.

A large research study consisting of 21,835 people found that individuals who took cod liver oil frequently had fewer signs of depression alone or combined with anxiety.

However, while omega-3 fatty acids help in reducing signs of stress and anxiety and anxiety, their total effect seems small.

In an analysis of 26 studies including 1,478 individuals, omega-3 supplements were only slightly more efficient than placebos at reducing signs of anxiety and anxiety.

Moreover, numerous research studies have also discovered a link in between increased blood levels of vitamin d and a decrease in symptoms of depression.

How it decreases symptoms of anxiety is still uncertain, however some studies recommend that vitamin d can bind to receptors in the brain and promote the release of mood-improving hormones like serotonin.


The omega-3 fats and vitamin d in cod liver oil might help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety and anxiety, however more studies are required.

8. May help heal stomach and gut ulcers

Ulcers are small breaks in the lining of the stomach or gut. They might trigger signs of queasiness, upper abdominal pain and discomfort.

They are often triggered by bacterial infections, smoking, excess use of anti-inflammatory medications or excessive acid in the stomach.

Animal research studies indicate that cod liver oil might assist treat ulcers, particularly in the stomach and gut.

In one animal study, scientists discovered that low and high dosages of cod liver oil assisted heal ulcers in both the stomach and gut.

Another animal research study discovered that cod liver oil reduced genes that are linked with gut inflammation and minimized inflammation and ulceration in the gut.

While making use of cod liver oil to assist heal ulcers seems promising, more studies in humans are needed to explain suggestions.


Cod liver oil may help deal with ulcers in the stomach and gut, but more human studies are needed prior to making suggestions.

9. Easy to contribute to your diet plan

Cod liver oil is incredibly easy to add to your diet. It comes in numerous forms, but liquid and capsule kinds are the most typical.

There are no set guidelines for cod liver oil consumption, so most suggestions are based on safe intake levels of omega-3 fats, vitamin a and d.

A common dosage is frequently 1– 2 teaspoons, but using up to one tablespoon daily is usually safe. Higher doses are not suggested, as they would result in excess vitamin a consumption.

Although cod liver oil is very healthy, some individuals require to be cautious about their intake because cod liver oil can serve as a blood thinner.

So consult your doctor before taking cod liver oil if you take blood pressure or blood thinning medications.

Also, pregnant ladies should check with their physician before taking it, as high levels of vitamin a may cause harm to the infant.


Cod liver oil is simple to add to your diet. Stick with suggested quantities, as excess cod liver oil might be damaging. [3]

12 cod liver oil taking pointers

Now that we have discovered an item and talked about the benefits, here comes the challenging part: taking it! You will find that with a little bit of imagination, it is truly rather simple and not as frightening as some cynics make it out to be. Here is a list of concepts put together from our neighborhood and professionals in the field. There are actually couple of limits on discovering what works for you, simply be simply make certain not to warm the oil- this will ruin fragile nutrient balance!

  1. Right from the spoon! Pour liquid onto the spoon, take a breath in, hold breath, swallow and take a deep breath in. Many people report they barely even taste it.
  2. Attempt an organically flavored liquid. Tips of tastes like licorice, ginger, cinnamon or mint may be simply what you need.
  3. Take the capsules. Same benefits, various approach. They are a little more expensive, however lots of find them well worth the extra cent.
  4. Combine with a healthy smoothie. Try adding it in with radiant life’s favorite superfood shake.
  5. Mix dosage with strong or acidic juice or komboucha. The appetizing juice or fermented taste assists to mask the taste, while providing you nutrients and/or a probiotic boost.
  6. Put the oil in 1-2 ounces of water and drink in 1 huge gulp.
  7. Mix into yogurt or a little raw cream. Ideally whole fat and local, from pasture raised cows obviously!
  8. Mix with a dab of raw honey or maple syrup.
  9. Add to homemade salad dressing blends. The distinct flavor can actually taste fantastic over greens.
  10. Take with a large slice of lemon or a crisp cucumber. Chomping on something fresh right after swallowing the oil can be helpful!
  11. Apply topically to the skin. It might sound amusing, however some moms and dads have actually found that rubbing the everyday dosage of cod liver oil onto a kid’s bottom is the very best method for them to soak up the nurtients without a hassle!
  12. Cultivate gratitude. This is one of my favorites. Neurologists have actually found that gratitude is amongst the strongest positive emotions, and activates more centers in the brain than others. [4]

Cod liver oil capsules vs liquid

If you’re keen to make cod liver oil one of your regular supplements, you’ll discover it comes in both pill and liquid type. What’s the distinction, you might ask? In general, cod liver oil in liquid type is more popular as it’s easy to swallow. Nevertheless, if you can’t stand the taste of fish, you may choose the soft cod liver oil pills instead.

Both forms will be available in different strengths to fit your requirements. Some may even be boosted with other ingredients such as night primrose oil or multivitamins.

If you’ve selected a liquid cod liver oil, make sure you save it in a cool, dry place and not in direct sunlight to prevent it from ruining. [5]

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for …

  • Age-related macular degeneration. People who consume a great deal of fish and take cod liver oil do not have a lower danger of establishing this condition compared to individuals who just eat a lot of fish.
  • Irregular heartbeat. Taking cod liver oil by mouth might lower a particular type of irregular heartbeat in some individuals. However it’s not known if this decreases the danger of heart-related death. Taking cod liver oil by mouth does not seem to minimize irregular heartbeat in men with irregular heart beat after a cardiovascular disease.
  • Taking cod liver oil has been linked with a 29% lower opportunity of older grownups having anxiety signs.
  • High cholesterol levels in the blood. Taking cod liver oil by mouth doesn’t lower cholesterol levels in individuals with high cholesterol. However it may increase “excellent” high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in people with type 1 diabetes and high cholesterol. Also it might lower blood fats called “triglycerides” in males who have actually had a cardiac arrest. However cod liver oil doesn’t enhance these outcomes in people with an inherited type of high cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure. Taking cod liver oil by mouth seems to slightly lower blood pressure in healthy people and those with a little high blood pressure. But it’s not clear if this decrease is medically significant for individuals with very high cholesterol.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease. Some people with inflammatory bowel illness have joint discomfort. Taking cod liver oil may decrease joint pain in some individuals with this condition.
  • Taking cod liver oil along with an nsaid does not decrease swelling in individuals with osteoarthritis better than taking an nsaid alone.
  • Ear infections in kids. Taking cod liver oil and a multivitamin may reduce the requirement to utilize medicine to treat ear infections in kids by about 12%.
  • Respiratory tract infections. Offering kids cod liver oil and a multivitamin seems to decrease the number of medical professional’s workplace sees for respiratory tract infections.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Taking cod liver oil may reduce pain, early morning tightness, and swelling in some patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Also, taking cod liver oil and fish oil appears to decrease the requirement to use medication to deal with joint swelling in people with this condition.
  • Vitamin d shortage. Taking cod liver oil appears to increase blood levels of vitamin d in some individuals. But it’s not clear if cod liver oil increases vitamin d to normal levels in individuals with low levels of vitamin d.
  • Wound healing.
  • Other conditions.

Is it safe?

When taken by mouth: cod liver oil is likely safe for the majority of adults. It can trigger negative effects including heartburn, indigestion, and queasiness. High doses of cod liver oil are potentially unsafe. They might keep blood from clotting and can increase the opportunity of bleeding. Vitamin a and vitamin d levels may likewise end up being too high with high dosages of cod liver oil.

When applied to the skin: there isn’t sufficient reliable information to know if cod liver oil is safe or what the negative effects might be. [7]

Is fermented cod liver oil safe?

Fermented vs. Bonus virgin cod liver oil.

Fermented and extra virgin both describe the technique of drawing out the oil from the cod livers. Fermented cod liver oil is extracted by fermenting cod livers and gathering the extruded oil. Additional virgin cod liver oil is drawn out from raw cod liver without utilizing heat.

While lots of promote fermented cod liver oil as superior to non-fermented oil, others claim fermented cod liver is not fermented at all however disintegrated (and is, thus, rancid and perhaps even putrefied). Neither of these claims has actually been validated. Fermented cod liver oil has actually not been thoroughly studied, unlike non-fermented cod liver oil.

There is no consensus on whether fermentation of oil can occur, whether fermented cod liver oil is rancid, and how to a lot of properly test for the rancidity of fermented cod liver oil.

It doubts what fermented cod liver oil is. Makers claim to make it by extracting oil from fermented cod livers, but others declare these items are not fermented but putrefied and rancid. Unbiased, high-quality analyses and research studies have not yet been performed. [8]

Adverse effects

Negative effects that you ought to report to your physician or healthcare expert as soon as possible:.

  • Allergies like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • Changes in vision
  • Dark urine
  • Skin rash
  • Uncommon bleeding or bruising
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin

Negative effects that normally do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or healthcare professional if they continue or are irritating):.

  • Bad breath
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Metal taste
  • Indigestion [9]

Unique preventative measures and warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: cod liver oil is perhaps safe when used in quantities that provide no greater than the advised daily consumption of vitamin a and vitamin d. Cod liver oil is possibly unsafe when taken in bigger amounts. Do not take cod liver oil that supplies more than about 3000 mcg of vitamin a and 100 mcg of vitamin d when pregnant or breast-feeding.

Children: cod liver oil is most likely safe for a lot of kids when taken by mouth in amounts that supply no greater than the advised daily consumption of vitamin a and vitamin d. Cod liver oil is potentially unsafe when taken in bigger amounts.

Diabetes: cod liver oil or other fish oils may increase blood sugar level in people with diabetes, but it’s not clear if this is a significant concern. Cod liver oil might likewise decrease blood glucose levels and increase the results of some antidiabetes drugs. If you have diabetes and utilize cod liver oil, monitor your blood glucose levels closely. [10]


As a supplement, omega-3 fatty acid is normally regarded as safe for many people, when taken in low dosages (around 3g total fish oil per day or less). If you are thinking about taking a new supplement, discuss this with your health specialist initially, specifically if you are taking prescription medication.

Supplements provide a focused and typically easier dose of omega-3 fatty acid for those who might not be able to sufficiently cover their requirements through diet. With that said, it is always more suitable to achieve nutrition through food and pick supplements just when extra assistance is required. Many cod liver oil capsules also contain vitamin d and a, so make certain that you’re not taking any other supplements such as a multivitamin, or you may exceed the advised quantities every day.

It ought to be kept in mind that the nhs advises against taking cod liver oil during pregnancy because the high level of vitamin a may trigger risk to the establishing fetus. It is best to speak with your physician about your options if you are pregnant or aiming to conceive.

If you do choose to take a supplement, select a product from a reliable company that evaluates its item for purity, since fish oils might contain contaminants such as mercury and dioxins. [11]


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