Cod Liver Oil

Cod-liver oil, pale yellow oil acquired primarily from the liver of the atlantic cod, gadus morhua, and other species of the family gadidae. Cod-liver oil gives vitamins a and d. It was extensively used in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries to deal with and avoid rickets, a disease identified by faulty bone development that is triggered by an absence of vitamin d. Prevalent fortification of milk with vitamin d in the united states and europe start in the 1930s removed rickets as a substantial public health problem, and with that doctors stopped suggesting using cod-liver oil. It is still offered in organic food stores as a vitamin supplement, as a treatment for joint discomfort brought on by arthritis, and as a preventive of cardiovascular disease– although these last advantages have not been proved clinically. Cod-liver oil is likewise used in feeds for poultry and other animals.

Chemically, cod-liver oil is a typical fish oil. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, an important element in nutrition however one that makes it subject to oxidation, rancidification, and destruction of vitamin a when it is exposed to air. Cod-liver oil is a mixture of glycerides of lots of fats, mainly oleic acid, gadoleic acid, and palmitoleic acid. Both vitamin a and vitamin d toxicity can arise from the consumption of big amounts of cod-liver oil. [1]

History of cod liver oil as an internal treatment

Folklore and tradition inform us that cod liver oil has also been utilized therapeutically in poultices, salves, and ointments by individuals native to those areas, and written records document its usage in the last couple of centuries. English physician samuel kay of the manchester infirmary is credited with being the first to introduce the internal medical use of cod liver oil (from newfoundland), around 1776.1 thomas percival and robert darbey, also medical professionals at the infirmary, chronicled its amazing effects in the treatment of chronic rheumatism, and percival reported their outcomes to the medical society on october 7, 1782. Experiments and observations by other medical professionals, specifically ones in germany, followed.

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

The two world wars hampered the importing and exporting of cod liver oil, resulting in lowered supply throughout the european continent. The valuable oil was comprehended to be a nutritional powerhouse, including sufficient quantities of vitamins d and a, that might help 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 distributed at the end of the war in those regions where the health conditions of poor children require it.” 7 as a result, six lots of the oil were delivered to continental europe in 1946.

Author and reporter mark kurlansky reports that throughout world war ii, the british ministry of food “provided complimentary cod-liver oil for pregnant and breast-feeding women, children under five, and adults over forty … The british government, thinking that the oil had produced the healthiest children england had ever seen, despite battles and rationing, continued the program till 1971.” [2]

Benefits of Cod Liver Oil

Here are 9 clinically supported benefits 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 relieve joint discomfort and treat rickets, a disease that triggers vulnerable bones in kids.

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

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

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

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

  • Calories: 40
  • Fat: 4.5 grams
  • Omega-3 fats: 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 extremely nutritious, with a single teaspoon providing 90% of your everyday requirements for vitamin a and 113% of your day-to-day requirements for vitamin d.

vitamin a has numerous functions in the body, including keeping healthy eyes, brain function and skin.

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


Cod liver oil is extremely nutritious and provides nearly all of your day-to-day requirements for vitamins a and d.

2. May lower inflammation

Swelling is a natural process that helps the body fight infections and heal injuries.

Unfortunately, sometimes, inflammation can continue at a low level for extended periods of time.

This is known as persistent swelling, which is damaging and may increase the risk hypertension and several illness, such as heart disease.

The omega 3-fatty acids in cod liver oil may lower chronic swelling by suppressing 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 anti-oxidants. They can lower inflammation by binding and reducing the effects of hazardous free radicals.

Surprisingly, studies likewise reveal that people who lack vitamins a and d are at a higher threat of persistent swelling.


The omega-3 fats in cod liver oil might assist suppress proteins that promote chronic swelling. Cod liver oil is likewise a great source of vitamins a and d, both of which have antioxidant residential or commercial properties.

3. May enhance bone health

It’s exceptionally essential to maintain healthy bones as you age.

This is due to the fact that you start losing bone mass after age 30. This can cause fractures later in life, specifically in females after menopause.

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

In fact, studies reveal that when accompanied by a diet plan high in calcium, taking a vitamin d supplement like cod liver oil can minimize bone loss amongst adults and enhance vulnerable bones in kids.

Getting enough vitamin d from foods and supplements like cod liver oil is especially important for individuals 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 rich in vitamin d, which assists with maintaining strong and healthy bones. It is particularly important for people who live far from the equator.

4. May reduce joint pain and improve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms

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

There is currently no remedy for rheumatoid arthritis, however studies suggest that cod liver oil may reduce joint pain and improve signs of rheumatoid arthritis like joint stiffness and swelling.

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

In another study in 58 individuals, scientists examined if taking cod liver oil would minimize discomfort from rheumatoid arthritis enough to help patients lower their use of anti-inflammatory medications.

By the end of the research study, 39% of people 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 in reducing inflammation in the joints and protect versus damage.


Thanks to cod liver oil’s capability to minimize swelling, it may help reduce joint discomfort in those who experience rheumatoid arthritis.

5. May support eye health

Vision loss is a substantial illness, affecting over 285 million people worldwide (26trusted source).

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

Both of these diseases can result from persistent swelling.

However, the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin a in cod liver oil have actually been shown to safeguard versus eye diseases brought on by inflammation.

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

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

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

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

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


Cod liver oil is a fantastic 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 reduce cardiovascular disease danger

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, affecting over 17.5 million people every year.

Studies have actually revealed individuals who frequently consume fish have a much lower danger of heart disease. This result can be attributed to its omega-3 fat material.

Omega-3s have actually been revealed to have lots of benefits for your heart, consisting of:.

Reducing triglycerides: omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil might reduce blood triglycerides by 15– 30%. Reducing blood pressure: lots of studies have actually found that omega-3 fats may decrease high blood pressure, particularly in people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Increasing hdl cholesterol: omega-3 fats in cod liver oil can raise great hdl cholesterol, which is connected to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Preventing plaque development: animal research studies have actually found that cod liver oil may lower the risk of plaques forming in the arteries. Plaque buildup can narrow the arteries and result in a cardiovascular disease or stroke.

While taking fish oil supplements like cod liver oil may decrease danger elements for cardiovascular disease, there is little evidence that it can avoid heart problem or strokes.

Sadly, few research studies have actually particularly analyzed the association of cod liver oil and cardiovascular disease, as many studies classify cod liver oil as regular fish oil.

Therefore, more specific research on cod liver oil and heart disease danger elements are needed to make a clear link between the two.


Cod liver oil may help reduce threat aspects for heart disease. Research studies particularly on cod liver oil and heart problem danger aspects are required, as many study halls cod liver oil with regular fish oils.

7. May enhance signs of anxiety and anxiety

Anxiety and anxiety are common health problems that together impact over 615 million individuals worldwide.

Interestingly, studies suggest there might be a link in between chronic swelling and anxiety and anxiety. Many studies have actually discovered that the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil can lower inflammation and lower signs of stress and anxiety and depression.

A large study including 21,835 people found that individuals who took cod liver oil routinely had fewer signs of anxiety alone or integrated with anxiety.

Nonetheless, while omega-3 fats help reduce signs of stress and anxiety and anxiety, their overall effect appears little.

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

Additionally, many research studies have also found a link in between increased blood levels of vitamin d and a decrease in signs of anxiety.

How it minimizes signs of anxiety is still unclear, but some research studies recommend that vitamin d can bind to receptors in the brain and stimulate the release of mood-improving hormonal agents like serotonin.


The omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin d in cod liver oil might help reduce symptoms of anxiety and anxiety, but more research studies are needed.

8. May aid recover stomach and gut ulcers

Ulcers are little breaks in the lining of the stomach or gut. They might cause symptoms of nausea, upper abdominal pain and discomfort.

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

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

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

Another animal research study discovered that cod liver oil suppressed genes that are related to gut inflammation and decreased inflammation and ulceration in the gut.

While using cod liver oil to help heal ulcers appears promising, more studies in humans are required to explain suggestions.


Cod liver oil might assist treat ulcers in the stomach and gut, however more human research studies are required prior to making suggestions.

9. Easy to add to your diet plan

Cod liver oil is extremely simple to contribute to your diet plan. It can be found in many types, but liquid and capsule types are the most typical.

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

A typical dose is frequently 1– 2 teaspoons, however using up to one tablespoon each day is typically safe. Higher doses are not advised, as they would lead to excess vitamin a consumption.

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

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

Likewise, pregnant ladies must check with their doctor prior to taking it, as high levels of vitamin a might trigger harm to the infant.


Cod liver oil is simple to contribute to your diet plan. Stick to recommended quantities, as excess cod liver oil may be harmful. [3]

12 cod liver oil taking ideas

Now that we have actually found a product and went over the advantages, here comes the difficult part: taking it! You will find that with a bit of imagination, it is actually quite basic and not as frightening as some cynics make it out to be. Here is a list of concepts compiled from our neighborhood and professionals in the field. There are truly couple of limits on discovering what works for you, just be simply make certain not to warm the oil- this will destroy delicate nutrient balance!

  1. Right from the spoon! Pour liquid onto the spoon, breathe in, hold breath, swallow and take a deep breath in. The majority of people report they hardly even taste it.
  2. Try an organically flavored liquid. Tips of tastes like licorice, ginger, cinnamon or mint may be just what you need.
  3. Take the pills. Same advantages, different approach. They are slightly more pricey, but lots of discover them well worth the additional penny.
  4. Blend with a healthy smoothie. Try adding it in with radiant life’s favorite superfood smoothie.
  5. Mix dose with strong or acidic juice or komboucha. The tasty juice or fermented taste helps to mask the taste, while providing you nutrients and/or a probiotic increase.
  6. Put the oil in 1-2 ounces of water and drink in 1 big gulp.
  7. Mix into yogurt or a bit of raw cream. Ideally whole fat and regional, from pasture raised cows of course!
  8. Mix with a dab of raw honey or maple syrup.
  9. Contribute to homemade salad dressing blends. The special flavor can really taste excellent over greens.
  10. Take with a big slice of lemon or a crisp cucumber. Chomping on something fresh right after swallowing the oil can be valuable!
  11. Apply topically to the skin. It might sound amusing, but some parents have actually found that rubbing the daily dosage of cod liver oil onto a kid’s bottom is the absolute best method for them to take in the nurtients without a difficulty!
  12. Cultivate appreciation. This is among my favorites. Neurologists have actually discovered that thankfulness is among the strongest favorable 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 can be found in both capsule and liquid form. 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 might choose the soft cod liver oil pills instead.

Both kinds will come in various strengths to suit your requirements. Some might even be improved with other ingredients such as evening primrose oil or multivitamins.

If you have actually chosen a liquid cod liver oil, ensure you keep it in a cool, dry location and not in direct sunlight to prevent it from spoiling. [5]

Insufficient proof to rate effectiveness for …

  • Age-related macular degeneration. Individuals who eat a great deal of fish and take cod liver oil don’t have a lower threat of establishing this condition compared to people who just consume a lot of fish.
  • Irregular heart beat. Taking cod liver oil by mouth may reduce a particular kind of irregular heartbeat in some people. But it’s not known if this minimizes the danger of heart-related death. Taking cod liver oil by mouth does not appear to minimize irregular heart beat in guys with irregular heartbeat after a cardiovascular disease.
  • Taking cod liver oil has been related to a 29% lower opportunity of older adults having depression symptoms.
  • High cholesterol levels in the blood. Taking cod liver oil by mouth doesn’t lower cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. However it may increase “good” high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in individuals with type 1 diabetes and high cholesterol. Also it may reduce blood fats called “triglycerides” in men who have actually had a cardiovascular disease. However cod liver oil does not enhance these results in people with an acquired form of high cholesterol.
  • Hypertension. Taking cod liver oil by mouth appears to slightly lower blood pressure in healthy people and those with a little hypertension. But it’s unclear if this reduction 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 might lower joint discomfort in some people with this condition.
  • Taking cod liver oil together with an nsaid does not minimize swelling in individuals with osteoarthritis much better than taking an nsaid alone.
  • Ear infections in children. Taking cod liver oil and a multivitamin may decrease the requirement to use medicine to deal with ear infections in young children by about 12%.
  • Air passage infections. Giving young kids cod liver oil and a multivitamin seems to lower the number of physician’s workplace gos to for respiratory tract infections.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Taking cod liver oil might reduce discomfort, morning tightness, and swelling in some patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Also, taking cod liver oil and fish oil seems to reduce the requirement to utilize medicine to treat joint swelling in people with this condition.
  • vitamin d shortage. Taking cod liver oil seems to increase blood levels of vitamin d in some people. However it’s not clear if cod liver oil increases vitamin d to regular levels in individuals with low levels of vitamin d.
  • Injury healing.
  • Other conditions.

Is it safe?

When taken by mouth: cod liver oil is likely safe for a lot of grownups. It can cause side effects including heartburn, indigestion, and queasiness. High doses of cod liver oil are possibly risky. They might keep blood from clotting and can increase the chance of bleeding. vitamin a and vitamin d levels may also end up being too high with high dosages of cod liver oil.

When applied to the skin: there isn’t adequate reliable info to understand if cod liver oil is safe or what the adverse effects might be. [7]

Is fermented cod liver oil safe?

Fermented vs. Additional virgin cod liver oil.

Fermented and extra virgin both describe the technique of extracting the oil from the cod livers. Fermented cod liver oil is drawn out by fermenting cod livers and collecting the extruded oil. Extra virgin cod liver oil is drawn out from raw cod liver without using heat.

While numerous promote fermented cod liver oil as superior to non-fermented oil, others declare fermented cod liver is not fermented at all however decayed (and is, hence, rancid and perhaps even putrefied). Neither of these claims has 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 most properly test for the rancidity of fermented cod liver oil.

It doubts what fermented cod liver oil is. Makers declare to make it by drawing out oil from fermented cod livers, however others declare these products are not fermented but putrefied and rancid. Objective, top quality analyses and research studies haven’t yet been performed. [8]

Side effects

Adverse effects that you should report to your doctor or healthcare expert as soon as possible:.

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

Side effects that usually do not need medical attention (report to your physician or health care professional if they continue or are annoying):.

  • Bad breath
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Metallic taste
  • Stomach upset [9]

Special preventative measures and warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: cod liver oil is perhaps safe when used in amounts that supply no greater than the advised day-to-day intakes of vitamin a and vitamin d. Cod liver oil is possibly risky when taken in larger amounts. Do not take cod liver oil that provides more than about 3000 mcg of vitamin a and 100 mcg of vitamin d when pregnant or breast-feeding.

Children: cod liver oil is likely safe for many kids when taken by mouth in amounts that supply no greater than the suggested daily consumption of vitamin a and vitamin d. Cod liver oil is perhaps unsafe when taken in larger amounts.

Diabetes: cod liver oil or other fish oils may increase blood sugar level in people with diabetes, however it’s not clear if this is a major concern. Cod liver oil may also reduce blood glucose levels and increase the impacts of some antidiabetes drugs. If you have diabetes and utilize cod liver oil, monitor your blood glucose levels carefully. [10]


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

Supplements provide a concentrated and frequently more convenient dosage of omega-3 fat for those who might not be able to sufficiently cover their requirements through diet. With that stated, it is always more suitable to achieve nutrition through food and pick supplements just when extra support is needed. The majority of cod liver oil capsules also include vitamin d and a, so make sure that you’re not taking any other supplements such as a multivitamin, or you might go beyond the advised amounts each day.

It ought to be kept in mind that the nhs advises against taking cod liver oil during pregnancy due to the fact that the high level of vitamin a may cause danger to the establishing fetus. It is best to talk to your doctor about your options if you are pregnant or seeking to develop.

If you do decide to take a supplement, pick an item from a trusted business that evaluates its product for pureness, because fish oils may consist of pollutants such as mercury and dioxins. [11]


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