Cod Liver Oil

34 mins read

Cod-liver oil, pale yellow oil gotten mainly from the liver of the atlantic cod, gadus morhua, and other types of the household gadidae. Cod-liver oil provides vitamins a and d. It was extensively utilized in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries to treat and avoid rickets, an illness characterized by faulty bone growth that is brought on by an absence of vitamin d. Extensive fortification of milk with vitamin d in the united states and europe start in the 1930s removed rickets as a considerable public health problem, and with that physicians stopped suggesting the use of cod-liver oil. It is still sold in health food shops as a vitamin supplement, as a treatment for joint pain triggered by arthritis, and as a preventive of cardiovascular disease– although these last advantages have actually not been proved scientifically. Cod-liver oil is also utilized in feeds for poultry and other animals.

Chemically, cod-liver oil is a typical fish oil. It is high in omega-3 fats, an important aspect in nutrition but one that makes it subject to oxidation, rancidification, and damage of vitamin a when it is exposed to air. Cod-liver oil is a mix of glycerides of numerous fats, mainly oleic acid, gadoleic acid, and palmitoleic acid. Both vitamin a and vitamin d toxicity can arise from the consumption of large quantities of cod-liver oil. [1]

History of cod liver oil as an internal solution

Folklore and tradition tell us that cod liver oil has actually also been used therapeutically in poultices, salves, and ointments by individuals native to those locations, and written records document its use in the last couple of centuries. English physician samuel kay of the manchester infirmary is credited with being the very first to introduce the internal medical use of cod liver oil (from newfoundland), around 1776.1 thomas percival and robert darbey, likewise physicians at the infirmary, chronicled its incredible effects in the treatment of chronic rheumatism, and percival reported their results to the medical society on october 7, 1782. Experiments and observations by other medical professionals, particularly 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 popularity continued to grow in the next century, as the health of the general population improved, no doubt due to a combination of factors, consisting of a much better understanding of nutrition and health.

The two world wars hindered the importing and exporting of cod liver oil, resulting in lowered supply throughout the european continent. The precious oil was comprehended to be a nutritional powerhouse, consisting of sufficient quantities of vitamins d and a, that might help with wartime malnutrition in children. 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 areas where the health conditions of bad kids demand it.” 7 as a result, six tons of the oil were shipped to continental europe in 1946.

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

Benefits of Cod Liver Oil

Here are 9 clinically supported benefits of cod liver oil.

1. High in vitamins a and d

A lot of 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 deal with rickets, a disease that causes fragile bones in kids.

Although cod liver oil is a fish oil supplement, it’s rather different than routine 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 give it an excellent 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
  • Saturated fat: 1 gram
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1 gram
  • Vitamin a: 90% of the rdi
  • Vitamin d: 113% of the rdi

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

Vitamin a has many roles 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 an important function in keeping healthy bones by regulating calcium absorption.


Cod liver oil is very nutritious and provides nearly all of your daily requirements for vitamins a and d.

2. May decrease swelling

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

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

This is referred to as persistent swelling, which is hazardous and might increase the danger hypertension and several illness, such as heart disease.

The omega 3-fatty acids in cod liver oil may reduce persistent inflammation by suppressing the proteins that promote it. These include tnf-α, il-1 and il-6.

Cod liver oil likewise contains vitamins a and d, which are effective antioxidants. They can lower swelling by binding and reducing the effects of harmful complimentary radicals.

Remarkably, research studies also show that individuals who lack vitamins a and d are at a higher risk of chronic swelling.


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

3. May enhance bone health

It’s extremely crucial to preserve 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 on in life, especially in women after menopause.

Cod liver oil is a great dietary source of vitamin d and might reduce age-related bone loss. That’s because it assists your body absorb 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 reduce bone loss among adults and enhance fragile bones in children.

Getting enough vitamin d from foods and supplements like cod liver oil is particularly essential for people who live far from the equator, a their skin does not get enough sunshine to synthesize vitamin d for approximately six months of the year.


Cod liver oil is abundant in vitamin d, which assists with keeping strong and healthy bones. It is particularly important for people who live far from the equator.

4. May decrease joint discomfort and improve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune illness that’s characterized by damage to the joints.

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

In one study, 43 people took a 1-gram pill of cod liver oil day-to-day for three months. They found it minimized signs of rheumatoid arthritis, such as morning stiffness, pain and swelling.

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

By the end of the study, 39% of people who took cod liver oil comfortably minimized 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 inflammation in the joints and secure against damage.


Thanks to cod liver oil’s capability to minimize swelling, it might help in reducing joint pain in those who experience rheumatoid arthritis.

5. May assistance eye health

Vision loss is a huge health problem, affecting over 285 million people around the world (26trusted source).

There are many reasons that individuals lose their vision, but 2 of the leading causes are glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (amd).

Both of these diseases can arise from chronic swelling.

Nevertheless, the omega-3 fats and vitamin a in cod liver oil have actually been shown to safeguard versus eye diseases brought on by swelling.

Studies in animals have discovered that omega-3 fatty acids reduce threat elements for glaucoma, such as eye pressure and nerve damage.

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

In addition, diets high in vitamin a may reduce the threat of glaucoma and amd, compared to diets lower in vitamin a.

In one study in 3,502 individuals aged 55 and over, scientists discovered that individuals who took in the most vitamin a had a much lower danger of glaucoma than those who consumed the least vitamin a.

Although vitamin a is terrific for eye health, it’s not advised to take high dosages of it, as it might trigger vitamin a toxicity.


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

6. May reduce cardiovascular disease danger

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

Studies have shown individuals who regularly consume fish have a much lower risk of heart disease. This impact can be attributed to its omega-3 fat material.

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

Decreasing triglycerides: omega-3 fats in cod liver oil might lower blood triglycerides by 15– 30%. Reducing high blood pressure: numerous research studies have actually discovered that omega-3 fats might decrease blood pressure, particularly in people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

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

Preventing plaque development: animal research studies have actually found that cod liver oil may decrease the danger of plaques forming in the arteries. Plaque buildup can narrow the arteries and result in a heart attack or stroke.

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

Regrettably, few studies have particularly examined the association of cod liver oil and heart problem, as many studies classify cod liver oil as regular fish oil.

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


Cod liver oil might help in reducing risk aspects for heart problem. Studies specifically on cod liver oil and heart disease risk aspects are required, as a lot of studies group cod liver oil with routine fish oils.

7. May enhance signs of stress and anxiety and anxiety

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

Interestingly, research studies suggest there might be a link in between persistent inflammation and anxiety and anxiety. Lots of research studies have actually found that the omega-3 fats in cod liver oil can reduce inflammation and decrease signs of stress and anxiety and anxiety.

A big study including 21,835 people discovered that individuals who took cod liver oil regularly had fewer signs of depression alone or integrated with stress and anxiety.

Nevertheless, while omega-3 fats help in reducing signs of stress and anxiety and depression, their general impact seems little.

In an analysis of 26 studies consisting of 1,478 people, omega-3 supplements were just somewhat more reliable than placebos at minimizing signs of depression and stress and anxiety.

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

How it lowers symptoms of anxiety is still unclear, however some studies suggest that vitamin d can bind to receptors in the brain and stimulate the release of mood-improving hormones like serotonin.


The omega-3 fats and vitamin d in cod liver oil may help reduce signs of anxiety and anxiety, but more studies are required.

8. May assistance recover stomach and gut ulcers

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

They are typically brought on by bacterial infections, cigarette smoking, excess use of anti-inflammatory medications or excessive acid in the stomach.

Animal studies suggest that cod liver oil might help deal with ulcers, particularly in the stomach and gut.

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

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

While using cod liver oil to assist heal ulcers appears promising, more research studies in people are required to make clear suggestions.


Cod liver oil may help treat 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 extremely simple to add to your diet plan. It comes in many kinds, but liquid and capsule kinds are the most common.

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

A typical dose is frequently 1– 2 teaspoons, but taking up to one tablespoon each day is generally safe. Higher dosages are not advised, as they would result in excess vitamin an intake.

Although cod liver oil is extremely healthy, some people require to be cautious about their intake since cod liver oil can act as a blood thinner.

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

Also, pregnant females need to contact their medical professional prior to taking it, as high levels of vitamin a might trigger harm to the infant.


Cod liver oil is easy to contribute to your diet plan. Stick with suggested amounts, as excess cod liver oil might be harmful. [3]

12 cod liver oil taking ideas

Now that we have actually discovered an item and discussed the advantages, here comes the tricky part: taking it! You will find that with a little bit of imagination, it is actually rather basic and not as scary as some cynics make it out to be. Here is a list of concepts assembled from our neighborhood and professionals in the field. There are really few limitations on finding what works for you, simply be just 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. The majority of people report they hardly even taste it.
  2. Attempt a naturally flavored liquid. Tips of flavors like licorice, ginger, cinnamon or mint might be just what you need.
  3. Take the capsules. Exact same benefits, various technique. They are slightly more expensive, however lots of discover them well worth the extra penny.
  4. Mix with a shake. Attempt adding it in with glowing life’s preferred superfood healthy smoothie.
  5. Mix dosage with strong or acidic juice or komboucha. The appetizing juice or fermented taste assists to mask the flavor, while offering 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 entire fat and regional, from pasture raised cows naturally!
  8. Blend with a dab of raw honey or maple syrup.
  9. Contribute to homemade salad dressing blends. The special taste can in fact taste terrific over greens.
  10. Take with a big piece 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 may sound amusing, but some parents have discovered that rubbing the everyday dosage of cod liver oil onto a kid’s bottom is the absolute best method for them to take in the nurtients without a hassle!
  12. Cultivate thankfulness. This is one of my favorites. Neurologists have found that gratitude is amongst the greatest favorable feelings, 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 difference, you might ask? In general, cod liver oil in liquid form is more popular as it’s simple to swallow. However, if you can’t stand the taste of fish, you might prefer the soft cod liver oil capsules rather.

Both types will come in different strengths to match your needs. Some might even be boosted with other components such as evening primrose oil or multivitamins.

If you have actually opted for a liquid cod liver oil, ensure you save it in a cool, dry place and not in direct sunlight to prevent it from spoiling. [5]

Inadequate evidence to rate effectiveness for …

  • Age-related macular degeneration. Individuals who consume a lot of fish and take cod liver oil don’t have a lower threat of developing this condition compared to individuals who simply eat a lot of fish.
  • Irregular heartbeat. Taking cod liver oil by mouth might lower a particular kind of irregular heartbeat in some people. However it’s not known if this reduces the threat of heart-related death. Taking cod liver oil by mouth does not appear to lower irregular heartbeat in males with irregular heartbeat after a cardiac arrest.
  • Taking cod liver oil has actually been related to a 29% lower possibility of older adults having anxiety 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. Likewise it may decrease blood fats called “triglycerides” in guys who have actually had a cardiovascular disease. However cod liver oil does not enhance these outcomes in individuals with an inherited kind of high cholesterol.
  • Hypertension. Taking cod liver oil by mouth appears to slightly lower high blood pressure in healthy individuals and those with somewhat hypertension. But it’s not clear if this reduction is clinically meaningful for individuals with extremely high cholesterol.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease. Some individuals with inflammatory bowel illness have joint pain. Taking cod liver oil may minimize joint pain in some individuals with this condition.
  • Taking cod liver oil together with an nsaid doesn’t decrease swelling in people with osteoarthritis better than taking an nsaid alone.
  • Ear infections in kids. Taking cod liver oil and a multivitamin may decrease the need to utilize medication to treat ear infections in children by about 12%.
  • Respiratory tract infections. Giving children cod liver oil and a multivitamin seems to lower the variety of doctor’s office check outs for airway infections.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Taking cod liver oil may reduce discomfort, morning stiffness, and swelling in some patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Likewise, taking cod liver oil and fish oil seems to decrease the need to use medicine to treat joint swelling in people with this condition.
  • Vitamin d deficiency. 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 normal levels in individuals with low levels of vitamin d.
  • Wound recovery.
  • Other conditions.

Is it safe?

When taken by mouth: cod liver oil is likely safe for a lot of adults. It can cause adverse effects consisting of heartburn, stomach upset, and nausea. High doses of cod liver oil are possibly hazardous. They might keep blood from clotting and can increase the opportunity of bleeding. Vitamin a and vitamin d levels might likewise end up being too expensive with high dosages of cod liver oil.

When applied to the skin: there isn’t sufficient dependable details 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 additional virgin both refer to the method of drawing out the oil from the cod livers. Fermented cod liver oil is extracted by fermenting cod livers and collecting the extruded oil. Bonus virgin cod liver oil is drawn out from raw cod liver without utilizing heat.

While many tout fermented cod liver oil as superior to non-fermented oil, others claim fermented cod liver is not fermented at all but disintegrated (and is, therefore, rancid and perhaps even putrefied). Neither of these claims has actually been corroborated. Fermented cod liver oil has not been extensively 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 precisely test for the rancidity of fermented cod liver oil.

It’s uncertain what fermented cod liver oil is. Producers declare to make it by drawing out oil from fermented cod livers, however others claim these products are not fermented but putrefied and rancid. Objective, top quality analyses and studies have not yet been carried out. [8]

Adverse effects

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional 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
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin

Negative effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your medical professional or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):.

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

Unique precautions and warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: cod liver oil is potentially safe when used in amounts that supply no more than the recommended everyday intakes of vitamin a and vitamin d. Cod liver oil is perhaps risky when taken in larger quantities. Do not take cod liver oil that offers more than about 3000 mcg of vitamin a and 100 mcg of vitamin d when pregnant or breast-feeding.

Kids: cod liver oil is most likely safe for most children when taken by mouth in amounts that offer no greater than the advised day-to-day intakes of vitamin a and vitamin d. Cod liver oil is potentially risky when taken in larger quantities.

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 major issue. Cod liver oil may likewise lower blood sugar levels and increase the effects of some antidiabetes drugs. If you have diabetes and utilize cod liver oil, monitor your blood sugar levels closely. [10]


As a supplement, omega-3 fat is generally regarded as safe for most people, when taken in low dosages (approximately 3g overall fish oil daily or less). If you are considering taking a new supplement, discuss this with your health professional first, especially if you are taking prescription medication.

Supplements offer a concentrated and frequently easier dosage of omega-3 fatty acid for those who might not be able to adequately cover their requirements through diet plan. With that said, it is always more suitable to achieve nutrition through food and select supplements only when extra support is needed. A lot of cod liver oil pills likewise consist of vitamin d and a, so ensure that you’re not taking any other supplements such as a multivitamin, or you may exceed the suggested amounts every day.

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

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


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