Cod Liver Oil

34 mins read

Cod-liver oil, pale yellow oil obtained mostly from the liver of the atlantic cod, gadus morhua, and other types of the household gadidae. Cod-liver oil gives vitamins a and d. It was widely used in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries to deal with and prevent rickets, a disease identified by faulty bone development that is caused by an absence of vitamin d. Prevalent fortification of milk with vitamin d in the united states and europe start in the 1930s eliminated rickets as a considerable public health problem, and with that physicians stopped advising the use of cod-liver oil. It is still offered in organic food shops as a vitamin supplement, as a solution for joint discomfort brought on by arthritis, and as a preventive of cardiovascular 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 common fish oil. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, a valuable aspect in nutrition however one that makes it based on oxidation, rancidification, and destruction of vitamin a when it is exposed to air. Cod-liver oil is a mix of glycerides of lots of fatty acids, mainly oleic acid, gadoleic acid, and palmitoleic acid. Both vitamin a and vitamin d toxicity can result from the usage of big amounts of cod-liver oil. [1]

History of cod liver oil as an internal remedy

Folklore and tradition inform us that cod liver oil has likewise been utilized therapeutically in poultices, salves, and ointments by individuals indigenous to those locations, and composed records document its usage in the last couple of centuries. English doctor 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, narrated its magnificent 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 doctors, 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 appeal continued to grow in the next century, as the health of the general population improved, no doubt due to a mix of aspects, consisting of a much better understanding of nutrition and hygiene.

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 understood to be a nutritional powerhouse, including sufficient amounts of vitamins d and a, that might aid 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 distributed at the end of the war in those areas where the health conditions of bad children require it.” 7 as a result, six tons of the oil were shipped to continental europe in 1946.

Author and journalist mark kurlansky reports that during world war ii, the british ministry of food “offered complimentary cod-liver oil for pregnant and breast-feeding females, children under 5, and adults over forty … The british federal government, thinking that the oil had actually produced the healthiest children england had ever seen, in spite of battles and rationing, continued the program till 1971.” [2]

Benefits of Cod Liver Oil

Here are 9 scientifically supported advantages of cod liver oil.

1. High in vitamins a and d

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

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

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

Routine fish oil is extracted 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 abundant in fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins a and d, which provide it an impressive 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
  • Saturated fat: 1 gram
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1 gram
  • Vitamin a: 90% of the rdi
  • Vitamin d: 113% of the rdi

Cod liver oil is exceptionally healthy, with a single teaspoon offering 90% of your daily requirements for vitamin a and 113% of your everyday 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 one of the very best food sources of vitamin d, which has an essential function in maintaining healthy bones by controling calcium absorption.


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

2. May lower inflammation

Swelling is a natural process that assists the body battle infections and recover injuries.

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

This is known as persistent inflammation, which is damaging and may increase the danger high blood pressure and several diseases, such as cardiovascular disease.

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

Remarkably, studies also reveal that individuals who are deficient in vitamins a and d are at a higher danger of chronic inflammation.


The omega-3 fats in cod liver oil might assist suppress proteins that promote persistent swelling. Cod liver oil is likewise a terrific source of vitamins a and d, both of which have antioxidant homes.

3. May improve bone health

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

This is since you begin losing bone mass after age 30. This can result in fractures later in life, particularly in women after menopause.

Cod liver oil is an excellent dietary source of vitamin d and may decrease age-related bone loss. That’s because it helps your body take in calcium, which is an essential mineral for strong bones, from the gut.

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

Getting enough vitamin d from foods and supplements like cod liver oil is particularly crucial for individuals who live far from the equator, a their skin doesn’t get enough sunlight to synthesize vitamin d for up to 6 months of the year.


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

4. May decrease joint pain and improve rheumatoid arthritis signs

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

There is presently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but studies recommend that cod liver oil might decrease joint discomfort and enhance signs of rheumatoid arthritis like joint stiffness and swelling.

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

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

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

It is thought that the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil might help reduce inflammation in the joints and secure against damage.


Thanks to cod liver oil’s ability to reduce swelling, it might help reduce joint discomfort in those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

5. May assistance eye health

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

There are many reasons why 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.

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

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

In another research study in 666 individuals, researchers found those who ate the most omega-3 fatty acids had a 17% lower danger of early amd and 41% lower danger of late amd.

In addition, diets high in vitamin a might lower the danger of glaucoma and amd, compared to diets lower in vitamin a.

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

Although vitamin a is excellent for eye health, it’s not suggested to take high dosages of it, as it may trigger vitamin a toxicity.


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

6. May decrease heart problem risk

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, impacting over 17.5 million individuals annually.

Research studies have revealed individuals who frequently eat fish have a much lower danger of cardiovascular disease. This effect can be credited to its omega-3 fatty acid content.

Omega-3s have been shown to have many advantages for your heart, consisting of:.

Reducing triglycerides: omega-3 fats in cod liver oil might lower blood triglycerides by 15– 30%. Reducing high blood pressure: numerous studies have actually found that omega-3 fats may lower high blood pressure, especially 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 connected to a lower threat of heart problem.

Preventing plaque formation: animal studies have discovered that cod liver oil may lower 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 might lower danger elements for cardiovascular disease, there is little evidence that it can avoid heart problem or strokes.

Sadly, couple of studies have specifically examined the association of cod liver oil and cardiovascular disease, as many studies categorize cod liver oil as regular fish oil.

Thus, more specific research on cod liver oil and heart problem risk elements are needed to make a clear link in between the two.


Cod liver oil might help reduce threat aspects for heart disease. Studies specifically on cod liver oil and heart problem threat factors are needed, as many studies group cod liver oil with regular fish oils.

7. May improve signs of anxiety and depression

Stress and anxiety and anxiety are common diseases that together impact over 615 million people worldwide.

Interestingly, research studies suggest there may be a link between persistent swelling and stress and anxiety and anxiety. Numerous studies have found that the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil can decrease swelling and decrease signs of stress and anxiety and anxiety.

A big research study including 21,835 individuals discovered that individuals who took cod liver oil frequently had less symptoms of anxiety alone or integrated with anxiety.

Nevertheless, while omega-3 fats help in reducing signs of anxiety and anxiety, their overall impact appears small.

In an analysis of 26 studies consisting of 1,478 people, omega-3 supplements were only a little more efficient than placebos at decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Moreover, lots of research studies have likewise found a link in between increased blood levels of vitamin d and a reduction in signs of depression.

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


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

8. May assistance recover stomach and gut ulcers

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

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

Animal studies indicate that cod liver oil may help treat ulcers, especially in the stomach and gut.

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

Another animal research study discovered that cod liver oil reduced genes that are related to gut inflammation and minimized swelling and ulcer in the gut.

While using cod liver oil to assist recover ulcers seems promising, more research studies in humans are needed to make clear recommendations.


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

9. Easy to contribute to your diet

Cod liver oil is exceptionally easy to add to your diet plan. It can be found in numerous types, but liquid and capsule kinds are the most common.

There are no set standards for cod liver oil consumption, so most suggestions are based upon safe consumption levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin a and d.

A typical dosage is often 1– 2 teaspoons, but using up to one tablespoon daily is typically safe. Greater doses are not recommended, as they would result in excess vitamin a consumption.

Although cod liver oil is exceptionally healthy, some people need to be careful about their intake since cod liver oil can serve as a blood thinner.

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

Likewise, pregnant women need to check with their physician prior to taking it, as high levels of vitamin a may cause harm to the baby.


Cod liver oil is easy to add to your diet plan. Stick with recommended quantities, as excess cod liver oil may be hazardous. [3]

12 cod liver oil taking tips

Now that we have found a product and talked about the benefits, here comes the tricky part: taking it! You will find that with a 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 ideas assembled from our neighborhood and professionals in the field. There are really few limitations on discovering what works for you, just be just make sure not to heat the oil- this will ruin vulnerable nutrition 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 an organically flavored liquid. Hints of tastes like licorice, ginger, cinnamon or mint might be just what you require.
  3. Take the capsules. Same benefits, various method. They are somewhat more pricey, however many find them well worth the extra cent.
  4. Blend with a healthy smoothie. Attempt including it in with glowing life’s preferred 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 increase.
  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. Preferably entire fat and regional, from pasture raised cows naturally!
  8. Mix with a dab of raw honey or maple syrup.
  9. Add to homemade salad dressing blends. The special flavor can in fact taste excellent over greens.
  10. Take with a large slice of lemon or a crisp cucumber. Munching on something fresh right after swallowing the oil can be useful!
  11. Apply topically to the skin. It may sound amusing, but some moms and dads have actually found that rubbing the everyday dose of cod liver oil onto a child’s bottom is the very best method for them to take in the nurtients without a difficulty!
  12. Cultivate gratitude. This is among my favorites. Neurologists have found that appreciation is amongst the greatest favorable emotions, and triggers 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 find it comes in both capsule and liquid type. What’s the distinction, you might ask? In general, cod liver oil in liquid type is more popular as it’s simple to swallow. However, if you can’t stand the taste of fish, you may choose the soft cod liver oil capsules rather.

Both kinds will be available in various strengths to fit your requirements. Some might even be improved with other active ingredients such as night primrose oil or multivitamins.

If you have actually gone with a liquid cod liver oil, make sure you keep it in a cool, dry place and not in direct sunlight to prevent it from ruining. [5]

Insufficient proof 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 establishing this condition compared to individuals who just eat a lot of fish.
  • Irregular heartbeat. Taking cod liver oil by mouth might reduce a particular kind of irregular heart beat in some individuals. However it’s not known if this minimizes the threat of heart-related death. Taking cod liver oil by mouth does not seem to minimize irregular heart beat in males with irregular heart beat after a cardiac arrest.
  • Taking cod liver oil has actually been related to a 29% lower opportunity of older grownups having anxiety signs.
  • High cholesterol levels in the blood. Taking cod liver oil by mouth does not lower cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. However it may increase “great” high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in individuals with type 1 diabetes and high cholesterol. Likewise it may lower blood fats called “triglycerides” in guys who have actually had a cardiac arrest. But cod liver oil doesn’t improve these outcomes in people with an acquired type of high cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure. Taking cod liver oil by mouth seems to slightly lower high blood pressure in healthy people and those with somewhat hypertension. However it’s unclear if this reduction is clinically meaningful for people with very high cholesterol.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease. Some people with inflammatory bowel illness have joint discomfort. Taking cod liver oil might minimize joint pain in some individuals with this condition.
  • Taking cod liver oil together with an nsaid doesn’t minimize swelling in individuals with osteoarthritis better than taking an nsaid alone.
  • Ear infections in children. Taking cod liver oil and a multivitamin might decrease the requirement to utilize medicine to treat ear infections in young children by about 12%.
  • Airway infections. Giving young children cod liver oil and a multivitamin appears to decrease the variety of physician’s office check outs for air passage infections.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Taking cod liver oil may reduce pain, morning stiffness, and swelling in some clients with rheumatoid arthritis. Also, taking cod liver oil and fish oil appears to lower the requirement to use medication to deal with joint swelling in individuals with this condition.
  • Vitamin d shortage. Taking cod liver oil seems to increase blood levels of vitamin d in some people. However it’s unclear if cod liver oil increases vitamin d to typical levels in individuals with low levels of vitamin d.
  • Injury healing.
  • Other conditions.

Is it safe?

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

When applied to the skin: there isn’t sufficient reputable details to know if cod liver oil is safe or what the adverse 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 extracting the oil from the cod livers. Fermented cod liver oil is drawn out by fermenting cod livers and gathering the extruded oil. Additional virgin cod liver oil is extracted from raw cod liver without using 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 decomposed (and is, therefore, 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 agreement on whether fermentation of oil can take place, whether fermented cod liver oil is rancid, and how to the majority of properly test for the rancidity of fermented cod liver oil.

It’s uncertain what fermented cod liver oil is. Makers declare to make it by drawing out oil from fermented cod livers, however others claim these items are not fermented but putrefied and rancid. Impartial, high-quality analyses and studies haven’t yet been performed. [8]

Adverse effects

Side effects that you must report to your medical professional or health care 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 physician or health care professional if they continue or are irritating):.

  • Halitosis
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Metal taste
  • Indigestion [9]

Unique precautions and warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: cod liver oil is perhaps safe when utilized in quantities that provide no greater than the suggested day-to-day intakes of vitamin a and vitamin d. Cod liver oil is perhaps hazardous when taken in bigger 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.

Kids: cod liver oil is most likely safe for many kids when taken by mouth in amounts that provide no greater than the recommended day-to-day consumption of vitamin a and vitamin d. Cod liver oil is possibly risky when taken in larger amounts.

Diabetes: cod liver oil or other fish oils might increase blood sugar level in people with diabetes, but it’s unclear if this is a major concern. Cod liver oil may also decrease blood sugar levels and increase the impacts of some antidiabetes drugs. If you have diabetes and use cod liver oil, monitor your blood sugar level levels closely. [10]


As a supplement, omega-3 fatty acid is typically regarded as safe for the majority of people, when taken in low doses (approximately 3g total fish oil each day or less). If you are considering taking a new supplement, discuss this with your health specialist first, specifically if you are taking prescription medication.

Supplements offer a focused and frequently more convenient dosage of omega-3 fatty acid for those who may not be able to sufficiently cover their needs through diet. With that said, it is always more suitable to achieve nutrition through food and pick supplements only when additional assistance is required. Many cod liver oil pills likewise contain vitamin d and a, so make certain that you’re not taking any other supplements such as a multivitamin, or you might surpass the advised quantities every day.

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

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


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