What is Cod Liver Oil?
Cod liver oil is a fish supplement oil with numerous health benefits. It has vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have many health benefits including reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol.(1, 2)
8 Amazing Benefits of Cod Liver Oil
There are many scientifically supported benefits of cod liver oil.
Rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin D
Cod liver oil is a fish oil that is extracted from the liver of the Atlantic cod.
It is used to relieve joint pain and treat rickets, a disease that leads to fragile bones in children.(3)
Cod liver oil is a fish oil supplement that is quite different from 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 liver of cod. The liver is rich in fat-soluble vitamins which improves the nutrient profile.
One teaspoon of cod liver oil contains 41 calories, 4.5 grams, 1 gram of saturated fat, 2.1 grams of monounsaturated fat, 95% of RDI of vitamin A, and 75% of RDI of vitamin D.(4)
Cod liver oil is the best source of vitamin D, which is needed for maintaining healthy bones by regulating calcium absorption.(5)
Inflammation is a process of the body fighting against infection and healing. Sometimes it may continue for a longer period and is known as chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation may be harmful and may increase blood pressure and also increase the risk of several diseases.
Omega3 fatty acid present in cod liver oil may be helpful in reducing inflammation by suppressing the proteins promoting it. It also contains vitamins A and D which are well-known powerful antioxidants. They can be helpful in reducing inflammation by neutralizing harmful free radicals.(6)
Also, studies show that people with a lack of vitamins A and D are more prone to chronic inflammation.(7, 8)
Improves Bone Health
Cod liver oil is important for maintaining healthy bones.
People start losing bone mass after the age of 30 years. This can lead to fractures later in life.(9)
Cod liver oil is well-known as a very good source of vitamin D. Its consumption may reduce the risk of age-related bone loss.
Studies show that consuming a high-calcium diet along with vitamin D supplements may reduce bone loss in adults.(10)
Getting enough vitamin D from food and supplements is important for people living far from the equator, as they do not get enough sunlight.(11)
Helps in Reducing Joint Pain and Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by damage to the joints. Also, to date, there is no cure for this condition.
Studies show that cod liver oil may reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis like joint stiffness and swelling.(12)
Another study was done on 58 individuals to look for the effect of cod liver oil on rheumatoid arthritis. It was observed, people taking cod liver oil easily reduced the anti-inflammatory medication by 30%.(13)
May Improve Eye Health
Vision loss is an eye condition affecting 2.2 billion people from all over the world.(14)
Glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are the two main factors of vision loss. Both of these result from chronic inflammation.
Omega3 fatty acids can be helpful in reducing the risk factor for glaucoma which include eye pressure and nerve damage.(15)
Also, it is observed that a diet rich in vitamin A can reduce the risk of glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.(16)
Vitamin A may be good for eye health, but its high dose is not recommended as in high amounts it may lead to toxicity.(17)
Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Studies show that eating fish regularly may lower the risk of heart disease. It may be due to the omega-3 fatty acid content.(18)
Omega3 may benefit the heart in the following ways:
- Reduce triglycerides
- Increase HDL cholesterol
Taking cod liver oil may reduce the risk of heart disease but there is little evidence of it preventing heart disease or stroke.
Improve Anxiety and Depression Symptoms
Anxiety and depression are common illnesses that affect around 615 million people worldwide.(19)
Also, chronic inflammation, anxiety, and depression may be linked. Studies also found that omega-3 fatty acids can be helpful in lowering inflammation and reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression.(20)
Also, it is found that there may be a role of vitamin D in reducing the symptoms of depression. Additional studies may be needed to know how it does so.(21)
Heal Stomach and Gut Ulcers
Ulcers are a break in the lining of the stomach or gut. It may be caused by bacterial infection, smoking, and excessive use of anti-inflammatory medications.(22)
A study found, low to high doses of cod liver oil can be helpful in healing ulcers in the stomach and gut.(23)
Cod liver oil is an extremely nutritious fish oil as it contains a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin D, which are known to have numerous benefits to health. It can be easily added to the diet in liquid and capsule form. If anyone has struggles taking it due to the fishy taste, they can consume it in capsule form or take it early in the morning with a few sips of water.