Cod Liver Oil
Updated: Jul 25
Cod Liver Oil is a traditional remedy. It has been used for hundreds of years as an alternative therapy for a variety of things. We do not sell Cod Liver Oil(Simply because there already exist some great suppliers) so here we have an independent assessment of the research that is out there - then it is up to you to check it out and see if it is the right thing for you. Cod liver oil is a nutrient-dense source of essential vitamins including vitamin D and vitamin A as well as anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. People living in parts of northern Europe have been using cod liver oil for centuries to enhance immunity and protect them from dark, long winters. They have also used cod liver oil as a natural solution for rheumatism, aching joints and stiff muscles. Joints: Omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA, are converted in the body into substances (series 3 prostaglandins and series 5 leukotrienes) that reduce inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties in cod liver oil are beneficial for joint health and the symptoms of arthritis. Evidence suggests fish oil (including cod liver oil) helps to maintain joint mobility and flexibility and diminish morning stiffness. In people with rheumatoid arthritis, cod liver oil supplements can reduce the number of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used as painkillers by over 30% after 9 months (i). Brain: DHA plays an important structural role within brain cell membranes, improving their fluidity so that messages are passed on more rapidly from one cell to another. EPA is involved in cell signalling and also improves communication between brain cells. Populations with high intake of cod liver oil have lower levels of depression (ii). Heart: The omega 3 content in cod liver oil could also be beneficial for your heart as they have beneficial effects on blood pressure, blood stickiness, inflammation and are prescribed to lower abnormally high blood fat levels. They may also protect against certain abnormal heart rhythms, especially in heart muscle receiving a poor blood supply (iii). An intake of at least 1g omega-3 fish oils per day (from eating oily fish twice a week, or from pharmaceutical grade supplements) has consistently been shown to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death by 40% to 45% (iv, v, vi). Bones: Vitamin D3 is essential for absorbing dietary calcium and maintaining strong, healthy bones. Low intakes increase risk of rickets in children and, in adults, of osteomalacia (softening of the bones) and osteoporosis (brittle bones). Cod liver oil is a rich source of vitamin D3, typically supplying 5mcg per dose (the EU recommended daily amount). A study in Aberdeen showed that vitamin D deficiency was lower among women who took CLO supplements compared to women that did not consume these supplements [2.0% vs. 23.7% in Spring (p = 0.001) and 4.5% vs. 24.8% in winter (p = 0.005), respectively] (vii). Eyes: According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) many studies reveal that vitamin A provided by fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, raw carrots, green beans and oranges (in the carotenoid form), as well as the retinol form found in cod liver oil, could help maintain healthy cells and tissues in the eye. Omega-3 fish oils, especially DHA, may protect against progression of age-related macular degeneration. A meta-analysis of nine studies, involving almost 89,999 people, found that a high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of developing late AMD by 38%. Eating fish at least twice a week reduced the risk by 24% (viii). Cod Liver Oil has been shown to have the following benefits: Lowering high cholesterol and high triglycerides Preventing and treating diabetes Lowering high blood pressure Preventing heart disease Lowering arthritis pain Reducing risk for osteoarthritis Treating depression Lowering risk for autoimmune diseases Fighting eye disorders like glaucoma and protecting eye sight Treating ear infections, allergies and asthma Preventing and treating kidney disease Helping to heal skin wounds Maintaining bone health and preventing fractures or osteoporosis A German study, which included 43 patients with rheumatoid arthritis who ingested 1 g of cod liver oil every day for 3 months, found that the patients experienced a decrease in the pain intensity of their stiff joints. A separate study concluded that cod liver oil may also help those suffering from osteoarthritis. Researchers at Cardiff University found that cod liver oil helped reduce pain and cartilage damage caused by osteoarthritis, as well as reducing the need for joint replacement. In their study, the investigators found that cod liver oil reduced enzymes linked to pain and cartilage damage caused by osteoarthritis. The medical use of cod liver goes back centuries. Its first documented medical use was in 1789, when Dr Darbey of the Manchester Infirmary in England used the oil to treat rheumatism. Only a few decades later, in 1824, cod liver oil was used as a remedy against rickets. By the 1930s the therapeutic properties of cod-liver oil were well established and it was frequently given to children to help prevent rickets and other conditions caused by vitamin D deficiency. The difference between cod liver oil and regular fish oils is that fish oils are extracted from the tissue of deep sea oily fish such as tuna, trout, mackerel, herring, salmon and cod. By contrast, cod liver oil is extracted solely from the livers of cod. Cod liver oil contains lower amounts of omega-3 fatty acids than regular fish oils, but larger amounts of vitamins A and D
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References and links (i) Galarraga B et al. Cod liver oil (n-3 fatty acids) as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug sparing agent in rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2008 May;47(5):665-9 (ii) Raeder MB et al. Associations between cod liver oil use and symptoms of depression: the Hordaland Health Study. J Affect Disord. 2007 Aug;101(1-3):245-9 (iii) Nodari S et al. The role of n-3 PUFAs in preventing the arrhythmic risk in patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 2009 Feb;23(1):5-15 (iv) Von Schacky C, Harris WE. Cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Cardiovascular Research, 2007; 73(2):310-5 (v) Weber HS et al. Prevention of cardiovascular diseases and highly concentrated n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Herz 2006;31 Suppl 3:24-30 (vi) Verboom CN et al. Herz 2006; 31 Suppl 3:49-59 (vii) Mavroeidi A et al. Seasonal variation in 25(OH)D at Aberdeen (57°N) and bone health indicators--could holidays in the sun and cod liver oil supplements alleviate deficiency? PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53381 (viii) Chong EW et al. Arch Ophthalmol 2008;126(6):826-33 (ix) Scientific Opinion on the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of vitamin D. EFSA Journal 2012;10(7):2813