Benefits of Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil is a type of fish oil supplement and is recognized as a nutrient-dense source of vitamins and essential fatty acids. It is high in Omega-3 fatty acids like regular fish oil. Cod liver oils are only derived from the liver of the cod and fish oil is from the body of oily varieties of fish like tuna, herring, anchovies and mackerel. The benefits of cod liver oils are linked to many health benefits, such as lower blood pressure and reduced inflammation(Source1). Cod liver oil also contains vitamins A and D, which provide many other health benefits.
High in vitamins A and D
Most cod liver oil is extracted from the liver of Atlantic cod. Dropi's fishing grounds are located on the Westfjords peninsula which provides the cleanest and purest fishing ground to be found in the Atlantic. Cod liver oil has been used for centuries to relieve joint pain and improve bone health(Source2). Regular fish oil is extracted from the tissue of oily fish, while cod liver oil is extracted from the livers of cod. The liver is rich in vitamins A and D, which give it a remarkable nutrient profile(Source3).
Read more about Vitamin D in cod liver oil on our blog: Vitamin D in Cod Liver Oil.
Daily consumption is 1 teaspoon of 5 ml*
- Calories: 40
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 890 mg
- Vitamin A: 90% of the RDI (recommended daily intake)
- Vitamin D: 113% of the RDI
- Fat: 4.5 grams
- Monounsaturated fat: 2.1 grams
- Saturated fat: 1 gram
- Polyunsaturated fat: 1 gram
Cod liver oil is incredibly nutritious, and 1 teaspoon provides 90% of your daily requirements for vitamin A and 113% of vitamin D(Source5).
Roles of vitamin A and vitamin D
Vitamin A has many roles in the body, such as maintaining healthy eyes, brain function and healthy skin(Source6). Cod liver oil is also one of the best food sources of vitamin D, which has an important role in maintaining healthy bones(Source7).
Research show that it may help with:
1. Improving bone health
We start losing bone mass after the age of 30 and maintaining healthy bones throughout your life is very important. Cod liver oil helps your body absorb calcium, which is a necessary mineral for strong bones, from the gut(Source8). In fact, 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 strengthen fragile bones in children(Source9).
2. Promoting a healthy inflammation response
Inflammation is a natural process in the body to help fighting infections and heal injuries. Unfortunately, people can suffer from chronic inflammation, which can be harmful and increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease(Source10). The Omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil may reduce chronic inflammation by destroying the proteins that promote it. These include TNF-α, IL-1 and IL-6(Source11). Cod liver oil also contains vitamins A and D, as mentioned above. Both are effective antioxidants and can reduce inflammation by binding and neutralizing harmful free radicals(Source12).
3. Supporting joint health and function
Currently, there is no cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis, but studies suggest that cod liver oil may reduce joint pain and improve symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis like swelling and stiffness in the joints. Omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil are believed to help reducing inflammation in the joints and protect the damage it can cause(Source13).
4. Supporting eye health
Loss of vision is a problem that millions of people are dealing with. The reasons for the sight loss are various but the two main ones are glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration which can be resulting from chronic inflammation. The Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A in cod liver oil have shown to protect against eye diseases caused by inflammation. Researchers found out in a study consisting of 666 people that those who consumed the most Omega-3 fatty acids had a 17% lower risk of early eye diseases and 41% lower risk of aging eye diseases(Source14). Another study of 3,502 people at the age of 55 and over showed that people who consumed the most vitamin A had a much lower risk of glaucoma than those who ate the least vitamin A(Source15).
5. Supporting heart health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Studies have shown people who regularly eat fish have a much lower risk of heart disease. This effect can be attributed to its Omega-3 fatty acid content (Source16). Omega-3 fatty acid have been shown to have many benefits for your heart, such as reducing triglycerides, lowering blood pressure, increasing HDL cholesterol and preventing plague formation (Source17) (Source18) (Source19).
6. Balancing/improving mood and help with stress
Anxiety and depression are common illnesses that together affect over millions of people worldwide. Studies show that there may be a link between chronic inflammation and anxiety and depression and that the Omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil can lower inflammation(Source20)(Source21).
While Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, their overall effect seems small. Many studies have also found a link between increased blood levels of vitamin D and a reduction in symptoms of depression(Source22).
7. Maintaining stomach and gut health
Ulcers may cause symptoms of nausea, upper abdominal pain and discomfort which normally is the cause of bacterial infections, smoking, excess use of anti-inflammatory medications or too much acid in the stomach(Source23). Animal studies indicate that cod liver oil may help treat ulcers, particularly in the stomach and gut. Researchers found out that cod liver oil suppressed genes that are linked with gut inflammation and reduced inflammation and ulceration in the gut(Source24).
Consumption of cod liver oil is promising regarding ulcers but more studies in humans are though needed to make clear recommendations.
Cod liver oil is an incredibly nutritious type of fish oil supplement and especially when it is cold processed. It is very convenient and contains Omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamin A and D. Cod liver oil may provide you with health benefits like reduced inflammation and reduced joint pain, stronger bones and improve Rheumatoid Arthritis. It comes in both liquid and capsule forms. A common daily dose is 1 teaspoons of liquid cod liver oil or 2-4 capsules. Higher dose is normally safe but not necessary for the benefits(Source25).
We offer different kinds of flavor, and many people prefer consuming it on an empty stomach before their first meal of the day.
Cod liver is a healthy option for people, but people on blood pressure or blood thinning medication need to be cautious and check with their doctor before taking it. The same goes for pregnant women as high levels of vitamin A may harm the baby. High doses of vitamin A are also not recommended as it can cause vitamin A toxicity. Though taking cod liver oil may reduce risk factors for heart disease, there is little evidence that it can prevent heart disease or strokes.