Note: This article does not constitute medical advice. Please consult with your doctor before making any decisions regarding your health
Cod Liver Oil, is a natural fatty acid supplement that has been used for many years to treat health issues related to the skin, bones, teeth, hair, joints, blood circulation, digestion, immunity, and elevated levels of cholesterol.
It may be taken daily like an over-the-counter medication because its ingredients have not shown any adverse side effects when tested by experts. A few people with allergies do experience mild discomfort from using this type of dietary supplement but most tolerate it well.
The following information will help you understand what Cod Liver Oil is all about and how it can benefit your overall health. Read on!
Constituents of Cod Liver Oil
Cod Liver Oil contains vitamins D, E & K, along with polyunsaturated fats called long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA), antioxidants, minerals, phytosterols, amino acids, enzymes.
Most of the fat content is constituted in EPA and DHA which play important roles in cell membranes, hormone production, healthy vision, proper brain development, strong immune systems, normal blood pressure, and preventing coronary artery disease.
Vitamins contained in Cod Liver Oil include Vitamin D, A, B12, biotin, calcium pantothenic acid, delta-tocopherol, folic acid, pyridoxal phosphate, riboflavin, thiamine mononucleotide complex.
Minerals commonly found in Cod Liver Oil include bromide, chlorine, cobalt, fluoride, iodide, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, strontium, sulphur, vanadium, and zinc.
Phosphorus, sulphur, and vanadium work with the body's metabolism and assist in absorbing iron better. Zinc helps fight infections including colds, flu, etc. Copper works as an antiseptic against bacteria and fungus causing pimples, warts, athlete's foot, ringworm, nail fungus, fungal ear mites, scabies, and jock itch.
Chromium aids insulin activity which prevents sugar spikes, thus improving glucose tolerance, reducing cholesterol levels and promoting weight control. Choline protects cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Biotin increases collagen formation helping damaged tissue heal faster. Antioxidants included in Cod Liver Oil protect the body from harmful UV rays.
Finally, some types of Cod Liver Oil contain glycolipids that strengthen capillary walls thus improving circulation. Glycolipids enhance absorption rates and prevent the oxidation of essential nutrients inside our bodies.
Cod Liver Oil Benefits
For many, Cod Liver Oil has helped improve physical condition, increase energy, reduce pain, promote healing, maintain good health, and ward off chronic illnesses.
This nutritional supplement was traditionally consumed by seafarers who depended upon it for nourishment throughout the year.
Today, Cod Liver Oil remains popular among consumers as it provides numerous health benefits including increased vitality, reduced inflammation, improved mood, enhanced immunity, healthier skin, stronger nails, shinier hair, clearer eyesight, cleaner gums, healthier dental enamel, more stable bone structure, and fewer joint pains.
Cod Liver Oil has most if not all mercury removed, thus making it non-toxic.
One study published in April 2003 showed that men supplemented with Cod Liver Oil had lower incidences of prostate cancer compared to placebo groups.
Another study published in June 2004 revealed that senior citizens supplementing with Cod Liver Oil were able to lower total plasma homocysteine concentrations by up to 25% without significant changes in diet.
Cod Liver Oil also aids in improving the cognitive performance of individuals.
More recently, researchers discovered that Cod Liver Oil could inhibit tumour growth in colon cancers. One review article summarising studies done between 1993 and 2003 concluded that Cod Liver Oil can play a role in reducing the mortality rate from various forms of cancer.
Overall, research suggests that Cod Liver Oil is effective in treating arthritis, asthma, sinusitis, hay fever, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, digestive tract disorders, viral infections, and intestinal parasites.
Cod Liver Oil Side Effects
People who take Cod Liver Oil may complain of nausea, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, headaches, dizziness, dry mouth, rashes, acne, hives, eczema, bumps, burns, sun sensitivity, muscle aches, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping.
These symptoms may occur within minutes after consuming the supplement and usually subside in two hours or less. Some users report these reactions when they begin taking large doses at once while others claim their reaction occurs only when they consume too much of the product too fast.
In addition, if someone suffers from diabetes or hypoglycemia then he should avoid taking Cod Liver Oil until further research confirms no risk associated with such conditions.
Some people suffer from allergy/sensitivity to Cod Liver Oil, including those allergic to iodine, milk proteins, soybean lecithin, some preservatives, zinc sulphate, and yeast extract. Allergic individuals should consult with their doctor before starting supplementation.
People suffering from kidney disease, gallbladder diseases, hypertension, hyperthyroidism, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, cancer, HIV infection, AIDS, tuberculosis, epilepsy, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, lupus erythematosus, Crohn's Disease, ulcerative colitis, cirrhosis, or hepatitis may want to avoid Cod Liver Oil altogether due to possible interactions with their medications.
In summary, Cod Liver Oil offers excellent therapeutic value for many medical ailments because it possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties and acts as an antioxidant.
Studies show that Cod Liver Oil is beneficial for lowering triglycerides, controlling blood pressure, relieving stress, promoting sleep, enhancing immunity, regulating menstrual cycles, strengthening bones, aiding in wound healing, decreasing the incidence of breast tumours, balancing hormones, fighting ageing processes, protecting the eyesight, and increasing longevity.
Used regularly, Cod Liver Oil is considered safe and generally non-toxic. However, anyone considering adding Cod Liver Oil into his or her regular routine should talk to a doctor first before doing so.
Fish Oils Compared
The sources of both the oils are quite different, and so are the benefits offered.
As fish oils are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, they may be quite beneficial for cardiovascular health, and in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
However, consuming too much of it can significantly increase the risk of developing bleeding/clotting disorders, indigestion issues, risky interactions with weight loss medications, oral contraceptives etc.