9 Science-Backed Benefits of Cod Liver Oil

9 Science-Backed Benefits of Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil stands out as a fish oil supplement teeming with a plethora of health advantages. Packed with beneficial fats, vitamins, and antioxidants, it holds a distinguished place in the realm of dietary supplements.

Similar to conventional fish oil, cod liver oil boasts high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, renowned for their myriad health perks, including mitigating inflammation and lowering cholesterol levels. Additionally, it harbours substantial quantities of vitamins A and D, each offering a multitude of health merits.

Let’s delve into the scientifically substantiated benefits of cod liver oil.

Abundant in Vitamins A and D

    For centuries, cod liver oil has been revered for its efficacy in alleviating joint discomfort and addressing rickets, a condition marked by brittle bones in children. Despite belonging to the fish oil category, cod liver oil distinguishes itself from the standard fare. While regular fish oil is derived from the flesh of oily fish like tuna and mackerel, cod liver oil is sourced from the livers of cod. Laden with fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and D, it boasts an impressive nutrient profile.

    However, it’s prudent to be mindful of the elevated levels of vitamin A in cod liver oil. Adult males and females over 19 should not exceed 3,000 micrograms (mcg) of retinol activity equivalents (RAE) per day. A single teaspoon of cod liver oil contains approximately 1350 mcg RAE. Furthermore, cod liver oil emerges as one of the finest dietary sources of vitamin D, pivotal for upholding robust bones by regulating calcium absorption.

    Potential Alleviation of Inflammation

      Chronic inflammation, a malaise fraught with peril, heightens the risk of conditions such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular ailments. Cod liver oil’s omega-3 fatty acids exhibit promise in curbing chronic inflammation by suppressing pro-inflammatory proteins. Moreover, the presence of vitamins A and D enhances its anti-inflammatory prowess, as these antioxidants combat and neutralise detrimental free radicals. Intriguingly, studies underscore the heightened vulnerability to chronic inflammation among individuals deficient in vitamins A and D.

      Support for Bone Health

        The onset of bone mass depletion post the age of 40 underscores the significance of fortifying bone health. Cod liver oil, replete with vitamin D, emerges as a stalwart ally against age-related bone degeneration. Facilitating calcium absorption from the intestines, vitamin D plays a pivotal role in bolstering bone density, particularly when complemented by a calcium-rich diet. Encouragingly, research suggests that incorporating a vitamin D supplement like cod liver oil into one’s regimen, alongside a calcium-rich diet, can mitigate bone loss in adults.

        Potential Mitigation of Joint Pain and Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

          While a panacea for rheumatoid arthritis remains elusive, older studies hint at cod liver oil’s efficacy in assuaging joint discomfort and ameliorating symptoms like stiffness and swelling. In one study, 43 participants consumed a daily 1-gram capsule of cod liver oil for three months, resulting in diminished rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Another study involving 58 individuals explored the possibility of cod liver oil supplementation reducing rheumatoid arthritis pain to an extent that would facilitate the reduction of anti-inflammatory medication intake.

          Promotion of Eye Health

            Glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) loom large as leading causes of vision loss, often stemming from chronic inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids present in cod liver oil exhibit potential in mitigating glaucoma risk factors such as elevated eye pressure and nerve damage. Furthermore, diets rich in vitamin A are associated with a reduced susceptibility to glaucoma and AMD when compared to vitamin A-deficient diets.

            Potential Risk Reduction of Heart Disease

              Although fish oil supplements like cod liver oil may mitigate heart disease risk factors, conclusive evidence regarding their preventive efficacy remains elusive. The scarcity of studies specifically probing the correlation between cod liver oil and heart disease underscores the need for targeted research elucidating this association.

              Potential Amelioration of Anxiety and Depression Symptoms

                Anxiety and depression, afflictions affecting millions globally, exhibit intriguing links with chronic inflammation. Cod liver oil’s omega-3 fatty acids demonstrate a propensity for assuaging inflammation and alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression. A large-scale study involving over 21,000 individuals found that regular cod liver oil consumption correlated with fewer symptoms of depression, either standalone or in conjunction with anxiety.

                Potential Aid in Healing Stomach and Gut Ulcers

                  Stomach and gut ulcers, characterised by mucosal breaks, pose discomforting symptoms like nausea and upper abdominal pain. Cod liver oil, as indicated by animal studies, holds promise in ulcer management, particularly in the gastric and intestinal realms.

                  Convenience of Incorporation into Diet

                    Cod liver oil seamlessly integrates into one’s dietary regimen, available in various forms, with liquid and capsule variants being the most prevalent. While specific guidelines for cod liver oil consumption are lacking, recommendations hinge on safe intake levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin D. A customary dosage typically ranges from 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid cod liver oil per day, with capsule alternatives also available.

                    In conclusion, cod liver oil emerges as a veritable nutritional powerhouse, enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Its consumption may confer a spectrum of health benefits, including reinforced bones, diminished inflammation, and alleviated joint pain among individuals grappling with rheumatoid arthritis. For those considering supplementation, a judicious dosage regimen coupled with vigilance regarding potential contraindications ensures optimal health outcomes.

                    Author: Crystal Kadir
                    GP and Sex & Relationship Adviser – Durham University, MS Crystal is a qualified doctor and a sex and relationships adviser at Dimepiece LA. In her spare time, she enjoys nature and is a budding tennis enthusiast. Crystal is involved with several governmental and educational initiatives aimed at increasing awareness about sexual health and making free advice more accessible to everyone. [email protected]