Cod liver oil was the bane of children in Britain during the Second World War and the after war period. They were made to swallow a large spoonful everyday to keep their minds and bodies healthy at a time when food was scarce. They might have hated the taste of it, but it did as was promised and kept them healthy and enabled them to grow up strong. Those children would have been amazed today at how willingly people buy and take cod liver oil, but then again, at least we can.
Taking Cod Liver Oil Benefits Us All
Cod liver oil is oil extracted from the liver of the cod fish. The main cod liver oil benefits are that it is rich in Vitamins A and D as well as Omega 3 essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA.
During the Second World War it was given to children due to its high Vitamin D content, as this helps to prevent rickets. The Vitamin A it contains helps the body to fight infections and is vital for healthy growth and development as well as healthy eyesight.
At the time, no-one was that aware of the values of essential fatty acids, but today we know that the two essential fatty acids found in cod liver oil, EPA and DHA are vital for the body to function properly. Humans cannot produce essential fatty acids and so we must get them from our diet. In the west, we do not eat enough food sources of omega 3, and this is where a supplement such as cod liver oil, comes in particularly handy.
What does Cod Liver Oil do?
Cod liver oil helps the body to boost its immune system and it provides essential vitamins that are lacking from many modern diets. Vitamin A is found in foods such as liver, spinach, carrots, eggs and cheese. Vitamin D is only found in eggs and oily fish such as sardines, mackerel and herring. Most people today do not get enough of these vitamins in their diet and so taking cod liver oil can mean the difference between being healthy and not being healthy. In addition, cod liver oil benefits the body by providing it with not one but two of its essential fatty acids: EPA and DHA, both of which are essential for the body to maintain correct metabolism.
Is Cod Liver Oil Good for You?
Cod liver oil is an extremely valuable supplement for most people and for most people it provides a much needed source of valuable vitamins and essential fatty acids.
The only time you should be wary of taking cod liver oil is if you have a diet that is already rich in Vitamins A and D and the omega 3 fatty acids. Having too much of these vitamins in the body is as harmful as having a deficiency.
The following people should also be careful when taking cod liver oil and seek advice from their doctor:
- People who are allergic to fish or nuts
- People with diabetes
- People with hypotension (low blood pressure)
- People with a bleeding disorder of any kind
- People taking NSAIDs
- People on blood thinning tablets
- People on Warfarin
- Pregnant women
- Young children (each child’s metabolism varies so you must check with your GP to discover whether cod liver oil is appropriate for your child and what dosage you can give.)
What is Cod Liver Oil Good For?
Cod liver oil is known predominantly as being essential for healthy body growth and development, especially of children, where vitamins A and D are vital for healthy bone growth and the omega 3 fatty acids help with brain development and function. But the vitamin D in cod liver oil is also vital in preventing a nasty condition in adults known as osteomalacia – a softening of the bones. Plus, without sufficient vitamin D in the diet, people are at risk of developing osteoporosis.
Cod liver oil has been shown to be beneficial in treating multiple sclerosis and in reducing incidences of ADHD in children.
Not only that, but we in the west eat more omega 6 fatty acids than we do omega 3 fatty acids and this imbalance is bad for our health. By taking cod liver oil you can easily increase the amount of omega 3 fatty acids you are getting in your diet.
But there are many other health benefits of cod liver oil too. It improves the health and functioning of the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, the digestive system and the immune system. It strengthens bones and improves the condition of your skin, hair and nails. Plus it helps to improve brain function.
What are the Health Benefits of Cod Liver Oil?
Research has shown that cod liver oil benefits sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis. A five year study showed that people who took cod liver oil needed to take fewer anti-inflammatory drugs to control their arthritis. You can view a summary of this report here: http://www.codliveroilresearch.com/
Scientists have also shown that taking just one capsule of cod liver oil a day, or one to two teaspoons, can help to protect the body against cancer, kidney problems, diabetes and high cholesterol. It can also lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots from forming in the body.
It is also good at fighting depression and can aid in weight loss by increasing the amount of bad fats burned by the body’s metabolic processes. It is very useful in treating joint pain and can also boost eyesight due to its high Vitamin A content. Lack of vitamin A can lead to dull hair and brittle nails, taking cod liver oil can restore both hair and eyes to full health.
Cod Liver Oil Acne Treatment
Cod liver oil is a little known but highly effective acne treatment. Thanks to the combination of Vitamins A and D and the essential fatty acids, cod liver oil helps to keep skin clean and clear of acne. The vitamin A helps the body to develop and maintain healthy skin. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb and use Vitamin A and the Omega 3 essential fatty acids help to reduce inflammation. This makes cod liver oil an excellent acne treatment and acne preventative.
Cod Liver Oil Pregnancy Benefits
When women are pregnant they are advised not to take in too much Vitamin A, but this doesn’t mean they should stop taking in vitamin A altogether, as we have seen, Vitamin A is essential for the body. Cod liver oil contains just enough vitamin A to enable pregnant women to get the vitamin A they need, without fear of overdosing on vitamin A.
The main cod liver oil pregnancy benefits, however, come from its Vitamin D and essential fatty acids. Vitamin D has been shown to help reduce the risk of the mother developing pregnancy diabetes and of the baby developing diabetes later in life. Whereas the Omega 3 essential fatty acids found in cod liver oil are vital for healthy brain development in the baby.
Cod Liver Oil for Dogs
Dogs need their vitamins A and D and their omega 3 essential fatty acids too. Cod liver oil can help to prevent painful arthritis in pets as well as maintain healthy eyes, a glossy coat and improve their immune system. Many vets recommend cod liver oil for dogs, especially in breeds where there is a high risk of bone problems or arthritis.
How to Take Cod Liver Oil
The safe recommended dose for cod liver oil is a maximum of 3 grams a day or if taking it in liquid form, 20 to 30ml. It is also recommended to take cod liver oil with your meals to reduce the risk of the minor side-effects such as bad breath and indigestion and heartburn.
Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil
Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil is one of the best known brands of cod liver oil available in the UK and was the first company to produce cod liver oil in the UK over 75 years ago. During the war, they offered cod liver oil only in liquid form, now it is available in capsules or liquid form. You can find Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil online or in any good pharmacy.
Cod Liver Oil Side Effects
The most commonly reported side effects caused by cod liver oil are:
- Bad breath
- Abdominal Pain
- Stomach Upsets
- Irregular Bowel Movements
Very few people can suffer from serious cod liver oil side effects. If you suffer from any of the following seek urgent medical attention:
- Unexplained bruising
- Unexplained bleeding
- Black stools
- Vomiting blood
- Blood in stools
- Severe Headache
- Changes in vision
- Changes in ability to speak
- Weakness or numbness in the arms
Some people may be allergic to cod liver oil. If they are they will experience a rash, itching and swelling of the face, mouth or throat, difficulty in breathing. At the first sign of an allergic reaction, seek urgent medical attention.