The health benefits of cod liver oil include relief from cardiovascular disorders, osteoporosis, asthma, arthritis, and cancer. This nourishing oil from the liver of cod fish is excellent for skin, relieves muscle pain, lowers cholesterol, curbs type I diabetes in children, and fights depression. It also strengthens the immune system, promotes gastrointestinal health and improves healthy vision.
What is Cod Liver Oil?
Cod liver oil is derived from the liver of cod fish and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). It is a nutritional supplement with high levels vitamin A and D. All of these nutrients help the human body in various ways and stimulates the healthy functioning of organs.
Cod liver oil is a pale yellow, translucent, oily liquid that has a fishy essence and a bland taste. Nowadays, traders often add fruit flavors and peppermint to make cod liver oil more appetizing and appealing to consumers. However, the oil quality is a major factor on deciding its smell. Better quality oil has a slightly sardine-type of flavor that goes down to the odor of raw fish in oil of a lower quality. You can buy cod liver oil in most pharmacies and drug stores – this oil is usually found in liquid form, however if you do not prefer the smell of this oil, you can take it in capsule or pill form.
The production of cod liver oil is meticulously done through advanced technology. This article will discuss the immense positive health effects of cod liver oil on your vital organs like the heart and brain. Cod liver can be either consumed or applied topically for faster wound healing, arthritis, and for other inflammatory problems. In the past, cod liver oil was also given to children, because of its high levels of vitamin D that prevented rickets and other vitamin D deficiency diseases. However, now other supplements of vitamin D are prescribed for the same to avoid the adverse effects of cod liver oil if used in excessive dosage (see below for details).
Nutritional Value of Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil provides multiple health benefits owing to its rich composition. The nutrient value or composition of cod liver oil is discussed below.
Vitamin A helps to boost the immune system, resist infections, and improve eyesight and skin conditions.
Vitamin D helps maintain strong and healthy bones.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids possess anti-inflammatory properties that alleviate arthritis pain, relieve asthma, reduce stress, prevent allergies, improve brain function, and help in bipolar syndrome
EicosaPentaenoic Acid (EPA) promotes a healthy cardiovascular system, reduces inflammation issues and relieves depression.
DocosaHexaenoic Acid (DHA) improves eyesight, the nervous system, and nourishes the skin.
Health Benefits of Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil has become an important topic of study in many universities across the globe, partly due to its immense health benefits and partly to nullify its adverse effects, so that its beneficial horizon can be widened. Research has shown that consuming cod liver oil every day can protect you from serious ailments like diabetes, cancer, arthritis, kidney problems, cholesterol, and musculoskeletal pain.
Cures Arthritis: Cod liver oil has been used extensively as a supplement to maintain healthy bones and joints for ages. It has been considered a remarkably successful supplement whether it is used in curing bone ailments or keeping the skeletal system strong. Research studies indicate that cod liver oil can also be recommended for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Intake of cod liver oil also helps in reducing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) requirement in rheumatoid arthritis. These NSAIDs may have cardiovascular and gastrointestinal side effects on the body.
Relieves Muscle Aches and Pains: Often, vitamin D deficiency leads to bone and muscle pain. Cod liver oil is a rich source of this vitamin and ensures a strong and firm bone structure. Many studies state that regular consumption of cod liver oil increases vitamin D levels in the body, thereby improving muscle strength and reducing muscle pain significantly. Vitamin D deficiency from childhood can lead to serious issues like rickets or malformed bone structures, and this deficiency in adolescents often leads to retarded growth, muscular pain and a feeling of physical weakness. In such cases, regular doses of cod liver oil can successfully ease this problem. If the problem still persists, you should consult a doctor.
Prevents Osteoporosis: For decades, cod liver oil has been used as a natural remedy for osteoporosis. This oil is an ideal supplement for post-menopausal women to avoid the problems of osteoporosis. No tolerable upper limit for the consumption of vitamin D has yet been established; however adults over 50 years can consume 400 units per day for men and 600 units each day for women. Vitamin D is essential for the body in order to process calcium and thus it prevents osteoporosis and effectively maintains bone health.
Prevents Heart Disease: A host of heart diseases can be avoided with the regular consumption of cod liver oil. In many studies, it has become evident that people consuming cod liver oil regularly have a decreased risk of developing heart problems. In fact, patients who have already had heart attacks or any kind of heart surgery show much faster recovery when their medical treatment is regularly supplemented with cod liver oil. Scientists attribute this quality of cod liver oil to the high content of omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids alter the linings of the arteries, thereby healing them after damage. Vitamin A and D also facilitates mineral absorption, improves muscle functioning and supports the elasticity of the blood vessels.
Reduces Bad Cholesterol Levels: Cod liver oil has fatty acids that help to lower the amount of bad cholesterol in our body. Intake of cod liver oil can lower fats called triglycerides, which can be harmful if found in excess in the human body.
Healthy Skin: Traditionally, cod liver oil has been used as an effective natural remedy for healthy skin. Many times, it is seen that when cod liver oil is applied on skin areas with local burns, it healed the skin instantly and left behind no burn marks or scars. Applying cod liver oil on facial skin gives a radiant glow within a few weeks. In fact, you will notice that you do not need any fairness cream or moisturizers after using this oil for a period of time. Consuming cod liver oil regularly assures you a young look for an extended period of time and minimizes wrinkles.
Prevents Type 1 Diabetes in Children: Research studies have shown that consumption of cod liver oil either by pregnant woman or by children in the first year of their life reduces the risk of type 1 diabetes in children. However, it is always advisable to consult your doctor before taking cod liver oil regularly.
Prevents Cancer: The health benefits of cod liver oil include cancer prevention. A Norwegian research study indicated a positive effect of cod liver oil in curing cancer. In fact, further studies said that when following the doctors’ prescription with cod liver oil, many other types of cancer like that of the colon, and prostate can also be avoided.
Relieves IBD-Associated Joint Pain: Studies show that the intake of cod liver oil reduces inflammatory bowel disease-related joint pain.
Keeps Eyes Healthy: Cod liver oil is rich in vitamins A and D, both of which help to maintain healthy eyesight over the long term. Vitamin A especially ensures the retention of normal vision in the long run. Cod liver oil is effective in the local treatment of various eye conditions.
Healthy Immune System: Cod liver oil is a rich source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for the human body and a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to autoimmunity and can increase the susceptibility to infection. Regular intake of cod liver oil will provide the required amount of vitamin D, ensure a healthy immune system, and decrease the chances of infection.
Side Effects of Cod Liver Oil
When taken in moderation, cod liver oil has not shown any adverse effects, but of course excessive consumption can lead to some unwanted consequences like high blood pressure. Cod liver oil has extreme quantities of vitamin A and excessive consumption of this oil may cause hyper-vitaminosis and osteoporosis.
Pregnant women or women taking medication related to pregnancy should always consult their doctor before starting any cod liver oil diet or other dietary supplement. During pregnancy, high doses of synthetic vitamin A or retinoids can lead to birth defects; it can also bring about gestational hypertension and other complications.
If you have blood clotting disorders, consult a doctor before taking cod liver oil.
Sometimes, cod liver oil also contains impurities like mercury and pesticides. Nowadays, manufacturing companies meticulously check the quality of this oil so that the consumers do not suffer from any of these health complications.
From an environmental point of view, overharvesting of cod fish has now led to a near extinction of the species and the harvesting also damages other forms of marine life. One healthy alternative of cod liver oil is fish oil, which is readily available on the market. Although the health benefits of cod liver oil are immense, the dosage should be maintained accurately to ensure that you don’t end up with any unwanted health risks.