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Cod Liver Oil
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Cod Liver Oil

What is Cod Liver Oil?
An oil acquired from the liver of Atlantic cod and related fishes and used as a source of nourishment and rich composition of vitamins A and D and very high levels of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. As the name implies, cod liver oil is from the liver of the cod (Gadus callarias), simply freed from solid fat by filtration at low temperature.

A Brief Historical Background

Cod Liver Oil has a long history as a popular folk medicine among the fishing communities of Scotland, Iceland, Norway and Greenland. Cod Liver Oil has been used as a medicine for centuries although its clinical use did not begin until the mid 17th century when it was given to people suffering with bone disease and rheumatism.Until then no-one knew why it worked.

In the 18th century, it was scientifically endorsed its reputation and Cod Liver Oil or Cod Fish Oil became accepted by the medical professionals as a treatment for illnesses linked to malnutrition. By the early 20th Century, Cod Liver Oil was used as a cure for the crippling bone disease, rickets, explained by the discovery that Cod Liver Oil was a rich source of bone-building Vitamin D as well as Vitamin A and polyunsaturated fats.

Flavor and Aroma of the Oil
As per the the quality of the oil, its characteristic flavor and aroma varies  from a mild sardine-like flavor, to an intense and obnoxious odor of rotten fish and rancid oil. Highly refined quality of cod liver oil it is a pale-yellow, thin, oily liquid, having a peculiar, slightly fishy, but not rancid odor, and a bland, slightly fishy taste. Manufacturers sometimes add flavorings, such as citrus or mint essence, to cod liver oil to make it more palatable.

The Production Process

Cod Liver Oil is manufactured by steaming, which is then pressed and decanted to distilling the essential oil. This is very different from the way fish oils are extracted from  the cooked whole body tissues of the fatty fish during the process of cooking of a fish meal.


Therapeutic Uses
There is hardly a disease in the books that does not respond well to treatment that includes cod liver oil, and not just infectious diseases but also chronic modern diseases like heart disease and cancer. Cod liver oil is used widely prescribed for the following purposes:-

  • Cod liver oil or cod fish oil is most famous for contributing to bone health, preventing and reversing rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults
  • Sufficient elongated omega-3 oils found in cod liver oil are one of the keys to keeping and rebuilding bone.18, 19 In women, higher levels of vitamin D from cod liver oil improve bone mineral density
  • In numerous studies, the elongated omega-3 fats found in cod liver oil have been shown to improve brain function, memory, stress response, immune response, allergies, asthma, learning and behavioral disorders, including bipolar syndrome and manic-depression
  • Cod liver oil given to infants after birth and during the first year had no protective effect against type 1 diabetes but it nevertheless is an important source of nutrients for optimal infant health
  • It is known to ease the pain and joint stiffness associated with arthritis, but has also been clinically proven to have a positive effect on heart, bone, and brain as well as helping to nourish skin, hair, and nails
  • Since many adults need extra dosage of Vitamin D to meet the RDA , for them cod liver oil is in particular recommended because it has much higher levels of vitamins A and D compared to any fish oil
  • Cod liver oil is potent in treatment of household burns, due to its high vitamin content, often leaving no burn-related blister
  • It is an effective complementary measure for long-term treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, a sometimes disabling autoimmune disease of the human central nervous system
  • Use of cod liver oil during pregnancy is associated with lower risk of Type I diabetes in the offspring.This effect was found only in mothers taking cod liver oil, not in mothers taking multivitamin supplements. It should be noted that cod liver oil contains unsafe amounts of vitamin A for pregnant women. Cod liver oil taken by nursing mothers improves the breast milk by increasing the amount of fatty acids, which promotes brain development, and the amount of vitamin A, which helps prevent infections, but the level of vitamin D is unchange

Side Effects - Dosage and Danger
Cod liver oil has a very high level of Vitamin A, it is possible to exceed the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin A. Vitamin A accumulates in body fat, and can reach harmful levels sufficient to cause hypervitaminosis A. Vitamin A and its derivatives are found in skin lotions and creams, oral medications and vitamin supplements. The 30,000 IU limit is from all sources. It has been medically recommended to never combine the sources of vitamin A

Infants and growing children can tolerate higher-per-pound doses of vitamin D and cod liver oil. Recommended dosages are as follows: one teaspoon from birth to six months, two teaspoons from six months to three years, one tablespoon from 4-10 years and two tablespoons thereafter during winter months or when not sunning.

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