5 benefits of supplementing your diet with cod liver oil

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cod-liver-oil(NaturalHealth365) Cod liver oil has been used for centuries as a healthy food and natural remedy.  But, sadly, too many people have forgotten the true value of the special oil.

Of course, if you ask most healthcare providers about the type of supplement they recommend for optimal health – they will usually include some sort of fish oil on that list.  And, that’s mainly because fish oil – rich in omega 3 fatty acids including EPA and DHA – is known as a powerful anti-inflammatory that can reduce the risk of many chronic health conditions, including heart disease and dementia.

But, today, let’s focus our attention on cod liver oil – a specific type of fish oil that’s making waves in the natural health world (no pun intended).  Unlike ‘regular’ fish oil – which tends to come from the fatty tissues of species such as anchovies, herring an mackerel – cod liver oil comes from (as you might imagine) the liver of cod.

5 science-backed health benefits of cod liver oil

The liver organ is rich in vitamins A and D – making cod liver oil a specifically dense source of vitamins and other essential nutrients.  Just one teaspoon of the stuff boasts 890 mg of omega 3 fatty acids, 90% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A, and and 113% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D.

Historically speaking, cod liver oil has been used to manage conditions like rickets, joint pain, and osteomalacia (a type of bone weakening, thought to be related to a vitamin D deficiency).

Let’s look at the top 5 benefits – right now.

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1. Heals and prevent gastric ulcer formation.

A 2008 study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology found that a cod liver oil supplement increased the rate of healing of gastric ulcers in rats, and also prevented gastric ulcers from forming.

In humans, gastric ulcers are generally caused by a bacterial infection or as a result of long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.

2. Protects eye health.

Because cod liver oil contains such a high dose of Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, the supplement has been shown in animals and rats to reduce the risk of eye health conditions like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

3. Eases joint pain for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritic joint pain is linked to inflammation. A 2002 study found that people who took a cod liver oil supplement had reduced symptoms of their rheumatoid arthritis, including less morning stiffness, pain, and joint swelling.

4. Boosts bone health.

Did you realize that you start losing bone mineral density after age 30?

The vitamin D-rich cod liver oil can help to protect against age-related bone loss in adults, since its nutrients can help the body absorb more calcium (we recently discussed why the mineral magnesium is such an important part of this equation, too).

5. Eases symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Several studies have found that taking a cod liver oil supplement eases symptoms of depression and anxiety – a surprising benefit again linked to the supplement’s ability to lower chronic inflammation which has been associated with a range of mental health conditions.

Remember, quality matters.  Do your research and look for cod liver oil that comes from sustainably sourced fish and doesn’t contain a lot of additives or contaminants.

Also, be aware that it is possible to overdose on vitamin A – the  maximum upper tolerable limit is around 10,000 International Units per day, which is around 2 teaspoons’ worth of cod liver oil.

So, remember our disclaimer with every one of these articles: always chat with your doctor before starting or stopping a new supplement.

Sources for this article include:

NIH.gov
NIH.gov
PLOS.org
Healthline.com
Healthline.com
MedicalNewsToday.com