Health benefits of cod liver oil include relief from cardio vascular disorders, osteoporosis, asthma arthritis and control on cancer. This nourishing oil from liver of cod fish is excellent for skin, relives muscle pain, lowers cholesterol, checks type I diabetes in children and fights depression. It also strengthens immune system, promotes gastrointestinal health and healthy vision.
What is Cod Liver Oil?
Cod liver oil, is derived from liver of cod fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). It is a nutritional supplement with higher level vitamin A and D. All of these nutrients help human body in various ways and stimulates healthy functioning of the organs.
Cod liver oil is a pale yellow, translucent, oily liquid that have a fishy essence and bland taste. Nowadays, traders often add fruit flavors and peppermint to make cod liver oil more tasteful and appealing to the consumers. However, the oil quality is a major factor on deciding its smell. Better quality oil has a minor sardine type of flavor that goes down to odor of fish and oil with degrading 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 them in capsule format.
The production of cod liver oil is meticulously done through advanced technology. This article will discuss about the immense positive health effects of cod liver oil on your vital organs like heart, and brain. Cod liver can be both consumed and applied topically for faster wound healing, arthritis or for other inflammatory problems. Earlier, 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).
Nutrient 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 maintaining 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 healthy cardiovascular system, reduces inflammation issues and depression
- DocosaHexaenoic Acid (DHA) improves eyesight, nervous system, and nourishes skin
Health Benefits of Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil has become an important topic of study in many universities across the countries, partly due to its immense health benefits and partly to nullify its adverse effects so that its beneficial horizon can be widened. Researches showed that consuming cod liver oil daily can keep you away from serious ailments like diabetes, cancer, arthritis, kidney problems, cholesterol, and musculoskeletal pain.
- Cure arthritis: cod liver oil has been used extensively as a supplement to maintain healthy bones and joints since ages. It has been a remarkable success throughout be it in curing bone ailments or keeping the skeletal system strong. Research study indicates that cod liver oil can 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.
- Releive muscle ache and pain: Often vitamin D deficiency leads to bone and muscle pain. Cod liver oil is a rich source of this vitamin and assures 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 reduces 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 dose of cod liver oil successfully eases this problem. If the problem still persists, you should consult a doctor.
- Prevent osteoporosis: Since decades, cod liver oil is used as a natural remedy for osteoporosis. This oil is an ideal supplement for post menopause women to keep away 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.
- Prevent heart diseases: A host of heart diseases can be avoided with the regular consumption of cod liver oil. In many studies, it has been evident that people having cod liver oil regularly have a decreased risk of developing heart problems. In fact, the patients who have already had heart attacks or any kind of heart surgery show much faster recovery when their medical treatment is supplemented with cod liver oil regularly. Scientists attribute this quality of cod liver oil owing 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 elasticity of the blood vessels.
- Reduce 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 domestic burns it healed the skin instantly and left behind no burn marks. Applying cod liver oil on facial skin gives a radiant glow within 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 extended period of time and minimizes wrinkles.
- Prevent Type 1 diabetes in children: Research study shows that consumption of cod liver oil either by pregnant woman or by child in the first year of life reduces risk of type 1 diabetes in children. However, it is always advisable to consult your doctor before taking cod liver oil regularly.
- Prevent cancer: Health benefits of cod liver oil include cancer prevention and cure. Norwegian research study indicated positive effect of cod liver oil on curing cancer. In fact, further studies said that when followed the doctors’ prescription with cod liver oil, many other types of cancer possibilities like that of the colon, and prostate cancer can be avoided.
- Relieves IBD-associated joint pain: Study showed that intake of cod liver oil reduces inflammatory bowel disease related joint pain.
- Cures Depression: Cod liver oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids that on regular consumption reduces depressive symptoms in people suffering from major depression.
- Keeps eyes healthy: Cod liver oil is rich in vitamins A and D, both of which helps to maintain healthy eyesight in long run. Especially vitamin A assures to retain normal vision in long run. Cod liver oil is affective in local treatment of various eye conditions
- Healthy immune system: Cod liver oil is rich source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for human body and 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 vitamin D, ensure healthy immune system and decrease the chances of infection
What are the 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 etc. 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 doctor before starting any cod liver oil diet. 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, the manufacturing companies are meticulously checking the quality of this oil so that the consumers do not confront health complications.
From an environmental point of view, over harvesting of the cod fish has now led to almost extinction of the species and the harvesting also damages the other forms of marine life. One healthy alternative of cod liver oil is fish oil which is easily available in the market. Although, the health benefits of cod liver oil are immense, but the dosage should be maintained accurately ensuring that you don’t end up with health risks.