The average person uses cod liver oil to improve general health. It’s a traditional remedy so ingrained in some cultures that people don’t question its use. There’s even cod liver oil dogs can take.
What is cod liver oil for?
In the past, people took cod liver oil to prevent rickets.
Today, people take cod liver oil such as Arctic Cod Liver Oil by Nordic Naturals to:
- Improve immunity
- Supplement vitamin A
- Supplement omega 3 fatty acids
- Nourish young children
What are the health benefits cod liver oil offers?
Cod liver oil has been trusted because it is effective on some levels for:
- Autism: aids in calming people with autism and reducing episodes.
- Malnutrition: with the high levels of omega 3 and vitamin A, those severely lacking in them will find relief from symptoms of deficiency.
Beware of cod liver oil side effects
Why should you think twice before taking cod liver oil?
Oil from the liver always carries with it the risk of contamination. In the case of fish, heavy metals from the sea that enter the body accumulate in the liver as it works to filter such pollutants from the fish’s blood.
In fact, scientists in Norway observed that pollutants extracted from cod liver oil altered the secretion of testosterone (a male hormone) and estradiol (a female hormone). They noted that such pollutants are known to disrupt endocrine function, resulting in sexual problems in men. (Source)
As it’s oil, you are taking a higher concentration of calories than if you were eating the same weight in fish meat.
If you’re not lacking in vitamin A, be aware that because cod liver oil is derived from liver, it is very high in vitamin A. It is easy to overdose on nutrients from animal and synthetic sources. Vitamin overdose is unhealthy and there are side effects ranging from mild, uncomfortable, to fatal.
Is there a vegetarian alternative?
Cod liver oil is obviously not suitable for those on a vegan diet. Thankfully, science has continually advanced since the use of cod liver oil for health, leading to the discovery of vegetarian sources of omega 3 that are much better for everyone. Not just vegans!
However, not all plant sources of omega 3 are good. Find out which are the best here.
Would you still take cod liver oil?
Why or why not? Feel free to leave a comment!