Cod liver oil: Is it really good for you?

For generations, it was a daily horror story to gulp down a spoonful of cod liver oil, as children. Scientists are now saying that our grandmothers were right to insist. The secret as per research is the omega-3 fatty acids, the same type found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.

Cod liver oil is also a great source of vitamin A and D. Rickets was a common disease in the 17th century England and was widely spread throughout the United States in the 1920s. Then, cod liver oil was used to eradicate the disease by the 1930s, scientists only knew of it being abundant in vitamins A and D. The vitamin D content in cod liver oil is more concentrated than any other food source, which in turn helps improve bone density. Eye conditions such as night blindness can be reversed with increased vitamin A intake from the oil.

Gradually, research proved that cod liver oil could help in reducing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. Comparatively new findings suggest it appears to reverse the breakdown of cartilage, typical of osteoarthritis. Along with having possible positive effects on conditions such as heart disease, ADHD, anxiety, high cholesterol, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and cancer, research suggests that depression, dyspraxia and schizophrenia may also be eased by fish oil.

A regular intake of omega-3 is associated with lower levels of fat in blood, in turn reducing the risk of heart attack.

Studies have linked cod liver oil with:

  • lowering bad cholesterol,
  • preventing and treating diabetes,
  • lowering high blood pressure,
  • preventing heart disease,
  • lowering risk for osteoarthritis,
  • treating depression,
  • preventing and treating kidney disease, and
  • helping to heal skin wounds, among others.

Before taking any cod liver oil supplements, it’s important that you consult your doctor, especially if you’re on any over-the-counter medications, vitamins or any other type of dietary supplementation. If you are keen on taking the cod liver oil for its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, you may need to consider whether you need extra vitamins D and A as well.

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