I have a friend who swears by cod liver oil; she takes a teaspoon everyday, which to me sounds like a punishment meted out on Tom Sawyer by his Aunt Polly. My friend swears it helps her skin (which looks great and she is nearing 50), her joints, and her overall health. She tells me my fish oil supplement is not enough, so I decided to investigate.
Here's what I discovered. It is true that cod liver oil is high in vitamins A and D, which is why it was taken as a nutritional aid back in the days of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Some holistic health practitioners think cod liver oil is still a great way to get these two vitamins, but others think that cod liver oil often provides too much vitamin A, which can be toxic and interfere with bone density.
Cod liver oil is also high in omega-3 fatty acids – the fat you should love, but so are my fish oil supplements. Additionally, cod liver oil being made from the organ that filters toxins out of blood, is more likely to contain toxins like PCB when compared to regular fish oil.
To see if there is any substance to the health claims of cod liver oil,
While many of the health claims, like that cod liver oil prevents cancer and Alzheimer's have yet to be proven, the oil has been found to slow down the damage arthritis does to joints. There is also evidence that the oil may ward off depression, but it is believed that the omega-3s are responsible over any other element in the oil.
If you are interested in taking cold liver oil, you should limit your intake to one teaspoon a day and it seems the brand Carlson Labs is often recommended.
Me? I am going to stick with my fish oil capsules, and you?