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Is Cod Liver Oil a Cure All?

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?


Join The Conversation
foglie foglie 9 years
I'll stick with capsules :D :D
chickpilot chickpilot 9 years
I'm for anything that will help prevent alzheimer's, but I don't think I could swallow fish oil either... I think I'll stick with capsules.
kgtkgt kgtkgt 9 years
Im a vegetarian and I take flax oil supplements.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
One of my many vitamins... :)
Spectra Spectra 9 years
The thought of swallowing a spoonful of fish oil grosses me out. I'll just stick with my fish oil pills.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 9 years
I take Evening Primrose Oil. So far so good :) anyone know anything bad about that??
emalove emalove 9 years
I've been taking fish oil vitamins for awhile now to help my TMJ, but I haven't tried Cod Liver Oil. I actually didn't know much about it before I read this.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
Swallowing the actual oil sounds unbelievably foul, but I do take the capsules.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 9 years
This reminds me of a story of my friend that was going to try this out. For some reason she decided to buy one that was CHERRY flavored. She told me that as soon as she got it in her mouth her gag reflex kicked into overdrive and she could not swallow it! Heeheehee. I could not even imagine how disgusting cherry flavored cod liver oil would be. Yuck!
buffyanne buffyanne 9 years
I take organic, vegetarian flaxseed oil caps for my omega-3s. Have you read or seen any comparisons of flaxseed oil's nutritional profile and that of cod liver oil and/or fish oil? I thought I read somewhere that flaxseed wasn't as good...but I can't find the source it came from. Imagined? I think not. If you know, I would love to read about it. Thanks!
komler komler 9 years
Actually it's there is a Norwegian saying that you should eat/consume cod liver oil in the months that have R in them - September, October, November, January, February, March & April. This is, of course, because Norwegian winter is dark, and you need the extra vitamin D. My Dad lives by this. Me, I gag at the smell, and prefer it in nice "omega 3" capsules, so it goes down easily.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I'll stick with fish oil pills because there is no way I could swallow oil. That must be so gross in your throat no matter what you mix it in.
iPink iPink 9 years
very good. i should start again. my mom used to make me take it all the time when i was little or put it in milkshakes and stuff (if you put it in milkshakes, you can't even taste it!) but it's still good for you!
raieven raieven 9 years
(cancer not caner) :)
onion-waffle onion-waffle 9 years
Egad. I started taking cod liver oil in capsule form about a month ago, and nothing weird has happened. I used to take fish oil capsules, and literally within days of taking them, I broke out like I never had before. The second I stopped taking them, my flare-ups vanished. Fit, or any knowledgeable ones here, any idea why this would happen? Now I'm sort of worried about cod liver oil and would like to switch back to fish oil, but want to know what to look for to avoid having breakouts.
Ikandy Ikandy 9 years
My dad swears by this too...I used to take it in caplet form...
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
So what if you are already taking a multi-vitamin? Can you take cod liver oil? Or like you do, another fish oil supplement?
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