Cod liver oil is one the most nutrient-dense sources of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D and can be consumed either by eating cod fish liver or by taking over-the-counter supplements.
Its medicinal use dates back centuries, helping to relieve the symptoms of arthritis, reduce inflammation and maintain overall health. Regular fish oils are extracted from the tissue of deep-sea oily fish, but cod liver oil is extracted solely from the livers of cod fish, which is why it has a higher concentration of Vitamins A and D.
Each teaspoon of cod liver oil contains 41 calories and 4.5 grams of healthy fat, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 96000 deaths per year are caused by an Omega-3 deficiency, which is why it is so important to include oils like cod liver oil in your diet.
Here are 12 incredible health benefits associated with cod liver oil:
1. Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Research published in the Lipids journal has shown that supplementing with just 1.5 grams of cod liver oil per day could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 45%.
The Omega-3 essential fatty acids help to improve circulation, reduce blood pressure, and lower cholesterol, which helps to prevent heart attacks, atherosclerosis, and abnormal heart rhythms.
2. Reduces Inflammation
Both DHA and EPA have natural anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to treat the cause of multiple diseases.
Most Americans have an imbalance of essential fatty acids in their body due to consuming an excess of refined vegetable oils that are high in Omega-6’s, which can lead to inflammation and disease. By consuming more cod liver oil, the balance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids can be restored, which reduces the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, arthritis and more.
3. Improves Mood and Cognitive Function
Researchers at Harvard University have found that just 1 gram of cod liver oil per day can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The high concentration of Vitamin D also helps to boost mood, energy, and overall cognitive function and has even been shown to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder, and autism.
4. Lowers the Risk of Developing Type II Diabetes
A study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology showed that cod liver oil supplementation could lower the risk of developing Type II diabetes, which is a metabolism disorder.
The high level of essential fatty acids helps to improve insulin function and blood sugar balance while reducing inflammation. During the 12-week study, diabetic rats were found to respond to cod liver oil supplementation in the same way as traditional treatment and were able to maintain their weight.
5. Soothes the Symptoms of Arthritis
A study conducted on 43 patients in Germany found that supplementing with 1 gram of cod liver oil for 3 months reduced the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and the intensity of the pain associated with stiff joints.
Researchers from Cardiff University found that cod liver oil helped to reduce the enzymes linked to the cartilage damage and pain caused by osteoarthritis, which also reduced the need for joint replacement surgery.
6. Strengthens the Reproductive System
Research has shown that cod liver oil helps to balance both male and female hormones and significantly improved fertility due to the reproductive system being highly dependent on the absorption of healthy fats.
Fats like cod liver oil help the body to produce sex hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, which not only increases the chances of getting pregnant but also helps to develop a strong and healthy baby throughout a pregnancy.
7. Maintains Bone Health
A Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone density loss, fractures, and osteoporosis. One teaspoon of cod liver oil meets 112% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin D, making it an essential for maintaining skeletal health, especially in locations where Vitamin D absorption from sunshine is limited.
Vitamin D also helps to maintain phosphorus levels in the blood and regulates calcium absorption, which are important factors for maintaining healthy teeth and bones.
8. Nourishes the Skin and Hair
Cod liver oil was traditionally used as a natural remedy for maintaining healthy skin and hair and has since evolved into being known as one of the best anti-aging solutions, especially for women.
Supplementing with cod liver oil helps to reduce wrinkles, scarring, and pigmentation while maintaining youthful elasticity of the skin. It also improves the strength and shine of hair due to the high concentration of essential fatty acids.
9. Helps to Prevent Cancer
A study conducted in Norway discovered that cod liver oil was an effective solution to reducing the risk of developing multiple types of cancer, including colon, prostate, and breast cancer.
The Vitamin D was proven to have antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects on breast cancer cells, which could greatly reduce the risk of developing mammary tumors.
10. Keeps Eyes Healthy
Cod liver oil is saturated with Vitamin A, which is associated with improving eyesight and reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant, which helps to reduce oxidative stress to the eyes and reduces the risk of developing night blindness, cataracts, and other eye-related disorders.
Cod liver oil is also high in carotenoids, which studies have strongly associated with reducing the symptoms of AMD.
11. Boosts the Immune System
Regular intake of cod liver oil helps to maintain essential Vitamin D levels, which increase the strength of the immune system. The Omega-3 fatty acids help to increase the number of white blood cells in the body, which prevents infection and disease.
12. Supports Natural Weight Loss
Because cod liver oil is the right kind of fat, it helps to improve both nutrient and mineral absorption during the digestive process, which improves satiation after a meal.
Omega-3 fatty acids also help the brain to signal when you are full while slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates, which keeps blood sugar levels stable and promotes natural weight loss.