We need expert “guides”, who can lead us to the right direction. And we become increasingly dependent on them especially if it a matter of health and fitness! We do not hesitate to ask simple questions over and over even though we are well aware of that issue! For example, we know how beneficial cod liver oil is for our health, but we will appreciate it if our gym trainer recommends it for us! We seem to find a greater confidence from an expert’s recommendations! And an expert will have enough confidence on his side to recommend cod liver oil to his clients on account of the immense health benefits that it provides.
Cod liver oil is one of the nutritional supplements derived from the liver of cod fish. It was widely used in the 18th, 19th and the early 20th century to treat and prevent rickets, a disease characterized by defective bone growth that is caused by lack of Vitamin D. In 1950s, more research was carried out on essential fatty acids contained in cod liver oil and fish oil. This research had led to the conclusion that cod liver oil is not only beneficial in treating rheumatism, but it also has a positive effect on heart and circulatory system. Chemically, cod liver oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Cod liver oil is a mixture of glycerides of many fatty acids, mainly oleic acid, gadoleic acid and palmitolec acid. Countries like Norway, Japan, Iceland and Poland are rich producers of cod liver oil. It can be taken as oil, capsule or as pills.
The Nutrients Present in Cod Liver Oil
– Vitamin A: Vitamin A is essential for the immune system, bone growth, night vision, cellular growth and for testicular and ovarian functions.
– Vitamin D: The vitamin helps in the absorption and utilization of calcium and potassium which are required for skeletal growth.
– Essential Fatty Acids: Essential fatty acids like Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and omega-3 fatty acids are converted in the body to produce prostaglandins. These prostaglandins are responsible for various physiological processes due to their modulating effect on the action of hormones. EPA and DHA also help in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.
Health Benefits of Cod Liver Oil
– Reduces the Progression of Heart Diseases: It has been found that supplementation of diet with Cod liver oil has shown the potential to reduce the progression of cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that it reduces the likelihood of blood clotting. These effects make the heart less prone to heart attack. It alters and reduces the viscosity of blood, which in turn, facilitates blood flow. It improves heart functions and even helps in treating cardiac problems in the advanced stage after an individual has experienced a heart attack or a heart surgery.
– Promotes Bone and Teeth Health: One of the unique qualities of Cod liver oil is that it helps in bone growth and reverses rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Significant improvements in the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis have been reported in individuals taking Cod liver oil. Researches funded by Great Britain’s Arthritis Research Campaign found that the elongated omega-3 fatty acid found in Cod Liver oil can reduce both pain and damages in inflamed joints.
– Promotes the Development of Fetus: Omega-3 fatty acid is responsible for brain development in fetus. Having Cod liver oil during pregnancy may lower the risk of Juvenile or Type 1 diabetes. It also enhances the fatty acid profile in breast milk.
– Helps in Diabetes: It is good for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Cod Liver oil improves glucose response and other markers of the disease. Diabetic individuals are susceptible to retinal damage and Vitamin A, present in Cod Liver oil, helps in healing and protecting the retina.
– Treats Gastrointestinal Problems: Omega-3 fatty acid, present in Cod liver oil, is good for an individual suffering from colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
– Supports the Faster Healing of Wounds: Cod liver oil promotes faster wound healing and helps in the improvement of skin quality. It also helps in maintaining the skin softness while minimizing wrinkles.
– Protects Against Cancer: Every nutrient present in Cod liver oil, helps in preventing cancer. It is reported in a study in China that the use of Cod liver oil has been found to be protective against childhood leukemia. Another study on Norwegian men and women has reported that the consumption of Cod liver oil on a daily basis may protect against lung cancer.
Few Important Considerations
– There is safe limit to take Cod liver oil. One tablespoon of regular cod liver oil or half a teaspoon of cod liver oil provides the amount of elongated omega-3 fatty acids found in 1000 mg of fish oil capsule.
– Cod liver oil should be handled properly, otherwise it may become rancid. You should note that the fishy smell in Cod liver oil is due to the presence of fish protein and not due to rancidity.
– Always buy Cod liver oil in small, dark bottles and store in cool, dark place.
– Refrigeration is not required if it is used within two months.
– People who are taking anti-coagulants, such as warfarin should avoid having Cod liver oil.
Cod liver oil is a very good nutritional supplement, when taken in moderation. Several vitamin fortified food products and multi-vitamins rely on Cod liver oil as a source of Vitamin A and D. However, it is important to seek advice from a physician before having Cod liver oil.