Cod liver oil is a fish oil supplement that became popular as a dietary supplement in the 1800s. It was given to treat children who were suffering with rickets, a disease caused due to vitamin D deficiency . Today cod liver oil is popularly used as a dietary supplement for a number of health conditions. In this article we will talk about cod liver oil and its health benefits.
What Is Cod Liver Oil? 
Cod liver oil is a type of fish oil that is made by extracting the oil from the livers of codfishes. Pacific cod and Atlantic cod are most commonly used to make cod liver oil. It is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and contains high amounts of vitamin A and vitamin D, which contribute to many of the health benefits of cod liver oil.
Health Benefits Of Cod Liver Oil
1. Improves eye health
Cod liver oil is considered good for your eyes because it contains vitamin A, which has been shown to help protect against eye diseases  . Omega 3 fatty acids in cod liver oil are good for supporting eye health too. According to a study published in the International Journal of Ophthalmology, a combination of omega 3 fats and vitamin A present in cod liver oil can help in the treatment of glaucoma .
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2. May lower heart disease risk
As cod liver oil is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, studies have shown that these healthy fats can help reduce triglycerides, increase HDL (good) cholesterol and prevent the formation of plaques in the arteries (atherosclerosis) , .
3. Supports bone health
Cod liver possesses high amounts of vitamin D, an essential vitamin that helps in building strong bones and prevents the risk of bone diseases such as osteoporosis and osteomalacia , .
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4. May reduce diabetes risk
Some studies have shown the association between cod liver oil and diabetes. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that consuming cod liver oil during the first year of life may decrease the risk of childhood onset of type 1 diabetes . Another study found that taking cod liver oil during pregnancy may lower the risk of type 1 diabetes in babies .
5. Prevents upper respiratory tract infections
Numerous studies have shown the association between cod liver oil and upper respiratory tract infections . A 2004 study showed that cod liver oil can help prevent upper respiratory tract infections among children .
6. May reduce arthritis symptoms
Cod liver oil can help improve the symptoms of arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis. A study showed that 43 patients with rheumatoid arthritis who took 1 g of cod liver oil everyday for three months had a reduction in rheumatoid arthritis symptoms such as morning stiffness and painful and swollen joints .
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7. Decreases inflammation
Chronic inflammation has been shown to increase the risk of several diseases. The presence of omega 3 fatty acids in cod liver oil can help decrease chronic inflammation. In addition, the vitamin A and D in cod liver oil can also help reduce inflammation , .
8. May reduce anxiety and depression
Anxiety and depression are common illnesses that affects majority of the people worldwide. Studies have shown that omega 3 fatty acids in cod liver oil can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression , , .
9. May boost immunity
Cod liver oil contains significant amounts of vitamin A. This vitamin plays an important role in enhancing immune function. Vitamin A helps support a healthy immune system, which in turn can prevent the risk of infectious diseases .
10. Promotes proper foetal brain function
Omega 3 fatty acids found in cod liver oil have been associated with promoting healthy foetal brain growth. Studies show omega 3 fatty acids if had in adequate amounts during pregnancy can help support foetal brain growth .
11. May treat stomach ulcers
Animal studies show that cod liver oil may help treat stomach and gut ulcers. One animal study found that high and low doses of cod liver oil helped heal stomach and gut ulcers .
However, further research studies are needed on the stomach ulcer healing effects of cod liver oil on humans.
Possible Side Effects Of Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil if had in high doses could lead to vitamin A and D toxicity . Also, cod liver oil can interact with blood pressure or blood thinning medications, so check with your doctor before consuming cod liver oil supplements.
Pregnant women, asthmatics and people taking anticoagulants should consult a doctor before taking cod liver oil supplements.
Additionally, if you are considering of taking cod liver oil supplements, consult your doctor first. Do not take more than the recommended doses without consulting your doctor.
Image ref: Healthline
Q. What does cod liver oil do for you?
A. Cod liver oil may improve eye health, support bone health, promote foetal brain function and treat stomach ulcers.
Q. What are the side effects of taking cod liver oil?
A. If cod liver oil is taken more than the recommended doses it could lead to vitamin toxicity.
Q. Who should not take cod liver oil?
A. Asthmatics, pregnant women and people who take anticoagulant medications.
Q. How many cod liver oil capsules should I take a day?
A. Your doctor will provide you the recommended dose of cod liver oil capsules.