What is Cod Liver Oil?
Cod Liver Oil is fish oil which contains large amounts of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are both omega 3 fatty acids.
EPA and DHA can be found in mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, sablefish (black cod) anchovies, and tuna. Cod Liver Oil contains large amounts of both EPA and DHA. These particular omega 3 fatty acids are different to the ones found in flaxseed and vegetable oils, as it keeps blood triglycerides healthy and could possibly inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis. EPA and DHA can also keep the blood from clotting too quickly.
Both EPA and DHA contain anti-inflammatory properties, by balancing omega 6 fatty acids which when unbalanced in the body produce chemicals that have an inflammatory effect.
Omega 3 fatty acids are also needed by the body for prostaglandin formation; this regulates the dilation of blood vessels and inflammatory response. As a result of this it has been suggested that EPA and DHA also help to regulate the immune function of the body.
What is the history of Cod Liver Oil?
Cod Liver Oil was first used several centuries ago in fishing communities in Scotland, Norway, Iceland and Greenland, where they used it to protect them from the intense cold.
In the 1890's the oil was used to treat rickets which was usually found in malnourished children. More research was then carried out on the acids found in fish oil which are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in the 1950's, which led to the discovery of its uses for rheumatism and circulation conditions.
Now Cod Liver Oil is used around the world to treat various conditions, and is a very popular choice as a supplement.
What problems and conditions can Cod Liver Oil help?
Cod Liver Oil has been used since the 1890's as a treatment for
certain conditions, and today it can help a range of problems.
- This disease is an inflammation of the small intestines, and can have various symptoms including bloody stools. Cod Liver Oil helps to ease the inflammation by producing healthy prostaglandins which help balance the body's hormones to stop inflammation chemicals being released.
High blood pressure
- Cod Liver Oils fatty acids DHA and EPA can help to lower blood pressure, according to various researches.
- This condition occurs when the fatty acid TG accumulates in the blood stream, which appears to increase the risk of developing heart disease. Cod Liver Oil has shown in trials to lower the levels of TG in the blood returning the blood back to normal.
- RA is a chronic inflammatory condition when the immune system attacks the joints and other parts of the body. Cod Liver Oil has anti-inflammatory properties which can help to stop the inflammation in this condition easing the pain and swelling of the joints.
- This condition is when the bronchial passages are inflamed blocking the air that is needed in the lungs. Cod Liver Oil partly reduces the attacks of the allergens that cause the lungs to react in this way, which helps reduce the symptoms of asthma.
- This condition is when the arteries harden with fatty streaks along the vessel walls, which can restrict the blood flow to the heart. Cod Liver Oil has shown to reduce cardiovascular attacks, and helps stop the build up of the fatty streaks along the vessels walls.
- This disorder is a mood changing disorder which alternates states of depression and mania which go round in a repeating circle. People with depression have lower levels of omega 3 fish oil, so supplementing with Cod Liver Oil can help ease the depression and therefore reduce the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
- This condition is a disturbance in the heart rhythm. Cod Liver Oil has shown in trials to reduce the amount of abnormal heartbeats that this condition causes.
- This is a condition that impairs the transportation of chloride into and out of cells. The respiratory and digestive systems are most affective by this disease. Cod Liver Oil restores the lack of essential fatty acids which people with this disorder usually suffer from, giving some benefits.
- A condition which makes the sufferer have low moods which can be caused by a hormonal unbalance. DHA acid found in Cod Liver Oil is essential for a normal nervous functioning system. People who suffer from depression often have lower fatty acid levels than normal and Cod Liver Oil can rejuvenate that helping to relieve some of the depression.
- A condition where the skin is itchy, red, and inflamed. Cod Liver Oil can help with this condition because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Heart attacks happen when the blood flow is blocked or restricted to the heart. Cod Liver Oil has been known in trials to reduce the severity and reoccurrence of heart attacks in the people who suffer from them.
- This is when the normal functions of the immune system are disturbed. Cod Liver Oil can help to rejuvenate and regulate the immune system helping to reduce symptoms.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
- This condition is when a rash on the face appears and the inflammation of connective tissues. Cod Liver Oil has properties to soothe inflammation so will help the symptoms of this disease.
- A disease where bone mass is decreased. Cod Liver Oil can help with calcium absorption which can help to treat osteoporosis.
- This is a condition where there is constriction of small arteries usually within the hands when they are cold. Cod Liver Oil can help to reduce the severity of the constrictions of the blood vessels, calming down symptoms.
Sickle cell Anemia
- This condition is a deficiency of the oxygen carrying capacity of red blood cells. Cod Liver Oil with other treatments can help reduce the diseased cells.
What recent scientific tests have been done on Cod Liver Oil?
Research in Wales has been conducted on Cod Liver Oil and its benefits. The studies showed that Cod Liver Oil helped to repair joint cartilage, and even reverse it in some cases as well as working as an anti-inflammatory. It was also noted that it could help to delay operations that were needed on the joints. Enzymes that were responsible for the destruction of joint cartilage were found in the group that were not taking the Cod Liver Oil, but were not found in the group who were taking the oil.
Research studies from 1918 - 2001 have shown that Cod Liver Oil is a beneficial supplement. It has been said that there is hardly any disease which can not be helped by taking Cod Liver Oil either on its own or with other supplements or medicines. This is due to the fact that the oil is so rich in omega -3 fatty acids, where no other oil is to the extent it is. Cod Liver Oil has also been shown to carry more vitamin A and D per unit weight than any other food.
Other studies have also stated that because this oil is rich in EPA and DHA acids, which help to produce chemical hormones, which play an important role in helping the development of the nervous system. This is why the oil has been praised in its benefits in helping to fight disease.
Scientists have also found further evidence that taking Cod Liver Oil could slow down damage caused by arthritis, the BBC reports. Study of tissues taken from knee replacement patients found lower levels of chemicals linked to the disease in those who took Cod Liver Oil before the operation.
Other research has also found that Cod Liver Oil can help people suffering from depression. The participants in the trial took a daily dose of one gram of Cod Liver Oil for 12 weeks. During these 12 weeks a lot of the symptoms had been decreased such as sleeping problems, anxiety and sadness.
The Arthritis research campaign has also funded scientists and has revealed data that Cod Liver Oil could slow down the destruction of joint cartilage in people suffering from osteoarthritis. A small study of 25 people who were awaiting joint replacement surgery took Cod Liver Oil capsules daily. The results showed that 86 per cent of the participants had a significant decrease in the disease cells, compared to the 26 per cent in the placebo group. This has shown that this oil could even delay the onset of osteoarthritis.
Is it safe to take?
Cod Liver Oil has been of great benefit to many people suffering from various conditions, but with any natural substance you can not guarantee that it will not react with your body. There has not been much research which has shown that Cod Liver Oil has had bad side effects on people. Cod Liver Oil is also safe for children to take as long as it is given in the correct dosage.
Who shouldn't take Cod Liver Oil?
There are a few groups of people who should take care when taking Cod Liver Oil. People who suffer from heart disease should consult their doctor first as fish oil has been known to increase cholesterol levels in some people. Also people who suffer from diabetes should be careful when taking this oil as it has been known to increase blood sugar levels in some people.
If you are pregnant or could be pregnant then you should avoid Cod Liver Oil too, this is because it contains high levels of vitamin A, which if built up in your body could be harmful to your baby. People who are taking blood thinning medication should also avoid taking this oil, due to the fact that when they are mixed together they could be dangerous.
Is Cod Liver Oil safe to take with other products?
You should always consult your doctor before taking Cod Liver Oil, especially if you take any kind of medication or other supplements.
Certain drugs have been known to interact with Cod Liver Oil; you should consult your doctor to find out what these medicines are.
Doctor's response to Cod Liver Oil
Most doctors have noted the effects that Cod Liver Oil can have to help people who suffer from certain conditions. An article published in the British Journal of Cancer showed that less than half of the people they studied had told or discussed with their doctor that they were taking alternative medicine.
Doctors are usually open to the fact of alternative medicine, and should be consulted in this matter. They will give you advice that is needed when taking these supplements with other medication, and will know what is safe for you to take and what isn't.
Dosage, how much should I take and who can take Cod Liver Oil?
Most people can take Cod Liver Oil, but like said above should be aware if it will interact with other medicines, and disorders. People with modern diets tend to lack the omega fatty acids that used to be gained from the food we eat. Also people who suffer from depression and rheumatoid arthritis have been shown to have a positive effect from taking Cod Liver Oil.
People with a variety of health conditions are usually advised to take 10 grams of Cod Liver Oil daily. There is different dosage that should be taken for different people. Usually people suffering from serious conditions such as cancer take higher amounts of the oil, then people suffering from less serious conditions.
Most health companies who sell Cod Liver Oil will recommend a dosage, but you should always check with your doctor or physician beforehand, as with this supplement the dosage can be different for everyone.
Are there any warnings or side affects I should know?
Cod Liver Oil has been known to increase blood sugar and cholesterol levels, so people with any conditions which affect them in that way should consult their doctors first. Also people who are taking certain medicines like blood thinning medicines should always consult their doctor first.
Side affects for people who are wanting to take Cod Liver Oil as just a supplement with no medical conditions, have experienced few side effects these are; breathing problems, tightness of throat, chest pain, rash, itchy and swollen skin.
You should also be aware if you suffer from any allergy to fish or seafood, as this oil could cause an allergic reaction.
This information (and any accompanying material) provided is not intended to replace the attention or advice of a physician or other health care professionals. Anyone wishing to embark on any dietary, drug, exercise, or other lifestyle change intended to prevent or treat a specific disease or condition, or for people who are pregnant should first consult and seek clearance from a qualified health care professionals. The information provided on this site is as accurate as possible. We not accept responsibilities or liability for any inaccuracies.
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