Health and Beauty Benefits of Cod Liver Oil

At one time, health-conscious moms gave their kids a dose of cod liver oil every day. Cod liver oil is rich in nutrients, and the health and beauty benefits of cod liver oil have proven to be more than just an old wives’ tale.

Health Benefits of Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, and is an excellent source of vitamins A and D. Vitamin D is also known as the Sunshine Vitamin. Many adults don’t get the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D, and as a result may suffer from anxiety and depression. Among other benefits, retinol (Vitamin A) helps promote healthy eyes and skin.

The health and beauty benefits of cod liver oil include:

  • shiny, luxurious hair
  • clear skin
  • strong nails
  • bright eyes and good vision
  • healthy heart; lower blood cholesterol
  • proper bone development and strength
  • positive mental health
  • treatment of depression and anxiety
  • promotes good digestion; helps relieve constipation
  • anti-inflammatory
  • helps ease joint stiffness and pain, as in arthritis or frozen shoulder
  • a complimentary treatment for long-term care of multiple sclerosis
  • helps treat eczema or psoriasis
  • known to prevent rickets (softening of bones in children, leading to fractures and deformity)
  • improves breast milk in nursing mothers to promote infant brain development
  • taken by mothers during pregnancy, cod liver oil may lower the risk of Type 1 diabetes in infants. Pregnant women should consult a health professional before taking cod liver oil or any dietary supplement.
  • given to pets such as cats and dogs, cod liver oil can promote heart health, bright eyes and a shiny healthy coat. Always check with your vet before giving dietary supplements to pets.

According to a Norwegian study of 68,000 women, daily cod liver oil consumption was associated with 25% reduced mortality in cancer patients, and up to a 45% reduced mortality rate in lung cancer patients.

The essential Omega 3 fatty acids in cod liver oil include DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA. DHA promotes a healthy nervous system and good eye health, and has been shown to inhibit the growth of human colon carcinoma (cancer) cells.

EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) has anti-inflammatory properties, and promotes strong cardiovascular health. EPA may have positive effects on some mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, and recent studies suggest that EPA is beneficial in treating depression, especially suicidal behavior.

Cod Liver Oil Fishy Taste

One reason children hated cod liver oil was the strong fishy taste as it went down, and the unpleasant aftertaste when burping. Many manufacturers of cod liver oil and cod liver oil supplements add flavorings such as lemon or peppermint to alleviate the fishy taste of cod liver oil.

Fishy taste occurs in both the liquid and capsule forms of cod liver oil. For minimal fishy taste and aftertaste, buy a high quality cod liver oil or supplement. High quality oil is pale yellow, thin and oily, and has only a slight fishy taste. Cheap, low-quality cod liver oil will taste stronger and more rancid.

Cod Liver Oil vs. Fish Oil

Cod liver oil is similar to fish oil in that both contain high amounts of essential Omega 3 fats. Unlike fish oils, cod liver oil is high in vitamins A and D.


High dosages of Vitamin A can build up in the body’s fatty tissue, causing hypervitaminosis A. Ensure that you don’t exceed the recommended daily allowance of 3,000 IU for Vitamin A. Likewise, long-term ingestion of too much Vitamin D may have toxic effects. The recommended daily allowance for Vitamin D is 2,000 IU.

A high dosage of cod liver oil may be associated with gestational hypertension; however, this condition is may be associated with mercury content in some fish, and not with cod liver oil itself.

Pregnant or nursing women should consult a health professional to ensure that the vitamins and nutrients in cod liver oil don’t exceed recommended levels, especially in conjunction with other dietary supplements. If you have diabetes or other health condition, check with your doctor before taking cod liver oil or any dietary supplements.

How Much Cod Liver Oil Should You Take?

For adults, two teaspoons of cod liver oil per day can help improve physical and mental health, and provide beauty benefits such as shiny beautiful hair, strong nails and clear skin.

If taking cod liver oil doesn’t appeal to you, there are other dietary supplements with health and beauty benefits. For instance, Vitamin K also promotes good heart health, youthful energy and good looks. For more information please read Vitamin K for Health and Beauty.

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