Cod liver oil is a type of fish oil that’s often taken as a supplement. Cod liver oil is taken from the liver of the cod fish. The oil is a pale yellow, translucent liquid with a strong odor. The fish oil can be traced back to the Viking Era, where it was used both for food and medicinal purposes. Cod liver oil is extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been credited with promoting a number of health benefits – including reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Its oils also contain vitamins A and D. Read on to discover the benefits of this not-so-regular fish oil.

1. Anti-inflammatory

Inflammation is a welcome process as it helps the body fight against infections and it also helps to heal injuries. However, inflammation can become chronic and these can increase the risks for high blood pressure and heart disease. The nutrients in cod liver oil – most notably omega 3-fatty acids and vitamins A and D – help to reduce chronic inflammation. Studies have shown that individuals with low levels of vitamins A and D have a higher risk of suffering from chronic inflammation.

2. Eye health

Vision loss is a health problem that’s often a result of glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration. Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to protect and preserve the health of the eye. One study found that those who had a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids had a lower risk of early age-related macular degeneration. Furthermore, another study found that those who consumed plenty of vitamin A lowered their risk of getting glaucoma.

3. Healthy bones

As we age, we start to lose bone mass. This loss can increase the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. That being said, it’s important to maintain healthy bones. As mentioned, cod liver oil is a great source of vitamin D which has been linked to increased bone health, with studies showing that the vitamin can both reduce bone loss and help to strengthen bones.

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According to a study published in the journal Dermatoendocrinol, it’s especially important that people who live far from the equator get their vitamin D from food sources, as their skin doesn’t get enough sunlight to synthesize vitamin D. Some studies have even linked high levels of vitamin D with a lower risk of breast cancer.

4. Improves cardiovascular health

Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death worldwide and recent studies have shown that cod liver oil can help to reduce the risk of heart disease. The effect that cod liver oil has on heart health is due to its high omega-3 fatty content. Triglycerides are a type of fat that can increase the risk of cardiovascular health issues. According to a study coming out of Stanford University Medical School, omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the levels of triglycerides. Studies have also recognized omega-3 fatty acids’ ability to increase the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) in the body as well as lower blood pressure. Both factors have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

5. May heal ulcers

Ulcers are sores that develop in the lining of the stomach or gut. They are a result of bacterial infection, smoking or when there’s too much acid in the stomach. Ulcers are often painful and symptoms include nausea and indigestion. Although there are no human studies, animal studies have found that cod liver oil may help to treat ulcers in both the stomach and gut.

6. Part of diabetic treatment

As cod liver oil is rich in healthy fats, it can help to control insulin resistance, which regulates blood sugar levels. According to one study emerging from the Diabetes Research Centre in Norway, the consumption of cod liver oil either by pregnant women or by their babies can reduce the risk of childhood-onset Type 1diabetes.

7. Relieves joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. Although there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, studies suggest that cod liver oil can help to ease the symptoms associated with the condition. A research study saw 43 individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis take a cod liver oil capsule daily for three months. Individuals later found a decrease in morning stiffness, pain and swelling.

Consuming cod liver oil

Cod liver oils are available in supplement form, and although expensive, they’re much easier to swallow than the liquid. When purchasing supplements, try not to get the ones that are flavored. It must be noted that swallowing cod liver oil in liquid form can be an unpleasant experience. The best way to do so would be to hold your breath while swallowing the oil. You can also add a tablespoon of cod liver oil to your morning smoothie.

Fish is an important part of the Mediterranean diet, which has various health benefits.

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a beauty and wellness writer, who has a passion for poetry, natural hair, and skin-care. With a journalism degree from Pearson's Institute of Higher Education, and identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to continuously provide the latest information, be it beauty or wellness, on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle on a day to day basis.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

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