Some of you might have memories of your older family members forcing you to take your cod liver oil, or taking it themselves. Extracted from the liver of Atlantic cod, centuries back in Northern Europe, cod liver oil was first used to protect from cold environments, to boost immunity, to stop you from getting sick, and also to help with joint pain and muscle stiffness. Later on, the Vitamin D content of cod liver oil was acknowledged but over the years, tons of people have had bad experiences with cod liver oil due to taking rancid or low-quality products. This means that this supplement fell out of fashion, but today, cod liver oil is making a comeback.
For many within the health community, it is thought to be a natural wonder - packed full of Omega 3s and vitamins as well as now being backed by a ton of clinical studies and science-backed research. Today, I will explain why this underrated supplement needs more attention and why the ever-growing hype about high-quality cod liver oil is justified. So watch this space, cod liver oil will be everywhere and taken by everyone before you know it.
Here are the things you need to know about cod liver oil:
- Incredible nutrient profile
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one teaspoon of cod liver oil, weighing 4.5 g, contains just 41 calories and
- 4,500 international units (IU) of Vitamin A
- 450 units of Vitamin D;
- Saturated fatty acids: 1.017 g
- Monounsaturated fatty acids: 2.102 g
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 1.014 g
- Cholesterol: 26 milligrams (mg)
This means it is jam-packed with Vitamin A, D, and fatty acids (also known as Omega-3s). So let’s get into what this incredible nutrient profile can do for the body.
- Packed full of master antioxidants - Vitamin A & Vitamin D
Because cod liver oil is extracted from the liver of the fish (whereas regular fish oil is not), cod liver oil has this crazy impressive nutrient profile because the liver of the cod is rich in fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A and D. These vitamins influence several critical processes within the body.
Vitamin D is thought to be critical for maintaining bone strength, reducing cancer cell growth, reducing the body's inflammatory state, helping with mental health as well having the power to be a big player in modulating, regulating and strengthening the immune system.
You always hear me talking about Vitamin A because it is one of my favorite vitamins. Vitamin A is key for maintaining healthy, glowing skin and effective brain and eye health and is an antioxidant powerhouse. The good news? One single teaspoon of cod liver oil is thought to give you 90% of your daily recommended requirement of vitamin A and over 100% (113% to be exact) of your daily requirements of vitamin D. It delivers a MAJOR power punch.
- Inflammation fighting
Vitamin A and D are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. They reduce inflammation across the body by binding, neutralizing, and essentially removing harmful free radicals from the body. Inflammation is a key driver of aging and a vast majority of chronic and acute health conditions, so thanks to the anti-inflammatory impacts of vitamin A & D, a high-quality cod liver oil can help to manage inflammation levels that are rapidly increasing across society today and showing up as so many health issues.
The ability of Vitamin D to reduce inflammation, as well as Vitamin A, has been widely documented, and I thought it was really interesting to learn that a handful of chronic inflammatory diseases (like inflammatory bowel disease, chronic kidney disease, fatty liver disease, heart disease, and asthma) have all been connected to low vitamin D levels too. These health issues go so much deeper than traditional medicine currently believes.
The vitamin A in a high-quality cod liver oil is also packed full of the active form of Vitamin A known as retinol (as opposed to the beta-carotene form of Vitamin A that comes from plants). One of my favorite facts is that cod liver oil has vitamins A and D in the *perfect* ratio, so the synergy of nutrients gives it the maximum effect. This is cell-changing, health-altering stuff.
- The power of Omega 3-s for other health conditions and your skin
It’s not just the antioxidants Vitamins A and D that reduce inflammation in the body, though. Cod liver oil is also packed full of omega-3 fatty acids that also reduce chronic inflammation by suppressing the TNF-α, IL-1 and IL-6 proteins that are thought to drive inflammation. Studies on the power of cod liver oil and fish-derived omega-3s have also noted that “fatty acids have been linked to healthy aging throughout life” and have the power to help with Alzheimer’s, fetal development and our cardiovascular function too
Omega 3-s are also incredible for your skin. Not only have the cosmetic and therapeutic applications of fish oil been studied and the studies have concluded that they help to decrease hyperpigmentation but they also are thought to help reduce inflammation of the skin, enhance the skin barrier function and increase skin hydration as well as helping with conditions like acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema, and enhancing skin barrier function, which may aid skin hydration.
It’s important to understand that our body can’t effectively create all omega-3 fatty acids that come from marine sources like fish (and more specifically, cod) so it's essential to get them through high-quality fish and fish oil products. Cod liver oil is the perfect solution.
- Other benefits
There are lots of other powerful benefits of high-quality cod liver oil. For example, supplementing with it can help you keep full and manage your weight, and this is because good quality fat keeps you feeling full for longer, which can stop you from snacking and grabbing for sugary snacks that help you put on weight quickly.
Cod liver oil is also known to help with arthritis and age-related degeneration and is also thought to be powerful at preventing coronary artery disease, repairing wounds, helping the brain perform in an optimal state, and more.
Ok, so what cod liver oil shall I pick?
Great question, particularly when so many of the fish oils on the market (in fact, almost all of them) are rancid and this massive over oxidation (which can happen by the fish oils being low quality or being stored in contact with light, or not refrigerated, as other examples) means that it can lead to the creation of compounds that can be toxic to the body.
Not only is toxic or oxidized cod liver oil bad for your health, but it is also thought that the incredibly powerful Vitamin A within the cod liver oil is destroyed when the oil is rancid, which is one of the leading benefits of taking the supplement.
So, you must source high-quality, non-oxidized cod liver oil. This is CRITICAL!
My favorite cod liver oil (and one of the only ones I will recommend) is the ROSITA extra virgin cod liver oil, linked here for you. This was recommended to me by Dr Will Cole who I respect deeply. I have taken it for years in the middle of my health issues and I can truly vouch for the quality of this recommendation and anything that comes via Dr Will Cole himself.
This extra virgin cod liver oil by Rosita is the only fresh, wild-caught and raw cod liver in the entire world, sourced from Norway and created without highly processed heat that wipes out the natural vitamins. Unlike many on the market, there are NO synthetic vitamins added to this (you'd be surprised at how many do this) and it is 100% pure, sustainably caught (the cod are caught hook and line in Norway), and is made without any additional chemicals or preservatives.
This cod liver oil also contains a balanced mixture of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. This is different from algae oil, fish oil or krill oil which contain only polyunsaturated fat (PUFAs) so this is a whole food supplement that is good for you, your body and your heart.
So, my friends, when cod liver oil is sourced properly it is and can be revolutionary for your body and your health. It provides whole body health and healing support - not only for anti-aging and inflammation reduction but with benefits in so many other areas of your health.
You know I spend my life exploring, testing and trialing the best of the best products out there on the market, so I know that the one recommended above will be a great addition to your wellness regime.
Maybe this cod liver oil is the missing part of your health jigsaw? And for anyone who doesn’t live in a sunshine-drenched country, this can double up as a powerful whole food source of Vitamin D too, instead of a daily dose of sunshine.
Love Jena x
***THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.