As the name suggests, the oil of the liver of cod is a food made the organ liver of this fish. Cod liver oil in the past was used as a remedy for rickets, a defect in bone calcification caused by a reduced intake of vitamin D. Today, rickets is fortunately rare. Still, in the past, it has affected many children (including the famous poet Leopardi). In this article, we will give you a complete guide about cod liver oil benefits. Although this traditional use has fallen into disuse, Cod liver oil benefits have recently made a comeback thanks to the significant nutritional importance of polyunsaturated fatty acids ( PUFA), of which it is vibrant.
In the PUFA group, fatty acids belonging to the omega 3 series are of great interest, namely alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). As the body, not being able to synthesize them, must introduce them with food to maintain well-being. The weighted average of a 100 g adult cod liver is 2.5-2.6 grams; its oil content is around 30% (i.e., 1.5-1.6 ml of oil).
Cod liver oil benefits
Besides containing Omega-3, cod liver oil contains vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, iodine, antioxidant, and protective properties, which help the body, especially the intestine and thyroid, function properly. Thanks to its antioxidant action, it helps skin and hair, treats acne and blemishes, heal wounds, treats ulcers, sores, burns, and counteract dandruff; it also strengthens the nails.
Protective epithelial action at the level of the eyes, skin, mucous membranes, and the immune system. Increased resistance to respiratory tract infections; good antioxidant action.
Increased absorption of calcium in the intestine, with positive repercussions on bone formation and growth.
It is a vital antioxidant, which helps protect against damage caused by smoking and pollution.
Essential for the thyroid’s proper functioning, the hormones it produces from iodine are essential for a baby’s growth and brain development.
Development and functionality of the brain, retina, and nervous tissue in general; they have hypotriglyceridemic, antithrombotic, and anti-inflammatory action; they are handy for heart patients (they preserve the elasticity and health of the arterial walls) and improve the effectiveness of the immune system.
Cod liver oil benefits Of body
It should be kept away from the light because it darkens and becomes unpleasant to the taste if exposed to air and light. Cod liver oil benefits have a pale yellow color and a slightly fishy smell. Thanks to its composition, cod liver oil are the “classic” remedy that helps us keep us in good health: all of us, young and old.
Let’s see how and why: we will talk about its main benefits and its beneficial conditions.
joints and joints
The omega-3 fatty acids, in particular the one called DHA ( docosahexaenoic acid) and one called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), are converted in our body in certain substances (prostaglandins and leukotrienes), which reduce inflammation. For this reason, these anti-inflammatory properties of cod liver oil are beneficial to joint health and arthritis symptoms. According to some scientific studies, taking an adequate amount of fish oil – that of cod liver in particular – helps maintain joint mobility and flexibility, reducing the joints’ classic morning stiffness.
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Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) plays a significant structural role in brain cells’ membranes by improving their fluidity so that various messages are transmitted more quickly from one cell to another. Even the ‘eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is involved in cell signaling to improve brain cells’ communication. Another thing that may be of interest is that populations with high consumption of cod liver oil also have low levels of depression.
Yes, Cod liver oil benefits are also good for the heart. Thanks to its omega 3 content, it can have numerous beneficial effects on blood pressure and blood viscosity. But not only that: doctors generally recommend this type of “good fat” to lower the abnormally high levels of “bad fat” in the blood. But it does not end there because the omega 3 acid also benefits the myocardial muscle – the heart – especially if it receives a poor blood supply.
To reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death by 40% to 45%, doctors recommend a daily dose of at least 1g of omega 3 acids, roughly equivalent to taking oily fish twice a week.
Cod liver oil is a rich source of vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is essential in the diet for calcium absorption and for keeping bones strong and healthy. In fact, its low contribution increases the risks,
Rickets in children
In adults, osteomalacia (a softening of the bones) and osteoporosis (fragile bones).
According to some studies, the retinol found in cod liver oil could help keep eye tissue cells healthy.
Furthermore, omega-3, particularly DHA ( docosahexaenoic acid), can protect us against the progression of age-related macular degeneration.
When to use cod liver oil?
The cod liver oil can be considered to be a dietary supplement, is a dietary supplement. It has evil organoleptic and gustatory characteristics, which is why (unlike vegetable oils, such as flax and walnut oils ).
It is advisable to use cod liver oil in case of nutritional deficiency related to:
- Some fat-soluble vitamins :
- Vitamin A (retinol)
- Vitamin D (calciferol)
- Certain essential fatty acids (EFAs):
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
NB. Regarding the latter, we remind you that, although the body can synthesize them autonomously by exploiting alpha-linolenic acid, this function could remain compromised with old age. As we will see below, the need for these AGEs also increases significantly during fetal development and the young child’s growth.
Cod liver oil for vitamin D and A deficiency
Cod liver oil was, and in some cases, is still used, in the presence of hypovitaminosis due to vitamin A and D deficiency.
Against Vitamin D Deficiency
Cod obtains vitamin D (calciferol) by feeding on zooplankton. In turn, this feeds on the microalgae near the surface, capable of synthesizing it by exploiting the sunlight that filters through the water. Besides this food, dietary sources of vitamin D are few in number and mostly limited to the liver of ruminants, egg yolk, mushrooms, and sardines.
However, it must be said that the need for this vitamin is shallow since the body can synthesize it in the skin following sun exposure.
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Against Vitamin A Deficiency
The classic symptom associated with a vitamin A deficiency is altered twilight vision, which is a loss of visual acuity in low light conditions. If this vitamin is scarce, in addition to the aforementioned visual disturbances, the respiratory mucous membranes are less protected from attack by pathogens.
Deficiencies of vitamin A (retinol) can also occur in apparently healthy people who follow low – calorie diets with low-fat content or in the presence of other nutritional imbalances. There have also been hypervitaminosis cases due to excess retinol in excessive integration based on cod liver oil.
Cod liver oil for Omega Three deficiency
The fatty acids in cod liver oil are mainly unsaturated (85%), while the saturated ones represent only a minimal percentage (around 15%). But this term is, in fact, synonymous with essential fatty acids.
These nutrients are essential because:
- The makeup cell membranes and structure of a large part of the brain and eyes; are significant, especially during early development. The need increases mainly in pregnancy, breastfeeding, and in the first two years of life.
- They hinder the damage inflicted by metabolic pathologies (especially hypertriglyceridemia, hypertension, and diabetic lesions). Seem to exercise a protective role against vascular damage (which becomes very dangerous when affecting the heart and brain).
- They also have an anti-inflammatory effect (hypothetically useful in all inflammatory etiology diseases) and anti-platelet aggregation (which can decrease the risk of certain thrombi and emboli ).
- So they prevent and improve minor cognitive problems, especially in old age, and act positively in some forms of depression.
Even the simple consumption of fish rich in omega 3 can be of great help. In the long term, it appears to have even greater relevance than concentrated and high-dose supplementation protocols.
When to take cod liver oil?
For all the above reasons, cod liver oil is recommended above all in the winter months, when sun exposure is lower (less vitamin D synthesis) and more frequent respiratory diseases (protective role of vitamin A).
Cod liver oil also boasts a moderate content of iodine, a mineral essential for good thyroid function, and the deficiency of which can cause the so-called ” hypothyroid goiter ” (conspicuous swelling in the anterior part of the neck).
Doses and Directions for Use
How to use cod liver oil?
A single tablespoon of cod liver oil provides the body with 2 grams of omega 3, a quantity that alone covers almost double the daily needs. Various supplements are available today in capsules and caps to avoid excessive intake and limit flavor-related discomfort. This trick allows you to recommend an exact dosage since each capsule has a standard nutrient content.
Cod liver oil’s unpleasant taste is easily overcome by marketing cod liver oil in capsules or caps—gastrointestinal side effects of taking cod liver oil. The side effects of taking cod liver oil are bad breath, belching, fish-flavored regurgitation, nausea, abdominal cramps, dyspepsia, and diarrhea.
Excess of vitamin A from cod liver oil intake
The symptoms of a vitamin A overdose are rather subtle. They include dry skin, chapping of the lips, brittle hair, anorexia, and hepatomegaly ( enlarged liver. Which is, also in humans, the organ of deposit of this vitamin).
Excess vitamin D from cod liver oil intake
Prolonged excess of vitamin D promotes the formation of calcium deposits in the arteries, especially in the ‘ aorta; it can also promote the synthesis of calcium stones in the kidney and cause muscle contractions and spasms. Especially when you take it as a “do-it-yourself remedy.” But occurs with the sole purpose of increasing the dietary intake of omega 3. It is better to move towards other products.
Since large doses of cod liver oil can be dangerous, the risk of hypervitaminosis can be avoided. Even if the supplement program’s overall cost will tend to increase. The risk of a possible overdose of calciferol following the intake of cod liver oil increases with strong sunlight exposure. More in whites than in blacks (who are more susceptible to deficiency states)
Clotting side effects of taking cod liver oil
Complications of the blood coagulation system are less frequent.
When should cod liver oil not be used?
The most widespread fear in cod liver oil-based supplementation concerns possible contamination with typical pollutants from the sea. The risk of cod liver oil is high in mercury, or other toxins are low. Thanks to the refining processes and health checks it undergoes. However, it is a good rule to be wary of products marketed at bargain prices. Perhaps purchased on the internet and foreign origin.
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Even when this is only planned, particular caution in pregnancy is due to the potential teratogenic effects (ability to induce fetal malformations) related to an overdose of vitamin A. Perhaps already present in important concentrations in other supplements prescribed by the doctor. Moreover, it is advisable to pay attention to the association of some drugs (see below).
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Even sportsmen, like zone diet freaks, should use cod liver oil with the right parsimony. Since vitamin supplements, often in high doses, are very popular in these environments. The combined action of these supplements with cod liver oil could easily cross over into chronic vitamin overdose.
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What drugs or foods can change the effect of cod liver oil?
Drugs with which it is inadvisable to take large doses of cod oil are: Anticoagulants ( Coumadin, Sintrom, acenocoumarol ), aspirin, drugs non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, garlic, and ginkgo Biloba: increase the risk of bleeding to the dual effect antiplatelet. Oral hypoglycemic agents: It is advisable to consult your doctor before starting cod liver oil supplements.
Precautions for Use
What do you need to know before taking cod liver oil?
Before starting the integration with cod liver oil. It is necessary to evaluate what we have mentioned in the article carefully. Especially regarding side effects, contraindications, and drug interactions. Especially in therapies with anticoagulant products, it becomes essential to discuss with the attending physician.
Furthermore, although EPA and DHA play an essential role in nervous and ocular development, especially in the first moments of growth (from conception to the second year of age). It is still a good idea in case of pregnancy and breastfeeding to consult your doctor. Before surgery, it is necessary to stop taking cod liver oil to avoid the risk of excessive bleeding.