Cod liver oil is a type of fish oil supplement. Like regular fish oil, it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to many health benefits, including reduced inflammation and lower blood pressure. It also contains vitamins A and D, both of which provide many other health benefits.
Here are 9 scientifically supported benefits of cod liver oil.
1. High in Vitamins A and D
Most cod liver oil is extracted from the liver of Atlantic cod. Cod liver oil has been used for centuries to relieve joint pain and treat rickets, a disease that causes fragile bones in children.
Cod liver oil is incredibly nutritious, with a single teaspoon providing 90% of your daily requirements for vitamin A and 113% of your daily requirements for vitamin D.
Vitamin A has many roles in the body, including maintaining healthy eyes, brain function and skin.
2. May Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural process that helps the body fight infections and heal injuries. Unfortunately, in some cases, inflammation can continue at a low level for long periods of time.
The omega 3-fatty acids in cod liver oil may reduce chronic inflammation by suppressing the proteins that promote it. These include TNF-α, IL-1 and IL-6.
Cod liver oil also contains vitamins A and D, which are powerful antioxidants. They can reduce inflammation by binding and neutralizing harmful free radicals.
3. May Improve Bone Health
Cod liver oil is a great dietary source of vitamin D and may reduce age-related bone loss. That’s because it helps your body absorb calcium, which is a necessary mineral for strong bones, from the gut.
In fact, studies show that when accompanied by a diet high in calcium, taking a vitamin D supplement like cod liver oil can reduce bone loss among adults and strengthen fragile bones in children.
Getting enough vitamin D from foods and supplements like cod liver oil is especially important for people who live far from the equator, their skin doesn’t get enough sunlight to synthesize vitamin D for up to six months of the year.
4. May Reduce Joint Pain and Improve Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
There is currently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but studies suggest that cod liver oil may reduce joint pain and improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis like joint stiffness and swelling.
In one study, 43 people took a 1-gram capsule of cod liver oil daily for three months. They found it reduced symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, such as morning stiffness, pain and swelling.
It is believed that the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil may help reduce inflammation in the joints and protect against damage.