Cod liver oil is one of the best sources of essential fatty acids, which help reduce cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. It is usually recommended for people with cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. The benefits of cod liver oil also can be felt in other bodily processes such as digestion, joint movement, and brain function.
However, the benefits of cod liver oil may be reduced or even outweighed by its risks. Unlike regular fish oil, it also contains high concentrations of vitamins A and D, which can be toxic in high amounts. Patients should seek medical advice to better understand the benefits of cod liver oil and what it can do for them. This article explains some of the risks and benefits of cod liver oil.
Cardiovascular health. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital in maintaining a healthy balance between good and bad cholesterol in the blood. Cod liver oil contains two types of omega-3s – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Omega-3s also regulate blood pressure and reduce triglycerides, another harmful fat.
Arthritic pain relief. Cod liver oil is believed to block the enzymes that cause joint pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. One study showed that taking cod liver oil capsules for 12 weeks can slow down cartilage damage and reduce joint pain in people with severe osteoarthritis.
Vitamin A. The upper limit of vitamin A is 10,000 international units (IU) per day for men and less than half that amount for women. Some cod liver oil products contain as much as 5,000 IU of vitamin A, which can exceed the limit when combined with dietary sources. Vitamin A overdose can contribute to osteoporosis and increase the risk of birth defects in women of childbearing age.
Vitamin D. Children need about 200 IU of vitamin D per day, while adults over 50 need 400 to 600 IU. A teaspoon of cod liver oil can contain as much as 5,000 IU, which is several times the recommended dose. Doctors recommend taking cod liver oil in the cold months, when the body gets less sunlight exposure and cannot produce enough vitamin D.
We suggest you get your essential fatty acids in to your daily diet by consuming a quality pure fish oil supplement.
IMPORTANT: Cod liver oil is considered a dietary supplement rather than a drug, so it followsless stringent regulations. As a result, some products may contain additives that not only reduce the benefits of cod liver oil, but can even be harmful to your health. To avoid such products, buy only those that are GMP-compliant and make sure they do not contain any artificial colors or flavors.
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