The Top 8 Cod Liver Oil Health Benefits
Cod liver oil is a powerful nutritional supplement with many benefits for your health. It is an excellent source of important omega 3 fats and contains high levels of vitamin A and vitamin D that are so lacking in most modern diets.
Easy to take with lemon oil flavored liquid or capsules, cod liver oil is an inexpensive insurance policy against a variety of common health problems. Here are 8 of the top benefits of cod liver oil and important reasons for taking it daily.
1. Cod Liver Oil for Acne
Both the essential fatty acids and vitamins in cod liver oil can be beneficial in treating acne. Here’s how taking cod liver oil regularly can help prevent pimples and other skin complaints.
Excessive omega-6 fats in the diet lead to the creation of inflammatory compounds within your skin called leukotrienes. However, the EPA and DHA omega-3 fats in cod liver oil counteract leukotrienes formation and can reduce the skin inflammation that leads to acne.
In addition to this, even a mild deficiency in vitamin A can result in overactive sebaceous glands and excess sebum production, a common source of oily skin and pimples.
Vitamin A also helps strengthen your immune system so improving your intake with cod liver oil can provide further protection against the bacteria that promote acne.
2. Arthritis Prevention
There are many different forms, but arthritis is essentially another disease of inflammation. According to the arthritis foundation, more than 46 million Americans are currently living with arthritis.
Cod liver oil has been shown in studies to slow cartilage damage and reduce arthritic pain and joint stiffness for those with arthritis. Taking cod liver oil for arthritis may also reduce your risk of ever developing it in the first place.
The vitamin D in particular in cod liver oil is believed to be beneficial in the treatment of arthritis as low blood levels of vitamin D are associated with an increase in the progression of osteoarthritis.
3. Diabetes and Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil has been demonstrated in studies to improve glucose response and other markers of the disease in people with both insulin dependent and non-insulin dependent diabetes.
Additionally, the preformed vitamin A in cod liver oil can help protect your eye’s retina from damage (something people with diabetes are more at risk of).
4. Reduced Osteoporosis Risk
The vitamin D in cod liver oil helps build bone density in adolescents to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other bone related problems later in life.
For those already living with osteoporosis, cod liver oil may help to rebuild bone density by increasing calcium absorption. Calcium is often not absorbed properly without adequate blood levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency, which is estimated to be very common in people over 50 in the USA, has often been associated with osteoporosis and the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends doubling the RDA of Vitamin D for those over 50, and tripling it for those over 70.
5. Treat Depression
The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, like EPA in cod liver oil, may help treat the symptoms of depression. Studies have shown that a daily dose of at least 1 gram a day of EPA can reduce depression symptoms such as sadness, anxiety and problems sleeping.
Research also suggests that people suffering depression may have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their brain and this could be affecting the way it functions. Vitamin D can also be helpful here, particularly in winter, where it has been shown to reduce the symptoms of seasonal affected disorder.
Obviously, if you suffer from depression it is well worth seeking the advice of a knowledgeable health care professional. Prescription drugs aren’t the only option though. There are many beneficial nutrients out there that have helped people with depression.
6. Cod Liver Oil and Heart Disease
Some heart disease research studies have shown that a regular intake of EPA and DHA from cod liver oil or fish oil may potentially reduce the progress of cardiovascular disease and help in recovery from heart attacks.
In another study, patients with cardiovascular disease were given the EPA and DHA omega-3s in cod liver oil daily for two years, and the other group a placebo. Over that period, the group taking the omega-3s had significantly fewer heart attacks and fewer strokes than the group taking the placebo.
Always consult your doctor before taking any new supplements if you are currently suffering from heart disease. This is very important as there’s a chance that supplements may interfere with certain medications.
7. Less Colds and Flu
Many people notice, when they start taking cold liver oil regularly, particularly in the winter months, they just don’t seem to get as many colds and flus. I’m one of them.
Prior to starting taking cod liver oil a few years ago, I used to get every cold going and usually at least one flu over the winter. But in recent years, I honestly can’t remember the last time I had much more than a sniffle that went away within a day or two after a couple of teaspoons of cod liver oil. I actually haven’t had a day off work for sickness in the last three years.
I don’t think I was particularly unhealthy before I started taking cod liver oil. I would have supposedly been getting the RDA of all the standard vitamins and minerals from a multivitamin. But it’s been my experience that a food source of health nutrients like cod liver oil, always seems to work much more effectively than synthetic multivitamins.
8. Cod Liver Oil, Omega-3 and Reducing Inflammation
Most people have far too many processed omega-6 fatty acids in their diet compared to omega-3s. One of the most important cod liver oil benefits is its ability to counteract this imbalance.
Omega-6 fatty acids are found in high levels in vegetable oils like corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil and safflower oil. They are also concentrated in the very unhealthy hydrogenated form in margarine and the shortening used in many processed junk foods.
Omega-6 versus Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Healthy, unprocessed omega-6 fatty acids are essential to a good diet, but when they are too predominant over omega-3s there can be an inflammatory effect on the body, contributing to all manner of diseases.
The correct ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is said to be at least 1 to 5 and some people who have studied this topic heavily suggest closer to 1 to 2.
In the average American diet it is more like 1 to 20 towards omega-6. Those with a very poor diet, high in processed foods, may have a ratio as high as 1 to 50 in favor of omega-6 over omega-3 fatty acids.
The epidemic rise in diseases associated with various forms of inflammation, like heart disease, stroke, arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, obesity and many others, matches considerably with the incredible rise in our consumption of overheated, chemically processed omega-6 fatty acids in the last few decades.
Omega-3 in Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil can help redress this omega-6 imbalance. It is extremely rich in the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA that are needed throughout your body, not just for their anti-inflammatory properties, but also for skin repair, hormone synthesis, proper brain function, a healthy immune system and many other physiological processes.
The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in cod liver oil actually protect your body from inflammation at a cellular level. If you value your health it’s well worth increasing your intake of omega-3s, as well as natural vitamin A and D, with a high quality cod liver oil like this one I use daily.
Many people notice the difference within a few days of taking cod liver oil. There’s much more on the how to take it and the best dosage and sources here.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions about cod liver health benefits and how it can treat different diseases and conditions. Sharing this page can help others learn about natural remedies like cod liver oil as well.
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Infographic from The Natural Health Market