What does cod liver oil do? What’s it good for?

What is omega 3 and why do we need it?

Fish oil is known for being full of Omega 3 fatty acids that are essential in the diet, and cod liver oil is no different. Cod liver oil is what its name implies- an oil that comes from the livers of codfish. The most common cod used in this process are Atlantic cod and Pacific cod. Express.co.uk chatted to Dr Jane Leonard to find out why you need to take a cod liver oil supplement.

What does cod liver oil do?

Cod liver oil is a very useful oil to take in the form of a supplement because of its many benefits.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for many bodily functions such as cell growth and muscle activity, and cod liver oil is one of the best ways to get an adequate amount.

Dr Leonard said: “Cod liver oil is an essential compound of our diet.

“It is renowned to contain Omega-3 essential fatty acids and Omega-3 is normally found in oily fish such as herring, tuna and mackerel.

“It cannot be made by the body so it needs to be obtained through our diet.”

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Omega-3 is important for a number of reasons, Dr Leonard noted.

She said: “Studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids may help to reduce triglycerides, increase healthier HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

“All of these factors help to contribute to a healthier cardiovascular system, helping to reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke.”

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of death in the UK and worldwide, so it won’t hurt to take cod liver oil supplements every day.

Cod liver oil is also high in vitamins such as Vitamin D and Vitamin A, Dr Leonard noted.

This is the main difference between cod liver oil and a regular fish oil supplement.

Dr Leonard said: “Vitamin A, which is vital for skin and eye health, and immunity.

“Vitamin D supports calcium absorption and is important for strong bones and teeth.”

You can take these vitamins individually- but why not get them all in one handy pill?

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What’s it good for?

Cod liver oil will benefit just about everyone, but if you’re pregnant you should not take cod liver oil supplements.

This is because the high level of vitamin A may pose a threat to the developing foetus.

You should avoid taking fish oil if you are allergic to fish or shellfish, and be cautious if you have heart or blood conditions.

Cod liver oil can help a number of ailments including inflammation and pain associated with arthritis.

It is also great for mental health, so if you have problems with your memory or low mood you may like to try out cod liver oil.

Because cod liver oil is full of Vitamin D, it’s a brilliant way to support bone health – especially as you get older.

It is also thought that the Omega- 3 in cod liver oil can reduce bad fat in the liver.

How much should I take?

How much cod liver oil you should take depends on the strength of the supplement.

You should always check with your GP or doctor before taking cod liver oil, but the British Dietetic Association recommends taking supplements that contain around 450mg EPA and DHA per daily dose.

This is the equivalent of eating one to two portions of oily fish per week.

Most people find cod liver oil supplements unpleasant to take because of the fishy taste – and the texture also often leads to belching.

Thankfully, the world’s first cod liver oil gummy has been created by Wonder Health and they cost £13.99.

Dr Leonard said: “Taking cod liver oil in gummy form gets around the horrid taste and aftertaste of cod liver oil supplements and you get the same nutritional value.”

If you are vegan or vegetarian, there are suitable options for you too.

Dr Leonard recommends Zinzino’s BalanceOil+ Vegan to get the same benefits of cod liver oil without the fish oil.

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