Cod liver oil is, as the name suggests, extracted from cod liver. It is obtained by steaming the liver, then crushing and decanting the cooked livers to extract the oil. It was traditionally administered to children for bone growth and development. It is also used to prevent age-related bone problems and osteoporosis. Cod liver oil is good for bone health because it is rich in vitamin A and vitamin D. It can be consumed as a food supplement, in the form of capsules (which avoids its unpleasant taste) or in liquid form. This oil has other health benefits including the prevention of diabetes and heart disease.
What is cod liver oil?
Cod liver oil is a nutrient rich in essential vitamins, including vitamin D and vitamin A, as well as omega-3 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties. Most people do not eat enough anti-inflammatory foods, which provide the precious vitamin D and omega-3, as well as important nutrients that play a crucial role in cardiovascular, hormonal, immune, reproductive health and neurological.
Many adults and children could therefore benefit from supplementation with cod liver oil.
You can consume the oil either by eating fresh cod liver or by taking supplements (without a prescription). Each teaspoon of cod liver oil has about 41 calories and 4.5 grams of fat according to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), divided between monounsaturated, saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
One of the best benefits of taking cod liver oil is that it contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, similar to those found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. . It is also one of the few foods containing vitamin D.
Omega-3s and vitamin D are effective in reducing inflammation, preventing blood clotting, maintaining brain health and preventing depression. They are even capable of reducing pain in the context of arthritis.
Dozens of studies have linked cod liver oil to the following benefits:
• decrease in high cholesterol and high triglycerides
• prevention and treatment of diabetes
• decrease in high blood pressure
• prevention of heart disease
• reduced risk of osteoarthritis
• treatment of depression
• reduced risk of autoimmune diseases
• fight against vision problems like glaucoma and eye protection
• treatment of ear infections, allergies and asthma
• prevention and treatment of kidney disease
• help heal skin wounds
• maintain bone health and prevent fractures or osteoporosis
8 benefits of cod liver oil
1. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Cod liver fish oil is one of the richest natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, including their ability to reduce the production of prostaglandins, omega-3s reduce the need for anti-inflammatory drugs and can be used to treat many symptoms naturally, such as risk factors for coronary artery disease, depression, or arthritis pain.
If you are not yet familiar with the many benefits of omega-3, be aware that they can reduce the risk of developing many diseases, such as heart disease, ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder), anxiety, high cholesterol, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, cancer and more.
In reality, many people have an omega-3-omega-6 imbalance in their diet. Omega-6s are not necessarily bad, but if they are consumed in too large a quantity compared to omega-3s, they cause inflammation which is at the origin of most diseases.
It is generally estimated that the omega 6 omega 3 ratio in the Western diet is between 10 and 30 to 1, whereas it should ideally be at most 5 to 1, or even less in certain specific situations and risks. Omega-3 deficiency increases due to overconsumption of processed foods, fast foods or fried foods containing refined vegetable oils (such as soybean oil, rapeseed oil, cottonseed oil and l ‘corn oil) rich in omega-6. Supplementing with cod liver oil, rich in omega-3, is one way to decrease inflammation and boost your fatty acid ratio for good health.
2. Vitamin D intake
Vitamin D acts more like a hormone in the body than a vitamin, since it affects the functioning of neurotransmitters, heart health and inflammatory responses. Synthesized by your skin when you are exposed to sunlight (UV rays).
Vitamin D not only plays a role in bone metabolism, but it supports the important functions of all of our cells. Since low levels of vitamin D can affect our cells’ ability to multiply and replenish, vitamin D deficiency could increase the risk of disease in the short term, or even worse, of developing autoimmune disease , cognitive or cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis or cancer.
Since most adults and children do not get enough sunlight during the year, vitamin D supplementation is now recommended for the majority of people. Vitamin D deficiency symptoms can include depression, anxiety, fatigue, low libido, infertility, autism, asthma … In addition, vitamin D deficiency can affect the function of the immune system and may increase the risk of cancer.
High doses of vitamin D taken alone could have potential side effects, which is why it is now recommended to take vitamin D combination with vitamin A fatty acids and omega-3.
3. Important source of vitamin A
Vitamin A is an important antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress and therefore inflammation levels. It is linked to the prevention of eye disorders, helps brain health, helps fight cancer and is important for the production of hormones. While most people who eat a fairly balanced diet ultimately get enough vitamin A per day, vitamin A deficiency is a risk for people who eat a lot of processed foods or who do not get enough calories from them. food.
There can be many controversies over vitamin A supplementation, as some people think that high levels of vitamin A can be really dangerous and potentially toxic. However, it is important to note that many Indigenous peoples who ate whole foods ate lots of vitamin A (with vitamin D) and were very healthy. For example, according to the Weston A. Price Foundation, the traditional Scottish diet was rich in cod liver oils, organ meats, crustaceans and animal fats – all natural sources of vitamins A and D, and these people were very unwell .
The quality of the supplement seems to play an important role in the consumption of vitamin A via cod liver oil. Many brands contain synthetic versions of vitamins A and D that are not well absorbed, in addition to the dangerous ratios of these two vitamins. While consuming very high amounts of vitamin A from supplements has been linked to certain health conditions, getting vitamins A naturally from food sources can help improve the immune system. Eat many foods rich in vitamin A are beneficial for bone growth, night vision, cell growth, testicular and ovarian function, And much more.
Some interesting readings:
Vitamins A and D are fat-soluble nutrients often found in animal feed. They act as precursors of the active hormones, so that we produce certain enzymes which convert each of these into active forms that the body can use to regulate our immune system. In this case, vitamin A is converted to retinol.
4. Prevent heart disease
Studies show that cod liver oil consumed as a supplement or whole can help reduce high triglycerides (a type of dangerous fat found in the blood that increases the risk of heart disease). Cod liver oil also treats high blood pressure and helps balance cholesterol levels.
A series of studies has demonstrated the high efficacy of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids obtained from cod liver oil in prevention of atherosclerosis (hardening and stiffness of the arteries) and its complications. Treatment helps reverse the risk factors in patients with hypertriglyceridemia and high triglyceride levels.
5. Reduce the risk of cancer
Vitamin D, obtained through both sun exposure and supplementation with cod liver oil, has been associated with a reduced risk of cancer. Study finds vitamin D may help prevent breast cancer in women due to side effects antiproliferatives and pro-apoptotics on cancer cells breast, thereby reducing breast tumors. While sun exposure still seems to be the best option for getting enough vitamin D, cod liver oil also seems to help make up for common deficiencies.
6. Prevent or treat diabetes
Cod liver oil can help control insulin resistance and be effective in regulating blood sugar. It has even been shown to reduce some diabetes-related symptoms like kidney disease. Using cod liver oil and vitamin D supplements in the first year of a baby’s life and using cod liver during pregnancy could also help reduce the risk of diabetes.
A study carried out in 2007 and published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology revealed that supplementing cod liver oil in a diabetic rat for 12 weeks could be a natural treatment for diabetes. Cod liver oil supplements completely prevented endothelial dysfunction and have helped correct several biochemical markers of metabolic syndrome (a combination of risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease).
Cod liver oil helped manage the weight gain of rats and completely prevented plasma lipid abnormalities while controlling insulin sensitivity and other factors.
7. Help treat arthritis
At the start of the 20th century, scientists established that cod liver oil was a natural “antirachitic”. The use of cod liver oil is associated with reduction of pain, joint stiffness and swelling in arthritis patients and other inflammatory conditions.
Cod liver oil is an effective natural treatment for arthritis because it mimics the effects of drugs: it acts as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, improves the main clinical symptoms and can be used as a natural and safe alternative to medication, or just as a supplement in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
8. Keeping your brain healthy
As part of natural treatments for depression, regular fish oil supplementation has been associated with lower risks of depressive symptoms, due to the increased intake of essential fats such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D .
A study carried out in 2007 and published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that omega-3 fatty acids from cod liver oil improved symptoms of depression and anxiety. The study Hordaland Health study followed 21,835 adults living in Norway for two years and discovered that the prevalence of depressive symptoms in people who used cod liver oil was 2.5%, compared with 3.8% for the rest of the population.
There is an important link between omega-3 intake or fish oil supplementation and the prevention of cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show consistent results: fatty acids essential for brain function are found in fish oil and help prevent brain disease in the elderly.
Cod liver oil is normally safe for most people.
Side effects that can occur are belching, bad breath, heartburn, and nosebleeds. Taking cod liver oil with meals can often reduce these side effects.
High doses can be dangerous. This could prevent blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. Vitamin A and vitamin D levels can also get too high with large doses of cod liver oil. High doses can also cause nausea and loose stools.
The effects of applying cod liver oil to the skin are unknown.
Special precautions and warnings:
Pregnancy and breast feeding: Little information is available on the use of cod liver oil during pregnancy and lactation. It is therefore better to avoid using it in these situations.
High blood pressure: cod liver oil can lower blood pressure and could cause too high blood pressure if used with high blood pressure medications. Be careful when using cod liver oil if you are taking blood pressure medication.
- High blood pressure medications (Antihypertensives) interact with cod liver oil
Cod liver oil appears to lower blood pressure. Taking cod liver oil and medicines for high blood pressure could lower your blood pressure excessively.
- Drugs that delay blood clotting (anticoagulants / antiplatelets) interact with cod liver oil
Cod liver oil could slow blood clotting. Taking cod liver oil with drugs that also slow down clotting may increase the risk of discoloration and bleeding.
To lower triglycerides: 20 ml of cod liver oil per day.
For high cholesterol: 30 ml of cod liver oil per day.
To lower blood pressure: 20 ml of cod liver oil per day.
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