Cod Liver Oil Benefits

Cod Liver Oil

Generations of Australians have memories of being dosed with spoonfuls of cod liver oil daily throughout their childhood. Many of them are no doubt still in therapy dealing with the trauma.

Cod Liver Oil – Old Fashioned – Still Relevant

Records show the Vikings used Cod Liver Oil in the 8th Century, and by the 18th Century, it was valued as a medicine for treating rickets (a childhood disease of soft bones) and rheumatism (arthritis). Old fashioned, it may be. However, Cod Liver oil is just as valuable today in the 21st Century.

Cod Liver Oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins A and D. However; it’s more for its rich offerings of Vitamin A and Vitamin D that make it such a unique remedy.

Vitamin D

It’s only in the last decade that the benefits of Vitamin D have become widely known. Vitamin D is essential in bone strength, immune system regulation, and preventing autoimmune conditions and some cancers. Up to 1 in 3 Australians are Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D can be created by the action of sunlight on the skin, requiring up to an hour of sun exposure during the day in Winter. Vitamin D can also be found in the diet, egg yolk, fatty fish, organ meats and cheese. Given that many people work or study indoors, use sunscreen, and may not meet the daily requirements of Vitamin D in their diet, it makes sense to supplement.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is well known for its role in eyesight. However, it is also crucial for the reproductive system, immune regulation and the health of mucous membranes. Mucous membranes line the inner surfaces of the nasal cavity, lungs, vagina, and intestinal tract. Vitamin A is vital for maintaining and healing these surfaces. Vitamin A levels are tricky to determine. However, many people are likely to be low in this valuable vitamin.

There are two kinds of vitamin A. The first kind, or the ‘real deal’ Vitamin A, known as retinol, is found in egg yolk, full-fat dairy, fish and organ meats. And the second kind is carotenoids*, or ‘pre-vitamin A’. Carotenoids need to be converted in the body to form retinol. Carotenoid foods include dark green leafy greens, carrots, pumpkins and other yellow/orange vegetables and fruit. Individuals vary as to how well they convert carotenoids into vitamin A. Therefore, I recommend eating foods with retinol or taking a supplement such as cod liver oil.


Cod Liver Oil – Supplement from Autumn to Spring

Thankfully, being forcibly ‘dosed’ with Cod liver oil is a thing of the past. Nowadays, Cod Liver Oil comes in easy-to-take capsules or palatable liquid form. Cod Liver Oil is something I routinely prescribe to many people, especially families with young children who often ‘bring home’ every bug in the schoolyard.  It’s a great one to take at the end of Autumn until Spring. 

*several carotenoids exist in plants, including alpha and beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. While the latter three carotenoids are essential, only alpha and beta carotene converts to vitamin A.