We have been hearing a lot about cod liver oil being one of the dietary supplements that can do wonders to our health and wellbeing. But what can it specifically do? What does it offer? And do you need it?
A bit of history first. Cod liver oil, taken from the livers of the Atlantic cod (hence, the name), was used as a food and as a rub way back in the Viking Era, that’s in the late 700s to 1100s, harvested in the fishing months during dark winters, keeping the livers and the oil fresh and of the best quality. In the non-fishing months, they developed a process of extracting the oil without heat or pressure to keep it stable and its taste pleasant. This raw oil was “highly valued for its powers of healing, strength and energy by the Vikings of the Northern Norway.”
Its first medicinal use was accounted for in 1789 when it was prescribed to a woman suffering from rheumatism. They also used the oil to cure gout, scrofula, rickets and other diseases. But it was only in 1822 when it was acknowledged for its healing powers and yet, how it worked remained a mystery.
What’s behind the mystery then? What’s in it that makes all the healing possible? And should you take it?
Because of cod liver oil, series of experiments and continuous research were performed to prove the existence of and identify the nutrients that give cod liver oil its therapeutic abilities. These are the fat-soluble vitamin A (1913 by Elmer McCollum and Marguerite Davis) and vitamin D (1922 by McCollum), and omega-3 fatty acids (1970s by Dr. Jorn Dyerburg).
Let us elaborate more on these essential nutrients that cod liver oil has.
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Cod liver oil contains huge amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA. We are very familiar with the importance of DHA in brain development. These Omega-3s also help burn fats and promote muscle growth. They are vital to brain and nervous system function. They help regulate cholesterol levels in the body, which contributes to improved heart health. Their natural anti-inflammatory properties reduces the risk of inflammation and various symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and arthritis pain. They also minimize the likelihood of having inflammatory bowel disease, ADHD, cancer and more.
2. Vitamin A. A great source of the natural form of the important fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin A, which is converted to retinol, cod liver oil helps reduce free radical damage and inflammation levels. It prevents eye-related disorders, also supports brain health, and promotes healthy cellular growth. Aside from these, it stimulates hormone production that makes our body produce enzymes in active forms, which regulates our immune system.
3. Vitamin D. Another critical nutrient our body needs. Cod liver oil has plenty of this essential nutrient that is also produced by the skin (without any sunscreen on) when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light. Functions similarly to a hormone, it helps strengthen neurotransmitter operations, heart health and inflammatory responses. It also supports bone metabolism and our cells’ ability to reproduce and replenish. It prevents depression, anxiety, fatigue, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer.
All these nutrients work together to support body recovery and improve health in general. It is also important to note that cod liver oil contains a balanced amount of vitamin A and vitamin D, and that these natural nutrients always work together in allowing body processes to protect us from toxicity.
Now, let us emphasize more on the health benefits of taking cod liver oil in supplement form.
Cod liver oil helps reduce the dangerous fat in the blood, called triglycerides, that lowers the risk of heart disease. It can treat high blood pressure and balance cholesterol levels. Its omega-3s also prevent atherosclerosis and its complications.
Cancer is one of the diseases we all dread to have. Who would want to have those unwanted abnormal cells in our bodies, right? Since cod liver oil contains vitamin D, having it as a supplement along with sun exposure can help lessen the risks of cancer and common deficiencies.
The metabolic disease, diabetes, can also be managed by cod liver oil by helping control our insulin resistance. By managing glucose levels in the blood, it also lowers symptoms of related complications. Having cod liver oil and vitamin D supplements during pregnancy and the first year of a baby’s life can also help lower the risk of developing diabetes.
The painful inflammation and stiffness of joints, arthritis is a very common condition in adults. Cod liver oil’s non-steroidal anti-inflammatory characteristics make it a natural treatment for arthritis that is highly effective in reducing the pain, and the joint swelling and stiffness.
Cod liver oil is also connected with healthier reproductive system because of the omega-3s and vitamin D that maintains the endocrine system, which all contribute to having healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. Women consuming cod liver oil have higher levels of DHA and EPA in their breast milk, which helps in their babies’ brain development and overall health.
Supplementation with cod liver oil helps lower the chances of depressive symptoms and prevents cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. The omega-3 fatty acids are therefore vital to brain function, specifically to older adults.
Vitamin D, which cod liver oil is abundant in, is highly essential in building and maintaining strong bones. Supplementing with cod liver oil can lower the risk of bone fractures and prevent osteoporosis, which commonly occurs in women.
Cod liver oil could be a treatment option for tuberculosis. Based on the study done in 1848, said disease was stabilized in people who received cod liver oil.
Both omega-3s and carotenoids that cod liver oil has support eye health, thereby minimizing the damage and the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that mainly affects central vision (part of the retina) causing blind spots that will eventually result to vision loss and blindness.
Cod liver oil is also beneficial to people with gastric problems. It can aid in improving gastric ulcer healing through the production of gastric cytoprotective effects, and also helps reduce the stress and pain the ulcers cause.
These are the reasons why cod liver oil is recommended as a general supplement. With the right amount of nutrients, cod liver oil does nothing but keep us strong and healthy. And for athletes, taking cod liver oil as a dietary supplement is highly recommended for it will aid them with their endurance, strength and recovery.
How? Cod liver oil supports bone health, and help prevent fractures and other injuries. It can also aid in healing skin wounds and in improving cardiovascular health. This and reducing triglycerides and increasing lipoprotein is of equal importance in keeping athletes healthy.
Since cod liver oil has anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids and the fat-soluble vitamins A and D, it can enhance insulin sensitivity and other metabolic benefits that are the positive effects of exercise. Blood flow to the muscles during workouts is augmented that helps reduce muscle soreness and support body recovery and tissue repair.
To sum it up, supplementation with cod liver is beneficial to athletes because the nutrients in it increase muscle growth, improve strength and physical performance, reduce muscle damage and delayed-onset muscle soreness due to training and exercise, combat negative immune effects of intensive training, strengthen bones, improve heart and lung functioning, and enhance cognitive performance.
There are many decent brands of cod liver oil available in the market today. But it is recommended to choose the one that uses the traditional oil fermenting method that guarantees the retention of more of the nutrients in their natural ratio. AMRAP Nutrition’s Cod Liver Oil is one of these.
AMRAP’s (As Many Rounds As Possible) cod liver oil is cold processed, fermented, and wild caught in cold arctic waters. Made from pure cod liver oil and originally designed for professional athletes, it improves recovery time, decreases post-workout inflammation, and reduces the risk of joint, soft tissue and tendon injuries. It is also rich in naturally occurring vitamin A and vitamin D, which are vital to the overall health and wellbeing, not only for professional athletes, but also for you and me.
Each bottle of AMRAP Nutrition’s Cod Liver Oil contains 60, 500-mg softgels. A 30-day supply as you take two of these small softgels daily with food. After you try it, take a moment and let us know what you think.