*Ask your medical practitioner prior to making dietary changes or taking supplements*
One such exception is the use of cod liver oil. I do take cod liver oil – especially in the winter – and this is why:
Cod Liver Oil Supplements
You still can get cod liver oil the old fashioned way in just the liquid form. I have tried it and its icky, but…
You can also get Cod Liver Oil in a more palatable form in the capsule (which I used to prefer – but changed my mind). The capsule is easy to swallow and there is no residual fishy smell on your breath.
You can get big capsules of 1000mg or smaller 300mg. Each smaller capsule – depending on the manufacturer – contains about 30mg each of DHA (the good fat for our brains) and EPA (good fat for your skin and cardio health) Omega 3. The larger capsules of course contain more so just check the side of the bottle where the Omega3 content should be listed.
Some of the distributors of cod liver oil capsules don’t list the Omega 3 content on the bottle and instead re-purpose the capsules as an independent source of Omega 3. Just be wary of this if you are buying both “Fish Oil” for its Omega 3 and buying “Cod Liver Oil” for its Vitamin D.
Each capsule of Cod Liver Oil also contains Vitamin D and Vitamin A.
A deficiency in vitamin D can have serious health consequences.
Best cod liver oil
According to both the US Government Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), and Health Canada, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin D for an adult is 600IU or 15mcg.
Just check the labels on the product before you purchase.
The RDA for Vitamin A is measured slightly different than Vitamin D. Vitamin A is recorded as mcg (micrograms) of Retinol Activity Equivalents (RAE). 1RAE = 3.3 IU (International Units).
The RDA for Vitamin A in an adult male is 900 mcg RAE or 3000 IU and an adult female is 700 mcg RAE or 2310 IU.
Benefits of cod liver oil
Cod liver oil pills can range from 375 mcg RAE/1250IU to upwards of 2500IU. Vitamin A is great for many bodily processes like bone growth, vision and really cool stuff like cell differentiation – which is where a cell becomes part of more specialized tissue like becoming part of the brain, lungs, muscle or other organs. Vitamin A is also important for the immune system regulation.
I like to take Cod Liver Oil, especially in the winter because of the lack of sunlight. Your body needs sunlight to produce vitamin D so without sunlight an individual can be affected with low moods, energy and increased risk of some cancers and slower healing processes.
Cod liver oil dosage
You should be cautioned that there IS an upper limit of recommended amounts of vitamins A & D.
Too much vitamin D has been shown to produce symptoms of heart arrhythmia, excessive urinary output, anorexia and a rise in blood levels of calcium.
The Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for Vitamin D are 4,000 IU (100 mcg) for both adult men and women.
More on Vitamin D risks.
There is a risk of storing high levels of vitamin A in the body. This can cause nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and headaches. The most warned against Vitamin A toxicity is the potential of birth defects. It is very important you consult your medical practitioner before supplementing your diet.
The Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for Vitamin A are 3,000mcg (10,000 IU) for adult men and women.
Whether or not you should take cod liver oil is dependent on your physicians recommendation and on your specific needs. And remember dietary supplements are just supplements, and a teaspoon of Cod Liver Oil doesn’t replace the actual fish for protein, and the abundance of nutrients that comes with a plate of freshly prepared, delicious, codfish.