Last updated: August 30, 2021

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Strengthening your immune system is essential. Do you often catch a cold? Do you feel weak? If so, cod liver oil supplements could be of great help to you and your health. That unpleasant liquid you were forced to drink as a child is long gone: it now has different flavours and newer forms of administration with the exact same properties.

You can easily digest cod liver oil, which contains minerals, fatty acids and vitamins A, E and D. Its high levels of vitamin D mean it is an excellent remedy against rickets. This guide details all the many other nutritional advantages this superfood can offer you.


  • Cod liver oil is a significant source of essential vitamins such as vitamin A and D. Omega-3, iodine and phosphorus are also found in it.
  • It is essentially recommended for general strengthening of the body, prevention of childhood diseases and to treat malnutrition. This article will help you discover many of its other benefits.
  • You should avoid excessive intake due to its high content of vitamins A and D, which can be harmful to your health if over-supplemented.

The best Cod Liver Oil: Our Picks

We have made a list of the best cod liver oil supplements available on the market. This section will support you in your search for. the right product for you or your loved ones. You will also be able to choose which method of ingestion best suits you, as well as opt for completely natural dietary supplements.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about cod liver oil

You should ask yourself why you need cod liver oil or which of its properties interests you before buying a supplement. The following section is designed to answer some of the most frequently asked questions from users.

little kids

Cod liver oil offers many benefits for children.(Source: Stylephotographs: 65997866/

What is cod liver oil exactly?

Cod liver oil is a source of essential vitamins such as vitamins A and D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA).

People rarely get enough of these nutrients and they play a major role in our cardiovascular, hormonal, immune, reproductive and neurological health.

The first medical uses of cod liver were for the treatment of rheumatism in 1789, and to cure rickets in 1824. The early 20th century saw a more general use of this supplement in children, to prevent rickets and other conditions caused by vitamin D deficiency.

Why is cod liver oil important for our organism?

The combined action of vitamins A and D ensures the growth and maintenance of your bone structure. Its high concentration of essential fatty acids and of vitamin D also improves cognitive performance in children and the elderly. Here are some of the wonderful virtues of this superfood:

  • Vitamin D and omega-3 in cod liver oil contribute to hair growth, with daily use making your hair stronger, shinier and more flexible.
  • Cod liver oil participates in skin health: it helps prevent skin ageing, protects against acne and alleviates sun damage.
  • It promotes mobility and prevents age-related joint stiffness by helping maintain healthy bones.
  • It can be used to lower blood pressure as well as blood viscosity, and maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

The following table summarises the different uses of cod liver oil:

Condition Benefits
High blood pressure Lowers blood pressure
Autoimmune diseases Strengthens the immune system
High cholesterol Lowers cholesterol levels
Dry hair and skin Promotes hair and skin vitality
Difficulty with muscle building Strengthens muscles

What adverse effects can cod liver oil cause?

While cod liver oil offers many benefits to the body, its use is also contraindicated for some people. Here are its potential side effects:

  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite or diarrhoea in certain individuals.
  • Avoid taking blood-thinning medicines or foods at the same time, as this is precisely one of its properties.
  • Never combine the use cod liver oil with other medications containing vitamins A and D, so as to avoid exceeding the recommended dose of these vitamins.
  • Always consult your general practitioner in case of any doubt.
Caroline LamMS Molecular Biology
"5 ml of cod liver oil contains approximately 850 to 4,000 IU of vitamin A, which is equivalent to 255-1,200 mcg of retinol/Re. This extremely high dose almost covers your daily need for this macronutrient."

For whom is cod liver oil particularly helpful?

We know cod liver oil offers many benefits, but it is particularly recommended in certain cases. Its excellent capacities in preventing diseases mean its consumption is very helpful for people prone to certain ailments:

  • Persons subject to mental stress
  • Athletes
  • Pregnant or lactating women
  • Persons with blood clotting problems
  • Persons with eye problems, such as cataracts or night blindness
  • Persons suffering from chronic inflammation
  • Persons with weakened defences

Did you know that cod liver oil was taken in liquid form and had an extremely unpleasant taste in the post-war era? Today, it is available as unflavoured capsules or as an oil with various flavours.

What is the difference between cod liver oil and omega-3 supplements?

Cod liver oil is a natural source of essential omega-3 fatty acids, but is not necessarily the best. Other types of fish oil are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, but the main difference is that cod liver oil provides significant amounts of vitamins A and D.


Cod liver oil is a source of essential omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and D. (Source: Geel: 92630892/

And the differences between fish oil and cod liver oil supplements?

Fish oil is found in fatty fish such as tuna, halibut and salmon. Cod liver oil and fish oil are both used as dietary supplements because they provide us with omega-3 fatty acids.

The main difference between the two is that cod liver oil contains vitamin A.

Fish meat does not contain vitamin A, hence why fish oil generally tends to have very little. On the other hand, cod liver oil contains large amounts of vitamin A, especially when taken in liquid form.

You should always consume both fish oil and cod liver oil supplements in moderation. High doses can increase the risk of bleeding and obstruct proper control of blood sugar levels in diabetic individuals.

What is the recommended dosage of cod liver oil?

The age of the consumer generally determines the daily dosage of cod liver oil, and you should always pay attention to the product description. The following values can serve as general guidelines for you:

Group Recommended dosage (ml)
Children under 12 2 ml per day
Children aged 12 to 18 5 ml per day
Women over 18 5-10 ml per day
Men over 18 10-15 ml per day

Capsules are particularly helpful with dosage, with approximately 500 mg of cod liver oil in each. The recommended capsule intake is therefore as follows:

Group Recommended dosage
Children One capsule twice a day
Adults Two capsules twice a day

What are the symptoms of a cod liver oil overdose?

An overdose will be characterised by discomforts such as dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, hair loss, tiredness and extreme thirst. As mentioned earlier, this is generally the result of an excess of vitamin A or D. Always stick to the recommended dose, and consult your general practitioner if you have any problem.

Shopping Criteria

There are a number of important factors you need to consider when buying your cod liver oil supplement. They will help you decide more easily which product is best suited for you, and you will be all the more satisfied with your purchase.

Here are the aspects you should take into account:


Not all products sold as cod liver oil are actually 100% made up of this substance. Check the label and look closely at the product formulation.


Some oils available on the market have pleasant and highly digestible aromas. Your choice can also lean towards tasteless or flavoured capsules, which are often covered with gelatine.


Needless to say, go for high-quality products. Many supplements available contain less than 60 percent cod liver oil. The rest is filled with inferior additives, such as low-quality fish or vegetable oils, preservatives, flavour additives, or artificial vitamins.


Cod liver oil had disappeared from the shelves of pharmacies and herbalists for decades. It is back again amongst the nutritional supplements, and it will be particularly helpful during the colder months.

We hope this article helped you understand the multiple benefits of cod liver oil. Amongst many advantages, its contribution in vitamins and minerals is extremely useful to raise the body's defenses.

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(Source of featured image: Legoshyn: 68257232/