Last updated: August 20, 2021

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Today we are going to talk about cod liver oil, a supplement rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids.

Cod liver oil helps the proper functioning of the nervous, cardiovascular, immune and reproductive systems, as well as acting in the maintenance of skin and bone health.

Just with this brief description, you could see how beneficial this oil is for your health, right? If you want to know everything about this supplement continue reading.


  • Cod liver oil is recommended to treat vitamin A and D deficiency. The supplement is also rich in omega 3.
  • Cod liver oil in the liquid version is sold in bottles with 200 or 400 ml and can have natural, orange or strawberry flavour. It is suitable for children.
  • The capsule version is ideal for adults. The supplement is sold in bottles with 30, 60, 90, 120 or 150 capsules. The dose varies from two to six capsules a day, divided into two portions.

The Best Cod Liver Oil: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Probably, when you were a child, your mother made you take a spoonful of cod liver oil every day. Even back then, mums knew how important this supplement was for children's health.

Now that you are an adult, know that the properties of cod liver oil remain essential for health. Want to remember the benefits of this supplement? Then read this Buying Guide.

 Imagem de uma mulher tomando uma cápsula de óleo de fígado de bacalhau.

Cod liver oil in capsules is ideal for adults. (Source: Antonio Guillem / 123RF)

What is cod liver oil?

Cod liver oil, as the name implies, is the essential oil extracted from the livers of the cod fish.

The substance is one of the best sources of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, from the omega-3 family, and vitamins A and D.

The oil is consumed as a dietary supplement in capsules or emulsion. The concentration of these nutrients depends on the species of cod used in the extraction of the oil.

What are the benefits of cod liver oil for the brain?

Cod liver oil has numerous benefits for the brain. Because of the high concentration of omega 3, the supplement helps in treating learning and behavioural disorders.

This supplement also helps ease the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.

Vitamin D plays a fundamental role in the cognitive capacity of the elderly, besides acting in the prevention of brain disorders and decline in mental capacity.

Imagem de pessoas abraçadas.

Cod liver oil prevents cognitive decline in the elderly. (Source: / Pexels)

What are the benefits of cod liver oil for the cardiovascular system?

Cod liver oil acts in maintaining cardiovascular health as it regulates the levels of cholesterol, triglycerides (a fat that raises the risk of heart disease) and blood pressure.

The omega 3 obtained from cod liver oil is effective in preventing the hardening of the arteries, which causes a disease called atherosclerosis.

Being a source of essential fatty acids, this oil increases sensitivity to insulin and controls glucose levels in the blood, preventing type 2 diabetes.

Cod liver oil not only prevents, but also aids in the treatment of established coronary heart disease.

Is it true that cod liver oil increases fertility?

The good fats present in cod liver oil assist in the production of female sex hormones. They are also related to the good functioning of the ovaries and testicles.

These nutrients support the adrenal glands (hypothalamus and hypophysis), which control the production of sex hormones related to libido, reproduction and pregnancy.

 Imagem de um casal passeando na praia.

Cod liver oil also aids in sperm health and motility. (Source: Assad Photo Maldives / Pexels)

And the benefits extend to pregnant and lactating women and their babies. The nutrients in the oil aid in the development of the foetus, increase the intelligence of the child and lower the risk of diabetes.

Does cod liver oil help in the treatment of inflammatory diseases?

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cod liver oil helps to reduce the levels of inflammation in the body, relieving the symptoms of inflammatory diseases.

Consumption of this oil is associated with reduced pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints of people with inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, arthrosis and rheumatism.

Pessoa com dor no cotovelo.

Cod liver oil helps relieve the symptoms of joint inflammation. (Source: PHASIN Sritham / 123RF)

The oil provides improvement in the clinical symptoms of these diseases. Over time, the supplement can serve as an alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs.

Does cod liver oil have aesthetic benefits?

Because of the concentration of omega 3 and vitamins A and D, cod liver oil has several benefits for the skin and hair. You will notice the strengthening of the strands and reduction of hair loss.

On the skin, you can enjoy the benefits of topical use, simply puncture a capsule, apply the oil with circular movements and leave it to act. You will notice cleanliness, brightness, smoothness and reduction of acne spots.

What is the relationship of cod liver oil with bone health?

Cod liver oil has a very important substance in maintaining bone health: vitamin D. Regular consumption of the supplement strengthens bones, prevents fractures and the development of osteoporosis.

Other benefits of cod liver oil are:

  • Prevention and treatment of kidney disease
  • Protection against the development of autoimmune diseases
  • Treatment of ear infections.
  • It is rich in omega 3, vitamin A and D
  • It is sold in capsules or emulsion
  • The emulsion is ideal for children
  • It is a cheap supplement
  • It is contraindicated for those allergic to fish and crustaceans
  • The dose can reach six capsules a day
  • The liquid version contains dyes

How much does it cost?

The liquid version of cod liver oil is cheaper. A 200 ml bottle costs about 5 GBP and a 400 ml bottle costs 15 GBP.

The price of the supplement in capsules varies according to the number of tablets. To compare the price difference, we looked at supplements of the same brand but with different amounts of capsules:

Purchase criteria: How to compare types of cod liver oil

Now that you know all the benefits of cod liver oil, let's talk about what criteria you should analyse and compare when buying, to choose the ideal supplement for your needs:

  • Presentation
  • Emulsion
  • Quantity of capsules
  • Vitamin concentration

We will explain each of the items throughout this section.


You can find cod liver oil in capsules or emulsion. Want to know which supplement is right for you?

Analyse the information in the table below:

Emulsion Capsules
Recommended dose One scoop a day From 2 to 6 capsules a day
Variation Bottles with 200 or 400 ml Bottle with 30, 60, 90, 120 or 150 capsules
Advantage It is quickly absorbed by the body It is practical
Disadvantage It has colorings and flavorings Some people have difficulty swallowing
Price Cheaper More expensive


Cod liver oil emulsion is sold in bottles of 200 or 400 ml in natural, strawberry or orange flavour. This product has the following benefits:

  • It is cheaper.
  • There are flavoured versions.
  • It is ideal for children.
  • It is also indicated for those who have difficulty swallowing capsules.

Number of capsules

Cod liver oil is also sold in capsules. If that is your choice, the number of capsules that come in the bottle is an important buying criterion.

  • 30 capsules: 15 doses;
  • 60 capsules: 30 doses;
  • 90 capsules: 45 sweets;
  • 120 capsules: 60 sweets;
  • 150 capsules: 75 doses.

Also evaluate the recommended daily dose. Most products recommend one capsule, twice a day, but some even recommend three capsules, twice a day.

Vitamin concentration

Cod liver oil is mainly used to treat vitamin A and D deficiencies. For this reason, it is important to evaluate the concentration of these vitamins.

  • Capsules: Vitamin A concentration may be 242 mcg (40% of the recommended daily value) or 450 mcg (75% DV). Vitamin D concentration may be 2.3 mcg (46% DV) or 3.8 mcg (76% DV).
  • Emulsion: The concentration of vitamin A is 3795 IU and of vitamin D is 379 IU, considering a scoop with 15 ml of the emulsion.

(Source of the highlighted image: Stevepb / Pixabay)