Cod Liver Oil (CLO) is one of those supplements that virtually all of us have taken throughout our life. It is a major source of omega-3 fatty acids and these are essential for health simply because we cannot make them. Without them we would suffer serious health issues because the body depends on them to a great extent.
Two key fatty acids are found in cod liver oil, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The main sources are marine animals but especially fatty fish like sardines, tuna, mackerel and salmon, and some shellfish like oysters. We know of at least 27,000 published research studies on omega-3 fatty acids. That makes them one of the most, if not the most heavily researched nutrients in the world.
Many cod liver oil preparations also contain vitamin D. This particular vitamin is need for good bone health and maintaining our immune system. It may also help stave off chronic disease conditions including certain types of cancer, asthma and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
We take cod liver oil for a variety of reasons through the ages of our lifetime: infant development, child and teens, young adult, mature adult, middle age and elderly.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommend we consume at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish per week. Given that fish is not that often eaten, a supplement is the best option. The recommendation for vitamin D is 600 IUs for most people up to 70 years of age and if over this age, 800 IUs.
Cod Liver Oil And Cancer
Recent research by the University of East Anglia (UEA) has found that taking daily supplements of fish oil including cod liver oil will have little benefit where cancer is concerned. The research relates to supplements rather than eating fish itself. In this study, over 100,000 subjects were randomised so as to consume more omega-3 fatty acids in supplement form, or maintain their usual intake, for at least a year.
Researchers found that if 1000 people took supplements for approximately four years, the actual effects on their health, both positively or negatively, would be very low if effective at all.
(1) Carlson Cod Liver Oil
Carlson Labs are a well-established supplier of oils. The one we are assessing provides 1.1 grams of omega-3s. It is an award winning oil both in terms of its bland taste. They often flavour their oils and the one we have here is available in lemon which provides acidity to cut through any oil taste as well as a fruit splash and a natural flavour. The source is Arctic cod which comes off the coast of Norway. They use traditional and sustainable methods of catching the fish where it is processed in Norway. The footprint is kept to a minimum.
The preparation also contains vitamin D.
The source is certified IFOS and IGEN Non-GMO. Some antioxidants are added to maintain the quality and stability of the oil especially when exposed to air. Likewise, initial packaging involves some nitrogen flushing to remove headspace oxygen which helps prevent any unwanted oxidation of the product. Any supplier worth its salt should be doing this type of practice.
(2) Dr Tobias Omega 3 Fish Oil
Dr Tobias is one of the leading suppliers of fish oils in capsule and liquid formats. In the example here we have their triple strength version which contains 2 grams of fish oil containing 1.4 grams of omega-3’s. That is 800 mg EPA and 600 mg of DHA. They use a softgel format here which is non-GMO and NSF- certified. The softgel has an enertic friendly coating which means absorption of those essential fatty acids is more straightforward and without the burping and belching that often comes with liquid formats.
The fish source is varied (hering, anchovy, sardine, salmon and mackerel, and is processed in the USA in an FDA registered facility which is GMP-certified. The fish oil is purified using molecular distillation so that heavy metals, PCB’s and any other toxins are removed. Mercury is a major concern now for all cod liver oil suppliers so removal is critical.
Not suitable for vegetarians because of the bovine gelatin capsule. Contains natural vitamin E as the antioxidant. Contains soy as part of the softgel capsule too.
(3) Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil
Nordic Naturals always come up with great supplements especially with this type of oil. This oil contains 1060mg of cod liver oil which is made up of 340mg of EPA, 510mg of DHA and 210mg of other omega 3s.
They source oil from wild caught fish. As with many other suppliers, no artificial colours, flavours or any preservatives. It is third party tested and non-GMO. Said to be free of producing belching or burping too.
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Everyday health (2019) web-site ‘Cod Liver Oil’
Revision: 1st March 2020. Addition of information relating to non-benefit in reducing risk of cancer.