Image by Brian Jackson
It seems that there is a lot of talk about Cod liver oil these days, also referred to as CLO. It comes highly recommended by many people, but why? What is all the fuss about? Well, it turns out, they have good reason to recommend it. It has some amazing health benefits that you may not be aware of.
Where did it originate?
According to Jordan Rubin in his book The Great Physician”s Rx, Cod liver oil began showing up in the fishing communities of Norway, Scotland, and Iceland in the middle of the nineteenth century. They endured harsh winters with long periods of darkness in some of the most remote places in the world. During illness they turned to cod liver oil because they had learned over the years that its medicinal properties were a natural, effective remedy for many of the infections that ailed them. By the 1890’s Cod liver oil was commonly used to treat rickets in malnourished children, and adults relied upon it when they complained of rheumatism or arthritis. They believe it lubricated the joints.
What are the benefits?
- Thins the blood
- Protects arteries from damage
- Inhibits blood clots
- Reduces blood triglycerides
- Lowers LDL blood cholesterol
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces risk of heart attack and stroke
- Eases symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
- Reduces risk of lupus
- Relieves migraine headaches
- Fights inflammation
- Helps regulate the immune system
- Inhibits cancer
- Soothes bronchial asthma
- Combats early kidney disease
- Reduces heart disease
- Reduces infant development abnormalities
One of the most important fats to intake, Omega-3 fatty acids, are found in Cod liver oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, bluefish, herring, lake trout, mackerel, sablefish, whitefish, bluefin tina, anchovies, as well as in cod liver oil. Cod liver oil also contains EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), Vitamin A, and Vitamin D.
Jordan Rubin also says that Cod liver oil contains more Vitamin A per unit weight than any other common foods, almost 3x more than beef liver, the next richest source. If you don’t regularly eat beef liver or butter produced from grass fed cows, you are possibly deficient in Vitamin A.
According to Patrick Quillin, PhD, RD, CNS of the book Beating Cancer with Nutrition, “Fish oil is therapeutic and can help to slow cancer. Cod liver oil augments immune system, improves production of favorable prostaglandin PGE-1, prevents metastasis of cancer cells by changing the stickiness of cells, improves cell membrane dynamics to augment nutrients absorption and toxin elimination.” (bcwn p247) “Fish oil may be as effective as any cancer treatment available. In a study examining end-stage refractory cancer patients who had exhausted all chemo and radiation options, fish oil supplements provided a substantial improvement in length of life and immune functions.” That sounds pretty technical, but I think it basically boils down to the fact that Cod liver oil is powerful stuff, and can be an effective treatment against cancer cells.
Ramiel Nagel author of Cure Tooth Decay studied Dr. Weston Price’s findings on tooth decay and how to reverse it. Dr. Price found that indigenous groups which had the highest immunity to tooth decay ate daily from at least two of the following principal fat-soluble vitamin sources:
- Dairy products from grass-fed animals
- Organs and head meat from fish and shellfish (such as Cod liver)
- Organs of land animals
Dr. Price’s tooth decay curing protocol included 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons per day of fermented cod liver oil.
What to look for when buying Cod liver oil?
Look for Cod liver oil that has not had artificial Vitamin D added, and hasn’t been bleached, deodorized or distilled. Most likely the fat soluble Vitamin A and D are destroyed in that process.
Is fermented better?
It is said that fermented Cod Liver oil retains more of the vitamins because there is no heating or distillation of the oil.
How to take it?
Cod liver oil is available in lemon, mint and other flavors to mask the taste and smell. Some say it is an acquired taste, and that it may take a few weeks of getting used to. You can also purchase it in capsule form.