What is Cod Liver Oil? And Cod Liver Oil Benefits

What is cod liver oil and cod liver oil benefits

I will go over what is cod liver oil and later I‘m going to share with you what I have learned about cod liver oil benefits for optimizing your health.

Cod liver oil is synonyms with the northern European region where hundreds of years ago people supplemented their diets with this precious oil to keep them warm. They used several species of codfish (ex., Gadus morhua) and extracted the oil from the fish livers. 

So the answer to the question of what is cod liver oil? It is an oil that is freshly pressed and has a beautiful light-golden color and the prized nutrients this oil contains are:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Elongated Omega-3 fatty acid DHA 
  • Elongated Omega-3 fatty acid EPA

The above nutrients are missing or very low in many people’s diets in our modern time due to poor quality food, eating too much plant-based diet, and the dislike of eating animal organs that are nutrient-dense in vitamin A, D, and the elongated omega-3 fatty acids to name a few.

What is Cod Liver Oil? The Extraction Factor?

Cod liver oil is rich in vitamin A and vitamin D

Yes, what is cod liver oil you are consuming is an important question because the way it is processed can make it a high-quality and life-giving or low-quality and possibly harmful to your health.

In northern European countries such as Norway, the oil is extracted in the traditional method since the Viking time with minimal heat and pressure where the oil drips from the livers using gravity as a passive tool to press the oil.

This method has been inherited from one generation to another and is still be followed. There is more to the process of this secret recipe to produce a quality cod liver oil but it is a gentle process that does not damage the nutrients in the oil.

Fermented Cod Liver Oil - Fermentation Time  

Another answer is what is cod liver oil you can consume as an option is a fermented cod liver oil. This process of extraction is less known but just like the first method mentioned above this too has been practiced for hundreds of years as well. 

Fermented foods have been an integral part of the human diet for thousands of years and fermented cod liver oil is no exception but it is not part of the western traditional diet.

This cod liver oil is extracted from bacteria fermenting the glycogen in the liver and not the oil itself. Because of this type of extraction, it is called fermented cod liver oil. 

What Are Cod Liver Oil Benefits?

After this basic explanation of what is cod liver oil then naturally we would like to know what are cod liver oil benefits and if it is worth taking this fishy oil regularly. 

Many decades ago one of the traditional habits in the U.S. is how moms and grandmas use to remind their children and grandchildren to take their daily cod liver oil which was not a pleasant thing to do.

I mean let’s face it the taste is fishy and oily that’s why many companies add some flavor to hide the taste. Unfortunately, this healthy habit has disappeared for whatever reason may be the rise of pharmaceutical drugs and antibiotics!

Because of the nutritional profile cod liver oil contains and at the same time we are lacking these vitamins and fatty acids many doctors used to recommend taking this superfood supplement and I hope this recommendation comes back at force. 

 The list of what is cod liver oil benefits are increasing as more scientific studies dedicate more type to research it but here are some:

-It is one of the best natural supplements to prevent rickets. Rickets disease is vitamin D deficiency and dependency and cod liver oil provides a natural and ample amount of this sunshine vitamin (1). 

 -Rheumatism is treated and alleviates the degree of stiffness after supplementing with cod liver oil for a few months (2). This is possible due to the anti-inflammatory properties of Omega-3 DHA and EPA but it seems DHA has a stronger effect in this area.

How cod liver oil benefits the immune system.

-Strengthening the immune system due to the high amount of performed or active vitamin A (3). Also, vitamin D which is abundant in cod liver oil is essential to the immune system and myriad of other physiological processes in the human body (4)

-Cod liver oil plays an important role in bone health and homeostasis by enhancing the absorption of calcium. 

- Lack of a sufficient amount of vitamin A can lead to night vision impairment thus cod liver oil can fix this problem with its active vitamin A, retinol, hence the name retinol, and retina of the eye. 

-Cod liver oil has been shown to enhance muscle function and may prevent hypertension, many common cancers, and type 1 diabetes.

How Cod Liver Oil Benefits the Brain?

cod liver oil and brain health

We previously mentioned the benefits of the elongated omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA which cod liver oil contains a sufficient amount of and it is important for brain development, reducing the effect of ADHD disorder, and protective properties against dementia (5).

Cod liver oil is also rich in cholesterol and the brain needs this essential molecule to properly function and low brain metabolism has been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, like, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other cognitive impairments (6).

Cod Liver Oil Benefits? My Experience!

his is only my anecdotal observation but it is worth sharing because I have a feeling it just might benefit other individuals. When the fermented cod liver oil controversy started I believe in 2015 I stopped taking it for almost three years. 

Even I have been eating good quality foods (organic produce, local farm products such as meat, eggs, raw milk, etc.) I started to have some type of respiratory low-inflammation sickness and mucus build-up and it would last sometimes a few days or two weeks which I have not experienced this declined health condition since I started following the guidelines of Weston A. Price Foundation in 2001. And I usually get this respiratory inflammation during the winter season between December and February. 

After reading and researching the validity of the fermented cod liver oil controversy claims which I was not convinced I started taking the Fermented Cod Liver Oil & Concentrated Butter Oil Blend again and this respiratory inflammation has stopped until now (October 2021) and I hope it won’t come back. I might have had the same results with the raw unfermented cod liver oils so I can’t tell for sure. 

I prefer the Blend fermented cod liver oil and Butter Oil simply because it is convenient to have both supplements in one bottle.

You can do the same by getting the other high-quality cod liver oils such as Rosita and Dropi (see top supplements for gut health) but it is also important to consume them with concentrated butter oil because they are more effective when taken together according to Dr. Weston A Price.  

Some individuals probably for whatever reason will have a reaction when taking FCLO then I would suggest using the raw unfermented cod liver oil and see if your body accepts it with no reaction. 

Several small societies don’t take cod liver oil and are full of vibrant health like the tribes in Africa and around the globe. However, it is very likely the foods they consume are providing them with a sufficient amount of vitamin A, D, K2, E, and other minerals and co-factors that make them immune to chronic diseases that we are plagued with within western and developed countries.

Cod liver oil simply provides convenience to us to take a rich amount of these critical nutrients because our modern diet, let’s face it, is low quality for many of us. 

And even consuming high-quality foods how many of us consume animal organs and I am not talking about eating just liver, but heart, brain, tongue, testicles, kidney, and other organs that would horrify us just to think about. Our modern taste palate has a strong disclination when it comes to offal consumption.   

I hope now you have a better understanding of what is cod liver oil and appreciate the numerous cod liver oil benefits to optimize your health.


Cod Liver Oil - Questions and Answers