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Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil is a nutritional supplement that is derived from cod livers. It has high levels of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, and very high levels of vitamin A, and vitamin D. It is widely taken to ease the symptoms of arthritis. It was commonly given to children.
Additional recommended knowledge
Depending on the quality of the oil, the flavor and aroma range from a mild sardine-like flavor, to an intense and obnoxious odor of rotten fish and rancid oil. High quality cod liver oil is a pale-yellow, thin, oily liquid, having a peculiar, slightly fishy, but not rancid odor, and a bland, slightly fishy taste. Manufacturers sometimes add flavorings, such as citrus or mint essence, to cod liver oil to make it more palatable.
Cod liver oil is made by cooking cod livers with steam, and then pressing/decanting the cooked livers to extract the oil. This is in contrast to fish oils, which are extracted from the cooked whole body tissues of fatty fish during the manufacture of fish meal.
Cod liver oil is widely taken to ease the pain and joint stiffness associated with arthritis, but has also been clinically proven to have a positive effect on heart, bone, and brain, as well as helping to nourish skin, hair, and nails.
In 2005, a study by researchers at the University of California found that Vitamin D may lower the risk of developing different types of cancers, halving the chances of getting breast, ovarian, and colon cancers.
Use of cod liver oil during pregnancy is associated with lower risk of Type I diabetes in the offspring. This effect was found only in mothers taking cod liver oil, not in mothers taking multivitamin supplements. Cod liver oil taken by nursing mothers improves the breast milk by increasing the amount of fatty acids, which promotes brain development, and the amount of vitamin A, which helps prevent infections, but the level of vitamin D is unchanged.
Because cod liver oil has a very high level of Vitamin A, it is possible to exceed the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin A. Vitamin A accumulates in body fat, and can reach harmful levels sufficient to cause hypervitaminosis A.
A high intake of cod liver oil by pregnant women is associated with a nearly five-fold increased risk of gestational hypertension, although this study did not control for mercury, which can be present in harmful amounts in fish and which is another cause of hypertension.
Some urge caution when taking cod liver oil and other fish-based supplements since they may contain elevated levels of toxins such as mercury and PCBs increasingly found in fish. Some supplement companies regularly test cod liver oil for purity, while others do not.
In Newfoundland, cod liver oil was sometimes used as the liquid base for traditional red ochre paint, the coating of choice for use on outbuildings and work buildings associated with the cod fishery.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cod_liver_oil". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|