EPA-DHA - Huile de foie de morue
Do you remember the daily spoonful of cod liver oil? If you did not, you may think you were lucky. But while this fish oil is not popular because of its bitter taste, it is beneficial for children's growth and may well be effective against the coronavirus. Naturally rich in vitamin A and vitamin D, this remedy is underestimated. Discover the benefits of cod liver oil today.

The myth of cod liver oil

First of all, what exactly is cod liver oil? Yes, we know it's oil and that it comes from cod liver, but how? Originally, the Vikings hung cod over vats of boiling water. The steam caused the oil to fall into the hot water, which was then collected pure for consumption. Over time, in order to market it in large quantities, the cod livers were left to rot until the oil came out on its own, but you have to admit that this was not very tasty.

In the 19th century, cod liver oil was popular as a medicine for joint pain, gout, coughs and tuberculosis. It was not until the early 20th century that research discovered that it was beneficial for children, particularly in combating rickets[1] and promoting bone growth. Rickets occurs when there is a deficiency of calcium and vitamin D. We will see that this information is of great importance in the rest of this article.

Today, cod liver oil is obtained by decanting the livers, which have been cooked and crushed. Since then, our grandparents and parents have been in the habit of giving a spoonful to their children every day. But you may remember that its smell was disgusting and its taste even more so, it was a child's nightmare. Fortunately, a lump of sugar made it taste better.

The benefits of cod liver oil

Cod liver oil is the food that contains the most vitamin D with 250 µg per 100g. It is also very rich in vitamin A and omega 3, polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential for our bodies, which do not synthesise them. This explains why it was used as an ideal remedy against rickets in children. But it also has many other benefits[2] :

  • Vitamin A ensures good eyesight and maintains eye health;
  • Vitamin D increases the immune system and fights viruses;
  • Omega 3 ensures cardiovascular balance, the development of the nervous system and the fluidity of the blood. They also reduce inflammatory reactions.

A report by the French Academy of Medicine indicates that 80% of the Western population suffers from vitamin D deficiency, although this is essential for growth during childhood, as it enables calcium to be fixed on the bones, which is also necessary for the formation of the skeleton and the prevention of osteoporosis. While the sun and its UV rays provide a large part of the resources of vitamin D, we must not forget to supplement it with a healthy and balanced diet rich in vitamins. In winter, there is little sunlight and cod liver oil can compensate for this lack [3].

Read alsoVitamin D and depression, a link not to be neglected

Cod liver oil against covid-19?

In November 2020, a study[4] from Oslo University Hospital in Norway evaluated the impact of cod liver oil on the coronavirus. This research, tested on 70,000 people, is still ongoing and is expected to last about 2 years. The principle is to prescribe cod liver oil to half of the study population and a corn oil placebo to the other half. At the end of the winter, the researchers will analyse the health profiles of all the individuals to find any differences.

To date, there is other research on the subject, which is not yet conclusive. In particular, a study of 150,000 people started in March 2020 found that patients using cod liver oil were less affected by covid-19, but it is possible that they were protecting themselves in other ways.

As we explained earlier, the omega-3s contained in cod liver oil ensure that the blood is fluid. The virus is responsible for the formation of blood clots and coagulation problems, which can cause pulmonary embolisms or strokes.

However, it is difficult to prescribe cod liver oil to the population as a possible protection against the coronavirus, since the results have not been proven and this remedy has contraindications, as you will discover.

Read alsoMicronutrients effective against the coronavirus

The dangers of cod liver oil

In addition to the possibility of people being allergic to fish, cod liver oil may be contraindicated or have adverse effects, including:

  • If the individual is not deficient in vitamin A or vitamin D, overdosing may cause headaches, dizziness, vomiting and heartburn;
  • People with haemophilia or conditions that cause clotting problems may find their symptoms worsened by too much omega-3;
  • For pregnant women, who should never supplement alone. In the event of pregnancy, it is best to seek the advice of a doctor;
  • For people on anticoagulant treatment, especially the elderly.

Cod liver oil cure

When to take cod liver oil?

It is recommended that cod liver oil be consumed preferably in the morning, in the middle of a meal, always as a food supplement, i.e. in addition to a healthy and balanced diet. It can be found in liquid form, but the taste is bitter and does not keep well. It is therefore preferable to take it in capsule form, in pharmacies or food supplement shops. In this case, take one to two capsules per day maximum. The cod liver oil cure can last between three and six months. Before starting a new treatment, take a break of at least one week.

How to choose your cod liver oil?

To choose a cod liver oil, choose organic capsules to avoid the presence of titanium dioxide. The doses of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) should be correct, but your fish oil should not contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)[5]. These, along with heavy metals such as mercury, can cause health problems. Filtering, purification and refining of fish should normally limit the risk of pollution[6], but be sure to find out how your cod liver oil is made and controlled.

Sources of vitamin A and vitamin D

Where to find vitamin A?

Vitamin A, or retinol, is an antioxidant vitamin that is essential for growth, sight, cell differentiation and immune defences. It is provided by our diet alone, mainly in foods of animal origin: liver, eggs, fatty fish, butter, whole milk cheeses, or in the form of carotenoids (beta-carotene) in fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mango, apricots and melons.

Sources of vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for the proper functioning of our body. It increases the concentration of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. While the most effective source is exposure to natural sunlight, it is also found in oily fish, especially herring, and in small amounts in avocado, cheese, milk and butter. The most effective form is Lepivits vitamin D3, which is easily absorbed.

How about leaving the bad memories of the past far behind you and making up with cod liver oil now? Try the capsules, you won't taste it. You'll increase your vitamin D and A levels and maybe even fight covid-19. You have everything to gain. We also recommend our article. Which vitamins strengthen the immune system?

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12897318/

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21677119/

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28756294/

[4] https://ichgcp.net/fr/clinical-trials-registry/NCT04609423

[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20027164/

[6] https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jf035310q

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