6 Health Benefits of Fish Liver Oil

Updated on June 27, 2020
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

About Fish Liver Oil

Fish liver oil is oil obtained from the liver of fish and it is mainly the codfish liver that is used for obtaining this oil. Hence fish liver oil, in essence, refers to cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is obtained from the liver of the codfish. A golden-coloured oil, cod liver oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids - the EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) & DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), Vitamins A & D. It also contains small amounts of Vitamin K.

The Atlantic cod and the Pacific cod are the 2 species of codfish that are used for the manufacture of cod liver oil.

Cod liver oil is a superfood that has incredible healing properties. For growing children, it is especially beneficial as it contains Vitamin D which is so important in developing strong bones.

Traditionally, fish liver oil has been given to children down the ages to prevent rickets.


Our body can make EPA & DHA fatty acids from omega 3 linolenic acid. However, those having impaired pancreatic functions as in diabetes, suffering from nutritional deficiencies, those consuming more of partially hydrogenated oils, may not be able to produce EPA & DHA so necessary for proper brain health.

Cod liver oil should be purchased in dark bottles and stored in a cool and dark place.

The Health Benefits of Fish Liver Oil

  • EPA is an anti-inflammatory and therefore it reduces inflammation in the body which benefits those suffering from arthritis and depression. EPA is also necessary for a healthy cardiovascular system. EPA is necessary for the production of prostaglandin, the local tissue hormone that counters inflammation.
  • DHA benefits the brain, nervous system and eyes and it also fights depression.
  • High levels of Vitamin A ensure good vision, faster wound healing, a healthy mucosal lining of the digestive tract and healthy skin.
  • Vitamin D not only ensures healthy bones, teeth and nails but improves the vision and recovery from injury in diabetics as well as balancing blood sugar levels, helps in proper immunity development, reduces autoimmunity risk, prevents high blood pressure, protects the heart, consequently reducing the risk of heart disease and reducing risk to a variety of cancers.
  • Fish liver oil reduces triglyceride levels and is very effective in preventing and treating tuberculosis.
  • It also benefits in colitis, IBS and Crohn's disease.

Cod Liver Oil Capsules

Click thumbnail to view full-size
cod liver capsulesAtlantic cod fishPacific cod fish
cod liver capsules
cod liver capsules | Source
Atlantic cod fish
Atlantic cod fish | Source
Pacific cod fish
Pacific cod fish | Source

6 Benefits of Cod Liver Oil


The omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil reduce pain, stiffness and damage in the inflamed joints. In arthritis, the bone cartilage slowly degrades due to the presence of certain chemicals. These chemicals cause inflammation leading to the destruction of the cartilage.

Studies have shown that consuming cod liver oil reduces the levels of these harmful chemicals, thereby reducing pain, inflammation and cartilage damage. Also, Vitamin D levels improve bone and joint strength.


The omega-3 fatty acids not only reduce cholesterol and raise the HDL levels but lower triglyceride levels as well. NIH reports that studies show it probably lowers cholesterol by preventing its absorption from the intestine.


Vitamin D improves hair growth and reduces hair loss. Vitamin D is believed to stimulate the formation of healthy hair follicles. It also reduces dry hair.

Those suffering from male pattern baldness show signs of inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids counter this inflammation. The University of Maryland recommends omega-3 fatty acids for hair disorders.

Weight Loss

The Vitamin D content in cod liver oil is also supposed to help in reducing weight since Vitamin D promotes an increase in testosterone, the hormone that increases muscle gain and fat loss. Also, high levels of Vitamin D improved weight loss during dieting.

Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce body fat appreciably thus helping in overall weight loss.

Acne And Skin

Cod liver oil is an anti-acne miracle solution. The omega-3 fatty acids, the EPA and DHA especially are deficient in most diets. These fight inflammation.

Cod liver oil not only removes acne from the face but also from the back. It also removes blackheads from the nose and shoulder but reduces oiliness of the skin, which is the bane of acne sufferers.

Cod liver oil is a boon to adolescents and other acne sufferers.


Mineral oil is one of the remedies for constipation. It acts by lubricating the bowel walls for easier passage of waste matter and also softens the stools. It is hardly absorbed from the intestine.

However in the process of coating the intestine it causes low absorption of fatty acids and other fat-soluble vitamins. Cod liver oil when taken during and after treatment with mineral oil can thus replenish these nutrients and is good as support during laxative use.

It must be remembered that excess cod liver oil can cause loose stools and relieve constipation too but high doses can have some detrimental effects on health.


Cod liver oil contains high levels of Vitamin A. High levels of this vitamin are believed to lead to increased birth defects like cleft lip, cleft palate and increased risk of exencephaly, which is a condition where the brain develops outside the skull. High vitamin A levels can also be toxic to healthy adults.

On the positive side, cod liver oil use during pregnancy lowers the risk of juvenile diabetes although high intake by pregnant women causes an increase in pregnancy hypertension risk by up to 500%

Cod liver oil use during pregnancy thus remains controversial.

Dosage Information

One may ask how much fish liver oil should I take, then?

Even though cod liver oil has very high levels of Vitamin A, D and the omega-3 fatty acids, it can be taken safely, if proper dosage is adhered to.

  • For adults and pregnant women: 2 tablespoons of regular cod liver oil or 1 tbsp of high vitamin cod liver oil is safe.
  • Infants 1 - 6 months: 1 tsp
  • Children 6 months - 3 years: 2 tsp; 4 years - 10 years: 1 tbsp; 11 years and above: 2 tbsp

This dose is per day and during winter when not out in the sun.

2 tbsp of regular cod liver oil will provide 15000 IU Vitamin A, 2600 IU Vitamin D and 6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.

Points of Interest

  • Cod liver oil and fish oil differ in the amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients they provide, with cod liver oil providing much more of these.
  • 1 tbsp of regular cod liver oil or 1/2 tbsp of high vitamin cod liver oil will provide as much omega-3 fatty acids, as is found in 12 (twelve) 1000 mg capsules of fish oil.

Safety Information

  • All cod liver oil in the United States is tested for heavy metals like mercury, cadmium and lead and passed only if free of detectable levels of these contaminants.
    Also, since mercury is water-soluble, it is not present in the oil, though it could be present in the flesh of the fish.
  • The heavier oil that is the high vitamin cod liver oil, as it is also known, goes rancid much slower than the lighter or the regular fish liver oil or cod liver oil.


The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

Cod Liver Oil vs Fish Oil

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • profile image

      sonu kumar 

      4 years ago

      Sir mere bal weak hia

    • Easy Exercise profile image

      Kelly A Burnett 

      6 years ago from United States


      I started researching vitamins for combating RA. My Mother was cripped by RA and I found the Omega 3. I noticed within 10 days, my hair was silkier and my joints no longer had that noticeable pain. My joints are a little stiff when working in the garden or working out but there is a noticeable difference for me.

      I wonder if they have a test for Omega 3 deficiency?

      For me the Omega 3 has been akin to a miracle drug - keep spreading the word.

      Fantastic article - once again, another superb hub, voted up! Thank you!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Thanks, Indian Chef.

    • Indian Chef profile image

      Indian Chef 

      6 years ago from New Delhi India

      I remember dad would give us seven seas daily but as soon as grandmom of either said came, we had to hide them as they were pure vegetarian and thus we didn't even had guts of have even egg in house leave aside fish oi;l. But very useful Hub from you Rajan once again. Voting it up sharing and awesome

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      @ Paul - thanks for your input and for the read and share.

      @ Bill - fish oil is different from cod liver oil and fish liver oil which are essentially the same. Appreciate your visit and sharing.

      @ Margaret - cod liver oil and fish liver oil are the same. However fish oil is different and lower in these nutrients. Thanks fro visiting and sharing.

      @ Healthyannie -Thanks for your comments and visit.

    • Healthyannie profile image

      Annie Messeri 

      7 years ago from Spain

      6 grams of Omega 3 essential fatty acids per day can cause serious health problems. A safe dose would 3 grams per day. If a person also takes cholesterol or blood fat lowering medications the dose should be reduced to 1 gram per day as higher doses can cause serious internal bleeding. Mercury has been found in both fish oil and cod liver oil but the concentration of mercury can be higher in Cod Liver oil as mercury is stored in the liver.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 

      7 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      I take fish oil regularly, and didn't realize that cod liver oil had similar benefits. Great hub, voted up, interesting, useful and sharing.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great info rajan. We have fish oil pills in the cabinet although I don't often take them. Maybe I should with all of the benefits. I didn't realize that there was a difference between cod liver oil and fish liver oil, I'll have to check to see exactly what we have. Thanks for the great info. Voted up, shared, etc..

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      7 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand


      Once again you have produced a very useful and interesting hub. Although I can't ever remember taking cod liver oil, my father took it religiously during the last 10-15 years of his life. He claims that it helped his arthritis, but it didn't really help to control his bad cholesterol. Voted up and sharing and also Pinning.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Thanks Josset for the read and sharing your experience here. Good to know your health has benefitted from its use. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Josset Donovan 

      7 years ago

      We grew up on cod liver oil in the Carribbean it was the only supplement we knew then as kids .even after becoming adults we hardly ever got sick.

      Since moving to the US thirty years ago I had not used cod liver oil. recently I made a trip to the Islands bought a 200 capsule supply and began taking the daily recommended amount,and I am very amaze at the difference in my health .

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      You're welcome.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      Vespa Woolf 

      7 years ago from Peru, South America

      I'll see if it's available here. Thank you!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      vespawoolf, seven seas has fish liver oil (cod liver oil) that is available in capsule form in India. Thanks for appreciating and glad for the visit.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      Vespa Woolf 

      7 years ago from Peru, South America

      I think the interest in fish oil has recently been revived in the US. Here in Peru, it's a neglected resource. After reading your list of benefits, I think we should be taking this! I don't know if we can find it in capsules, but at least we can take it by the spoonful (even though it tastes bad). Thank you for this helpful information.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      You are absolutely right Sasha; castor oil tastes better with orange juice. Good to know you know about its benefits. Thanks for coming and for the votes and sharing.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 

      7 years ago

      My mom always took cod liver oil and it's something I've followed her with. Not great tasting, but so good for you and tastes better if mixed with orange juice ^_^ Great hub Rajan. Voting a bunch and sharing!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      @ Peggy, Michelle - It seems most of us have been given cod liver oil in our childhood, one of the reasons our bones were & maybe still are strong. Nice to see you'all here and appreciate the comments, read and sharing.

      @ Crissp - I agree the taste is a bit on the unpleasant side, even felt when taken in capsule form, though in much lesser intensity. I hope your mom is feeling the benefit of taking it though. Thanks for reading.

      @ Sueswan - thanks for coming by.

      @ Thelma - thanks for stopping by. Appreciate the read and comments.

      @ Rasma - Many thanks for visiting and sharing.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      7 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      Another great and informative hub. Used to get a spoonful of it everyday as a child and actually got to like it. Passing this on.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      7 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      I remember that my parents forced me to swallow this horrible cod liver oil when I was a child. I hated that time when I had to. I can still remember the smell of it. Yuk! It´s good to know that this oil has a lot of health benefits. Good to know that my parents were not poisoning me, LOL! But still, I´ll never drink it again. Thanks for sharing this informative hub.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi Rajan,

      I have never taken cod liver oil . Thanks for sharing it's nutritional benefits with us.

      Voted up and awesome

    • CrisSp profile image


      7 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      This is indeed very helpful. I tried it before though and didn't like the after taste of the pill. It comes out when I burp (excuse me). Lol! Anyway, I gave the remaining bottles to my mom and she's been taking it since then. Good on her.

      Nevertheless, this is a very useful read and will pass it along.


    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Cod liver oil has many benefits, and I've been taking it since I was a child. Thanks for highlighting them in this hub! Thanks for the write, which I share.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Like some others have commented, I also remember my mother giving us cod liver oil during the cold Wisconsin winters when we were children. Memorable taste for certain! I must say...we grew up having strong bones and good teeth. No broken bones even though we had our mishaps from climbing trees, spilling off of our bicycles, etc. Will have to reconsider taking cod liver oil now for other reasons like the many benefits you listed. Good thing that they come in capsule form! Up votes and sharing.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      @ Marcy - I agree taking the liquid is not much fun. Capsules are available now that give the same benefit. Thanbks for your comment.

      @ rasta - the Vitamin D in cod liver oil boosts the testosterone levels causing weight loss esp fat loss. Thanks for reading.

      @ Deborah - thanks for reading. I do hope you try the cod liver oil capsules.

      @ Linda - I can relate to the taste of the oil but maybe it can be tried in capsule form. Also taken with food there will hardly be an aftertaste. Appreciate your input.

      @ jonnycomelately - Appreciate your perspective too, though the benefits of cod liver oil can't be denied. Thanks for stopping by.

      @ alocsin - Many thanks for coming by with your input. appreciate it all the same.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      @ Carol, glad to remind you that the good old cod liver oil is still around and available in easy to take capsule form. Thanks for coming by and of course the sharing.

      @ hawaiianodysseus, Mahalo! my friend. My pleasure sharing this info.

      @ Silvia, interesting input! Thanks for reading and sharing.

      @ Bill, thanks! Appreciate the visit and comment.

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      As helpful as they are, I don't know that the taste would allow me to take even the pills. But I'm voting this up and useful anyway.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Rajan, thank you for this Hub. Very interesting reading.

      I was "raised" during the war. Everything we needed in England during those days, and for a time after the war, was rationed. Orange juice, milk preparations, meat, butter, sugar, clothing, etc...... all had to be apportioned to us fairly. We got what we needed an no more, at least those of us who survived without entering the black market.

      As children we received our share of Cod Liver Oil mixed in with Malt Extract.... a stick syrup like consistency. When my parents called it "cod liver oil and malt" we would not touch it. Call it "bottle of toffee," and we loved it! By the spoonful, on bread and butter, etc.

      Maybe the health of myself and many others in our subsequent years is a result of those supplements we received.

      In those days, the world population was in the region of 2 billion. Now the figure is 7 billion.

      Then the cod population probably exceeded the human population by a big margin. Today it is reversed.

      Then as now, we humans tend to regard our own existence much more important than that of any other creature. What decisions do we make in regard to the enormous amount of fish being taken from the oceans, purely for our own benefit?

      As the global population continues to increase, the marine species decrease proportionally.

      I do not know the answers. Does anyone?

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      7 years ago from Central Virginia

      lol...all I can think of when I hear "castor oil" is...yuk. In typical rajan fashion though, you have pointed out its many values and changed the way I think of this horrible tasting healthy liquid. Great job rajan! I may actually add this one to my regimen.

    • eHealer profile image


      7 years ago from Las Vegas

      Rajan, I didn't know cod liver oil came in capsules. This is outstanding work you've done. I am going to buy that and get my cod oil. I could never stand the taste and switched to the fish oil caps, but it just isn't the same. Thanks! Rajan you rock!

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 

      7 years ago from Jamaica

      I did not know cod liver oil boosts testosterone. I do know even though it may contain heavy metals, it is still the best option to remove heavy metals from the body.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      7 years ago from Planet Earth

      I used to have to take cod liver oil when I was a little kid - it wasn't a fun part of my day . . .

      Interesting hub, and I will pay more attention to the benefits of this, um, substance! Thanks for the info! Voted up!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Remember before the pills we used to have to take this by spoon....YUCK! Great stuff but it tastes horrible!

      As always, great information and wonderful research. Well done my friend, and have a great weekend.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I remember this being a one of the first supplements for health when I was still a child. My German grandmother even mixed it with honey for a cough and it seemed to work. It was also connected to what was probably an old wives tale that it would bring on labor if your baby was overdue, back in the days when they did not induce labor but let nature take it course, I chugged a whole bottle of it, not sure if it was because of the oil but my son was born the next day... Would not advise this though.

      Interesting Hub! Voted up and shared.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      7 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Wow! Another great health article. Rajan, you are a walking encyclopedia of information. Thank you for your wonderful niche and for promoting natural versus pharmaceutical products.

      Blessings for this universally significant ministry of healing and maintenance.

      Aloha, my friend!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      I remember my mother giving us cod liver oil when we were younger. Have not heard much about it since then. This is a great revival for me..Thank goodness it comes in capsules..Thanks for sharing this great information. Voting up and of course sharing.


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