Arthritis Home > Benefits of Cod Liver Oil
Lowering triglycerides, reducing inflammation, and decreasing blood pressure are just a few of the possible health benefits of cod liver oil. It may also be effective for depression, glaucoma, and ear infections. However, cod liver oil can cause side effects, so check with your healthcare provider before taking it, especially if you have any medical conditions or you take any medications.
What Are the Cod Liver Oil Benefits?Cod liver oil seems to provide numerous health benefits, and people take it for a variety of different uses. Often, people take cod liver oil to treat the following conditions:
- High triglycerides
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Kidney problems due to diabetes
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Ear infections.
Some of these possible benefits are more valid than others. It is important to understand that cod liver oil is a dietary supplement, not a "drug." As a result, it is not closely regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and can be marketed without any proof that it is safe and effective. Because cod liver oil can cause side effects and problems, it is a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before taking it, especially if you have any chronic medical conditions or you take any medications.
How Does Cod Liver Oil Work?Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to be the main active compounds in cod liver oil. The most important fatty acids in it include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These omega-3 fatty acids have many different effects in the body, such as:
- Lowing triglycerides: Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglyceride levels by several different mechanisms.
- Reducing inflammation: Omega-3 fatty acids seem to decrease inflammation in the body by suppressing a specific enzyme (COX-2) and inflammatory chemicals, such as interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF).
- Decreasing blood clots and blood pressure: Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the production of a chemical called thromboxane A2. This chemical causes blood platelets to stick together, which encourages blood clots and increases blood pressure. Because omega-3 fatty acids decrease thromboxane A2, they can "thin" the blood, perhaps preventing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.
Cod liver oil also contains quite a bit of vitamins A and D. Some of the benefits of taking cod liver oil may be attributed to these vitamins.
These are just a few of the ways that researchers think cod liver oil may work for treating a range of conditions. As more studies are done, more information will become available.