Until the late 1940's most Americans took this superfood every day. However, these days the typical American diet is full of foods that provide plenty of omega-6 essential fatty acids (found in vegetable oils, packaged foods, and more…), but not enough of the omega-3 essential fatty acids – DHA & EPA (found in cod liver oil, egg yolks from properly fed hens, organ meats from grass-fed animals, and some fish.) According to wikipedia.org, our diets typically have “omega-6 to omega-3 ratios in excess of 10 to 1, some as high as 30 to 1. The optimal ratio is thought to be 4 to 1 or lower.”
“Essential fatty acid ratios”…who cares?!
This all sounds like mumbo jumbo until you understand that when these ratios are off, studies are increasingly showing that it can affect many areas of our health. Even the American Heart Association, (who in my opinion don't always give the best advice), say on their site, “Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of — or who have — cardiovascular disease.”
Not just for your heart
However, the omega-3's and other nutrients in cod liver oil aren't just for heart health. Read the related sites below for more details, and also here's an excerpt from a CLO article on the Weston Price site:
I am a family practice physician in Pasadena, California. I have been using Green Pasture’s fermented cod liver oil and high-vitamin butter oil with my patients for only nine months now, and I have noticed dramatic results. The most dramatic of these is the effect the oils have had on lowering blood pressure in patients with hypertension. This effect has enabled several of my patients to lower their dose of prescription medication, and hopefully eliminate it all together. In addition, I have found that patients have lost weight and lowered their blood sugars without any change in diet or activity. I have also had reports of less stiffness and pain of joints in arthritic and temporomandibular joint dysfunction patients, improvement in eczema, elevated mood in depressed patients, lessening of symptoms of PMS and increased energy and overall well being.”
If you have a specific ailment and you are wondering how cod liver oil can help you, do an internet search and see what you can find.
Read more here: Cod liver oil – the number one superfood!
It could make a huge difference for you
In some cases you may notice a big difference when taking cod liver oil, in other cases you may notice benefits slowly over time as you also implement other treatments and dietary changes. (Be in contact with a good naturopath or a doctor you trust who is open to looking at the whole picture, not just drug therapies.)
Why not just take flax seed or plain fish oil?
As explained above, one of the biggest reasons cod liver oil is so beneficial to us is because of the omega-3's it contains, but if you take a good brand (see link to part 3 below), you'll also be getting the very important A & D vitamins, and this is why cod liver oil is a better choice for omega-3's than just incorporating flax seed into your diet. (More here on why you shouldn't get too much flax.)
Also, plain fish oil (liquid or capsules) usually doesn't have vitamins A & D (or it won't have them in the correct ratios) as a quality cod liver oil.
Lastly, as Nina Planck says in her book, Real Food: What to Eat and Why, “The body can make EPA and DHA from flaxseed oil, but the conversion is uncertain and imperfect. It bears repeating: fish is vastly superior to plant sources of omega-3 fats.”
Enough omega 3's in cod liver oil?
Too much vitamin A?
Doctors may advise against high amounts of vitamin A in your diet and tell you not to take a daily supplement like cod liver oil for that reason. But one thing important to know is that the KIND of vitamin A makes a big difference. Read more here about the importance of proper ratios of vitamin A & D in cod liver oil.
Sunlight and vitamin D
Read all about the benefits of vitamin D in your diet or from the sun.
(Read more about the bad rap sunshine has gotten.)
Important note about vitamin D and possible toxicity:
One thing to remember – as much as we need enough vitamin D, like anything, some say it's possible to get too much as well, and sites like Dr. Mercola encourage you to get tested if you're in the sun a lot. But according to this Vitamin D Council site, it's very uncommon to get too much vitamin D. If you get a LOT of sun and are concerned, read here to find out more about testing your vitamin D levels. Also, read this about who should be extra careful about the amounts of vitamin D they take.
One more important thing:
When you're taking good quality cod liver oil, you also need to be sure you're getting enough calcium in your diet. Vitamin D regulates the amount in your blood, and if it's not there, it will deplete it from your bones. As explained in the book, “Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats“, “make sure your diet contains adequate calcium and magnesium with plentiful whole dairy products, bone broths and lightly cooked green vegetables along with certain nutrient-dense animal products such as butter, organ meats and shellfish. These will provide a calcium- and magnesium-rich diet as well as the fat-soluble vitamins necessary for their absorption.”
Newer post about that: Are you Taking Vitamin D or Calcium? What You MUST Do First (Scary: My doc didn’t even know)
This was a just quick overview on how powerful and important cod liver oil is and why we need to make it a daily habit, I hope it helps!
More you might like:
- Info on possible vitamin toxicity from Chris Masterjohn
- More info on possible vitamin toxicity in a cod liver oil update from Sally Fallon
- Pregnant or nursing moms, read this article on the importance of omega 3's for your baby's brain development!
- Help for depression or anxiety issues
- More information on how much is too much vitamin A.
- Read this to find out if you should limit the amount of cod liver oil you take
- “Omega 3's can prevent sunburn” – scroll down about 2/3 on this page to read about that and more on the many benefits of cod liver oil.
- Read about where exactly cod liver oil comes from and why some brands are much superior to others.
- Information on the correct amount of cod liver oil needed daily for adults, children, and pregnant or nursing moms.
- Cod liver oil and constipation treatment