Cod liver oil is extracted from cod, which is a cold-water fish. It has a high amount of omega-3 fatty acid. This, along with omega-6, is an essential fatty acid. This means that the body cannot produce them, but they are essential for proper functioning. Cod liver oil can be found in the form of gel caps or in the form of oil itself, and it is usually taken two to three times a day. The oil can be added to salads, poured over steamed vegetables, or it can be blended into a smoothie. No matter what form or preparation you use for cod liver oil, it comes with benefits and some side effects.
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Over the course of time, the connective tissue of the joints in the body can become broken down and degraded, which can lead to pain and inflammation. Some conditions that can then occur are arthritis, bursitis and tendinitis. Cod liver oil is used to help fight the inflammation and it also helps lubricate the joints, which can increase range of motion.
The heart is one of the strongest muscles in the body. It needs to pump blood throughout the entire system, including all of the organs. Over the course of time, it has a tendency to not work optimally due to arteries getting clogged up with plaque and the blood becoming sticky. This is usually the result of a high-fat diet and living a sedentary lifestyle. Cod liver oil helps to reduce stickiness in the blood and also helps lower high cholesterol levels.
Children can also benefit from cod liver oil. They are oftentimes prone to developing infections in the middle ear. When the diet of a child is lacking in vitamin A and selenium, they have an increased risk of getting ear infections. If cod liver oil is used in conjunction with a multivitamin that contains selenium and vitamin A, the chances of getting a middle ear infection can be reduced.
Psoriasis is a condition that attacks the skin. It can erupt anywhere from the scalp all the way to the feet. In this condition, the cells of the skin grow too fast, which leads to red blotches that can become inflamed, scaly and itchy. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease like arthritis, and cod liver oil can be used to help treat it.
There are some people who have to take anticoagulant medication to thin their blood. The omega-3 fatty acids that are found in cod liver oil interrupt the body's ability to form blood clots. Taking it in high amounts can increase the risk factors for suffering a stroke. People who have extremely high blood pressure or who have bleeding disorders are also at risk and should not take cod liver oil.
Cod liver oil also has some other vitamins in it that are beneficial to the body. These are vitamin A and vitamin D. Both of these help promote healthy bones, teeth, nails and skin, but there is an exception to this. If cod liver oil is taken in high amounts, women of child-bearing age run the risk of their newborns having birth defects because of the high vitamin A content. Excessive amounts of vitamin A can also lead to weakened bones and compromise their growth.