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Benefits of Cod Liver Oil for children

Although cod liver oil was extremely popular with parents up until about the 1950s, its use fell out of favor in more recent decades. Perhaps the older generation was left with a nasty taste that convinced them to skip this old routine for their own kids? Cod liver oil used to be seen as magic formula for good health, and if you look at “natural living” circles, it appears to have made a comeback. This time, cod liver oil mainly comes in capsules, sometimes with added flavoring, or fermented with tastes like lemon and orange.

Would you give cod liver oil (CLO) a try, for you and the rest of the family? Its main benefits are Omega 3 fatty acids (including the memory-improving Docosahexaenoic acid) and vitamin D. Why do these components promote overall health? Let’s take a look:

  • Most Americans are deficient in vitamin D in the winter, when sunlight alone is not enough to meet a person’s need for the vitamin. Vitamin D – which appears in very few foods –  is essential for healthy bones, and cod liver oil is an excellent source of this vitamin for everyone, but particularly children and women who are expecting a baby and suffering from pregnancy signs. Vitamin D deficiencies can lead to brittle bones and osteoporosis, dental problems, and a weak immune system.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids can help toward preventing arthritis, a Cardiff-based study confirmed in 2002.
  • Cod liver oil can play a role in lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Some studies indicate that cod liver oil prevents ear infections.
  • The elongated omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil were found to improve brain function, specifically memory and concentration, in various studies. According to some sources, cod liver oil may even have a calming effect on children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Students may be able to focus on their homework more easily if they regularly take cod liver oil.

But, cod liver oil may not be the “liquid amber” that previous generations thought it to be. Cod liver oil also contains vitamin A, of which you want to be careful not to get too much. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, vitamin A cannot just be expelled from the body if too much is ingested. That’s right: There are indications that the fat-soluble vitamin is toxic in large amounts. Moreover, not all cod liver oil capsules sold today are of the same quality. Tests in the United Kingdom have shown several brands to contain harmful chemicals, like the carcinogenic dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls!  Cod liver oil may well have benefits for you and your children, but before you jump on the “magical cure” bandwagon, as seen on many websites promoting CLO capsules, a little more research is warranted.


Olivia writes about fertility, pregnancy, babies, and weight loss after pregnancy at her blog, Trying To Conceive. 

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