Which should you be taking, cod liver oil or fish oil?

Cod liver oil vs fish oil. It is an interesting debate. Should you be taking cod liver oil supplements or is it better taking fish oil?

Cod liver oil has been popular for a long time, and has certain health benefits. Like everything old habits die hard, and if grandma thought that taking cod liver oil was good for you then it must be. And we’re not saying that it isn’t, necessarily. It’s just that now that fish oil supplements have become so popular some people are questioning whether they should be taking fish oil supplements or cod liver oil. Hence the great fish oil vs cod liver oil debate.

The first question to ask yourself is why you are taking either. Presumably it’s for health reasons, not just for the taste. And in almost all cases because the essential fatty acids known as the Omega 3 fatty acids, and in particular DHA and EPA, have been found in numerous scientific studies to be good for you in a number of different health areas, even to the extent that the American Heart Association now recommends that we include the Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet.Cod liver oil vs fish oil

So if you’re looking for the health benefits of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids the next question to ask is how much of the Omega 3 fats you’re getting in each of the 2 options, namely cod liver oil and fish oil. Sadly the bad news for those looking to take grandma’s advice is that there is much more Omega 3 essential fatty acids in the best fish oil supplements then there is in cod liver oil supplements.

So unless you found an extremely cheap source of high-quality cod liver oil supplements chances are you’re paying too much for what you want to get, namely Omega 3 fatty acids.

There are some potential problems with cod liver oil in other areas as well. The first of these is contamination. There is now much evidence that many of the fish in our oceans are contaminated with a range of toxic chemicals including Mercury. For that reason our preferred fish oil capsules are produced from fish which are caught way down in the southern ocean where contamination is limited, and they are also decontaminated thoroughly.

However the cod which provide the oil are generally found in the North Sea, which is contaminated to a higher degree than the southern ocean. And, as the name suggests, cod liver oil comes from the liver of the fish, and it’s the liver which can accumulate many of the toxins.

And finally there are some other issues to consider when taking cod liver oil. It is high in both vitamin A and vitamin D, and access intake of vitamin A is not good.

In the US example pregnant women are advised not to take too much vitamin A. Excess vitamin A can cause liver problems, whilst possibly more serious repercussions can include birth defects and central nervous system disorders.

Cod liver oil also has vitamin D, which is an important vitamin which is produced in your body from the sun. For some people living in climates which are very low in sunlight this might be an advantage, but for many it’s not. Excess vitamin D can potentially lead to vomiting and nausea.

If you feel you might be deficient in vitamin D it’s better to be tested and take specific vitamin D supplements where the quantity of vitamin D supplied is regulated. But of course you need to talk to a medical specialist about that first.

Notwithstanding all of the above there is clearly some health benefits from taking cod liver oil. Grandma was right. It’s just that fish oil is now a better alternative, and for this reason fish oil comes out in front in the great cod liver oil vs fish oil debate.

So if you’ve been wondering about fish oil vs cod liver oil, stick to fish oil. There’s good reasons to do so.

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