Arctic cod liver oil, as the name implies, is oil that is taken from the arctic cod’s liver. Some people refer to the arctic cod as "skrei," especially since it is not truly a cod, but actually from an entire different genus called Glacialis. It is primarily taken from Norwegian waters, but can be found around Greenland and in the Arctic Ocean as well. Arctic cod liver oil is considered to be the best when the liver is removed from the fish, steamed, and then the oil is removed. It is used by people of all ages for a wide range of health benefits, such as arthritis, brain performance, and heart function.
Many people take arctic cod liver oil because it contains an abundance of health benefits. The oil has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It also contains large amounts of vitamins D, E, and A. Typically, arctic cod liver oil contains omega-9 as well. All these work together to improve a person’s overall health.
Specifically, the fish's oil is thought to reduce the symptoms related to arthritis, and it is believed to help improve brain function. In addition, it is thought to help improve the health of a person’s heart, by improving blood flow and cholesterol levels. Scientific research has shown that consuming cod liver oil may decrease the risk of breast, colon, and ovarian cancers as well.
Consuming arctic cod liver oil also is believed to boost a person’s mood. Some people, for example, take it to alleviate symptoms related to seasonal affective disorder. It also is often recommend as a natural way to reduce the symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome and general menstrual discomfort, such as cramping, fatigue, and irritability.
Typically, cod liver oil is consumed as a liquid or as a capsule. In most cases, the oil is flavored with lemon, orange, peach, or strawberry, although a person may choose unflavored varieties as well. Depending on the strength of the oil, each brand has specific dosage directions that should be followed.
There are some things to watch out for when taking this supplement. For example, cheaper oils may contain fillers or oil that is less pure, and may contain oil not only from the liver, but from the body of the arctic cod as well. A general rule is that the purer the oil is, the higher the percentage of omega-3 the oil will contain. In addition, consumers should check to see that the brand they select has been tested for mercury, dioxin, and other harmful chemicals, preferably by a third-party laboratory.
It also is important to follow the dosage directions on the oil bottle and to discuss the supplement with a medical doctor before beginning its use. Additionally, it is possible to take too much cod liver oil. If this happens, a person could consume too much vitamin A, which can cause birth defects and other health problems. People with a high risk of blood clots or stroke should not take arctic cod liver oil because it may increase the likelihood that those conditions will occur.