This oil refers to the oil that is mainly acquired from the Atlantic cod's liver. In addition, the oil got from the liver of fish is primarily a blend of glycerides of several different fatty acids. However, vitamin A and vitamin D, which dissolve in fats, form the main elements of cod liver oil and the oil is valuable because of these vitamins. There was a time when cod liver oil was employed to avoid rickets. During the early part of the 1930s, people in Europe and the United States used vitamin D extensively to fortify milk, and this helped in doing away with rickets, which happened to be a major public health issue of the time. Even to this day, cod liver oil is employed in the form of a medication to treat joint pains attributable to arthritis and also to prevent the development of cardiovascular disease. However, it needs to be mentioned that these health benefits of cod liver oil are yet to be confirmed scientifically. In addition, cod liver oil is also used in the fodder meant for poultry as well as other animals.
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In addition to containing vitamin A and vitamin D, cod liver oil also encloses a number of vital fatty acids. Vitamin A is crucial for the mechanisms of the photoreceptor in our retina as well as for protecting the epithelia from any damage. Therefore, any deficit of this vitamin in the body may result in night blindness. On the other hand, vitamin D is necessary for the body to absorb calcium as well as phosphorus, which is a must for formation of bones. Our skin is also able to make vitamin D from the ultra violet (UV) rays of the sun (an action called UV radiation).
During the early 20th century, small children who grew in deplorable municipal localities where there is hardly enough open space for them to play commonly suffered from deficiency of vitamin D. When the bone formation is not enough, it often results in twisting of the bones that bear weight, causing bow legs as well as knock knees. It is an irony that rickets is not something unusual in places having tropical climatic conditions mainly owing to the fact that babies in such places are generally swaddled. When adults suffer from deficiency of vitamin D, it often causes osteomalacia. As cod liver oil does not have a pleasant taste, people have endeavored to make it further appetizing by developing oil-in-water suspensions by adding flavored water to it or by blending malt with cod liver oil. Much later, it was found that an oil called halibut liver oil (obtained from Hippoglossus hipoglossus or the Atlantic halibut) contains a much elevated concentration of vitamin A as well as vitamin D and it was possible to accommodate a daily dose in a little gelatin capsule, which is easy to swallow as well as tasteless.
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Compared to any other ordinary food, cod liver oil has far more vitamin A and D every unit weight. For instance, 100 grams of normal cod liver oil supplies with 100,000 IU (international unit) vitamin A, which is three-fold extra compared to the beef liver. Obviously, cod liver oil is consumed in very little quantities and taking a small amount as little as one tablespoonful (roughly 15 grams) supplies us with more than the daily recommended allowance for vitamin A as well as vitamin D.
Besides containing vitamins A and D, cod liver oil also encloses seven per cent of the elongated omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA as well as DHA each. In fact, EPA is known to be the forerunner of vital prostaglandins - the hormones that are secreted by tissues locally and facilitates the body to manage inflammation. DHA, on the other hand, is especially vital for the growth as well as functioning of the brain, in addition to the nervous system. Therefore, it is not surprising that findings of several studies have proved that cod liver oil is a source of power in combating ailments.
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Consumption of cod liver oil is extremely useful for improving the functioning of the heart and also putting off development of heart ailments as well as in treating them even in advanced stages, especially following a heart attack and following a heart surgery. In addition, cod liver oil changes the arterial linings in a manner that they enhance the healing process following any damage. While the omega-3 fatty acids are responsible for these qualities of cod liver oil, other constituents like vitamins A, D as well as K too have signification functions to make it easy for the body to absorb minerals, augment the functioning of the muscles as well as promoting the blood vessels' suppleness.
EPA produces prostaglandins that help to lessen inflammation and these also aid in mediating the inflammatory reaction inside the arteries. In other different studies, the prostaglandins' action to protect the heart was related to the modifications in the heart muscles in reaction to serotonin (a neurotransmitter), enhancing the ability of the heart to unwind. A study conducted on rats showed that treating them with cod liver oil, in fact, resulted in lessening the size of the atheromas that block arteries, while enlarging the diameter of blood vessels. It was also found that deaths owing to heart attacks increase when their diet contained lesser amount of vitamin A. It is important to note that since cod liver oil is available all through the year, it can provide us with a constant supply of vitamin A.
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Use of cod liver oil helps to deal with several health problems and they are considered to be associated with a cumulative condition known as Syndrome X. Some of these health problems include hypertension, obesity, adult onset diabetes, resistance to insulin and stroke. Over the years, additional proof is being accumulated revealing that these diseases, a fall-out of civilization, occur owing to poor intensity of omega-3 fatty acids and elevated concentration of omega-6 fatty acids together with a dearth of vitamins that are fat-soluble.
Findings of many studies have shown that elongated omega-3 fatty acids present in cod liver oil help to augment the functioning of the brain, enhance memory, response to stress, immune response, asthma, improve allergies, and disorders related to learning as well as behaviour, counting manic-depression and bipolar syndrome.
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It is a well-known fact that consumption of cod liver oil promotes the health of bones, putting off and withdrawing rickets in kids and osteomalacia in the case of adults. Prior to discovering that cod liver oil is an excellent resource of vitamin D, numerous children extensively struggled with deformed bones. Even osteoporosis can be treated with cod liver oil and vitamin D. Cod liver oil contains adequate quantities of elongated omega-3 oils and they are vital to sustain the health of bones as well as develop new ones. In the case of women, elevated amounts of vitamin D obtained from cod liver oil help in increasing the density of mineral content in bone.
Bone and muscle pains are two major symptoms attributable to poor vitamin D levels in the body. Such pains may occur in the form of aching legs, debility of muscles, and even problems in climbing stairs. Findings of several studies have revealed that consumption of cod liver oil helps to improve muscle strength, muscle pain and also bone aches.
Arthritis too can be effectively treated using cod liver oil. A number of studies that were funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign of Great Britain detected that elongated omega-3 oils present in cod liver oil not only lessen pain, but also help to diminish damage to the inflamed joints.
Using cod liver oil during pregnancy helps to give birth to infants who have a lesser chance of developing juvenile type-1 diabetes. In fact, this result was detected only in women consuming cod liver oil during their pregnancy and not in other mothers, who generally took multivitamin supplements. Even nursing mothers take cod liver oil to enhance the amount of fatty acids in breast milk that encourages optimal development of the brain and, at the same time, enhances the vitamin A level protecting the infants from infections. However, it is interesting to note that consumption of cod liver oil by nursing women does not result in enhanced levels of vitamin D in their breast milk.
It has also been found that when infants are given cod liver oil soon after their birth and also during their first year of existence, it did not help to protect them from developing type-1 diabetes. However, cod liver oil is definitely a vital source of nutriments for the best possible health of infants. Over 40 trials have shown that vitamin A present in cod liver oil helps to diminish ailments as well as death in children.
As far as treatment of diabetes in adults is concerned, scientists have used cod liver oil in several trials in diabetic patients who are insulin-dependent as well as non-insulin dependent. It was found that the use of cod liver oil helped to enhance glucose response as well as additional indications of the condition in both cases. Vitamin A present in cod liver oil facilitates the healing as well as the protection of the retina - considered to be a problem area in people with diabetes.
It has been proved that cod liver oil helps to lower blood pressure that is brought on by elevated levels of cortisol caused by stress. In animal experiments, scientists gave cod liver oil to rodents and found that it helped to lessen the intraocular pressure (pressure within the eyes). This hints that using cod liver oil is helpful in putting off glaucoma. Vitamin D enclosed by cod liver oil supports the body to absorb magnesium and calcium, besides reducing blood pressure.
Cod liver oil encloses the type of omega-3 fatty acids that is effective in treating colitis, compared to any other available medication. In effect, people suffering from colitis, Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) should use cod liver oil as the first and most important remedy for their conditions. When applied externally, cod liver oil speeds up the healing of wounds and, at the same time, enhances the quality of skin. It is also a very good remedy for conditions like diaper rash. To treat such conditions, you need to make a blend of cod liver oil and zinc oxide. Even taking cod liver oil assists in maintaining a supple skin, while diminishing wrinkles.
All the nutriments contained by cod liver oil are useful in preventing cancer. Thus far, vitamin A has been an element of all alternative cancer therapies that have proved to be successful. The findings of a study undertaken by researchers in China showed that using cod liver oil was effective in preventing the development of childhood leukemia. Similarly, another study conducted on men and women in Norway has detected that consuming cod liver oil is effective in providing protection against lung cancer.
Cod liver oil is also beneficial for the elderly, as it decrease the chances of having bone fractures. In the case of the aged people, a blend of calcium and vitamin D may possibly help in avoiding fragility fracture. In addition, a study conducted on elderly women found that use of supplements containing cod liver oil or multivitamins was related to a notably reduced risk of having any type of fracture.
Experiments conducted on rats showed that the use of cod liver oil also speeds up the healing process in gastric ulcers and helps to avoid development of gastric as well as duodenal ulcers. Hence, consuming cod liver oil is also likely to provide the benefit of GI fortification from ulcers.
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