Cod liver oil gets a bad rap for taste and smell, but it is impossible to beat as a health food. A single teaspoon (5 ml) of cod liver oil contains:
- 1000 international units of vitamin A
- 400 units of vitamin D
- 50 milligrams of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
- 500 milligrams of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
- 500 milligrams of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
A tablespoon of cod liver oil contains all of these nutrients you need for a whole day, and delivers them directly to your digestive tract without any need to break down capsules. Ounce for ounce, a brand cod liver oil that tastes good is more expensive than the cheaper brands of fish oil, but less expensive than the best brands of fish oil. What cod liver oil naturally delivers that fish oil does not is the vitamin A and vitamin D.
Cod liver oil delivers more vitamin A and vitamin D than fish oil.
Cold Liver Oil - Capsule or Bottled?
And because fish oil doesn't contain the vitamins A and D, many people choose cod liver oil, even if it is in capsules. The best quality cod liver oil products, however, are bottled and taken by the teaspoon, not the capsule.
It's not unreasonable to be concerned about heavy metal contamination in any fish product, but makers of cod liver oil take special care to ensure their products are safe.
The American watchdog agency Consumer Labs tested 44 brands of cod liver oil and did not find mercury contamination in any of them.
Am I Getting Too much Vitamin A or Vitamin D?
And it's also reasonable to be concerned about getting too much vitamin A and too much vitamin D.
An overdose of vitamin A for a pregnant woman is about 5,000 IU a day. That simply means, don't take more than 5 teaspoons a day. That keeps any woman who might be pregnant-and any other person-well within the safety zone for this fat-soluble vitamin.
It's also reasonable to be concerned about getting too much vitamin D. That would start at about 50 teaspoons a day-and you have to really like cod liver oil to consider taking that much. Chances are the level of overdose of cod liver oil would cause diarrhea so that it was never absorbed, protecting you from vitamin overdose.
Whether liquid or capsules, cod liver oil is a powerful and potent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Especially if you don't get sunshine and you don't get dark green, orange, and yellow vegetables, consider adding cod liver oil to your daily supplement routine.