Cod liver oil has been used for centuries in Scandinavian societies to help people, young and old, stay healthy throughout the year. Fresh cod liver oil is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Unlike most fish oil products, cod liver oil is unique in that it naturally contains a higher ratio of DHA to EPA, and typically delivers omega-3s in the triglyceride molecular form, the best form for their absorption by the body. Both EPA and DHA play vital roles in aspects of healthy ageing and immune function by influencing muscle and bone mass, mobility, energy, immune responses, and cognitive performance. Ensuring adequate intake of omega-3s with cod liver oil is an easy lifestyle change that can have a positive effect on many aspects of health. Here are some of the most notable omega-3 benefits of cod liver oil (a.k.a. CLO).
Omega-3s in CLO can support immune health via the gut
Having an overabundance of unhealthy gut bacteria can impair the immune system and accelerate the ageing process. Diet and lifestyle choices—including omega-3 consumption—are key factors for helping to establish a favourable environment for beneficial gut bacteria. Some studies have shown that increased consumption of omega-3s helps promote the growth of “good bacteria” in your gut, while other studies have shown a positive connection between adequate amounts of beneficial gut bacteria and a healthier immune response.
Omega-3 intake may influence muscle and bone strength
As we age, our immune system produces higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins that may impair muscle and bone health. Omega-3s supplements may support healthier blood levels of these age-associated proteins. Several studies report that people with higher dietary intake of omega-3s tend to have stronger muscles, increased exercise capacity, and denser bones. So, consider a cod liver oil for musculoskeletal health.
Omega-3s may help counter the effects of stress
Chronic stress increases the hormone cortisol, which can negatively impact immune health, especially if it remains elevated over a period of time. Some research studies have shown that omega-3 supplements may reduce the body’s production of cortisol. Furthermore, people who are “stressed out” tend to already have lower blood levels of the omega-3s EPA and DHA, potentially making it even more important for these individuals to consume supplemental omega-3s in order to keep from getting sick.
Omega-3s in CLO provide the building blocks for lasting, healthy skin
The skin is the largest organ in the body that also contains significant amounts of omega-3s. Due to years of exposure to ultraviolet light, toxins, and various irritants, the skin requires nutrients like omega-3s to help counter these stresses at the cellular level. The skin barrier is an important structure that protects the body and helps maintain a youthful appearance. Adequate intake of omega-3s supports skin cell functions, promotes the skin barrier, and increases the skin’s ability to retain water—a primary component of healthy skin. Because a portion of the omega-3s we consume eventually makes its way into the skin, these essential fats are vital for skin health.
Omega-3s in CLO support cardiovascular health
As we age, blood vessels stiffen, and blood pressure tends to increase, which places additional stress on the heart. Studies suggest that diets rich in omega-3s support healthy blood vessels, and several have reported that omega-3 supplements promote positive blood vessel health scores. Additionally, preliminary research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may also help reduce oxidative stress within the blood vessels, promoting an optimal environment for the vasculature.
Choosing the right cod liver oil
Because most CLO is non-concentrated, these supplements offer omega-3s in the triglyceride molecular form, the same form in which EPA and DHA naturally exist in fish, and the form that ensures optimal digestion and absorption of omega-3s by the body. If you are ever unsure about the particular form of a CLO supplement (or any fish oil supplement), check the brand’s website or call their customer service department. This information is important, and should be easy for them to provide.
It is also a good idea to select a CLO product that is from wild-caught sustainable cod, and that does not contain synthetic additives. Arctic cod from Norway are often sourced using small boats owned and operated by independent cod fishermen, so demand for Arctic cod supports local fishing communities. Also, these boats leave and return daily which means they have a much shorter transport time from catch to processing than larger trawling vessels. This short time helps maximise fish oil freshness, and the efficacy of the omega-3 fats in Arctic Cod Liver Oil.
In closing, CLOs have many unique benefits, but do not take our word for it – try it and see for yourself.
This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Thera Health.