Cod liver oil vs. Fish oil


What is Cod Liver Oil?

Cod liver oil is a nutritional supplement that is derived from cod fish liver. Similar to fish oil it contains high amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA – eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA – docosahexaenoic acid. Cod liver oil also contains vitamin D and vitamin A.


It is known that most people don’t intake enough anti-inflammatory foods containing both omega-3s and vitamin D, which are important nutrients with crucial role in hormonal, cardiovascular, immune, reproductive and neurological health, therefore many people of all ages can benefit from long-term cod liver oil supplementing.

You can consume cod oil either from fresh cod liver or, more likely, from OTC supplementation. According to the USDA, teaspoon of cod liver oil contains about 41 calories and 4.5 grams of fatty acids.

What are Cod Liver Oil Benefits?

1. Anti-Inflammatory effects

Cod liver oil is one of nature’s wealthiest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, known as Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These acids have natural anti-inflammatory properties, with a capability of prostaglandin production reduction.


Omega-3s can lower the need for anti-inflammatory drugs administration and can be used to treat different health issues including: coronary heart disease, depression or arthritis pain. Omega-3 foods or supplements can lower the risk of: heart disease, anxiety, high cholesterol, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, ADHD, cancer and more.

It is known that vast majority of Americans have an imbalance ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats in their diet. It should be known that omega-6 fats aren’t always bad for you, however if they are consumed in large quantities without omega-3 fats, they may cause inflammation, which can be the cause of most diseases.

An adequate ratio between them is ideally around 2:1 omega-6 to omega-3 fats, but most people have about five to ten times more omega-6s. Incidence of Omega-3 deficiency is rising and the may cause is overconsumption of fast, processed or fried foods containing refined vegetable oils such as soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil and corn oil filled with omega-6s. By supplementing with omega-3-rich cod liver oil, inflammation can be reduced and fatty acid ratio can be back in favor of better health.

2. Vitamin D source

Vitamin D works more like a hormone than vitamin in the body since it impacts neurotransmitter functioning, heart health and inflammatory responses. It is synthesized by your own skin after exposing to the sun’s UV light.

So, easy way to get enough vitamin D is to spend some time outdoors during sunny day without sunscreen on. Vitamin D plays important role in bone metabolism and it also supports proper cell function. Low vitamin D

3. Vitamin A source

Vitamin A is essential antioxidant in the body that works by reducing oxidative stress and thereby inflammation. It’s good for the prevention of eye-related health issues, it supports brain health, helps to fight cancer and is also important for hormone production.

While most people who have well-balanced diet will get enough vitamin A during the day, deficiency is a risk for some people with diet consisting of highly processed foods or not enough calories in general. But, high levels of vitamin A are thought to be harmful and potentially toxic. It is important to note that many primitive populations with whole-food–based diets consumed a lot of vitamin A along with vitamin D and experienced great health.

When it comes to vitamin A obtain from cod liver oil, quality of supplement seems to make a big impact. Many brands containing synthetic forms of vitamins A and D can’t be well absorbed, in addition to dangerous ratios of these two nutrients.

It has been showed that high intake of vitamin A from supplements alone is linked with some health issues, thus obtaining vitamin A naturally from food sources is better option. Taking high amounts of vitamin A-rich foods is important for bone growth, healthy cellular growth, night vision, testicular and ovarian function etc.

4. Heart Disease Prevention

Studies have been showed that cod liver oil, no matter if taken in supplement form or as whole food form can help lower high triglycerides levels therefore lowering the risk of heart diseases. Cod liver oil is also good for treating high blood pressure and may be helpful in cholesterol levels balance.

5. Cancer Risk Reduction

High levels of vitamin D, that can be either obtained from sun exposure and by supplementing cod liver oil, have been linked with lower risks of cancer. One study found that vitamin D activated from the sun or taken from cod liver oil could help in breast cancer prevention in women due to antiproliferative and pro-apoptotic effects on breast cancer cells, thus reducing the risk of mammary tumors.

While sun exposure seems to be the most relevant and protective factor for getting enough cancer-busting vitamin D, cod liver oil also seems to help offset common deficiencies.

6. Diabetes prevention and treatment

Cod liver oil is a great source of essential healthy fats, it can help in insulin resistance control, inflammation and managing glucose levels in the blood. It has been also shown effective in reducing symptoms of complications related to diabetes like kidney disease. Use of cod liver oil and vitamin D supplements during the first year of life or using cod liver oil during pregnancy can also help lower the risk for developing diabetes.

One 2007 study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology found that giving diabetic rats cod liver oil supplements for 12 weeks acted as a natural diabetes treatment. The cod liver oil supplements completely prevented endothelial deficiency and helped correct several biochemical markers for metabolic syndrome (a combination of diabetes and cardiovascular disorder risk factors).

Prior to supplementing with cod liver oil, the rats experienced elevated plasma glucose (sugar) levels and high triacylglycerol and high cholesterol concentrations in their blood. Cod liver oil helped manage the rats’ weight gain and entirely prevented plasma lipid abnormalities while also controlling insulin sensitivity and other factors.

7. Arthritis treatment

Cod liver oil use is associated with a reduction of inflammation, pain, joint stiffness, redness and swelling in patients with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

It is an effective natural treatment for arthritis because it imitates the effects of medications. It acts like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, by improving clinical symptoms, and can be used as a safe alternative for drugs, or as a complementary supplement, in rheumatoid arthritis management.

8. Fertility booster. Growth and Development

Fats are very important for reproductive system health and a vibrant pregnancy. Those fatty acids are needed for producing sex hormones including progesterone and estrogen. Cod liver oil use is associated with healthier ovarian and testicular function because it provides critical nutrients such as omega-3s and vitamin D that may help endocrine system running smoothly.

Cod liver oil contains anti-inflammatory nutrients that affect the functions of adrenal, hypothalamic and pituitary glands and control the release of sex hormones that are involved in libido, pregnancy and reproduction. DHA also plays a crucial role in the mobility and health of sperm in men.

Studies showed that women who used cod liver oil early in their pregnancy have a higher probability of giving birth to heavier babies, resulting with a lower risk of diseases later in life. Women using cod liver oil also have significantly higher levels of EPA and DHA in their breast milk, which positively impacts development of infants.

Another study revealed that children who were born to mothers who had been taking cod liver oil during pregnancy and lactation, had higher scores on intelligence tests at age 4 compared with children whose mothers had taken corn oil instead.

9. Better brain function

Long-term and regular supplementing with fish or cod liver oil has been associated with lower risks for depressive symptoms, due to both the higher intake of essential omega-3 fats and vitamin D.

A 2007 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that omega-3 fatty acids from cod liver oil improved the outcome of depression and anxiety in the general population.

The Hordaland Health Study followed 21,835 adults living in Norway for two years and discovered that the prevalence of depressive outcomes in those who used cod liver oil daily was 2.5 %t as compared to 3.8 % in the rest of the population. They also found that the prevalence was decreased with increasing duration (0–12 months) of cod liver oil use.

There’s a strong link between omega-3 intake or fish oil supplementation and prevention of cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show consistent results: The essential fatty acids vital for brain function are found in fish oil and help prevent brain disorders in older adults.

10. Bone Health

Vitamin D is important for maintaining proper function and building strong bones in human body. Studies have been shown that women who live in cold, north latitudes and don’t get enough sunlight during the day tend to produce less vitamin D, which increases the risk for bone turnover, bone loss, fractures and also obesity.

Vitamin D supplementation, including from cod liver oil, has been associated with a significantly lower risk of bone fractures and might help naturally prevent osteoporosis from developing.

11. Fighting Ulcers

In vitro studies on rats showed that cod liver oil has many benefits for improving gastric ulcer healing and reducing gastric antisecretory activity. The oil also seems to have cytoprotective gastric effects and causes a significant reduction in the development of stress and pain caused by gastric ulcers.

12. Acne Relief

There are some theories that especially fermented form of cod liver oil may help to treat and prevent acne. While there are no scientific studies that can support this claim, theoretically the unique combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A and D might play important role for this benefit.

Vitamin A is known to renew skin by affecting top layers of the skin to slough off, tightfitting smoother, newer skin underneath. Different derma-cosmetic preparation for blemish control contains vitamin A in the form of creams, gels, and pills for acne treatment.

Although it has not been proven yet, acne tends to be worsening during winter days, because sunlight is less available and natural vitamin D becomes much harder to produce. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation which is a known predisposed factor in severe forms of acne.

What is Fish oil?

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are considered to be beneficial in treating hypertriglyceridemia, although prevention of heart attacks or strokes has not been yet supported. Fish oil is oil made from the oily fish tissues.

It contains the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are precursors of certain substances called eicosanoids that are known to their anti-inflammatory effects and have other health benefits. The fish actually don’t produce omega-3 fatty acids, but instead they accumulate them by consuming either microalgae or prey fish that accumulate omega-3 fatty acids.

Fatty predatory fish like swordfish, sharks, tilefish, and tuna may be high in omega-3 fatty acids, because of their position at the top of the food chain, these species may also accumulate toxic substances through process known as biomagnification.

Fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids were studied for its health benefits for different conditions, such as clinical depression, anxiety, cancer, and macular degeneration, however benefits have not been yet verified.

What are Fish Oil Benefits?

1. Prostate cancer benefits

The benefits of fish oil consumption on prostate cancer is controversial, however while one study showed risk reduction with higher body levels of DPA, another reported increased risk of more aggressive prostate cancer with higher blood levels of combined DHA and EPA. Some evidence indicated link between high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and an increased prostate cancer risk.

2. Cardiovascular health

Studies conducted on fish oil supplements have failed to show claims of fish oil preventing heart attacks or strokes. In 2007, the American Heart Association recommended the consumption of 1g of fish oil daily, by eating fish, for patients with diagnosed coronary artery disease, but caution should be made in pregnant and nursing women in order to avoid eating potential mercury contaminants including mackerel, shark, and swordfish.

The US National Institutes of Health recommends fish oil and other omega-3 sources for: hypertriglyceridemia, prevention of secondary cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

However, it has been shown that intake of more than 3 grams per day of omega-3 fatty acids can increase the risk of bleeding, but there is little evidence of significant bleeding risk at lower doses. There are also some evidences that fish oil may have some benefits on certain abnormal heart rhythms. But 2012 meta-analysis found no such significant benefit.

A 2008 meta-analysis conducted by the Canadian Medical Association Journal found fish oil supplementation did not have any preventative benefit in patients with ventricular arrhythmias. Another meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that supplements containing Omega-3 Fatty Acid did not reduce the chance of death, cardiac death, heart attack or stroke.

Some trials have been concluded that consuming omega-3 fatty acids may slightly reduce blood pressure and it has been shown that DHA might be more effective than EPA. It is important to note that because omega-3 fatty acids can increase the risk of bleeding, a qualified healthcare provider needs to be consulted before supplementing with fish oil.

3. Mental health

One study showed that supplementation with omega-3s was an effective adjunctive therapy in treatment of depressed episodes in patients with bipolar disorder. One meta study from 2009 showed that patients using omega-3 supplements with a higher EPA: DHA ratio had less depressive symptoms.

It has been concluded that EPA may be more efficient than DHA in depression management. However, same meta study revealed that because of many limitations larger, randomized studies need to be performed.

A 2014 meta-analysis of 11 trials conducted on patients with diagnosed major depressive disorder (MDD) and of 8 trials with patients with depressive symptomatology but no diagnosis of MDD showed significant clinical benefit of omega-3 PUFA treatment compared to placebo. The study concluded that: “The use of omega-3 PUFA is effective in patients with diagnosis of MDD and on depressive patients without diagnosis of MDD”

A Cochrane meta-analysis trial published in June 2012 found no significant protective effect of fish oil omega-3 supplements for cognitive decline for patients aged 60 and over and who started taking fatty acids after this age. This study suggests that there is currently no evidence that omega-3 fatty acid supplements provide a benefit for memory or concentration in later life.

4. Psoriasis healing

Diets supplemented with cod liver oil have shown some benefits on psoriasis

5. Crohn’s disease

A 2014 Cochrane review based on two large studies, found that fish oil supplements did not appear to be effective for maintenance of remission in Crohn’s disease.

6. Benefits during Pregnancy

Several studies have been reported better psychomotor development at 30 months of age in infants whose mothers received fish oil supplements for the first four months of lactation. Addiionaly, five-year-old children whose mothers received modest algae based DHA supplementation for the first 4 months of breastfeeding performed better on a test of sustained attention.

This suggests that DHA intake during early infancy confers long-term benefits on specific aspects of neurodevelopment. Furthermore, fish oil intake during pregnancy may lower an infant’s sensitization to common food allergens and reduce the prevalence and severity of certain skin diseases in the first year of life. This effect may persist until adolescence with a reduction in prevalence and or severity of eczema, hay fever and asthma.

Difference between cod liver oil and fish oil

Is cod liver oil and fish oil the same thing

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our health because of its cardiovascular benefits including: a reduction in blood triglyceride levels, lowered inflammation, decreased formation of atherosclerotic plaques, regular heart beat and high blood pressure.

Cod liver oil and fish oil supplements are good options for patients who do not intake adequate amounts of fish, and they are recommended by the American Heart Association. However, they are not always suitable and if you suffer from fish or seafood allergies these supplements can cause allergic reactions.

There are several differences between cod liver oil and fish oil. The manufacturing process of cod liver oil and fish oil is not the same. As name said, cod liver oil is made from the liver of cod fish. Cod livers are steamed and then pressed in order to extract the oil.

It is available in liquid or capsules. On the other hand, fish oil supplements (capsules) are made from the flesh of various fish including: salmon, herring or sardine which is then pressed to extract the oil. Extracted fish oil is only available in capsules.

Omega-3 fatty acids that can be found in cod liver oil or fish oil supplements are the same. Both products contain docosahexaenoic acid – DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid – EPA, as a main source of omega-3, present in similar proportions.

It should be known that there is also third type of omega-3, named alpha-linolenic acid – ALA that is present in vegetable products such as flaxseeds, canola, wallnuts and soybean oil. So, the main ingredient DHA and EPA can be found in either cod liver oil or fish oil capsules.

It can be said that the main difference between cod liver oil and fish oil capsules is that cod liver oil contains the fat-soluble vitamins A and D. Because these vitamins are normally stored in the liver of the fish, they are always expected to be found in cod liver oil, but this is not the case for fish oil capsules. However, such vitamins can cause toxicity if they are taken in large amounts.

The tolerable upper limit intake for vitamin D in adults is set at 2,000 IU and for vitamin A is 3,000 IU. Above this UL, vitamin D toxicity can lead to nausea, vomiting, constipation and weakness and while vitamin A may cause birth defects, liver problems, osteoporosis and even CNS disorders.

Another important difference between cod liver oil and fish oil capsules is degree of their contamination with pollutants. The liver is known as organ for detoxification that works by filtering different substances in the body. In that case, cod liver oil may have higher concentrations of environmental contaminants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls – PCBs in comparison to other fish oil capsules.

Thus, fish oil supplements are relatively safer in when contaminants are in question because PCBs and methylmercury will more likely accumulate in the flesh of the fish rather than in its oil. Elderly, young children, pregnant or nursing women are more vulnerable to heavy metals and should therefore consult their doctors to discuss any concerns.

Pregnant women should avoid taking cod liver oil supplements as they contain high levels of vitamins A and D and is more likely to contain PCBs and other contaminants than fish oil.

Vitamin A is contraindicated during pregnancy and may cause a number of birth defects, including malformation of the heart, eyes and skull. Fish oil capsules are much safer during pregnancy, they provide the same amounts of omega-3, without the risk of vitamin A or D toxicity or harming the fetus with contaminants.

Americans consume on average 0.1 to 0.2mg of EPA and DHA, the more potent types of omega-3. The World Health Organization recommends 0.3 to 0.5mg of EPA and DHA combined daily, whether it comes from the consumption of fresh fish or supplements like cod liver oil or fish oil capsules.

If you are interested in taking fish oil supplements, talk to your doctor or pharmacist to determine the proper dosage as omega-3 interacts with some medications, especially blood thinners such as warfarin and clopidogrel, among others.

Difference in side effects between Cod Liver Oil and Fish Oil

Cod Liver Oil side effects:

1. Fishy Aftertaste

Cod liver oil capsules are designed to solve the problem of unpleasent fishy-tasting and odorous liquid fish oil supplements. However, when capsule opens in the stomach it releases the concentrated cod liver oil inside very fast.

Studies showed that one of the most common complaints was fishy aftertaste. The reason for that may be because the cod liver causes belching or increase of stomach acids leading to heartburn and a bitter taste at the back of the throat. Thus, in such situation cod liver oil capsule should be taken with food in order to avoid risk of this type of heartburn.

2. Gastrointestinal Issues

Additionally to belching and heartburn, cod liver oil capsules may also cause following side effects: nausea, gas, bloating and stomachache. It has been showed that high doses of cod liver oil supplements can also cause loose stools or diarrhea. Taking time-release cod liver oil can help reduce these gastrointestinal side effects. However, these side effects are very rare if this supplement is taken for a long-term period

3. Bruising and Bleeding

Cod liver oil is known to prevent heart disease and stroke, and the reason for that is partly because they can thin the blood by slowing blood clotting. But, in some rare cases, reduce of blood clotting time can increase the risk of bleeding and bruising.

Patients with bleeding disorders or those who are taking drugs such as warfarin or acetylsalicylic acid should consult their doctor before taking cod liver oil capsules or any other omega-3 fatty acid supplement.

4. Raised Blood Sugar Levels

Many doctors often recommend Cod liver oil supplements for diabetics because they help reducing the risk of heart and blood vessel disease. However, study on rats published in the “Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders” in 2013 revealed that this supplement did not lower blood sugar levels, in fact, cod liver oil capsules do opposite effect and raise blood sugar levels.

There are opinions that this may occur because the body converts omega-3 fatty acids into sugars. Patients with any type of diabetes should use cod liver oil supplements only under the monitoring of their doctors

5. Toxicity during pregnancy

Tablespoon of cod liver oil contains 136% of the established daily tolerable upper intake level (UL) for retinol – preformed vitamin A. Vitamin A accumulates in the liver, and may reach harmful concetrations causing hypervitaminosis. Pregnant women need to consult their healthcare provider when taking cod liver oil because of the high toxic amounts of natural forms of vitamin A such as retinol.

A toxic dose of vitamin A is around 25 000 IU per kg which is equivalent of about 1.25 kg of cod liver oil for a 50-kg person. The risks of hypervitaminosis, fatty acid oxidation and exposure to environmental toxins are lowered when purification processes are done to produce refined fish oil products.
Increased intake of cod liver oil during pregnancy is associated with a nearly fivefold increased risk of causing gestational hypertension. The study noted that the amount of metabolite called n-3 LCPUFA may have positive effects up to a certain level, while becoming harmful in high dose.

6. Metal, PCB’s and dioxin poisoning

There is estimation, however unproven, that about 90 % of fish oils on the market contain mercury and pesticide residues in combination with hydrogenated oils. The general recommendation is to stay out of all fish oils supplements without antioxidants like astaxanthin, which is needed to stabilize the oil from going rancid. Always look on label for astaxanthin as it is a part of any high-quality fish oil supplement.

Also, in order to avoid fish oil supplements containing mercury or other harmful contaminants, buy supplements from an adequate source that clearly tests for these health-hazardous contaminants in its products. These tests should be ideally conducted by a third-party, and a certificate of analysis should indicate the levels of purity from environmental toxins

Fish Oil side effects

After 30% of people using fish oil capsules may experience some side effect. There are reported various side effects after Fish oil use such as: belching, fishy breath, heartburn, nausea, rash and nosebleeds, loose stools, but if high-quality fish oil supplement is taken, it can reduce the likelihood of any unwanted side effects. It’s also a good idea to take fish oil with meals to reduce side effects.

1. Allergy

Patients should speak to their doctor before taking fish oil supplements if they have a known fish, shellfish or soy allergy. Allergy may include: skin rashes, itching, hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat. This will only happen with people who have allergies to fish
Before taking fish oil, patients should speak with their doctor if they currently take any medication or have any allergy.

2. Fishy aftertaste

Fish oil capsules are known to give bad mouth breath that usually stays longer in comparison to cod liver oil capsules.

3. Bleeding

Patients with a bleeding disorder or those who are taking blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin or aspirin should use fish oil supplements with extra caution because large doses of omega-3 fatty acids can increase the risk of bleeding. This bleeding risk also applies to people with no history of bleeding disorders or current medication usage

4. Hyperglycemia

Patients with diagnosed diabetes should only use fish oil supplements under their doctor’s monitoring. Patients with type 2 diabetes may experience increases in fasting blood sugar levels while taking fish oil supplements.

5. LDL cholesterol increase

It has been showed that fish oil can increase bad cholesterol LDL levels up to 5-10 %. Studies show that LDL levels increase with the more fish oil you take. However the amount is very small and insignificant when compared with the benefits of fish oil.

6. Metal, PCB’s and dioxin poisoning

There is estimation, however unproven, that about 90 % of fish oils on the market contain mercury and pesticide residues in combination with hydrogenated oils. The general recommendation is to stay out of all fish oils supplements without antioxidants like astaxanthin, which is needed to stabilize the oil from going rancid. Always look on label for astaxanthin as it is a part of any high-quality fish oil supplement.

Also, in order to avoid fish oil supplements containing mercury or other harmful contaminants, buy supplements from an adequate source that clearly tests for these health-hazardous contaminants in its products. These tests should be ideally conducted by a third-party, and a certificate of analysis should indicate the levels of purity from environmental toxins.

How does mercury goes into fish?

In the 19th and 20th centuries, factories produced enormous amounts of methylmercury which is the most dangerous form of mercury. It is bonded to carbon and hydrogen directly into waterways. The most infamous event happened in Japan in the 1950s and ’60s, when mercury from industries poisoned more than 2,000 people who ate fish from Minamata Bay. Thus, the neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning is called “Minamata disease” after the tragedy.

Mercury can also find indirect way to the sea. When fossil fuels are burned, mercury is released into the air in around 160 tons per year in the U.S. The mercury then settles to the ground, where rains may eventually wash it to the ocean where elemental mercury becomes methylmercury.

Researcheres aren’t quite sure how this conversion happens, but there is an opinion that involves the metabolism of a small but abundant living animal. When that animal is eaten by bigger animals, the methylmercury goes up the food chain, accumulating in tissues of an animal in larger and larger amounts. That’s why predators like tuna have concerning levels of mercury because they eat a lot.

Are there ways to get rid of fishy taste from Fish Oil Capsules?

In order to get rid of fishy taste from cod liver oil or fish oil capsules take some of following steps:

  1. Take fish oil or cod liver oil capsules just before a meal. When oil is mixed with other food in the stomach, the undesirable odor and taste will mix with the flavors and odors of the other foods you take at the same time so unpleasant taste would be less detectable.
  2. Freeze capsules before you take them in order to slow the breakdown of the fish oil in the stomach. This will reduce fishy burps and fishy aftertaste. Even when they are frozen, the fish oil capsules will be effectively digested.
  3. There are “odorless” fish oil supplement on the market that has a specialized coating allowing it to pass through the stomach intact and to dissolve in the intestines, where it won’t cause an unpleasant aftertaste.
  4. Buy a different brand. Experiment with different varieties of fish oil, including flavored options that help mask the oil’s natural taste.

Cod Liver Oil and Fish oil interactions

Cod liver oil and fish oil may interact with following drugs:

Antihypertensive drugs including: captopril (Capoten), losartan (Cozaar), enalapril (Vasotec), valsartan (Diovan), amlodipine (Norvasc),  diltiazem (Cardizem), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix). Cod liver oil and fish oil seem to decrease blood pressure. Taking cod liver oil along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs including: aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), dipyridamole (Persantine), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and others. Cod liver oil and fish oil might slow blood clotting. Taking them along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Herbs and supplements such as: angelica, borage seed oil, clove, danshen, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, red clover, turmeric, willow, and others. Cod liver oil and fish oil might slow blood clotting. Using cod liver oil with herbs and supplements that also slow blood clotting might increase the chance of bruising and bleeding in some people.

There are no known interactions between cod liver oil and foods.

Different names on the market for Cod liver oil and Fish oil

Most common brand names for cod liver oil are: Aceite de Higado de Bacalao, Acides Gras Oméga 3, Acides Gras N-3, Acides Gras Polyinsaturés, Cod Oil, Fish Liver Oil, Fish Oil, Halibut Liver Oil, Huile de Foie, Huile de Foie de Flétan, Huile de Foie de Morue, Huile de Foie de Poisson, Huile de Morue, Huile de Poisson, Liver Oil, N-3 Fatty Acids, Omega 3, Oméga 3, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Omega-3, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids.

Most common brand names for fish oil are: NutriGold Triple Strength Omega-3 Gold, Carlson Labs Elite Omega-3 Gems, Carlson The Very Finest Fish Oil, Barlean’s Fresh Catch Fish Oil, Life Extension Super Omega-3s, Davinci Labs Omega-3 1000, Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, PurePharma O3 Ultra, Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil Peak EPA

Can you take cod liver oil and fish oil together?

Taking cod liver oil together with fish oil is not recommendable especially over long-term.  A recent study showed that taking high amounts of fish oil supplements which is 3 g per day can increase LDL levels and insulin resistance in patients with metabolic syndrome. By taking cod liver oil and fish oil together you will intake high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids which are very vulnerable to oxidative damage.

When fat particles oxidize, they break down into smaller molecules, like MDA – malondialdehyde that is dangerous because it damages proteins, DNA, and other important cellular structures.

A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study have been showed that intake of 6 grams per day of fish oil increases lipid peroxidation and MDA levels in healthy men, regardless of whether they were supplemented with 900 IU of vitamin E. Also, one study on rats showed that consumption of fresh, non-oxidized EPA and DHA  increase markers of oxidative stress.

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