Best Cod Liver Oil

May 3, 2021
Updated: March 8, 2022
0 view(s)

Full of vitamins and minerals, cod liver has been a popular health food supplement for centuries. Here are some reasons why you might want to take cod liver oil, and some things to look for in determining which is the best cod liver oil for you. It's of utmost importance that you check the purity test results of any cod liver oil brand that you take as you don't want contaminants in your body.


”Centuries ago, northern Europeans used cod liver oil to protect them from the cold. It was made from the livers of Gadus morhua and other species of cod.;(


Vitamins and Nutrients in Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil is produced by fermenting or pressing the liver of cod and related species of fish.  Like other fish oils, cod liver oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.  These long-chain polyunsaturated lipids are called “good fats” for their health benefits.  Cod liver oil contains two specific types of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), not available from plant sources, which are important structural and functional biomolecules for human health.  On top of these beneficial fats, cod liver oil is also rich in the vitamins A, D, and E.1


Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil Softgels

Health Benefits from Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil was historically a popular health food given to children.  The vitamin D in cod liver oil helped in the prevention of rickets, a skeletal disorder caused by a vitamin D deficiency during development.Although rickets is no longer a common disease in modern society, you can still gain skeletal benefits such as increased bone density by taking cod liver oil.3  Similarly, the vitamin A content in cod liver oil can help you maintain healthy eyes and prevent ocular diseases such as glaucoma.4  The omega-3 fatty acids come with a plethora of health benefits as well.  Lower triglycerides, higher high-density lipoprotein (HDL, “good cholesterol”), and better mental health have been reported by people taking DHA and EPA supplements.5 Overall, the nutrients found in cod liver oil have strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Differences between Cod Liver Oil and Fish Oil Supplements

Cod liver oil shares many similarities with other fish oil supplements, including the high amounts of DHA and EPA.  However, standard fish oil supplements do not contain the extra vitamins that cod liver oil does: vitamins A, D, and E.  Insufficient vitamin D is a widespread problem across the United States and the rest of the world, and physicians and nutritionists regularly recommend people consume more vitamin D daily than a typical diet provides.6  If you are hoping to improve your bone, joint, eye, and skin health, or just get the best nutrition from your supplements, you might want to consider taking cod liver oil rather than typical fish oil supplements.  Fortunately, cod liver oil is now also available is easy-to-swallow capsule forms, so you don’t need to endure its unpleasant taste.

Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil

Be Aware of Contamination and Toxicity

First of all, not everyone should be taking cod liver oil. For example, if you are pregnant, have asthma, or are taking an anticoagulant such as warfarin, you probably should avoid cod liver oil.7 Consult with your doctor before taking cod liver oil as a supplement to make sure that it is okay for you and your specific state of health.

Another thing to keep in mind is potential toxicity.  Although you would have to take a fair amount, it is possible to overdose on Vitamin A.  Make sure you aren’t consuming more than the upper intake level of 3,000 μg (10,000 units) of Vitamin A per day for typical adults.  Some types of cod liver oil contain reduced amounts of vitamin A to avoid excessive intake. 

Also, since fats and oils can store toxins, check for brands that have been purified and have been tested for contaminants (the United States Pharmacopeia symbol is a good indicator).  Watch for brands that add synthetic vitamins to their oils to make up for manufacturing processes that diminish the natural vitamin content.

NutraPro International Virgin Cod Liver Oil
Number 5

Best Cod Liver Oil Brands

Because cod liver oil can potentially contain toxins, be sure you choose a reputable brand when selecting a variety.  Here are a few that are highly rated based on testing for high natural vitamin and low toxin contents:

Best Cod Liver Oil Category (See All of them)

Best Cod Liver Oil (Liquid)

Best Cod Liver Oil (Gel Caps)


Carlson Norweigan Cod Liver Oil
Dropi Pure Icelandic Cod Liver Oil

[1]   Therapeutic Research Center. 2018. Natural Medicines. “Cod Liver Oil.”,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=1040

[2]   Rajakumar K. 2003. Pediatrics. Aug; 112(2):e132-135. “Vitamin D, cod-liver oil, sunlight, and rickets: a historical perspective.”
[3]   Eysteinsdottir T, Halldorsson TI, Thorsdottir I, Sigurdsson G, Sigurdsson S, Harris T, Launer LJ, Gudnason V, Gunnarsdottir I, Steingrimsdottir L. 2015. Br J Nutr. Jul; 114(2):248-256. “Cod liver oil consumption at different periods of life and bone mineral density in old age.”
[4]   Huang W, Fan Q, Zhang X. 2011. Int J Ophthalmol. 4(6):648-651. “Cod liver oil: a potential protective supplement for human glaucoma.”
[5]   NCCIH. 2018. NIH, Bethesda, MD. “Omega-3 Supplements: In Depth.”
[6]   Griffing GT. 2008. Medscape J Med. 10(1):8. “Mother Was Right About Cod Liver Oil.”
[7]   Ross CM. 2005. J Am Board Fam Pract. Sep-Oct; 18(5):445-446. “Fish Oil versus Cod Liver Oil: Is Vitamin D a Reason to Go Back to the Future.”


Did you like this post?
Leave your comment
Your email address will not be published