Emulsified cod liver oil is a nutritional supplement that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Sometimes called a super-food, cod liver oil is a yellow, oily liquid that is derived from the livers of cod fish. It has numerous health benefits and provides essential nutrients that are often hard to get through a normal diet. In addition to general nutrition, emulsified cod liver oil is used as a complementary therapy in the treatment of cancer, heart conditions, acne, multiple sclerosis, leukemia, allergies, asthma, osteoporosis, diabetes, and other conditions.
Emulsification is the blending of two or more liquids that are usually unblendable, such as water and oil. To mix incompatible liquids, one of the liquids is microscopically subdivided, and particles are uniformly distributed throughout the other liquid. This is done with the addition of chemical or natural emulsifiers and vigorous shaking, stirring, or blending.
In pharmaceutical practice, emulsions are done for many reasons. In the case of cod liver oil, emulsification makes the oil more palatable and more effective. Emulsifications also protect the oil from oxidation and rancidity. Cod liver oil is usually emulsified with water and other natural emulsifiers, such as apple pectin or lecithin, that breakdown and disperse the oil particles.
Many people know cod liver oil by its distinctively fishy smell and taste. In the case of emulsified cod liver oil, however, the emulsification process itself partially masks the strong taste and odor of the oil. Some manufacturers even add flavorings to further disguise the fishy taste. Mint and orange are popular flavors.
Regular oil is somewhat difficult for the body to digest. Emulsified cod liver oil and the vitamins, nutrients and essential fatty acids it contains are more readily absorbed by the digestive system because the oil is broken down into millions of tiny particles. Fat soluble drugs, such as vitamins A and D which are found in cod liver oil, are more useful if taken in an emulsion.
The health benefits associated with emulsified cod liver oil are numerous. Omega-3 fatty acids lessen the risk of heart disease and benefit the joints, teeth, skin, and bones. They reduce joint inflammation, ease arthritis pain, and potentially guard against memory loss and Alzheimers. Essential fatty acids have also been shown to combat depression and mood swings.
Other types of fish oil offer similar benefits, but emulsified cod liver oil contains more essential fatty acids per dose and also contains high levels of vitamins A and D. Vitamin A protects eyesight, boosts memory, promotes a strong immune system and helps fight infectious diseases, and vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and wards off bone diseases such as osteoporosis and rickets. It also benefits the nervous system, muscle development, and the immune system.