Pure cod liver oil is natural oil that is extracted from the livers of a particular type of fish, called the cod. The purified oil is rich in vitamin A, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are valued for promoting a host of health benefits. Pure cod liver oil is generally either bottled in liquid form or packaged into capsules, and taken daily as a nutritional supplement.
Pure cod liver oil is made by harvesting cod fish from cold waters, removing their livers, and extracting the oil from the fish livers. Typically, the oil is refined to remove any impurities that might result from the harvesting or manufacturing processes, which ensures only the purest oil makes it to market. Pure cod liver oil does not contain any additives, but it is common for purified cod liver oil to be flavored in an attempt to distract consumers from the slightly fishy smell and taste.
Most people take cod liver oil to supplement their health by increasing their intake of vitamins A and D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin A is associated with helping maintain good eyesight, skin health, and digestive function. Vitamin D is associated with a wide variety of health benefits, including the reduction of cancer risk and possible prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Vitamin D is also necessary for proper development of the bones and teeth; individuals who are severely lacking in vitamin D may be prone to bone diseases such as rickets.
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the best-known components of pure cod liver oil. This “good” fat is credited with contributing to cardiovascular, skin, hair, and joint health. Several other food sources of omega-3 fatty acids exist, such as other fish oils and flax, but pure cod liver oil is often considered a more complete supplement because of the presence of vitamins A and D.
Most people either take their pure cod liver oil by swallowing a spoonful of the liquid version or a dose of capsules, which contain oil. Both methods of consumption are effective, so the choice of which type of supplement to use is generally based on personal preference. Reputable cod liver oil is a pale yellow color, and not too thick of a texture, so it is easy to swallow. Some people, however, find the smell and taste too fishy and unpleasant, and are therefore inclined to take their cod liver oil in capsule form.