As a functional nutrition counselor, my approach always emphasizes prioritizing whole foods as the primary source of essential nutrients. When it comes to supplements, the same approach applies; they should be considered food.
I am frequently asked about the most crucial and powerful supplements to include in a wellness regimen. My top recommendation that consistently stands out as a nutritional powerhouse is cod liver oil.
In essence, cod liver oil is more than just a supplement – it’s a food-based solution rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the perfect ratio of vitamins A and D, and the number one way to get ample food based vitamin D during winter months in northern climates.
Cod liver oil, derived from the liver of codfish, comes with a rich historical legacy and is proof that if something has endured across the ages, there’s a high probability that it holds merit. This principle has guided my understanding, suggesting that long-standing traditions often encapsulate a wealth of valuable insights, especially when it comes to matters of health and nutrition.
Utilized as far back as the Viking era in the 8th century, it gained prominence during the Industrial Revolution, particularly in Northern European countries where limited sunlight necessitated alternative sources of vitamin D. Cod liver oil’s efficacy in preventing rickets during the early 20th century further solidified its status. It played a crucial role during World War II when access to fresh foods was restricted. In contemporary times, cod liver oil remains a valuable supplement due to its abundant omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and D, and a spectrum of health benefits, reflecting a harmonious blend of traditional use and modern nutritional science including:
Heart Health: Cod liver oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, supports cardiovascular health by reducing triglyceride levels, lowering blood pressure, and promoting overall heart function.
Bone Health: Cod liver oil, containing essential vitamins A and D, plays a crucial role in maintaining strong and healthy bones. Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption, promoting bone mineralization and reducing the risk of fractures.
Brain Health: The omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, in cod liver oil contribute to improved cognitive function, memory, and concentration. Regular consumption supports overall brain health.
Gut Health: Cod liver oil’s anti-inflammatory properties and nutrient-rich profile positively impact gut health, contributing to a balanced and resilient digestive system.
Joint Health: Cod liver oil’s anti-inflammatory properties contribute to reducing joint pain and improving overall joint health.
Skin Radiance: The omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil promote skin hydration and elasticity, contributing to a healthier and more radiant complexion.
Mood Regulation: The omega-3s, particularly DHA, play a role in supporting cognitive function and mood regulation, aiding in stress management and mental well-being.
Eye Health: Vitamin A, abundantly present in cod liver oil, is essential for maintaining good vision and overall eye health.
Hormonal Balance: Cod liver oil’s nutrient profile contributes to hormonal balance, particularly in women, by providing essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins.
Anti-Aging Properties: The combination of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in cod liver oil has anti-aging effects, supporting overall cellular health.