Cod Liver Oil

Discover How to Eat, Exercise, and
Supplement Right
For Your DNA


Cod liver oil is a nutritional supplement derived from liver of cod fish (Gadidae). As with most fish oils, it has high levels of the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Cod liver oil also contains vitamin A and vitamin D.


Cod liver oil can be consumed by eating fresh cod liver or through supplementation.  As like most fish oils, cod liver oil has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and vitamins A and D. Cod liver oil is used for:

  • High cholesterol
  • High triglycerides
  • Kidney disease in those with diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Depression
  • The autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Glaucoma
  • Middle ear infections (otitis media)

Topically, cod liver oil is used to speed wound healing. When taken in appropriate doses by mouth, cod liver oil seems to help lower high triglycerides, lower high blood pressure, and treat some symptoms of kidney disease related to diabetes, but may not be effective in lowering high cholesterol or reducing arthritis pain.

Also known as:  Aceite de Higado de Bacalao, Acides Gras Oméga 3, Acides Gras N-3, Acides Gras Polyinsaturés, Cod Oil, Fish Liver 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

Diseases and Conditions

Cod liver oil is likely effective for lowering blood fats called triglycerides. Taking cod liver oil by mouth can reduce triglyceride levels by twenty to fifty percent in people with high triglyceride levels.

Cod liver oil is possibly effective for high blood pressure. Taking cod liver oil by mouth seems to lower blood pressure a small, but important, amount in people with mild high blood pressure.

Cod liver oil is also possibly effective for kidney disease in people with type 2 diabetes. Taking cod liver oil seems to reduce protein in the urine, a marker of kidney disease severity.

Cod liver oil is possibly ineffective for osteoarthritis and cholesterol disease that runs in families (familial hypercholesterolemia).


Cod liver oil is likely safe when consumed orally and appropriately. It is unsafe to consume cod liver oil in doses more than 25 mL daily as such dosages may interfere with blood clotting, may increase the chances of bleeding, and cause levels of vitamins A and D to become abnormally high, which can lead to toxicity. There is insufficient information on the safety of cod liver oil for topical use, on children, on pregnant, and breastfeeding women. Possible side effects of cod liver oil include:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Belching
  • Heartburn
  • Halitosis.

Consuming high amounts of cod liver oil may cause loose stools and nausea.

Medication Interactions

Cod liver oil has moderate interactions with antihypertensive drugs and anticoagulant/antiplatelet drugs. Cod liver oil seems to decrease blood pressure, which means taking cod liver oil along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low. Some medications for high blood pressure include:

  • Captopril (Capoten)
  • Enalapril (Vasotec)
  • losartan (Cozaar)
  • Valsartan (Diovan)
  • Diltiazem (Cardizem)
  • Amlodipine (Norvasc)
  • Hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL)
  • Furosemide (Lasix)

Cod liver oil might also slow blood clotting, which means taking cod liver oil along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Some medications that slow blood clotting include:

  • 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)

Supplement and Food Interactions

Cod liver oil may interact with herbs and supplements used to slow blood clotting and might increase the chance of bruising and bleeding in some people. These herbs include:

  • Angelica
  • Borage seed oil
  • Clove
  • Danshen
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Ginkgo
  • Red clover
  • Turmeric
  • Willow


The following dosages are recommended for specific conditions:

  • For lowering triglycerides, the recommended dosage is twenty milliliters of cod liver oil per day.
  • For high cholesterol, the recommended dosage is thirty milliters of cod liver oil per day.
  • For lowering blood pressure, the recommended dosage is twenty milliliters of cod liver oil per day. There is insufficient reliable evidence available to determine a proper duration.

The correct dosage for each person depends on a variety of factors including age, sex, conditions, DNA, and lifestyle factors.


Cod liver oil can be found in the fresh liver of the Gadus morhua fish. Otherwise, cod liver oil can be taken through supplements.

Interested in Learning Which
Supplements are Right for You?




Discover How to Eat, Exercise, and SupplementRight For Your DNA