Which Is Better: Cod Liver Oil or Fish Oil?

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  • 26 Dec 2023
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Omega-3 fatty acids provide several health advantages, including a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 1 diabetes, some cancers, glaucoma, and stroke. This vitamin is necessary for bodily function, yet our bodies cannot create it on their own. As a result, getting adequate Omega-3 fatty acids from outside sources is critical.

If you're searching for a means to receive your Omega-3 fatty acids, there are several options. If eating two to three portions of fish each week to get your Omega-3s doesn't seem possible, supplements like cod liver oil and fish oil can assist.

Many individuals use these supplements to improve their health and avoid chronic ailments. According to the National Institutes of Health, 7.8% of adults in the United States and 1.1% of children have taken a fish oil supplement in the preceding 30 days in 2012.

In this essay, I'll answer the frequently asked question: which is better, cod liver oil or fish oil? We'll discuss the general health advantages of taking Omega-3 supplements and the distinctions between cod liver oil and fish oil.

Facts About Omega-3 Supplements

Omega-3 fatty acids are classified into three types: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). EPA and DHA are mostly derived from fish, whereas ALA is derived primarily from plant sources such as flaxseed and walnuts. Omega-3 supplements, such as cod liver oil and fish oil, give our bodies with the EPA and DHA they require.

Omega-3 fatty acids are critical for heart health. They have the potential to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and blood clots. They can also aid in the reduction of high blood pressure, which is prevalent among people in the United States.

Omega-3 supplements can also help lower your cholesterol and prevent plaque buildup in your arteries. They can also assist to minimize the risk of sudden cardiac death, which occurs when the heart either pumps irregularly or ineffectively, preventing it from flowing blood to the rest of your important organs as planned.

One thing to keep in mind is that while receiving your Omega-3 fatty acids from dietary sources like fatty fish delivers these advantages, studies have shown that taking Omega-3 supplements does not lower your risk of heart disease.

Non-cardiac advantages of omega-3 fatty acids exist as well. According to research, they can lower your chance of glaucoma, some malignancies, and certain mental health conditions.

Some studies also demonstrate that including Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, when paired with a healthy diet, can help you lose weight.

With all of these potential benefits, it's easy to see why you'd want to boost your Omega-3 consumption. If consuming fatty fish like tuna or salmon or plant sources of Omega-3s like nuts and seeds on a regular basis doesn't seem feasible for your lifestyle, you might be interested in taking an Omega-3 supplement. But which supplement should you take? Let's look at the advantages of each.


According to the National Institutes of Health, the adverse effects of Omega-3 supplements are typically modest. Unpleasant taste, foul breath, headache, and gastrointestinal issues are some of the possible adverse effects. Symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, or heartburn may be present.

Another thing to keep in mind with Omega-3 supplements is that they may conflict with blood coagulation medications that many Americans use. If you are using one of these drugs or have a seafood allergy, you should see your doctor before beginning to use Omega-3 supplements.

While many people are concerned about the mercury level of fish oils, a study of the literature revealed that fish oil capsules do not contain mercury. They discovered that when the oil is taken from the fish, the mercury and other heavy elements present remain.


The problem with these supplements is that there is no standard suggested dose for EPA or DHA. It is advised that you read the supplement label and take just the specified dosage. It's especially vital to follow the advised dosage on the supplement's label if you opt to use Cod Liver Oil, as too much Vitamin A can be harmful.

Regardless of the supplement you're taking, consult with your primary care physician to discover the appropriate dosage for you. If you wish to look into a specific brand of Omega-3 supplement, you may utilize the National Institutes of Health's Dietary Supplement Label Database.

Cod Liver Oil vs Fish Oil Benefits

Here are the differences in the benefits between consuming cod liver oil vs fish oil.


At the start of the twentieth century, cod liver oil was frequently used to treat rickets, a bone disorder caused by a lack of Vitamin D. This is due to the fact that Cod Liver Oil contains Vitamin D. The cod liver oils tested provided approximately 400 IU of vitamin D. The recommended daily consumption of Vitamin D for people is 600 IU, thus these pills will cover the bulk of your requirements.

Getting adequate Vitamin D through food or supplements is especially essential for those who do not get enough sunshine during the day or who do not acquire enough Vitamin D from their diet alone. Furthermore, Cod Liver Oil includes Vitamin A, which is beneficial to eye health and immunological function.

One thing to keep in mind is that large doses of Vitamin A can be dangerous, so stick to the suggested dosage while using Cod Liver Oil. There may be other advantages to using cod liver oil. It has long been used as a folk treatment to induce childbirth and treat constipation.


The supplement known as "Fish Oil" is not the same as Cod Liver Oil, which is a specific form of fish oil. Fish oil supplements are generally made from oil derived from fatty fish such as herring, tuna, or anchovies.

While Fish Oil includes Omega-3s and so offers advantages similar to Cod Liver Oil supplements, it has one major advantage: the fish utilized in these supplements is fattier than Cod. As a result, Fish Oil supplements include more Omega-3 fatty acids. This might imply that using Fish Oil supplements rather than Cod Liver Oil supplements would provide you with a better bang for your cash.

Cod Liver Oil vs Fish Oil: Which Is Better?

Both cod liver oil and fish oil supplements deliver Omega-3 fatty acid advantages without increasing your weekly diet of fatty fish. They may both reduce the chance of glaucoma, enhance heart health, and lower the risk of mental health issues and some malignancies.

If you're searching for a supplement that gives you the most bang for your money, Fish Oil pills might be for you. They include more Omega-3 supplements than Cod Liver Oil supplements, making them more cost-effective for some users.

However, if your diet is deficient in Vitamin D or A, or if you don't receive enough sunshine throughout the day, an Omega-3 supplement containing these vitamins may be beneficial. In that instance, Cod Liver Oil might be beneficial. However, one disadvantage of this supplement is that it contains less Omega-3 than Fish Oil supplements.

As previously stated, if you are on blood thinners or have a shellfish allergy, you should see your doctor before beginning any of these supplements.

Whatever supplement you pick, keep in mind that these supplements have extremely low potential side effects and may be an excellent adjunct to a healthy diet to improve general heath.

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