Vitamins A, D, and E are important to our health and, as such, have been recommended as part of a dietary regimen or via supplements. Cod liver oil consists of omega-3 fatty acids and is a rich source of these vitamins. However, there are reasons to be cautious with cod liver oil.
A diet consisting of fish is a good thing; however, recent reports have asserted that there are possibly high levels of mercury present in fish. Although this was not generally considered a health risk, the FDA issued an advisory that pregnant women, women who were nursing, and young children should opt to refrain from consuming fish in their diets.
Conversely, the National Institute of Health ascertained that fish oil is a better source of omega-3 fatty acids and recommended this as an alternative dietary regimen. Yet, the American Heart Association also advised that individuals should consume a fish product every day which would offer a gram of fish oil. Whose advice do you follow?
We know that cod liver oil contains high amounts of Vitamins A and D as well as omega-3 fatty acids, and we also know that there are many sources of these vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids in the foods we eat, so it would not be presumptuous to assume that the consumption of cod liver oil and foods containing these sources can increase the levels of vitamins and fatty acids in the body.
This is where one has to be cautious. Why? Vitamin A, if taken in high doses, can be toxic because it is composed of fat that can accumulate over a period of time. It can also increase the risk of osteoporosis, according to some experts. With vitamin D, there is also a possibility that high levels can accumulate over time as well. Remember, vitamin D is naturally produced from exposure to the sun and if you add food sources that contain this vitamin along with the consumption of cod liver oil, the results may also be harmful.
There are those who have asserted that cod liver oil contains toxins which can be harmful if taken in high doses. However, others assert that if taken appropriately it can help alleviate certain conditions.
The bottom line is that before you begin any course of dietary supplementation, take a cautious approach by consulting with your doctor to determine not only if your system will tolerate cod liver oil, but also to ensure that it will not yield harmful results. There are certain pre-existing conditions which may prevent you from ingesting this oil, as well as medications that can interact with the oil.