Cod liver oil (CLO) is a popular supplement due to the fact that it provides omega-3 fatty acids which are essential nutrients that cannot be produced by the body and are needed for optimal health and many functions of the human body.
The key fatty acids contained in cod liver oil are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which are found in marine animal sources like salmon, mackerel, oysters, etc.
EPA and DHA are essential for fetal development, healthy aging, weight management, cardiovascular health, inflammation, and even cell membrane health. So, we must include sufficient fatty acids in our diet. (1)
But cod liver oil also supplies vitamins A and D which are both important for immune function and good health in general.
So, we’ve put together a review of the best cod liver oil supplements on the market to ensure you’re choosing quality for your health goals…
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1- Tropical Oasis Icelandic Cod Liver Oil
This quality, all-natural cod liver oil has 5,000mg of cod liver oil which contains 1,144mg of omega-3 fatty acids (550mg DHA and 510mg EPA), plus naturally-occurring vitamins A (77%) and D (29%).
Other notable ingredients include gadus morhua, sardine, herring, anchovy, mackerel, and natural flavors.
The product is also third-party tested for purity and potency. And it comes in a triglyceride form for the best possible rate of absorption.
What Is Cod Liver Oil?
Cod liver oil is contained in Cod liver and it can be consumed directly from the codfish or from supplements.
And for centuries, people from Europe have used cod liver oil for protection against the cold. But it has become a remedy and part of many health routines due to the fact that it contains healthy amounts of vitamin A, D, and omega-3 fatty acids. (2)
Vitamin A is essential for good vision, immune system function, bone growth, and healthy cells. And some research supports the potential effects for certain cancers like lung and prostate.
The daily recommendation for safe consumption of vitamin A is 900 micrograms (mcg) of retinol activity equivalents (RAE) for men, and 700 mcg RAE for women over the age of 19.
So, you won’t have to worry about consuming too much with cod liver oil.
Vitamin D is crucial for immune health, bone health (necessary for the absorption of calcium), plus a healthy dose of this vitamin may potentially prevent chronic disease including cancers, diabetes, and heart-related conditions.
Some people may not get out in the sunlight enough and/or they may not be able to absorb vitamin D as effectively through the sun’s rays. And in this case, a good supplement containing naturally-occurring vitamin D is beneficial.
The daily recommendation for vitamin D is up to 600 IU for most people up to 70 years of age, and 800 IU if over the age of 70.
Omega-3 fatty acids are vital since these fats are part of the membranes which surround pretty much every cell in the human body. There’s also sufficient evidence for its heart, cognitive, cancer, arthritis, and developmental benefits.
But eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the two fatty acids that must be consumed from fish and a few other sea animals. So, cod just happens to contain healthy amounts.
One serving of cod liver oil contains…
- 40 calories
- 4.5g fat (mostly mono and polyunsaturated, aka the good kind)
- 25mg cholesterol (8%)
- Vitamin A and D may vary but it’s generally 90% A and 113% D.
Here Are Our Top Picks!
2. Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil
Nordic Naturals contains purified arctic cod liver oil, plus 1060mg of cod liver oil which includes 340mg of EPA, 510mg of DHA, and 210mg of other omega 3s.
The oil is sourced from wild-caught fish in a sustainable manner conducive to maintaining a healthy ecosystem, with a true triglyceride form for optimal absorption.
No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
3. Dr. Martin’s Nutrition Cod Liver Oil
Dr. Martin’s cod liver oil is made from Norwegian fish which supplies 415mg cod liver oil (37mg EPA and 36mg DHA).
The cod liver oil also provides a natural source of vitamin A (1,250 IU or 25%) and D (135 IU or 34%) for its health-contributing benefits.
4. Carlson Wild Norwegian Cod Liver Oil
Carlson cod liver oil is sustainably-sourced to supply 2g of cod liver oil which consists of 460mg total of omega-3 fatty acids (170mg EPA and 200mg DHA).
Plus, you get 10% vitamin A, 20% vitamin D, and 18% vitamin E which has antioxidant properties necessary for protecting cells against damage.
The soft gels have a light flavor and there are no preservatives used.
5. Athelas Neutraceuticals Cod Liver Oil
Each batch of cod liver oil from Athelas Neutraceuticals is tested for purity and safety. The formula contains only cod liver oil with nothing else and a serving supplies 1,000mg of cod liver oil (110mg EPA and 100mg DHA).
Plus, you get 53% vitamin A and 50% vitamin D.
6. AMRAP Nutrition Cold-Pressed Cod Liver Oil
AMRAP Nutrition cod liver oil is sourced from wild-caught fish and each batch is harvested in conformance with the International Fishery Standards Program (IFSP) and Friend of the Sea guidelines
The oil is naturally high in vitamin A (50%) and D (68%) with 800mg of cod liver oil per serving which includes 74mg EPA, 72mg DHA, and 34mg of other fatty acids.
Each batch is sealed and secured with a nitrogen vacuum sealing process for purity and the prevention of oxidation. Plus, this high-quality cod liver oil is third-party tested to ensure optimal purity.
7. Dropi Pure Icelandic Cod Liver Oil
Dropi cod liver oil comes from fresh cod in a small Icelandic village and the quality is hard to beat. It’s cold-pressed to preserve the natural state of nutrients and there are no artificial ingredients in this formula.
Each batch is third-party tested and the product is made under stringent European manufacturing standards and HACCP guidelines for optimal quality and potency.
A serving contains 29% vitamin A, 39% vitamin D, plus 460mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
Bottle note: Nutritional value may vary between bottles as the oil is completely naturally-sourced.
8. Carlyle Norwegian Cod Liver Oil
Carlyle natural cod liver oil is sourced from codfish in Norway and each serving has 90% vitamin A, 113% vitamin D3 plus, 4,585mg of cod liver oil that contains 320mg EPA and 410mg DHA.
You can’t go wrong with this top-notch option.
9. On Target Living Alaskan Cod Liver Oil
On Target Living Alaska cod liver oil contains naturally-occurring vitamin A (90%) and vitamin D (23%), 4.5g of cod liver oil 425mg of both EPA and DHA. Plus, there’s 45mg of DPA (docosapentaenoic) which is a fish oil that occurs in smaller amounts than EPA and DHA.
It’s a popular choice sure to supply premium cod liver oil.
10. Carlson Cod Liver Oil
Here’s one of the more popular, quality cod liver oil supplements which has award-winning quality and taste.
A serving of Carlson cod liver oil contains 1,110mg of cod liver oil from wild-caught cod (500 DHA and 400 EPA), plus 28% vitamin A, 50% vitamin D, and 45% vitamin E. And the formula contains natural lemon flavor.
What Research Says About Cod Liver Oil
As explained previously, cod liver oil contains many essential and beneficial nutrients to support good health.
One likely benefit is the risk reduction of heart disease; which is the number one killer worldwide (17.9 million deaths and 31% of all deaths worldwide each year). (3)
However, there’s isn’t enough evidence to suggest that cod liver oil can prevent heart disease
But another reason why we need sufficient omega-3 fatty acids is because it has been linked to improvements in the inflammation which causes anxiety and depression. (7)
And research shows that cod liver oil decreases the symptoms of depression when compared to people who do not use cod liver oil daily. But this improvement may not be only a result of the omega 3 fatty acids, but the increase in vitamin D since a deficiency in the latter nutrient is associated with depression and mental health. (8)
In one study, 43 patients ingested 1g of cod liver oil daily for 3 months and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis improved for 68% of patients while 95% found the cod liver oil to elicit tolerable effects.
A study also found cod liver oil to improve gastric ulcers in rats, so there could be some promise there for humans. (13)
How Safe is Cod Liver Oil?
Cod liver oil is safe when consumed in the recommended doses. But it may cause some typical side effects like heartburn and nausea. And high doses can keep blood from clotting.
Plus, vitamins A and D can become too elevated with too much cod liver oil which is not ideal for maintaining good health. (14)
And too much vitamin A is not safe for pregnancy so this is something to keep in mind when taking cod liver oil as consumption should be very limited or avoided to be safe. (15)
But all in all, there aren’t many safety concerns.
However, you should always consult with a doctor before taking cod liver oil if suffering from any health issues for your safety and to ensure it’s not interfering with any medications.
For instance, since cod liver oil may lower blood pressure you want to be careful if taking medication for this reason.
How Much Cod Liver Oil To Take?
It’s recommended to take only enough cod liver oil as to not exceed the daily requirements for vitamin A and D.
So, as mentioned previously, the daily recommendation for vitamin A is 900 micrograms (mcg) of retinol activity equivalents (RAE) for men, and 700 mcg RAE for women over the age of 19.
And the daily recommendation for vitamin D is up to 600 IU for most people up to 70 years of age, and 800 IU if over the age of 70.
The instructions for each product will give a recommended dose to remain in a safe zone.
And the amount of fish oils contained in any of the products on our list should be nothing to be concerned about for most healthy individuals.
Healthy adults can safely consume up to 3,000mg of fish oils per day. (16)
There you have it… 10 top-notch cod liver oil supplements that you cannot go wrong with regardless of your choice.
All provide quality ingredients and contain healthy doses of vitamins A and D, plus omega-3 fish oils.
The heart health and many other benefits make cod liver oil a viable option for a daily health regime, plus it’s safe and the provided products are made from clean fish sources and an ethical manufacturing process.
You can’t go wrong with any of these great options!