Cod Liver Oil: Properties, Benefits, Side-effects?
The cod liver oil is an oil that is obtained from the fresh liver of some fish species Gadus, cod (cod should be noted that the term indicates very generically different species of fish, the most common ones are the cod that cod real, belonging to the genus Gadus, and hake, a fish belonging to the genus Merluccius).
Once extracted, the cod liver oil is refined and clarified by filtration at a temperature of about 0 ° C. According to international conventions, it must contain at least 600 IU of vitamin A and 85 U.I. In the oil of vitamin D. Cod liver is also rather high content of omega 3 fats (about 21 g per 100 g of product).
The oil Cod liver oil is a pale yellow with a slight smell of fish; when exposed to air and light tends to darken and acquire a rather unpleasant smell; is therefore necessary to keep it in tightly closed containers and protected from light.
In the past, the cod liver oil was used in the treatment of rickets of children and osteoporosis in adults; other uses were the ones to be used as an ointment to speed up the healing process of burns, wounds and superficial injuries. With the passage of time, the cod liver oil as a treatment for rickets and osteoporosis, has experienced a gradual decline.
Cod liver oil and omega 3
merluzzoL'olio cod liver is one of those examples in which the grandmother's remedy seems can run indefinitely. But is it really so?
As mentioned earlier, it is an oil rich in vitamins A, D and omega 3 fatty acids. These substances are derived from its properties with regard to health. Because omega-3s are now quite fashionable, cod liver oil, which seemed destined for oblivion, he had a flashback. First it should be noted that there is a profound difference between the oil cod liver and other fish oils which are not extracted by a body, but from the meat. In fact, compared to other fish oils
contains less omega 3
contains more vitamin A and more vitamin D.
Hence the use in orthopedics for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Several years ago, a British research that, undeservedly, went around the world, showed that out of thirty patients in cod liver oil pills had slowed the progression of the disease in the tissues of subjects who had undergone graft of a knee prosthesis (ie chemicals in the tissues related to the evolution of the disease and the pain were lower). Unfortunately, the news was reported with the usual exaggerated emphasis by the various media. How STATED researchers themselves, it was necessary a larger study conducted on patients (and not chemical investigation on the tissues) to assess the degree of real benefit of the treatment. In any case, the doctors clarified from the outset that the oil cod liver was not able to reverse pathology.
Still several years ago, again, this time in Australia, hypothesized that supplementation with omega-3 would have been very useful in the reduction of cases of childhood asthma (the conditional was necessary because for over 6,000 children followed for up to three years were reduced environmental mites were eliminated plush toys and resorted to integration with omega 3; difficult to say with certainty which of the interventions had led to improvements). Because cod liver oil contains omega 3, many journalists went on a rampage extolling the old home remedy, titling their songs with bombastic phrases such as: "cod liver oil saves children from asthma." The reality was and is much more modest.
Since it contains vitamin A can not be exceeded; In fact, vitamin A (and D) are practically the only vitamins that can give serious problems of overdose (it is recommended to not exceed 10,000 IU of vitamin A per day if the intake is prolonged). Especially if taken by concentrated feed such as those derived from the liver. The explorers of the Arctic and the Inuit know that you can not eat polar bear liver or seal in excess (about 15,000 IU of vitamin A per gram!), Otherwise very dangerous poisoning. Even the chronic poisoning can be very serious because the symptoms are subtle: headaches, hair loss, skin problems, bone and joint pain, liver problems etc.. Some drugs based on retinoids (vitamin A), widely used in the field of dermatology, have serious side effects if taken systemically and for a long time.
liver oil merluzzoPoiché cod liver oil contains less of other omega 3 fish oils, it is more logical to orientate these and in particular omega 3 supplements properly formulated. Except in the orthopedic field (where vitamin D and omega 3 are synergistic in the treatment of many diseases, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis in the first place) and dermatological (where are synergistic omega 3 and vitamin A), the benefits of cod liver seem to depend exclusively on the content of omega 3: then better to resort to the classical fatty acid supplements that do not have problems of surplus vitamins. For the record, the cod liver oil (100 g) has the following characteristics (source: U.S. Department of Agriculture):
Vitamin A: 100,000 IU
Vitamin D 10,000 IU
Omega 3: 20.72 g
Cholesterol: 570 mg.
For a comparison, Salmon Oil (same calories) does not contain vitamin A or vitamin D, 485 mg of cholesterol, but contains 35.98 g of omega-3 well.
It means that 10 g (one heaping tablespoon) is reasonably full of cod liver oil that you can take per day: 90 kcal, 10,000 IU of vitamin A, vitamin D 1.000 and 1.9 g of omega 3.