Effects of Cod Liver Oil on Blood and Heart Health

How does cod liver oil affect your blood and cardiac health?

What benefits can you expect from taking this marine oil?

Cod liver oil is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This hearty marine oil also contains natural sources of Vitamins A and D.

There's been much research on the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids; particularly how these fats have tremendous benefits on your cardiovascular health.

Cod liver oil has been around for quite a while and studies have proven you get these health benefits:

  • Cod liver oil may reduce your risk for heart attacks and strokes.

  • Cod liver oil increases healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Cod liver oil lowers triglyceride levels.

If you're taking certain medications or you have a specific health condition, you may be wondering if it's safe to take cod liver oil? Some questions you may have are:

  • Does Cod Liver Oil Thin the Blood?

  • Can You Take Cod Liver Oil if You're on Blood Thinning Medications?

To answer your questions, we'll take a closer look at research on the effects of cod liver oil on your blood, triglyceride and cholesterol levels and possible side effects you should be aware of.

Studies find Cod Liver Oil improves Cholesterol Levels

cardiac strip

Researchers at a university hospital in Norway had a group of healthy men take 20 ml. per day of cod liver oil (about 4 teaspoons).

After 3 weeks their HDL cholesterol and omega 3 fatty acid levels improved and it made their blood thinner; these effects lowered their risk for heart attacks and strokes.

A similar study at The Science Institute at the University of Iceland involved a group of men that just had heart attacks.

These men were instructed to take 20 ml. of cod liver oil every day for 6 week periods:

  • One half of the group took cod liver oil for the first 6 weeks and then stopped treatment.

  • The other half didn't start taking cod liver oil until 6 weeks after leaving the hospital.

Researchers found all men experienced increased blood levels of omega 3 fatty acids with lowered triglyceride levels and no change in total cholesterol.

How Cod Liver Oil affects your Blood

blood clot

Red Blood Cells

Studies seem to indicate that cod liver oil may improve the elasticity of blood vessels and reduce plaque buildup.

This effect may improve how your blood vessels heal after any damage, thereby reducing your risk for blood clots.

In addition, cod liver oil may also reduce triglyceride levels in the blood; promoting a more heart-healthy environment.

Editorial Comments on Cod Liver Oil's Effects:

Research shows there are many benefits of cod liver oil on blood triglyceride levels and for improving your cardiovascular health:

  • Increases the blood level of omega 3 fatty acids (helps fight inflammation).

  • May reduce plaque buildup in your arteries.
  • May lower the risk for hardening of your blood vessels.
  • May lowers your triglyceride levels.
  • Thins the blood reducing the risk for heart attack and strokes.

While more research is needed to determine the optimal dosage for cod liver oil, there are fish oil dosages recommended by the American Heart Association if you're taking this supplement specifically for cardiovascular health.

Important Note if You're Taking Blood Thinners:

Please consult your physician if you're taking cod liver oil for blood and heart matters. Cod liver oil can make your blood thinner and less likely to clot. This is important to know if you're taking medication for bleeding disorders, blood pressure or other heart-related conditions.

Research References:

Influence of dietary cod liver oil on fatty acid composition of plasma lipids in human male subjects after myocardial infarction. Journal of Internal Medicine. 1990 Dec;228(6):563-B, Skuladottir GV, Gudmundsdottir E, Olafsdottir E, Gudmundsson TV, Hardarson T, Kristinsson A, Asvaldsdottir H, Snorrason SP, Gudbjarnason S. Science Institute, University of Iceland, Reykjavik

The effect of cod liver oil in two populations with low and high intake of dietary fish. Acta Medica Scandinavica. 1988;223(6):491-8, Simonsen T, Nordoy A, Sjunneskog C, Lyngmo V. Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital of Tromso, Norway.

The effect of cod liver oil and corn oil on platelets and vessel wall in man. Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 1981 Oct;46(3):604-11, Brox JH, Killie JE, Gunnes S, Nordoy A.

Clinical application of omega-3-fatty acids (cod-liver oil). Klinicheskaia Meditsina (Mosk). 2005;83(10):51-7

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