Using Cod Liver Oil for Ear Infections

A recent study on cod liver oil and ear infections shows you may be able to reduce the severity and duration of the infection by using this healthy oil.

What is Otitis Media?

Otitis media is an infection or inflammation of your middle ear. It begins when you get a sore throat or cold and it spreads to your middle ear. medical diagram of inner ear infection

Your middle ear is connected to your throat by narrow tubes called eustachian tubes.

Now if these tubes become plugged with mucus or become swollen, fluids can build up behind the ear drum, which can cause hearing loss and pain.

According to reports, researchers claim that up to 75% of children will have up to three more ear infections before they turn 4 years old.

It’s a pretty common condition and it mainly affects babies and young children.

How Doctors Treat Middle Ear Infections

Doctors usually treat this condition with antibiotics. Pain relievers may also be prescribed if the child is experiencing pain.

However, if left untreated, otitis media can cause permanent hearing damage.

In situations where the extra fluid doesn’t drain after 3 months and there’s hearing loss, doctors may suggest putting ‘tubes’ inside the ear drum.

This procedure is only temporary and it helps to equalize the pressures in the middle ear. These tubes also help drain excess fluids since too much fluid build-up can tear the ear drum.

You can get more detailed information on otitis media at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website.

Study on Using Cod Liver Oil for Ear Infections

New York – A recent study found cod liver oil may reduce the duration and amount of antibiotics needed to treat middle ear infections.

Researchers at Columbia University discovered children undergoing surgery for inner ear tube placement had below normal levels of selenium, vitamin A and the omega 3 fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Doctors asked what would happen if these patients had increased their dietary intake of these nutrients? Would this reduce the severity of otitis media in children?

To prepare for the upcoming otitis media ‘season’, doctors began supplementing childrens’ daily diet with the following supplements:

  • One (1) teaspoon of lemon-flavored cod liver oil (provides eicosapentaenoic acid & vitamin A)

  • One-half (1/2) tablet children’s chewable multivitamin-mineral (containing selenium)

children playing in water fountainAt the end of the study, the researchers found that children using cod liver oil reduced the number days on antibiotics by 12%.

Now that’s not a lot, but doctors believe that the supplementation of a multivitamin and cod liver oil may reduce an ear infection’s duration and the length of time needed to stay on antibiotics.

This may also delay the need to prescribe antibiotics.

While this is only a small scale study, the results are encouraging and more larger scale studies are needed.

So if you’re considering using cod liver oil on ear infections, there appears to be some possible health benefits.

There are a number of different products to choose from. Many products can differ in the way they were processed and the amount of active ingredients they each contain.

Make sure to read my Guide to Choosing the Best Cod Liver Oil to help you choose the best one to meet your needs.

It’s strongly recommended you consult with your child’s doctor to ensure they receive proper medical attention.

Research References:

Lemon-flavored cod liver oil and a multivitamin-mineral supplement for the secondary prevention of otitis media in young children: pilot research. The Annals of Otology, Rhinology Laryngology. 2002 Jul;111(7 Pt 1):642-52. Linday LA, Dolitsky JN, Shindledecker RD, Pippenger CE.


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