Q&A: Is there any good reason to take cod liver oil?

Consumer Reports News: January 07, 2010 06:38 AM

Is there any good reason to take cod liver oil these days? —N.G., St. Louis

No, since the possible risks outweigh any likely benefits. Some studies have suggested that the oil may lower several risk factors for heart disease, including blood pressure, blood-clotting potential, and elevated triglycerides. But the amount of oil needed to provide those benefits also carries a hidden danger: potentially toxic doses of vitamins A and D, which can cause nausea and vomiting and even damage the central nervous system and liver. And there’s too little evidence to support taking even low doses of the oil for other conditions such as high cholesterol, ear infection, osteoarthritis, or lupus.

Some people confuse fish-oil pills with cod liver oil. Read more about the benefits of fish oil  and cod-liver oil risks  (subscribers only).

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