Friday, April 3, 2009

Cod Liver Oil

A friend who has celiac was visiting the other day and we were joking about how basically to eat healthy in america you need to go back to 1815--if your great great grandmother wouldn't recognize it as food, then don't eat it. Although many people need supplements and medicines, returning to 1815 in terms of supplementation can also be a good idea.

In the past, parents used cod liver oil regularly to keep children healthy. In the 1890s it was a popular cure for rickets, which is caused by low vitamin D levels. As more over the counter medicines were available to treat symptoms and more prescription medicines were available and our milk became supplemented with vitamin D, cod liver oil became less popular. But cod liver oil has many benefits for kids today. It contains essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA,) vitamin D and natural vitamin A. DHA and EPA are critical for both brain development and function. Vitamin D is important for growth and vision and the American Academy of Pediatrics has recently recommended 400 IU of vitamin D for all babies, children and adolescents. Cod liver oil is a natural source of this important vitamin. Vitamin A and vitamin D allow your body to fight viruses. So if your child is low on either of these vitamins, then you might not be able to fight off a virus you encounter--either in the world or in a vaccine. Taking cod liver oil is insurance that your body has enough of these important vitamins. While some multivitamins contain vitamin A--sometimes your body cannot use the forms that they use because they might need to be converted. In our case, my daughter was unable to convert beta carotene into vitamin A. So although she was taking a compounded vitamin with vitamin A, her body was unable to use it. It is also used as a painkiller and for arthritis and has anti inflammatory properties.

In the Weston Price article Cod Liver Oil: The Number One Superfood there is a great quote on how it helps kid's brains:

"If you want to prevent learning disabilities in your children," said David Horrobin, distinguished medical and biochemical researcher, "feed them cod liver oil.
I have recommended fish oil to many In the forties and fifties everyone used to take a teaspoon of cod liver oil daily. We use 1/2-1 tsp cod liver oil daily now, but especially if my kids are fighting a virus or have a fever. Carlson for Kids Cod Liver Oil comes in either lemon or orange flavor. But Carlson's Lemon Flavor Cod Liver Oil is a little easier to find and works just as well. Carlson replaces the air inside the bottle with nitrogen to keep the oil fresh. After you open the bottle, you should keep it in the fridge so it doesn't get fishy.


G said...

just ran across your blog- myself, I'm new to GF, finding it helps me feel so much better! Once I get myself in place will push it around the house. Very interesting stuff!

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Lauren said...

The cod liver oil really helped Abby and it was so easy to give to her. Usually she spits the medicine out at me and she didn't hesitate once taking it. Thanks for sharing:)

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Dr. Jean Layton said...

I use this all the time with both pediatric and adult patients. Works wonders for those folks with dermatitis too.
Thanks for sharing about it.

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