Nausea, bad breath and indigestion are some of the bothersome side effects associated with intake of cod liver oil.
Vitamin A and vitamin D content is highest in cod liver oil, so one should be very careful as far as its dosage is concerned. Also, long term use of cod liver oil will require monitoring of health from health care professionals.
Cod liver oil is used to treat a wide range of ailments including arthritis and cardiovascular problems. Even though its popularity as an alternative medicine is on the rise, one should not overlook its side effects. If cod liver is not used intelligently, it can cause some serious side effects. Some of these are discussed below:
People taking this fish extract (available as a nutritional supplement) in moderate amounts may complain about the following side effects:
- Bad Breath
- A fishy and bland aftertaste
- Loose stools
All these are gastrointestinal side effects that may be bothersome but not at all serious. Decreasing the dosage can help the person to get rid of these problems.
Over-dosage of cod liver oil can be dangerous to the health. The dosage should be taken as advised by the doctor. People are under the wrong impression that in order to reap benefits of this fish extract, one should take it in excessive amounts. This is not at all required and following such advice will only ruin your health. Being rich in vitamin A, the fish extract when consumed in large amounts can cause vitamin A toxicity. This can indeed pose a great threat to the health and may lead to the following severe complications:
- Liver Damage
- Severe headache
- Hair Loss
- Dry skin and itching
- Bone Loss (Bones are vulnerable to fractures)
Other side effects of this nutritional supplement are as follows:
- Deterioration of eyesight
- Speech problems
- Weakness in the arms or legs
- Vomiting blood
- Black, tarry stools
- Blood in the stools
As the nutritional supplement is also a rich supply of vitamin D, intake of too much can lead to overdose of vitamin D. This can result into:
- Frequent urination
- Muscle problems
- Sore eyes
- Bone pain
Who Should Not Take Code Liver Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids, the main constituent of cod liver oil, helps to control clotting of blood. When the clotting ability of the blood decreases, it is most likely to cause internal bleeding in patients suffering from bleeding disorders.
People put on high blood pressure medicines need to consult a doctor before taking cod liver oil. This is because cod liver oil also brings down the blood pressure. So, taking both the prescribed medicine and the cold liver oil dosage can actually pull the blood pressure down to alarmingly low levels. Medications like thiazide diuretics that help regulate blood pressure have to be avoided if you are taking cod liver oil supplements.
Similarly, the interaction between cod liver oil and anticoagulants can pose a great health risk as both produce the same effect of reducing blood clotting. Therefore, patients taking anticoagulants to reduce the risk of heart attack must avoid usage of cod liver oil as drug interaction amplifies this effect significantly, which may lead to severe bleeding.
Reducing Side Effects
Taking cod liver oil on an empty stomach increases the risk of side effects. So, it is advised to have the recommended dosage of cod liver oil during meal-time. This is one of the best ways to minimize side effects from cod liver oil. One can easily camouflage the unpleasant taste of cod liver oil by having it along with meals.
Cod Liver Oil and Pregnancy
There are no extensive studies that assure the safety of cod liver oil during pregnancy. As high amount of vitamin A and vitamin D is present in cod liver oil, it is best to stay away from the supplements during pregnancy. Just 2 teaspoons of cod liver oil provide as much as 10000 IU of vitamin A, which can harm the developing fetus. To simply put, too much intake of vitamin A may cause pregnancy complications like birth defects. Additionally, pregnant women may suffer from diarrhea and abdominal cramps due to intake of cod liver oil.
It is interesting to note that FDA has not yet given any permission to use cod liver oil as a medicine, despite studies suggesting its benefits. Also, as they say dose makes the poison, so avoid self prescription and don’t forget to consult a doctor to know the appropriate dosage and duration of cod liver oil usage.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.