Fermented cod liver oil acne

I have tried just about everything to fade my dark spots, so after thorough research on the best form of cod liver oil, I readily went to my local health store and grabbed Carlson Wild Norwegian Cod Liver Oil ($32).

One thing I wasn’t willing to do is take a shot of something that tasted like fish every single morning. What a horrible start to my day. So I opted for this popular choice, which has a light lemon flavor. After a week or so, the appearance of my skin was noticeably brighter and less dull. I have inherently dry skin and felt a subtle difference in its texture—slightly more moisturized, brighter, and more awake, you could say. That was a plus. I’m all for a good morning routine, so it wasn’t hard to incorporate a shot of this stuff alongside my morning lemon water for 30 days. By week two, I didn’t see much of a difference with my hyperpigmentation, but, knowing I’m impatient, I stuck to my daily shot, holding on to hope.

I use a plethora of correctors, hydrating creams, and oils to lighten my dark spots every single day. But I will say that by week three, my acne scars didn’t look as profound on my skin. They’re still there, but they’re fading little by little. I’m not sure what was the culprit for this slight success—it could be thanks to my skincare products or the fish oil shots, but either way, I’m not complaining. I’m right at the end of my one-month journey with fish oil, and even though I haven’t seen grandiose changes in my skin, I’m going to stick with it. With my face, I’ve learned to accept the smaller-scaled wins. I’ll take brighter, more moisturized skin over what I was dealing with any day

Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil is a dietary supplement derived from codfish that contains high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

People may take cod liver oil in an attempt to:

  • Support a healthy cardiovascular system
  • Lower their cholesterol levels
  • Prevent heart disease
  • Reduce inflammation associated with lupus and osteoarthritis

Vitamins A and D, along with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, are all essential nutrients, meaning that the body can’t make them on its own.

The only way to get these vital nutrients is by eating foods or taking supplements that contain them.

Cod Liver Oil and Acne

According to anecdotal reports, cod liver oil — especially fermented cod liver oil — may help treat and prevent acne.

While there appear to be no scientific studies supporting this claim, the unique combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A and D may play a role in this purported benefit.

Vitamin A is known to renew skin by causing top layers of skin to slough off, revealing smoother, newer skin underneath. Various forms of vitamin A are made into creams, gels, and pills for acne treatment.

Although it has not been proven conclusively, the Vitamin D Council reports that acne tends to worsen during winter months — a time of year when sunlight is less available and natural vitamin D becomes much harder to obtain.

Finally, omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation — a known factor in severe forms of acne.

Cod Liver Oil Warnings

As with other fish-oil supplements, risk of contamination from pollutants is a concern. Data regarding the risks of environmental contamination is conflicting.

Some reports find that consuming large amounts of fish and fish-oil supplements can be dangerous because certain toxins, like mercury and the hormone-disrupting pollutant dioxin, build up in the fatty tissue of fish.

However, other reports indicate that commercially available fish-oil supplements contain little to no mercury.

You may wish to look for cod liver oil that has been purified to remove mercury and other toxins, as well as tested independently to verify this removal.

Pregnancy and Cod Liver Oil

The safety of cod liver oil in pregnant women is a controversial topic.

Some data suggests that cod liver oil may reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes in babies born to mothers who take the supplement while pregnant.

On the other hand, vitamin A is known to cause severe birth defects and possibly miscarriage when taken in high doses.

Talk to your doctor before taking cod liver oil if you’re pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or breastfeeding.

Do Omega-3s Thin the Blood?

If you are reading this there is a good chance you take omega-3s and have a heart issue, or you know someone who does. There is also a good chance that they take blood thinners, which can lower their risk of blood clots, and therefore the risk of heart attack and stroke.

So if that’s the case, then you may also be wondering whether omega-3s — like the ones found in fish oil products — taken in conjunction with other medicines like blood thinners will increase your risk for bleeding since that’s what you may have read in magazines or heard from your doctor.

One of the biggest concerns for doctors who have patients on blood-thinners is the other medications or dietary supplements they may be taking. This is because certain products can inactivate and others can add to the effects of blood thinners and increase the risk of bleeding, or the risk of blood clots. And both are potentially dangerous.

Some of the medications doctors typically ask about are antidepressants like Prozac and Cymbalta, antibiotics like Diflucan and Zithromax, anti-inflammatories like Celebrex and Aleve, herbal supplements like ginkgo and ginseng, and yes, fish oil, which contains the omega-3s EPA and DHA.

What Do Blood Thinners Actually Do?

The point of blood thinners is to keep the blood moving smoothly through the veins and arteries. There are two classes of blood thinners — anticoagulants and antiplatelets.

Some examples of anticoagulants include heparin and warfarin. And they are usually prescribed by a doctor when your body is making blood clots, or you have a medical condition known to promote clots like atrial fibrillation.

The other class of blood thinners is referred to as antiplatelets, which are weaker than anticoagulants. Some examples include aspirin and clopidogrel (Plavix). Some blood thinners are injectable, while others come in pill form. Very simply, the role they play in the body is keeping your platelets from getting too “sticky” and clomping together, which is the beginning of a blood clot.

The way some anticoagulants work is by competing with vitamin K, which your liver needs to produce special proteins called clotting factors. These help blood cells and platelets (tiny pieces of blood cells) bind together. This is how warfarin works. Heparin also works by inhibiting the clotting factors thrombin and fibrin.

Blood clots can stop the flow of blood to the heart, lungs and brain. The result can be heart attack or stroke. So if you are at high risk of blood clots, then taking blood thinners is a good idea.

But did you know that despite their name blood thinners don’t actually make your blood “thinner?” And they don’t break up clots that are already in your blood vessels. Technically, what they do is keep blood clots from forming. Doctors just use the phrase “blood thinners” to help give patients a mental picture of what’s happening.

But “thinner” blood is not always better, as blood that cannot form clots at appropriate times can be very dangerous, too. In reality, the body requires a delicate balance of blood that is not too “thin” and not too “thick.”

This brings us to omega-3s. In the 1970s when omega-3s were first “discovered” by Dyerberg and Bang in Greenland, the original thought was that they “worked” by preventing blood clots. And how did they do this? Apparently by acting sort of like aspirin to make platelets less sticky and reduce their tendency to form clots.

Controlled research studies in the 1980s confirmed that they did, indeed, inhibit the aggregation of platelets (which translated into longer bleeding times) and this seemed like a reasonable mechanism of action for the protection against heart attacks attributed to fish oils.

Based on these studies, and on anecdotal stories about Eskimos bleeding to death from nosebleeds, fish oil got a reputation for causing “bleeding,” which eventually led to the view that omega-3s made you bleed. And this is how fish oils got on the “list” of things to NOT take in the days leading up to surgery.

Although the FDA has said that the omega-3 drugs (Lovaza, Vascepa, and Epanova, and the generics) “do not increase risk for clinically significant bleeding,” the myth persists that they do. Several recent literature reviews have also shown no increased risk for bleeding with fish oils, even when taken with antiplatelet drugs (like aspirin) or anticoagulant drugs (like warfarin).

New Research Could be the Final Word on Omega-3s and Bleeding

Since the early days of researching omega-3s, it was been well known within the scientific and medical communities that people need to be aware of their blood-thinning power. Think of omega-3s as nature’s blood thinner, a kind of “Goldilocks factor” that lets the blood clot when it should but not when it should not. But whether they can make someone bleed excessively has always been debated.

In a systematic review conducted last year, researchers found no increase in bleeding risk during or after surgery. (Obviously if you want to study the effects of anything on “bleeding,” you pick the bloodiest setting in which to do your test!) The authors concluded that discontinuation of fish oil before surgery should not be recommended.

Harry Rice, PhD, VP of regulatory and scientific affairs at the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), said of the findings of this study: “I think it’s about time this issue is put to bed.”

Still, there is more evidence to show that fish oil — perhaps once and for all — does not increase bleeding risk for surgery patients.


A study published in late November in Circulation showed that high-dose fish oil did not increase peri-operative bleeding in surgery patients. Paradoxically, higher blood omega-3 levels were associated with a lower risk of bleeding.

To explore the question of whether high-dose EPA+DHA supplementation affects the risk for bleeding in surgery patients, researchers conducted a secondary analysis of the Omega-3 fatty acids for the PrEvention of post-opeRative Atrial fibrillation (OPERA) study.

For this study, more than 1500 patients scheduled for cardiac surgery were randomized to omega-3s or placebo. The dose was 6.5-8 grams of EPA+DHA over 2 to 5 days pre-surgery, and then 1.7 grams per day beginning on the morning of surgery and continuing until discharge.

The primary outcome of the study was risk for major peri-operative bleeding as defined by the Bleeding Academic Research Consortium (BARC). The number of units of blood needed for transfusion was one of the secondary outcomes.

There was no effect of omega-3 treatment on the primary outcome (post-op atrial fibrillation), but surprisingly there was a significant reduction in the number of units of blood needed for transfusions. In another analysis, the higher the blood EPA+DHA level on the morning of surgery, the lower the risk for bleeding according to the BARC criteria.

“The researchers in this study concluded that these findings support the need for reconsideration of current recommendations to stop fish oil or delay procedures for people on fish oil before cardiac surgery,” said Dr. Bill Harris, PhD, founder and president of OmegaQuant, co-inventor of the Omega-3 Index, and a co-author on this study. “In other words, bleeding in surgery (and in normal life) is not a safety concern for omega-3 supplements.”

Omega-3s, specifically EPA and DHA, are important for heart, brain, eye and joint health. Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough of these valuable fatty acids, which can increase their risk of several of the most serious health issues.

The Omega-3 index is expressed as a percent of total red blood cell (RBC) fatty acids and is a long-term, stable marker of omega-3 status that accurately reflects tissue levels of EPA and DHA. An Omega-3 Index between 8% and 12% is considered the optimal range. Why? Because at these levels your risk of fatal cardiovascular disease decreases dramatically.

If you were previously concerned about taking omega-3s along with some of your other heart medications, including blood thinners, perhaps it’s time to revisit this issue with your doctor in light of this new research.


Children of yesteryear often lament being force-fed a spoonful of cod liver oil by well-meaning parents and grandparents. As it turns out our grandmas were right – cod liver oil really is good for us. And thanks to modern-day capsules you won’t even have to force it down with a peg on your nose!

Where do I find cod liver oil?

As the name suggests, cod liver comes direct from the fish’s liver, whereas fish oil comes from the flesh of oily fish.

Cod liver is found by eating fresh cod liver or by taking cod liver supplements. Cod liver has a mild fishy taste which is often disguised with lemon or other citrus flavours. It generally comes in liquid form or in soft capsules.

Why do I need cod liver oil?

Cod liver oil is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids and scientists are starting to discover its many benefits.

A study from Scotland*, has suggested just two teaspoons of cod liver oil a day may be sufficient to reduce arthritic pain. The essential fatty acids in the oil seem to block the action of an enzyme responsible for breaking down joint cartilage and for causing inflammation and pain.

The fatty acids in cod liver oil also prevent the blood from clotting too easily. Many experts believe cod liver oil can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of blood fat) and may also lower blood pressure.

Some people believe that applying cod liver oil to the skin can aid wound healing.

Other benefits include reducing the risk of ear infections in young children, and helping conditions such as glaucoma and an irregular heartbeat – more research is needed in all these areas.

There is also some suggestion that cod liver oil is protective against diabetes. Finnish researchers found that infants who were given cod liver oil were less likely to develop diabetes later in life. In a very recent study* (August 2013) experts have also found that fish oil can help reverse liver disease in infants.

Cod liver is a great source of vitamin D which plays an important role in keeping bones strong and healthy.

The amounts of cod liver that you need will depend on your aim. For lower cholesterol a dose of 30ml is recommended daily, for lower blood pressure or lower triglycerides a dose of 20ml is suitable.

Can cod liver oil ever be harmful?

Cod liver oil contains vitamins A and D so if you are giving your child supplements make sure they either get cod liver oil or supplements but not both as too much vitamin A can damage the liver and too much vitamin D can cause kidney damage.

For the same reason you should not take cod liver oil supplements when pregnant for fear of consuming too much vitamin A which can be harmful to your unborn baby.

As cod liver oil is believed to lower blood pressure you should check with a doctor before taking this if you are already on blood lowering medication. Because cod liver oil is thought to help thin the blood you should seek advice before taking cod liver oil supplements if you are taking blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin or aspirin.

In most cases cod liver is thought to be safe but at very high levels it might cause nausea and loose stools (poo). Other problems include bad breath, heartburn and nose bleeds.

Cod Liver Oil oral capsules

What is this medicine?

COD LIVER OIL (kod LIV er oil) is a dietary supplement. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Some products may have other nutrients. This product is not approved by the FDA for any medical uses. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

This supplement may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • diabetes

  • high blood pressure

  • high cholesterol

  • if you frequently drink alcohol containing drinks

  • kidney disease

  • liver disease

  • stomach problems

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to cod liver oil, fish, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. You can take it with or without food. Follow the directions on the product label or talk to your health care provider. Do not take more than the recommended amount.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • additional vitamin A or vitamin D

  • cholestyramine

  • colestipol

  • medicines for kidney disease or promoting bone health, like calcitriol or doxercalciferol

  • medicines that treat or prevent blood clots like warfarin

  • orlistat

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

See your doctor regularly. Tell all of your healthcare providers that you are taking this supplement.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

  • changes in vision

  • dark urine

  • skin rash

  • unusual bleeding or bruising

  • yellowing of the eyes or skin

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • bad breath

  • dry skin

  • headache

  • metallic taste

  • stomach upset

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature. Follow the product label. Protect from moisture. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

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Did Nanny really know best when she thrust that disgusting dose of cod-liver oil down her reluctant charge’s throat? And should modern-day nannies follow suit?

If they are after a quiet life, it could be worth trying. Cod-liver oil, and fish oil generally, contains a particular type of fat – docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA – which is otherwise found only in breast milk. Studies on hyperactive children have revealed that their levels of DHA are unusually low. They are also less likely than other children to have been breast- fed. Animal studies have shown that low DHA produces antisocial behaviour, and students have been shown to become less aggressive under stress when taking fish oil. Put these findings together, and force-feeding the stuff starts to seem quite reasonable, especially as it now comes in easy-to- swallow, fish-smell-free capsules.

In fact, fish oil is worth taking at any age because it confers an extraordinarily wide range of benefits. It protects against cardiovascular disease and helps to prevent auto-immune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, and allergies, including asthma. It helps to prevent thyroid disorder, period pains and depression, and there is even some evidence to suggest that it guards against certain cancers. The only bad effect discovered so far is that it slightly increases the risk of haemorrhage. All this medicinal benefit is thought to be conferred by DHA and one other fat, eicosapentanoic acid, or EPA. Both of them are omega-3 unsaturated fats (the name relates to the chemical structure of the molecule), and they make up about 25 per cent of the oil which can be squeezed from the flesh of cold-water fish. (Cod-liver oil contains proportionately less, but it has the bonus of vitamins A and D.) Omega-3 fats work in several ways. One effect is to damp down the inflammatory reaction of individual cells. This reduces pain and relieves symptoms of allergy and auto-immune disorders. They help prevent heart attacks by making blood more runny, lowering blood pressure and reducing the fatty sludge which gunges up arteries. They also help to stop a heart already damaged by an attack from going into a fatal spasm.

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You don’t need to take much omega-3 to benefit. Several large studies have shown that eating about two oily fish meals a week – or taking the equivalent in supplements – is enough to reduce the risk of a fatal heart attack by up to 50 per cent and to prevent death from all causes by 30 per cent. The best source of omega-3 oil is fresh fish. Mackerel, herrings, sardines, pilchards, salmon, anchovies and trout contain most; two small meals of any of these will set you up for the week. Tuna is good when it is fresh, dark and seared, but the pale, dry flesh you get in tins has lost most of its oil.

Other fish survive canning and freezing well, but boiling or over-cooking can take much of the goodness out.

If you can’t stand fish, supplements will do, providing they are taken before the use-by date. Once the oil is removed from the fish, it goes off quite quickly.

The optimum dose of omega-3 oil is thought to be about 800mg a day. It is difficult to overdose on fish oil – some people take more than 20 times that amount without problems – but in theory it could create a risk of haemorrhage. For that reason it is best avoided if you are already taking aspirin or Warfarin for a heart condition.

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