Cod liver oil packs everything you need for a healthy winter!

Generations of Canadians vividly recall hiding from their mothers and grandmothers as the nasty daily dose of cod liver oil was put on a spoon during winter months. Thankfully, we’ve learned a few things since those days:

1. Cod liver oil doesn’t have to taste bad. Starting with the right cod liver oil is the key to a great-tasting supplement. Using premium Norwegian-sourced cod, cleaned by molecular distillation helps to remove unpleasant odours and tastes. Then, by adding a natural lemon flavour to the high quality oil, the cod liver oil experience can be a very pleasant-tasting one.

2. Our mothers were right all along – cod liver oil is the supreme winter supplement! Cod Liver Oil contains three important nutrients that can help us through the winter season: Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin D.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Cod liver oil contains EPA and DHA, the two most important omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s are well-known for supporting cardiovascular health and cognitive health.  They also have many winter-specific benefits:

•    Mood balance – Canadian winters are long and have few hours of sunshine. Canadian winters are cold and keep people inside for extended periods of time. These conditions are a recipe for the “winter blues” where sufferers feel lethargic, sleep excessively and may experience depression. This phenomenon is recognized as a disorder called seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, can help support the maintenance of a more balanced mood.1

•    Joint pain – Cold winter weather can increase the intensity of joint pain in those with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties and in amounts of 3000 mg per day, can reduce joint pain in conjunction with conventional therapies.2

•    Dry skin – During the winter season, many Canadians experience dry, itchy skin due to the lower environmental humidity. Skin can become rough, flaky and even cracked, causing discomfort. The omega-3 EPA helps to reduce inflammation and replenish dry skin. Omega-3s have even been studied for helping to reduce symptoms of the skin condition psoriasis.3

Vitamin A: The vitamin A in cod liver oil helps to support the immune system during winter months. It is scientifically-proven that Vitamin A helps to prevent infection. Vitamin A cleans mucosal tissues working with T and B cells and cytokines. Insufficient levels of vitamin A have been linked with lowered immunity and increased risk of infection. Cod liver oil contains sufficient levels of vitamin A to support immune health.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is the single-most important nutrient for Canadian winters. We generally get the Vitamin D we need from the sun’s rays, which give Vitamin D its nickname as the “Sunshine Vitamin.” Unfortunately, Canada is a northern country with very limited amounts of sunshine during winter months. Health experts believe as many as 80% of Canadians do not get enough Vitamin D during the winter months from October to March.4 Quoted in the Globe & Mail, Dr. Rohan Gunasingham stated, "Starting from now [October], if you are in Toronto, you can forget it. You will not make any vitamin D even if you go and stand outside without any clothes.”5

Vitamin D is well known for general health maintenance and for its support of bone health through its ability to increase calcium absorption. Vitamin D may help to combat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Some studies have shown Vitamin D supplementation to be more effective than light therapy in reducing seasonal depression symptoms.6 Low vitamin D levels have also been cited as reducing immunity and increasing daytime sleepiness, two issues often associated with a long winter.7,8

Cod liver oil is a good source of vitamin D. Look for one that can provide you with the required 1000 IU per day.

As a rich source of omega-3’s and vitamins A & D, cod liver oil is clearly the supreme winter supplement.

REFERENCES

1.    “Fish Oil” (Monograph). Natural Health Products Directorate. Health Canada. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca
2.    “Fish Oil” (Monograph). Natural Health Products Directorate. Health Canada. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca
3.    Vanderhaeghe, Lorna R., Karlene Karst. “Healthy Fats for Life.” Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd. Page 125.
4.    “Winter robs Canadians of essential Vitamin D”, www.ctv.ca, Oct. 16, 2006
5.    Mittlestaedt, Martin “Get your sunshine vitamins,” Globe & Mail, Oct. 14, 2006.
6.    Gloth FM 3rd, Alam W, Hollis B, “Vitamin D vs broad spectrum phototherapy in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder.” The Department of Medicine, The Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland 21218-2895, USA. J Nutr Health Aging 1999; 3(1):5-7.
7.    Daniells, Stephen, “Vitamin D’s immune benefits: Cold, flu and beyond”, Nutra-Ingredients.com Oct. 18, 2012.
8.    Gray, Nathan, “Significant link between daytime sleepiness and  low vitamin D” Nutra-Ingredients.com Oct. 18, 2012.