Natural Health Products

Got Enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin D status among Canadians is dismal. It’s not surprising…the Great White North is not always a great place to get a suntan, a natural dose of vitamin D, eh?! However, the problems linked to not having enough vitamin D in your body is no joking matter: heart disease, glaucoma, the common cold and neurological conditions.

If the sun isn’t shining, an accessible source of vitamin D is cod liver oil. For centuries, the Vikings believed ingesting cod liver oil prevented them, from falling ill and gave them incredible strength. Hey, now - no giggling! Those beliefs may sound silly but, they are actually well founded. Cod liver oils has been shown in modern science to prevent the common cold (falling ill) and act as a powerful anti-inflammatory (incredible strength).

Let’s take a closer look at cod liver oil’s health benefits. Of note, cod liver oil is not just a source of vitamin D, it also contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A.

treatment for low vitamin d or deficiencyInfants
In Norway, when over 2000 babies were compared, researchers discovered the use of cod liver oil, or other vitamin D supplement, during the first year of life was linked to a reduced risk of type 1 diabetes.

At pediatric offices, doctors wondered if young children were given cod liver oil (omega-3s, vitamin A and D) and a multivitamin was there any impact on how often they suffered from upper respiratory tract infections (common cold). Taking these supplements decreased illness frequency by 36 - 58%.

A link may exist between low vitamin D intake during adolescent years and a greater risk of multiple sclerosis. Scientists suggest cod liver oil consumption, particularly in northern countries, is a good option for adolescents as a source of vitamin D.

Adequate vitamin D intake may influence the likelihood of some diseases: autoimmune, neurodegenerative, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer. How can this vitamin be involved in such a wide array of health conditions? Vitamin D plays a role in as basic cell functions, such as multiplication, differentiation and metabolism.

Older Adults
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of visual impairment and blindness. Nutrients that may help prevent glaucoma include vitamin D, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin A helps preserve normal vision as it plays a role in the maintenance of the eye’s structures. Omega-3 fatty acids improve pressure and blood flow in the eye. Vitamin D is needed for basic cell function, so it is no surprise that low vitamin D status was linked to a greater risk of glaucoma in a study involving over 123,000 participants. Conveniently, all of three of these nutrients are found in cod liver oil.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Dec;78(6):1128-34.
Use of cod liver oil during the first year of life is associated with lower risk of childhood-onset type 1 diabetes: a large, population-based, case-control study.

J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Dec;29(6):559-62.
Cod liver oil, young children, and upper respiratory tract infections.

Mult Scler. 2015 Dec; 21(14): 1856–1864.
Timing of use of cod liver oil, a vitamin D source, and multiple sclerosis risk: The EnvIMS study.

Orv Hetil. 2011 Feb 27;152(9):323-30.
Cod liver oil. A natural Vitamin D for preserving health.

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2008 May;47(5):665-9.
Cod liver oil (n-3 fatty acids) as an non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug sparing agent in rheumatoid arthritis.

Korean J Ophthalmol. 2016 Dec; 30(6): 426–433.
The Relationship between Vitamin D and Glaucoma: A Kangbuk Samsung Health Study.
Int J Ophthalmol. 2011; 4(6): 648–651.

Cod liver oil: a potential protective supplement for human glaucoma

Article Authored by Allison Tannis