Long before pharmaceutical companies, it was common for people to turn to natural remedies -- such as cod liver oil -- to alleviate their pains, illnesses and afflictions. But even today, some researchers are promoting this alternative to manufactured medicine because of its inexpensive cost and health advantages.
Some believe that cod liver oil can be used to soothe the aches and pains caused by arthritis. Typical arthritis treatments, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, also help to ease the throb of swollen joints, but extended use of these medications can put one at risk for heart disease and stroke. However, this hasn't been proven true with cod liver oil [source: Macrae].
In addition to helping reduce inflammation in joints, cod liver oil has been used to protect the brain from Alzheimer's disease and as an alternative treatment for cancer sufferers. There has been no verification that cod liver oil -- or fish oil of any source -- prevents, cures or treats these diseases, so you should always consult with your doctor(s) before starting a new supplement or dietary regimen [source: UC Berkeley].
With respect to type 1 diabetes, cod liver oil has been shown to potentially decrease the likelihood of developing the disease if taken within the first year of life [source: Stene]. Researchers compared cod liver oil to other types of vitamin D supplements to reach this conclusion. The study also examined whether or not cod liver oil had any impact when ingested by the mother during pregnancy, which it did not.
Next, we'll take a look at some of the possible side effects and negative aspects of this seafaring wonder.