How Much Cod Liver Oil to Take Is Best for You?

As a well-known supplement, cod liver oil is extracted from the liver of cod fish. This translucent yellow liquid has a bland taste and a fishy odor. It is rich in many nutrients such as vitamin A. It is beneficial for both adults and kids. So how much cod liver oil to consume to get maximum benefits? 

How Much Cod Liver Oil to Take

how much cod liver oil to take

Generally speaking, the recommended dose of this supplement is one to two teaspoons per day. One capsule of cod liver oil equals 1/8 teaspoon of it and 4 capsules are equal to ½ teaspoon. Ideally, the daily dose of cod liver oil should provide 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA combined).

The recommended daily dosage of cod liver oil is:

  • For kids age between 3 month-12 years: The recommended dose of cod liver oil for this age group is 1 teaspoon of regular variety or ½ teaspoon of vitamin enriched variety. The aim is to provide 5000 IU of vitamin A.
  • For kids and adults age over 12 years: The daily intake of this supplement should provide 10,000 IU of vitamin A. It can be obtained from two teaspoons of regular variety or one teaspoon of vitamin enriched variety.
  • For nursing mothers: For this group, 20,000 IU of vitamin A daily is recommended. And this amount can be obtained from four teaspoons of regular variety or two teaspoon of the high vitamin content variety.

How much cod liver oil to take depends on several factors such as age and physiological condition. It is better to talk with your doctor before taking it to make sure that you will be having the right dosage.


It is not safe to take large amounts of cod liver oil as this practice is not safe. Taking it in very large quantities can lead to nausea or an upset stomach. In rare cases it can interfere with the clotting mechanism, increasing the risk of bleeding. Excessive intake can also lead to high blood levels of vitamin D and vitamin A.

People with any serious medical condition like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, liver disease or kidney disease should avoid taking it. It is also not recommended during pregnancy. If you are allergic to fish or seafood, you should avoid taking this supplement as well.

How to Choose Cod Liver Oil

how much cod liver oil to take

Though it is important to know how much cod liver oil to take every day, another equally important thing is to choose the right type of cod liver oil. Consider the following points and do keep them in mind when you buy the supplement.

1.      Check for High Omega-3 Content

Cod liver oil contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. One teaspoon of it has 2894 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, 2502 mg of which is eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These two are the most important omega-3 fatty acids and provide many health benefits. When choosing a cod liver oil supplement, look for how much EPA and DHA one dose provides. It should typically be 450 mg per capsule.

2.      Look for Lower Vitamin A Content

Cod liver oil contains very large amounts of vitamin A. So be careful to select the variety which is low in vitamin A. Vitamin A gets stored in the body and excessive intake can lead to toxicity. Adults should not consume more than 10,000 IU of it per day. When taking cod liver oil supplements, decrease other foods and supplements that contain vitamin A.

3.      Avoid Oils with PCBs

When buying cod liver oil, be careful to select the type which does not contain any PCBs and is free of other contamination. PCBs is the polychlorinated biphenyl which is a harmful chemical. Some types or brands of cod liver oil may contain harmful substances such as mercury and can be dangerous. These can cause birth defects and can be carcinogenic. It is important to carefully read the label and select the purified and contamination-free version.

4.      Palatability Considerations

Some people find it hard to swallow cod liver oil and prefer capsules. The capsules are more expensive than the liquids but they are easy to digest and do not cause any stomach upsets or nausea. These are also easy to swallow. The only down side is that you need to take a couple of them to get the recommended daily allowance of omega-3 fatty acids.

Cod Liver Oil Health Benefits

How much cod liver oil to take? Now you know the answer. Let's have a look at some of its benefits.

  • It is an excellent source of vitamin A which plays a very important part in human metabolism. It is necessary for visual health, boosts the immune system and can prevent many skin conditions and infections.
  • It also contains a lot of vitamin D which is essential for strong bones.
  • The omega-3 fatty acids have a very strong anti-inflammatory property. They are helpful to control pain of arthritis. They are also very effective to control asthma and allergies, boost brain function and reduce stress. What's more, they offer considerable relief in bipolar disorder.
  • EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid. It is good for cardiovascular health and can decrease inflammation and reduce depression.
  • Another fatty acid present in cod liver oil is docosahexaenoic acid or DHA which nourishes the skin and is very good for eyesight.
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