Cod Liver Oil: Should I continue taking it?


A recent study showed that taking cod-liver oil supplements may have no benefits and indeed may be harmful. My husband and I, both in our seventies, have been taking cod-liver oil tablets for the past five years. We take regular exercise and have a good diet. Should we continue taking cod-liver oil?

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

Cod-liver oil contains omega-3 fatty acids and quite a lot of the fat-soluble vitamins A and D. There has recently been some publicity saying that omega-3 fatty acids may not be beneficial to health. In response, the British Heart Foundation says: "People should not stop consuming omega-3 fats or eating oily fish as a result of this study. Until now, medical research has demonstrated a benefit from omega-3 fats in protecting people from heart and circulatory disease. This systematic review of numerous studies concludes that there is no clear evidence either way. The current Food Standards Agency advice for most people is to consume no more than four portions of oily fish a week." I agree with this, and I can't think of any reason why you should stop taking cod-liver oil.

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to health@independent.co.uk. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.

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