Cod Liver Oil: Benefits, Dosage & Side Effects


As the name suggests, cod liver oil is derived from the liver of cod fish. The high levels of unsaturated fatty acids present in oily fish are essential for a number of physiological functions. They are also rarely found in concentrated amounts in many other food sources.

We can consume enough essential fatty acids from our diet by eating fish regularly- but most of us don’t eat enough fulfil our requirements. This is where supplementation to support our dietary intake can be beneficial.


The benefits of cod liver oil as a source of essential fatty acids lies in the types of unsaturated fatty acids it contains. There are two main types of essential dietary fatty acids, omega-6 and omega-3. Omega-6 is found in many foods we typically eat, including grains, nuts, seeds, meat and dairy, however omega-3 is found in a much smaller variety of foods including oily fish and certain nuts and seeds.

It is not just the amount of omega-3 we consume that’s important, but also the type of omega-3. This is where plant-based sources can be limited. The three main types of omega-3 found in foods are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha linolenic acid (ALA). EPA and DHA are found in fish oils and ALA is the form found in large amounts in seeds such as chia and flax.

Although ALA is considered an essential and healthy fatty acid, it is EPA and DHA that have some serious ‘weight’ when it comes to promoting health and even potential performance boosting benefits. ALA can be converted into EPA and DHA, however only around 10-20% of ALA is synthesised to EPA and 1-9% of DHA.


1.) Omega-3s are essential because they play a number of important roles in the body. They act as cell signallers controlling processes such as inflammation and are incorporated into our cells to improve their structure and function.

2.) Omega-3 has been shown to modulate blood fat levels, and due to its anti-inflammatory effects has been effective in reducing inflammation in conditions such as arthritis, joint injury and even post-exercise muscle damage.

3.) Many diseases have an inflammatory component, some that we might not expect such as Alzheimer’s and even depression. This means a diet rich in fish oils might help reduce risk of these types of diseases. Due to its cognitive benefits fish oils are often categorised as ‘nootropic’ helping to boost mental performance.

4.) It is for these reasons that consuming enough omega-3 in the diet, especially EPA and DHA, has been associated with better arterial health, improved blood profiles and even improvements in mental and physical health and performance.


The dose that you take is typically dependent on two factors; how much oily fish are you consuming on a weekly basis and the reason that you have chosen to use fish oils.

If you’re taking this supplement for general health, around 1000mg of fish oils per day, containing 250mg of EPA and DHA, is often recommended and this can easily be obtained from around 100g of oily fish like salmon per day.

However, for those who don’t eat much fish, or don’t eat fish at all, then taking 1000-2000mg of fish oil per day is a more effective dose.

There is a suggestion that for those with muscle soreness or inflammation from injury that taking higher doses of up to 6000mg per day, split over three doses of 2000mg, might help reduce soreness and promote recovery. A recent study even showed high dose omega-3 supplementation might help support muscle growth.


For a pure cod liver oil supplement, our Cod Liver Oil softgels contain 1000mg of cod liver oil, including 80mg EPA and 110mg DHA, and 100% EU RDA of vitamin D and vitamin A.

For a blend of fish oils, browse our range of Omega 3 Supplements. This includes our top-selling Omega 3 Fish Oil softgels, sourced from cold water fish including tuna, mackerel, trout, salmon and halibut. This supplement contains 1000mg of omega-3, 180mg EPA and 120mg DHA per softgel. As a bonus, our Omega 3 Fish Oil softgels also contain vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin E also helps to protect the oil from oxidation or spoiling, ensuring your omega-3 is of premium quality and stays that way.


When using fish oil, it is important to store them out of direct sunlight and out of heat as this can cause the fatty acids to oxidise and fish oil to become rancid. This can impact the effectiveness of your fish oils, so keeping them in the fridge is probably a good idea!


We always recommend that you discuss with your healthcare practitioner to find out what’s right for you.

The only concern for many people is fishy burps/breath! We get it, that is not a pleasant experience for you or those around you. Simply consume your fish oils with other meals or food to avoid.


Omega- 3’s are essential forms of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are, alongside omega-6, essential nutrients for our health. The roles that omega-3 play in the body are diverse, and EPA and DHA are big players, impacting on many of the body’s systems; from controlling inflammation to brain function and even promoting muscle growth. Yet despite these important roles many people fall short of daily recommended intakes… especially those who do not regularly eat oily fish.

Fish oil supplements, including Cod liver oil, are therefore an effective way to meet daily omega-3 needs. 

Related articles

Eager to learn more? We believe that every person, with support, has the right to transform their lives through fitness. That’s why we’ve put together hundreds of articles with expert advice, all to help you on your fitness journey. From building muscle mass to the best vitamins for tiredness, check out our relevant articles below:

Alcohol and muscle growth                           Deadlifts hurting lower back
Exercises for elbow pain                                Supplements that help with sleep
How to stop hip pain when squatting          Vitamins for energy and tiredness
Best Vitamins for tiredness                           Guide to building muscle mass
Scientifically proven supplements                Best supplements for muscle growth


Did you enjoy this article?

Thank you for your feedback