Cod liver oil has been used for its nutritional values for centuries. A rich source of essential omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin D, it has been used to treat everything from liver disease to depression. But how could a regular intake of cod liver oil help keep your heart healthy?
1. Prevents blood clots
A clot in your artery can block the blood supply to your heart, starving it from oxygen. This is the most common cause of heart attacks and the risks increase with age. However, the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil could stop platelets in the blood from sticking together and reduce inflammation in the vessels. This could lower the risk of blood clots and help prevent heart attacks.
2. Regulates heartbeat
Your heart has an electrical impulse which keeps it beating. This is caused by cells known as myocytes and research suggests cod liver oil could help keep these cells healthy and functioning properly.
A study on rats revealed an intake of cod liver oil improved the health of isolated myocytes cells, indicating a regular dose of the supplement could help maintain a stable heartbeat and reduce the risks of dangerous irregular rhythms or abnormalities occurring.
3. Helps lower triglycerides
Cod liver oil has been shown to help regulate the triglycerides in your blood. Triglycerides are a form of fat in your blood which the body converts into energy. However, large amounts can have a detrimental effect on your health and could increase your risk of heart disease. A study at the Bernhard Nocht Institute in Hamburg showed unsaturated fatty acids in cod liver oil helped reduce levels of triglycerides.
4. Reduces cholesterol
Cholesterol is another fatty substance which your cells depend on to work properly, but high levels of cholesterol in your blood, which can be caused by eating too many saturated fats, could lead to cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Research into cod liver oil has shown the omega-3 it contains could help regulate the amount of cholesterol in your blood, stopping levels from becoming dangerously high.
5. Lowers risk of heart failure
Heart failure is different from a heart attack. While a heart attack happens when blood supply to the heart is blocked, heart failure occurs when the heart cannot effectively pump enough blood around your body. In Sweden, a study on middle aged men showed the omega 3 found in oily fish, similar to that found in cod liver oil, could help reduce the risk of heart failure.
It’s not just your heart that could benefit from cod liver oil. The supplement’s levels of vitamin D could strengthen bones and teeth, while vitamin A is important for vision. However, too much vitamin A can be harmful, particularly for pregnant women, so speak to your doctor about including cod liver oil in your diet.