Fish liver oil and Fish Oil, what’s the difference?

I am a naturopathic physician with nearly 20 years of experience developing breakthrough nutritional products.I also have extensive television and radio experience and have lectured widely to health professionals, the military and the public on all aspects of natural health.

Dr Myers, an expert who holds a doctorate in naturopathic medicine

Stephen Fry in my surgery during the making of the BBC TV program

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After graduating, I was recognised as being the 'best young neurosurgeon in Britain'

Fish Oil as the name suggests is oil that has been extracted from fish, particularly the oily fish such as Salmon, Tuna, Swordfish, Sardines, Herring, and Anchovies etc. These fish contain certain Omega 3 fatty acids such as EPA or Eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA or Docosahexaenoic acid that are so important for good health and which we are hearing so much about in the national press and other media.

Fish Liver Oil on the other hand, is Fish Oil that has been extracted from the liver of fish as opposed to the whole fish, Cod Liver Oil for example. Just like Fish Oil, Cod Liver Oil also contains the Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

Many people believe that Fish Oil and Cod Liver Oil are much and such the same so it won’t make any difference which one they take but this isn’t correct. In addition to the Omega 3 fatty acids Cod Liver Oil also contains quite significant amounts of Vitamins A and D which can be detrimental to health if taken in too high a quantity.

Vitamin A Toxicity and Cod Liver Oil

With Vitamin A in particular, it is not going to be too difficult to exceed the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) as Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin so it isn’t as easy for the body to dispose of any excess in the diet and so it can accumulate in the body. Vitamin C for example is water soluble so any excess can be eliminated fairly easily.

Too much Vitamin A can lead to a serious condition known as Hypervitaminosis A, or in other words Vitamin A toxicity. Symptoms of Vitamin A toxicity can include nausea, vomiting, anorexia, blurred vision, headaches, muscle pain, weakness, confusion, and in severe cases, hair loss, fever, anaemia, drying of the mucous membranes and even bone fractures. If you are concerned about Vitamin A toxicity or if you are pregnant or nursing or intending to become pregnant then it is best to avoid Cod Liver Oil as too much Vitamin A has also been linked to birth defects.

Pure EPA Fish Oil

Fish Oil doesn’t contain Vitamins A and D so vitamin toxicity isn’t a proble

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