When it comes to our skin and hair health, we are so busy looking for short-term, topical solutions. When there are skin issues or hair issues, we automatically run to a pharmacy to buy a topical cream or a special shampoo.
But, what we are treating are the symptoms of a deficient diet or an unhealthy lifestyle. We fail to realize or ignore that our external features reflect what we consume or ingest into the body. Getting healthy skin and hair should be tackled from within the body, changing our diet and nutrients that go into it.
After all, most of the building blocks of hair and skin are derived from nutrients in the diet, not from creams or shampoos applied externally.
Cod liver oil is fish oil that has been derived from the livers of cod fish. It is a very popular supplement and is available in capsule form. It is ideal for people who don’t have the chance to consume significant amounts of oily fish.
It was first popularized in the 17th century to treat ailments affecting bone health, such as rickets. This was because rickets is caused by a deficiency in Vitamin D.
The numerous benefits of Cod Liver on overall health
Cod liver is an exceptional dietary supplement that has high levels of essential nutrients like Omega-3, Vitamins A, and D. It is a supplement that can benefit overall health, by reducing the risk of numerous life-threatening diseases. For example, oily fish and fish supplements have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease because of the high Omega-3 (good fat) content. These fats act as antioxidants and reduce inflammation. Plaque build-up in atherosclerosis is caused by inflammation in the body.
One of the biggest benefits of cod liver oil is its role in the formation of neurons in the brain. This is why cod liver has been frequently lauded as a good supplement to improve cognitive health. There are numerous research studies that have shown how beneficial Omega-3 fats are in maintaining cognitive health and reducing the risk of conditions like Alzheimer’s.
Cod liver oil is also famous for having a very high Vitamin D content. Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient for bone development because it improves the absorption of calcium from the gut, and a deficiency can lead to diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis.
Nutrients in Cod Liver Oil
Before we try to understand how beneficial cod liver is to our skin and hair health, we need to know which nutrients are found in cod liver oil.
Cod liver is such a potent source of Vitamin A that consuming 1 tablespoon of it will give you 272% of the daily recommended value for Vitamin A
Oily fish and fish supplements such as cod liver oil capsules are one of the richest sources of bioavailable Vitamin D. One tablespoon of cod liver oil can deliver a whopping 340% of the daily recommended value for Vitamin D.
How cod liver oil can benefit skin health
If you’ve seen most topical skin care products lately, you most like came across the ingredient ‘retinol’. Retinol is basically Vitamin A, so instead of applying it topically, why not eat foods rich in Vitamin A?
Vitamin A plays a crucial role in the repair and growth process of new skin cells, which is what keeps your skin fresh and glowing. As people get older, the cell growth processes slow down which makes the skin look older and worn out. So, consuming foods or supplements that are rich in Vitamin A can help speed up the process. If Vitamin A skin creams cause irritation or other side effects, cod liver can be an effective alternative.
There are many factors that influence the ageing of skin, particularly the chemicals found in our environment and inflammation in our bodies. This another reason why cod liver oil is an excellent remedy for ageing skin. Cod liver oil not only has high levels of Vitamin A and D, but it also has excellent anti-inflammatory properties which can slow down the ageing of skin.
A diet rich in healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids is a must in maintaining healthy skin and hair. Omega-3 fatty acids help in maintaining the structure of your skin together, making it suppler and more elastic as you age. Specifically, it has been shown to help the phospholipid bilayer in the skin retain moisture more effectively.
The benefit of consuming cod live oil over plant-based oil for Omega-3 fats is that there are certain types of Omega-3 fats that cannot be made by our bodies and are only found in animal sources like fish. These are called EPA and DHA. Exposure to sunlight triggers certain enzymes to be released in the body leading to sun damage. These can be prevented by EPA causing the skin to look healthier and also increase the formation of collagen.
Collagen is what keeps your skin looking supple and elastic, and this breaks down as we age. So, either we need to ingest collagen from animal sources or consume nutrients that speed up the production of collagen by our own bodies.
How consumption of cod liver oil can improve skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis
Psoriasis is a condition triggered by the immune system in which there is an overgrowth of skin cells that pile up to form red patchy skin. There is some evidence to suggest that EPA found in cod liver oil with its anti-inflammatory properties can help control psoriasis. This is why some people like to apply cod liver oil topically as well as taking supplements.
Dermatitis is a collective term to describe skin conditions such as eczema that are caused by severe inflammation of the skin. Because cod liver oil is rich in antioxidant and has excellent anti-inflammatory properties, consuming cod liver oil can control these skin conditions.
There isn’t an extensive body of research that links cod liver oil with increased hair growth. However, there was a study done on mice which concluded that consumption of Vitamin D-3 can activate hair growth cycles in the mice. Inflammation is also a major cause of hair loss. So, consuming something with incredible anti-inflammatory properties like cod liver oil can reduce hair loss as well.