Cod-liver oil is obtained from fresh or frozen livers taken from Gadus morrhua L. and other Gadus species. A distinction is made between medicinal and veterinary cod liver oil, the differences lying, inter alia, in the colours of the oils.
Cod are found primarily in the waters that wash the coast of Norway, the Lofoten Archipelago, Spitzbergen and Iceland, as well as the Arctic coasts of Russia and Canada. However, the main fishing grounds lie off the Norwegian coast, the Lofoten Archipelago, Spitzbergen and Iceland. Oil is less important than fish-meat and is expressed or extracted from fresh or frozen livers. Cod can live for up to 20 years, grow to 1.3 m in length and weigh up to 40 kg.
The oil is a clear, oleaginous, highly fluid and bright to golden yellow (medicinal cod liver oil) or brown (veterinary cod liver oil) liquid, with a faint, characteristic fishy smell and taste. It is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, with 4-6 double bonds. Cod-liver oil also contains large amounts of vitamins A and D. In contrast, the oil only contains a relatively small amount of auto-oxidant vitamin E.
In view of the high polyunsaturated fatty acid content, cod liver oil is of particular importance in nutritional physiology. It is used for prevention and treatment of arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (despite the fact that they take such a high-calorie, lipid-rich diet, Inuit people hardly ever suffer from heart problems). In its therapeutic form, cod liver oil is used to treat vitamin A and D deficiency (prophylactically to protect from rickets). For oral consumption, cod liver oil often has flavourings and/or is administered in the form of cod liver oil emulsions.
In addition, cod-liver oil is used in ointment form for wound treatment. Another, totally different, area involves use in animal feedstuffs and in the specialist chemicals industry, where it is used as a drying agent in varnish and paint production. In these areas, it is mainly veterinary cod liver oil, rather than the medicinal form, that is used.
INCI Name: Gadi Iecur Oil