Health Guide

Cod liver oil

What is it?

Cod liver oil is a rich source of vitamins A and D. It contains several essential fatty acids. Cod liver oil is used as a nutritional supplement for healing burns, sores, ulcers, or other skin wounds. It is also taken for arthritis and to prevent heart disease.

Other names for cod liver oil include: fish oil.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have a history of depression, breast cancer, have pheochromocytoma, or ulcers
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much cod liver oil you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking cod liver oil. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.


  • Before taking cod liver oil, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor before taking cod liver oil (2)

Side Effects:

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hand, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, or rash.

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Nausea (3)


1. Anon: Fish Oil monograph. In: The Natural Pharmacist., Prima Communications; 2000.

2. Harris WS: Dietary fish oil and blood lipids. Curr Opin Lipidol 1996; 7:3-7.

3. Product Information: Cod liver oil. Nature's Bounty, Bohemia, NY, 2004.

Last Updated: 1/27/2017
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