Best Cod Liver Oil Reviewed
Who’s ready for some tasty cod liver oil?
If you can get past the fact that it is the oil from the liver of a cod, it actually has some amazing benefits! Taking this supplement each and every day benefits your heart, your brain, and your joints.
Cod is special because it is packed with omega-3 fatty acids which may help reduce inflammation if you’ve been overtraining. It is also packed with Vitamin A and Vitamin D, which help promote bone health, eye function, and reduced joint pain as well.
If you want to add a little boost of nutrients into your diet to help reduce stress and anxiety and reduce pain in your tired joints, a dash a cod liver oil in the morning is a perfect solution. In this guide, we have selected some of our favorite options to get your feeling at your fighting best!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 8 hrs of research
Easy to take
Best Cod Liver Oil
Easy to take
Low Vitamin A
What we liked most about this cod liver oil from Carlson is that it has all of the benefits that you would want without tasting like a fish! It is sourced from wild Norwegian cod, and it isn’t filled with any unnecessary additives or dyes. Simplicity is key when it comes to this formula from Carlson.Read more
What we liked most about this formula is that is pretty simple, but it also doesn’t taste like fish. The ingredients in this bottle are 100 percent oil that is harvested from the liver or wild-caught Norwegian cod, with the addition of lemon flavoring. Previous users found that this formula tastes more like lemon than it does fish.
Another thing that we really liked about this formula us that you know that it is fresh. After the oil has been harvested, it is never subjected to heat, solvents, or moisture. By following these very strict guidelines in their packaging and harvesting facility, you know that every bottle is safe to take each and every day.
For those in the market for oil that comes from a trusted source that is handled with care, this is one of your best options. Users love that one serving is a single teaspoon, and it won’t leave an unpleasant fish taste in your mouth after ingesting.
2. Green Pastures Blue Ice
Easy to take
Slight fishy smell
Not keen on taking a teaspoon of oil to start your day? If that’s the case you may prefer this option from Green Pastures Blue Ice. It comes in a capsule form that is easy to take at the beginning of your day. Plus, this formula is combined with orange flavoring to mask the taste of the fish.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this option is that it comes in capsule form. The great news about the capsule is that it doesn’t use gelatin. Instead, it uses plant cellulose and unleached beeswax as a coating that very slowly dissolves in your stomach. The addition of the orange flavoring means you won’t taste the fish as it starts to dissolve.
Another thing that we liked about this option is that instead of placing an expiration date on the bottle, it provides that manufacture date. The last thing that you want is fish oil that has gone bad! By providing the date that your product has been bottled, you can determine if it is fresh enough for you.
For those in the market for something that has a high dosage of omega-3 fatty acid, Vitamin A and Vitamin D3, this option from Green Pastures is worth checking out. It is taken in capsule form that is blended with orange flavoring, so your taste buds will be none the wiser!
3. Nordic Naturals
No artificial flavors
What is most notable about this option from Nordic Naturals is that they are present in each and every step of the production line. They oversee the catching of the fish and stick around all the way until it lands inside of the bottle. We also liked that this blend uses only natural flavoring and preservatives as well.Read more
One of the first things that we noticed about this option is that the fish is wild-caught from incredibly fresh arctic waters. Nordic Naturals is passionate about sourcing their fish by means that will not negatively impact important ocean ecosystems, so you can feel good about the production means of this product.
We also liked that the ingredients are all-natural. It is free of gluten, dairy, harsh preservatives or artificial colors. This fish flavor is masked by added natural lemon flavoring to the oil, which many users find does a great job as masking the taste. We also liked that it uses rosemary extract as a natural preservative.
If you are in the market for something that is all-natural and uses wild-caught arctic cod from freshwaters, this is an excellent choice. Users love that is has a fresh and pleasant taste, and we loved that it is free of any harsh preservative or artificial flavors.
4. Puritans Pride
Easy to take
This cod liver oil from Puritans Pride is perfect for those that prefer capsules over straight oil. What we loved about this formula is that it is free of any artificial additives. Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to this formula. It is even free of flavoring- which could be a dealbreaker for some.Read more
What we liked most about this option is that it is composed of 100 percent oil. There aren’t any additives in these capsules, which excludes natural preservatives or even natural flavoring. This means that while it is a pure and clear formula, it may leave a bit of a fishy aftertaste in your stomach.
Users like that this supplement is taken in a capsule form. To take, simply swallow 1 capsule at mealtime. By taking it with food, it offsets the unpleasant taste and it also helps it absorb quickly into your system. The capsules are simply made up of a blend of gelatin, vegetable glycerine, and corn oil.
For those in the market for something that is simple that isn’t bogged down with extra ingredients, this option from Puritans Pride is worth checking out. While it may leave a bit of a fishy taste in your mouth, it is free from additives and unnecessary ingredients.
Difficult to swallow
Cod liver oil has been a natural remedy that has been used for thousands of years. What makes this blend so special is that it uses the same processing techniques that were used centuries ago to ensure that the oil is pure and fresh. This Icelandic cod hails from some of the freshest oceans found on planet Earth.Read more
What we loved most about this option from Dropi is that it uses incredibly fresh cod. This product is manufactured in a small Icelandic fishing village, which means you can feel good about the origins of the cod. It is cold processed to protect the integrity of the nutrients found within the oil, and it doesn’t add any unnecessary ingredients.
Users also love that it comes in capsule form. Due to the fact that it doesn’t add any unnecessary fillers or ingredients, it means that the color of the oil changes from bottle to bottle. One bottle may be lighter than the next bottle. This demonstrates that nothing is ever added or extracted from the purity of the ingredients.
If you are in the market for something that is incredibly easy to take as well as simple, this is an excellent option. You can feel good that the fish caught hail from clean oceans, and none of the vitamins and nutrients are lost in the production process.
6. Garden of Life
Poor bottle design
What we liked most about this option from Garden of Life is that it has a flavor that is just a little bit different from all of the other brands out there on the market. Garden of Life is a highly trusted brand in the supplement world, so you can expect high-quality ingredients that you can feel good about taking.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this option is that it is offered in a lemon-mint flavor. What makes the pairing of lemon and mint perfect is that these two flavors are powerful on their own so that they are great at attempting to combat a strong fishy flavor.
To take this supplement, place one teaspoon into your morning protein supplement for a little bit of an added boost. Or, simply plug your nose and knock one back! Many users feel that the inclusion of lemon and peppermint make this design one of the easiest options to add to your diet each and every day.
For those in the market for something that users high-quality Icelandic cod that is infused with potent flavors that work to mask harsh odors and tastes, this option is worth checking out.
7. Sonne's No. 5
Sonne's No. 5 (not to be mistaken for Chanel No 5!) looks like something that hails from an old-timey 1920’s pharmacy. Just like many products from the 1920s, there are virtually no additional additives, preservatives, or unwanted additional ingredients in this formula. If you want something that is simple, this is worth checking out.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this option from Sonne's No. 5 is that it contains 100 percent Norwegian cod liver oil and nothing else. While many companies pack additional ingredients or preservatives into the formula, this is 100 percent the real thing. Due to the fact that it doesn’t contain any preservatives, it is important to store it in the refrigerator after opening.
To take this supplement, place one teaspoon into your morning smoothie. It is important that you pack that smoothie with some pretty powerful fruits and veggies because this formula is a tad on the fishy side. This means that taking it on an empty stomach is a pretty bad idea.
If you are in the market for something that is simple and to the point, this option from Sonne's No. 5 is perfect for your needs. It has all of the added benefits that come from cod, without the use of preservatives or artificial flavoring.
8. Jigsaw Health
Difficult to swallow
Want something that you can feel good about taking? What we liked most about this option from Jigsaw Health is that is is made from cod that tested for quality and come from trusted sources. Plus, this option comes in a capsule form which makes it a little bit easier to take over other options out there on the market.Read more
The thing that users like most about this option are that it comes in capsule form. Each capsule has a low dosage of oil per serving, so it makes it easier to build up to a full dosage if you happen to have a sensitive stomach. However, some users feel that these pills are rather large to swallow.
One serving consists of three capsules, so you need to make sure that you take them on a full stomach! To reduce the risk of unwanted side effects such as an upset stomach or heartburn, be sure that you start off slowly with one capsule and work your way up to the full 3.
For those in the market for something that comes in a lower dosage capsule form that allows you to adjust the dosage amount if you happen to have a sensitive stomach. It is important to note, however, that there are some users that feel this pill is a little on the large side and may be difficult to swallow.
9. Spring Valley
Easy to swallow
Spring Valley is one of the more trusted names in the supplement and vitamins world, so it is no wonder they are making an appearance on our list. What we liked most about this option is that it boasts a simple and effective formula, and it is incredibly easy to take.Read more
The thing that users love most about this option is that the capsules slip right past your unsuspecting tastebuds and down into your stomach. The capsules are relatively small compared to other options out there on the market, which makes them easier to swallow.
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to the contents of these gel capsules. Inside you will find 100 percent oil without any extra ingredients or preservatives. The gel capsule is made from non-bovine gelatin, glycerin, and water.
For those in the market for something that comes from a trusted brand, this is a great option. The capsules are smaller than most which makes them a little easier to swallow and come in a bottle that will last a few months of daily use.
Very small bottle
This option from Rosita is incredibly pure and simple, and it comes from cod that has never been exposed to any heat sources. This bottle will cost you quite a bit more than other options out there on the market, but it is well worth it considering the care that went into the ingredients found inside of this bottle.Read more
What we liked most about this option is that it is made from 100 percent wild-caught Norwegian cod. There is a boat that is owned by Rosita that casts a line out into the ocean and catches the cod that is put inside of this bottle! That means you can feel good about the ingredients that you put inside of your body.
We also like that the oil is completely raw and never exposed to may type of heat source. What this means for the oil is that it doesn’t lose any of its essential vitamins and nutrients during the production process. The cod or any of the process tools have never been exposed to any harsh chemicals as well.
If you are in the market for something that is raw and wild and uncomplicated, this option from Rosita is a great choice. It is important to keep in mind that it may cost you a little extra, but it is well worth it to feel confident about where these ingredients came from and how they were handled.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
We wanted to make sure that we selected products that hit your daily recommended intake with a single dose.
There were a few things that we kept in mind to make sure that each does was potent enough that it would meet your needs, but not so fishy that it would be hard to take each and every day.
The nutritional label on each bottle tells you everything that you need to know about what is inside of the bottle. We made sure that the level of oil in each bottle was at least 250 mg per serving. Experts found that a mere 250 mg is adequate for your daily needs, but many of these supplements offer around 1,000 mg per serving.
It is important to note that while 1,000 mg may seem like a lot, it is about ⅓ of what your body can process in a single day. The human body can process about 3,000 mg of omega-3’s per day, so we wanted to ensure that the products that we selected were above 250 mg, but not over 3,000.
If you take a energy supplement every morning to hit all of your vitamin needs, there is no need to worry about Vitamin A and Vitamin D content in these supplements. In most cases, the Vitamin content in these products ranges from about 5-25 percent of your daily recommended dosage. This means you can continue to take your daily vitamin supplement without worry.
When it comes to potency, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you should never go above the recommended dosage. These products are designed to hit your daily needed intake with a single serving. If you go above this dosage, you run the risk of encountering some nasty side effects that we will go into a little bit later.
Ease of Use
Fish oil can smell pretty ripe and unappetizing, so we wanted to select products that were a little bit easy to take.
If you find that your supplements leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth that follows you around throughout the day, it means it is likely to be because you took in on an empty stomach. There are a few different methods of ingesting that we will get into, and the pros and cons of each method.
Capsules are one of the more popular methods because the gel capsule slips right past your tastebuds! This method is one of the more common ways to take this supplement because it is a lot more palatable and easier to take.
The downside of capsules is that they tend to be a little large, which may make them difficult to swallow for some. Plus, due to the fact that these are resealed into your system slowly over the course of the day, it is important that you take them with a full meal and glass of water.
Simple oils are another method, and one of the original ways our ancestors took their supplements. What makes oils ideal is that you can simply add a meager teaspoon to your morning smoothie or toss it into your shaker bottle for those that don’t like to swallow large pills.
The downside to using basic oils is that it hits all the tastebuds on your tongue before landing in your stomach. That means that if you don’t pair it with powerful flavors in your smoothie, it will be pretty terrible going down the hatch!
When it comes to fish, quality matters!
When you sit down at a restaurant, you want to make sure that the fish that you are eating is fresh and derived from ethical sources. This same principle applies to your supplements as well! We wanted to make sure that we selected brands that use quality cod that you can feel good about taking.
One of the very first things that we looked at when deciding upon a product is where the fish comes from. Ideally, we looked out for wild-caught cod because it means that it is free from chemicals and additives that come from the farm food that they eat. When you ingest wild-caught cod, you are also ingesting all of the food that they ate from the water where they live.
We also liked to select products that were considered to be non-GMO and free of additives and fillers. There are a few brands that add unnecessary ingredients such as artificial dyes to make the color look more appealing. We wanted to keep our eye on products that had very simple ingredients labels. The fewer ingredients, the better it is for you.
To add to the shelflife, some companies like to add preservatives so that they will last longer. While we don’t think that there is anything wrong with this, we make sure to select products that use natural preservatives. The most popular material preservative that is used by most companies is rosemary extract. This extract not only extends the shelflife, but it also has extra anti-inflammatory properties as well.
When we talk about the materials, we are talking about all of the ingredients that are found inside of the bottle.
Of course, the main ingredient in each and every option that we selected is cod liver oil. However, it is important to keep an eye on additional ingredients that are found within each and every bottle. Below, we will go into a little bit of detail about the extra ingredients found in each formula.
Additional flavor: At the end of the day, this formula will taste and smell like fish. There is simply no way to sugar coat it. However, there are some ingredients that companies slip into their formulas to help offset the taste of fish- if only a little bit.
Citrusy fruits that have a high acid content are great at cutting through the taste and smell of fish. We liked blends that included citrus fruits such as lemon or orange to cut through the fishy smell. It is important to keep in mind that there is nothing that will eliminate the fishy smell completely, but it will help make it a little more palatable.
Gelatin capsules: If you are vegan it is unlikely that you are taking this oil in the first place. However, it is important to note that gelatin capsules are made by boiling all of the inedible parts of a cow to form this colorless and odorless substance. Some users are a little off-put by ingesting gelatin.
If you don’t like the idea of gelatin capsules, there are some options out there on the market that replace gelatin and replace it with vegetable glycerine. Another option for those that do not want to swallow a gel capsule is to opt for the simple oil formulas. This makes it easy to pop into your morning smoothie or stir into your cup of coffee.
We would be remiss if we didn’t talk about some of the potential side effects.
If you ensure that you only take the recommended dosage as listed on the bottle, potential side effects are incredibly mild. Some users experience issues such as bad breath, belching, nausea, and an upset stomach.
These minor side effects may just be your body adjusting to the potency of the oil, and the good news is that there are ways to offset these minor issues. One of the first mistakes that users often do is to take this supplement on an empty stomach.
If you take fishy-tasting oil when there is nothing else in your stomach, your mouth is bound to taste life fish. If you want your coworkers to leave you alone during the day, then we recommend this method.
However, taking it on an empty stomach also increases the risk of heartburn and upset stomachs. Be sure that you take your daily dosage (and nothing more) when you sit down for a nice big meal. Having a full glass of water doesn’t hurt, either!
If you go over the daily recommended dosage, some of the side effects can be a bit more serious. Due to the fact that this cuts down on inflammation, overuse may impede your body’s natural ability to develop blood clots. This means that if you cut yourself, your body will have a hard time to create a scab that stops the bleeding.
Before you go to add any type of supplement to your diet, it is always in your best interest to consult your doctor first if you have any questions. The next time you head in for a check-up, be sure to list off all of the supplements that you are taking to ensure that they will have positive benefits on your health and that they do not interfere with any of your allergies or existing medications.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Even though your vision is perfect right now, your perfect eyesight may begin to fade as you age. While we take a lot of care of our skin, face, heart, and brain- we often forget about our eyes! Adding omega-3’s into your diet is a great way to decrease age-related macular degeneration, as well as help prevent cataracts.
We don’t know why our ancestors decided to drink this foul-smelling oil, but we are sure glad they did! In the early years of medicine, Hippocrates used dolphin oil to treat patients, and it is believed to be the reason why doctors began to use the oil from various types of fish to treat various types of bone diseases and illnesses.
If you are have been hitting the gym pretty hard and your body has been paying the price, a daily dose of this supplement may help you get back on your feet faster. The omega-3’s found in this supplement have been proven to reduce pain and swelling in your joints as well as your muscles.
Other Factors to Consider
No one said that staying healthy was easy! We realized that taking something that smells fishy isn’t ideal, but trust us- the benefits are worth it! This special fish oil has been used for thousands of years to boost overall health, and fermented cod liver oil was used by the Romans to boost health and longevity!
Today, the recipes have changed quite a bit to make this supplement a lot easier to take on a daily basis. With the inclusion of natural fruit extracts such as lemon and orange, it doesn’t quite have the pungent stench it has centuries ago. Plus, taking it by capsule means that it bypasses your tastebuds completely!
We suggest adding this supplement to your morning protein shake, or even adding it to your green tea before going to bed. Not only will it help boost bone and joint help, but it also works to reduce inflammation after a long day fo training at the gym!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why do I need to take cod liver oil?
The powerhouse ingredient in this oil is the omega-3’s, which can be found in the foods that you eat. However, most users aren’t getting the adequate level of this fatty acid because the foods that they are found in aren’t at the top of anyone’s menu.
Naturally occurring omega-3’s can be found in nuts and seeds such as flaxseed and chia seeds, as well as many other fortified foods such as eggs and yogurt. While adding these to your diet may prove to be beneficial, it is hard to gauge whether you are getting the right dosage through diet alone.
In addition to those essential omega-3’s, this supplement also has your daily recommended dosage of Vitamin A and Vitamin D as well. Vitamin A works to support bone health, and Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and helps reduce stress and anxiety.
Adding a singular teaspoon to your morning protein smoothie before heading out the door ensures that you get the right dosage each and every day.
q: What’s the difference between cod liver oil and fish oil?
They may sound like they are the same thing, but there are quite a few differences that make cod stand out from the rest of the fish pack.
Fish oil and cod oil both have similar benefits for your heart, brain, and joints. However, the omega-3 fatty acids that are found in cod make this nutritional powerhouse stand out from the crowd.
A proper dose of omega-3’s can help fight symptoms of depression and anxiety in some instances. It also helps promote eye health, and even help eliminate some of the risk factors that lead to heart disease.
Fish oil is like eating a healthy salad that is composed of iceberg lettuce and some veggies. Cod liver oil is like eating a healthy salad made up of rich leafy greens with a ton of veggies. It may cost a little bit more than fish oil, but the benefits of these supplements are well worth the additional cost!
q: What are the benefits of cold-processed oil?
You may have noticed that many of the options out there on the market claim to be cold-processed. So, what exactly are the benefits of oil being manufactured in this way?
Think of cooking vegetables. To get the most vitamins and nutrients out of your veggies, it is best to eat them raw. The moment that you subject them to heat, you lose some of their nutritional power. All is not lost when cooked, but they become a little less potent.
The same principle applies when you process this oil. When you subject the oil to a heat source, some of the vitamins and nutrients are lost. Many companies add additional vitamins into their blends to compensate for this loss. This simply means that your oil is just a little less potent than those that are cold-processed.
Be sure to look out on the label to see if the product that you selected is cold processed. This means that the ingredients inside of the bottle are more potent than those that use high heat. Heated options still contain all of the same benefits, but many of the vitamins are added afterward.
q: Does it taste fishy?
We won’t lie to you- these supplements don’t smell like roses. Many companies out there on the market work to try and offset the unpleasant taste. Powerful flavors such as lemon or orange are great as masking that patented fishy taste and smell.
There are many users that find that including these flavors help to mask the smell and taste to a certain degree, but it doesn’t mask it completely. If you select a product that has a lemon flavor and you are prepared for it to taste like lemonade- you are in for a surprise!
The good news is that there are a few ways to work around that bad taste. The first way is to op for a simple capsule. Encasing the oil in a capsule skips past your tastebuds completely before it lands in your stomach. It is important to note that these should be taken with a full meal. If you don’t, your mouth will taste like you just got back from an all-you-can-eat fish fry all morning!
Another way to side-step the taste is to mix it in with your morning smoothie. Once you add all of your leafy greens, fruits, and additional powders and supplements, you won’t even taste a singular teaspoon of oil!
q: What are some of the side effects?
The side effects of taking these supplements are generally pretty mild, as long as you take the proper dosage per day. Some of the listed side effects include things like bad breath, belching, heartburn, upset stomach, and nausea.
There are a few ways to limit these side effects, however. The most important thing to keep in mind is to make sure that you take them with plenty of food and water. These side effects often occur when taken on an empty stomach. Be sure that you eat a full meal so that if you do end up burping throughout the day, it tastes like your breakfast!
Some of the more serious side effects occur when you take over the recommended dosage. Due to the fact that this serves as a blood thinner to reduce painful inflammation, high dosages decreases your body’s ability to produce blood clots.
To stay safe, never go above the daily recommended dosage. As always, if you have any concerns before taking any type of supplements, it is best to consult with your doctor first!