Cod Liver Oil for Kids – Benefits, Side Effects and How to Give

As parents, you try your best to give your kids a healthy and nutritious diet for optimal growth and development. However, sometimes due to various reasons your kid may not get sufficient amounts of particular nutrients through diet alone. Under such circumstances you may consider opting for various ways of providing nutrition to your kid and cod liver oil may be one such option that you may consider. If you are pondering over giving cod liver oil to your kid, you should read the following article.

What is Cod Liver Oil?

As the name suggests, cod liver oil is oil that is extracted from the liver of a codfish. This fish is usually available in the colder regions, and the most famous species are Pacific cod and Atlantic cod. Codfish is used for its meat all over the world, but it is more popular for its liver oil. According to the folklore, this oil has immense health benefits. Also according to various scientific researches, it has been proven that this oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A, Vitamin D amongst many other vital nutrients.

Nutritional Value of Cod Liver Oil

The following table shows, which all nutrition your child may get by consuming cod liver oil.

Nutrients Values
Monounsaturated fatty acids 2.100 g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids 1.100 g
Saturated fatty acids 1.010 g
Cholesterol 25 mg
Vitamin A 4,450 IU
Vitamin D 440 IU
Energy 40 calories

* The above mentioned are the approx values present in 4.5 grams or one teaspoon of cod liver oil.


Is it Safe to Give Cod Liver Oil to Children?

Cod liver oil has many health benefits for kids; however, you should only give this oil to your kid after it has been prescribed by your doctor. If your doctor feels the need, he may prescribe cod liver oil supplements to your child. Babies who are still on breast milk can derive its benefits if the mother takes cod liver oil.

Benefits of Cod Liver Oil for Kids

Wondering why you should give this miraculous oil to your child, here are some of the reasons that may explain it:

1. A Good Source Of Vitamin D

Cod liver oil is a good source of vitamin D, and regular usage may help in the proper development of bones in children.

2. Helps In Reducing The Risk Of Type 1 Diabetes

The cases of type 1 diabetes in children are on the rise. Various studies have indicated that early administration of this oil in kids may result in reducing the chances of type 1 diabetes in kids. The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids may either help in removing the onset or delay in type 1 diabetes in children.

3. Aids Proper Brain Development

The presence of omega-3 fatty acids in this oil is beneficial for the brain development of your child. It is also seen that if this oil is administered during infancy or the last trimester of pregnancy, it may play an important role in the optimal brain development of the baby.

4. Helps In Strengthening The Immune System

Young kids are more prone to falling sick during the changing seasons. This wondrous oil has various immunity boosting qualities and thus helps your kid’s body in fighting against various viral and bacterial infections by strengthening the immune system.

5. Helps In Treating Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

This oil has been proven to have immense benefits in reducing the risk of various upper respiratory tract infections. Therefore, kids who consumed cod liver oil regularly paid lesser visits to their doctor for the treatment of URT infections.

6. Beneficial For Eye-Health

Cod liver oil is extremely beneficial in maintaining good eye health of the kids. The substantial amount of vitamin A is not only good for a healthy vision, but the presence of anti-oxidants is also beneficial in reducing the risks of eye problems like glaucoma. The blood circulation to the eyes improves too, because of the presence of omega-3 fatty acids.

7. Keeps Depression At Bay

It is not only beneficial for the physical health, but cod liver oil is very helpful for improving the mental health too. It is observed that regular intake of this oil may reduce the chances of depression by 30 percent.

8. Beneficial In Treating Gastric Ulcers

This oil not only aids the prompt healing of the wounds but it is also beneficial in treating gastric ulcers.

Cod Liver Oil Dosages for Children

Here is the dosage of cod liver oil for babies and kids:

  • For Infants: You may give ¼ to ½ teaspoon of this oil on a regular basis to your baby.
  • For Older Children: You may give 1 to 2 teaspoons of cod liver oil to kid depending on his age and vitamin D requirements.

Side effects and Safety Concerns of Cod liver For Children

1. High Amounts Of Vitamin A

This oil is a rich source of vitamin A and consuming more than required amounts of vitamin A may lead to various health complications such as double vision, softening of the skull bones, pain in the bones, poor weight gain etc.

2. High Amounts Of Vitamin D

The substantial amounts of vitamin D in this oil may sometimes lead to various complications such as rapid heartbeat, dry skin, dry mouth, lack of urination etc.

3. May Cause Gastric Disturbance

Taking this oil supplement may sometimes lead to heartburn, nausea, stomach ache, bloating etc.

4. Weird Aftertaste

It has got a very peculiar taste and most children do not like it. It may leave a very weird aftertaste that may make your kid feel like vomiting.

5. It Has Anticoagulant Properties

This oil contains anticoagulant or blood-thinning properties, and it may cause the risk of bleeding.

6. Mercury Contamination

There is a risk of mercury contamination by giving this supplement to your kid.

Therefore, before you opt for giving this supplement to your kid, you should discuss all the pros and cons with your doctor.

How to Give Cod Liver Oil to A Child

As discussed in the above-section that cod liver oil has a very strong and peculiar aftertaste that your kid may not like, therefore you may administer this oil in the following ways to your kid.

1. Giving Cod Liver Oil to a Baby

Here are some ways of giving cod liver oil to babies:

  • You may take the required dosage of any cod liver oil such as seven seas cod liver oil for babies, in a syringe and pour the oil at the back of the mouth of your baby. This way your baby may not get the bad aftertaste because there are fewer taste buds at the back of the mouth.
  • Alternatively, you may mix the oil in the expressed breast milk or formula milk and give it to your baby.
  • You may use cod liver oil for baby massage

2. Giving Cod Liver Oil to Older Children

Here are some ways you can give cod liver oil to your older children:

  • If your child can take capsules, you may give him the capsules.
  • You may try chewable cod liver oil capsules for kids.
  • You may mix in some fruit juice or smoothie.
  • You may blend it in some maple syrup or honey.

Word of Caution

There are many upsides for cod liver oil for babies and kids. However, you should refrain from giving this oil supplement without the prescription of your doctor. This is because this oil contains high amounts of vitamin A and D, which may lead to various health complications in babies and children. Therefore, you should only give this supplement to your kid when your doctor feels that your kid requires it

Whether it is fermented cod liver oil or any other kind of cod liver oil that you wish to give to your kid, we recommend that you take your doctor’s permission before doing so.