cod-liver oil


cod-liver oil
/kod"liv'euhr/
a pale-yellow, fixed oil, extracted from the liver of the common cod or of allied species, used in medicine chiefly as a source of vitamins A and D.
[1605-15]

* * *

Oil obtained primarily from the liver of the Atlantic cod and related fish.

It is principally a mixture of the glycerides (see glycerol) of many fatty acids, but its minor constituents, the fat-soluble vitamin A and vitamin D, give it its importance. It was once used to treat and prevent rickets, but the widespread fortification of milk with vitamin D in the United States and Europe beginning in the 1930s eliminated rickets as a significant public health problem. It is still used as a remedy for joint pain caused by arthritis and as a preventive of cardiovascular disease, although these benefits have not been proven scientifically. It is also used in feeds for poultry and other animals.

* * *

      pale yellow oil obtained primarily from the liver of the Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, and other species of the family Gadidae. Cod-liver oil is a source of vitamins A (vitamin A) and D. It was widely used in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries to treat and prevent rickets, a disease characterized by defective bone growth that is caused by a lack of vitamin D. Widespread fortification of milk with vitamin D in the United States and Europe beginning in the 1930s eliminated rickets as a significant public health problem, and with that physicians stopped recommending the use of cod-liver oil. It is still sold in health food stores as a vitamin supplement, as a remedy for joint pain caused by arthritis, and as a preventive of cardiovascular disease—although these last benefits have not been proved scientifically. Cod-liver oil is also used in feeds for poultry and other animals.

      Chemically, cod-liver oil is a typical fish oil. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids (fatty acid), a valuable aspect in nutrition but one that makes it subject to oxidation, rancidification, and destruction of vitamin A when it is exposed to air. Cod-liver oil is a mixture of glycerides of many fatty acids, predominantly oleic acid, gadoleic acid, and palmitoleic acid. Both vitamin A and vitamin D toxicity can result from the consumption of large amounts of cod-liver oil.

      The chief countries producing cod-liver oil are Norway, Japan, Iceland, and Poland. Fresh cod livers are digested by steam, water, acid, or alkali to produce the oil. Medicinal grades are chilled, and congealed stearic acid and other fatty acids are filtered off.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cod liver oil — in gelatin capsules …   Wikipedia

  • Cod-liver oil — Cod liver Cod liv er, n. The liver of the common cod and allied species. [1913 Webster] {Cod liver oil}, an oil obtained from the liver of the codfish, and used extensively in medicine as a means of supplying the body with fat in cases of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cod-liver oil — n a pale yellow fatty oil obtained from the liver of the cod (Gadus morhua) and related fishes and used in medicine (as in the prophylaxis of rickets) chiefly as a source of vitamins A and D compare FISH LIVER OIL …   Medical dictionary

  • cod-liver oil — noun uncount a yellow oil made from the liver of COD. It is taken as a medicine because it contains a lot of VITAMINS …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • cod liver oil — ► NOUN ▪ oil pressed from the fresh liver of cod, which is rich in vitamins D and A …   English terms dictionary

  • cod-liver oil — [käd′liv΄ər] n. oil from the liver of the cod and related fishes, rich in vitamins A & D and used in vitamin supplements …   English World dictionary

  • cod-liver oil — n [U] a yellow oil from a fish that contains a lot of substances that are important for good health …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Cod-liver oil — (engl.), s.v.w. Lebertran …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • cod liver oil — noun an oil obtained from the livers of cod and similar fishes; taken orally as a source of vitamins A and D • Syn: ↑cod liver oil • Hypernyms: ↑animal oil • Hyponyms: ↑cod oil * * * ˌcod liver ˈoil [cod liver oil …   Useful english dictionary

  • cod-liver oil — also cod liver oil N UNCOUNT Cod liver oil is a thick yellow oil which is given as a medicine, especially to children, because it is full of vitamins A and D …   English dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.