What Are the Side Effects of Taking Cod Liver Oil?

Cod liver oil is a popular supplement that is known for its numerous health benefits. It is derived from the liver of cod fish and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and D, and other essential nutrients.

While it may offer a plethora of benefits, taking cod liver oil may also come with some side effects. In this article, we will discuss the possible side effects of taking cod liver oil.

1. Vitamin A toxicity

One of the most common side effects associated with cod liver oil consumption is vitamin A toxicity. The supplement contains high levels of vitamin A, which can lead to an overdose if consumed in excess. Symptoms of vitamin A toxicity include nausea, dizziness, headache, blurred vision, bone pain, and skin irritation.

2. Increased risk of bleeding

Cod liver oil has blood-thinning properties due to its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. While this can be beneficial for individuals with heart disease or high blood pressure, it can also increase the risk of bleeding in some people. People who are on blood-thinning medications or have bleeding disorders should avoid taking cod liver oil.

3. Gastrointestinal issues

Some people may experience gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and nausea after taking cod liver oil supplements. This may be due to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids present in the supplement.

4. Allergic reactions

Cod liver oil supplements may cause allergic reactions in some people who are allergic to fish or shellfish. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, and chest pain.

5. Increased levels of cholesterol

While cod liver oil is known to lower triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels in the body, it may also increase HDL cholesterol levels in some people. High levels of HDL cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

6. Interference with medications

Cod liver oil supplements may interfere with certain medications, such as blood-thinning medications, birth control pills, and cholesterol-lowering drugs. It is important to consult a healthcare provider before taking cod liver oil supplements if you are on any medication.


Cod liver oil is a popular supplement that offers numerous health benefits. However, it is important to be aware of the possible side effects associated with its consumption.

If you experience any adverse effects after taking cod liver oil supplements, it is best to stop using them and consult a healthcare provider immediately. Always follow the recommended dosage and speak to a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

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Daniel Bennet