Cod Liver Oil vs. Fish Oil


Cod liver oil and fish oil are both popular supplements that provide omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for various bodily functions. However, they have different compositions and benefits, and one may be considered "better" than the other depending on individual needs and preferences. Here's a comparison of the two:

Cod Liver Oil

  1. Vitamin Content: Cod liver oil is rich in vitamins A and D, in addition to omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin A is essential for vision, immune function, and skin health, while vitamin D is crucial for bone health.
  2. Omega-3 Content: Cod liver oil contains EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), but usually in lower concentrations than fish oil.
  3. Taste and Texture: Some people find the taste and texture of cod liver oil more palatable.
  4. Potential Concerns: Cod liver oil can sometimes contain higher levels of contaminants like heavy metals, and excessive vitamin A intake can be toxic, so quality and dosage should be carefully considered.

Fish Oil

  1. Higher Omega-3 Content: Fish oil typically contains higher concentrations of EPA and DHA, making it a more concentrated source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  2. Lack of Vitamins A and D: Unlike cod liver oil, fish oil usually doesn't contain significant amounts of vitamins A and D.
  3. Source: Fish oil can be derived from a variety of fish, including salmon, mackerel, and sardines, whereas cod liver oil is specifically from the liver of codfish.
  4. Potential Benefits: Due to its higher omega-3 content, fish oil may be more effective in reducing inflammation and supporting heart health.


Cod liver oil might be considered "better" if you are looking for a supplement that includes vitamins A and D along with omega-3 fatty acids. It could be a good choice for those who have deficiencies in these vitamins or want to support bone, vision, and immune health.

On the other hand, fish oil might be a better choice if you are specifically looking to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, without the additional vitamins.

I do both.  I buy Carlson Cod Liver Oil, which has a mild to nonexistent fish oil taste, which I really like.  Some days, I'll just take 3 tables spoons of this to get my 9 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.  I also buy Viva Naturals fish oil.  I like this brand because of its combination of quality, price point, and availability.  Many of the fish oil brands recommended by health experts sell out.  Each gelcap is 1 gram of omega-3s, so I take nine.  

When I travel, such as my recent trip to Europe, I take the Viva Natural caps.  I also like these because they have higher DHA and EPA forms of omega-3s per serving than cod liver oil.  DHA is important for brain health, especially in infants.  And EPA is important in reducing blood pressure and triglycerides.  They are both important for decreasing inflammation. 

If both can fit into your budget, then get them.  If you can only buy one, then I'd get Viva Naturals.   

As with any supplement, it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best choice for your individual needs and to ensure that you are taking the appropriate dosage. 

11 Comment

Krill Oil: Yes, Krill oil is great. This form of omega-3 gets to the brain! I take 1250 mg of krill oil from Viva Naturals every day which is about 330 mg of omega-3s.

Jill – Why don’t you like Carlsons? They do extract the Vitamin A from the cod liver oil and sell it separately. I’m taking it for the omega-3s, so am not as concerned about the low Vitamin A.

Laurie – Viva Naturals is back up!

Al – I think your opinion on fish oil would be in the minority. Fish oil definitely has omega-3 fatty acids. But I’d love to see any research you may have to back up your comment.

Stay away from all Marine Oils. Fish Oils, etc. were debunked elegantly years ago by the genius of Brian Peskin (several books, articles). Fish Oil is really a scam – promoted by those totally ignorant of the science and what they had created.

PEOs (Plant-based Parent Essential Oils—capsules or liquid) are the answer.

However, I am still researching potential, unique benefits of Cod Liver Oil.

*Following 3 sites to review:

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