6 Best Cod Liver Oil Supplements (2023) Reviewed and Compared

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In the 19th century, cod liver oil was sometimes considered a miracle remedy. People in Northern Europe used it to treat ailments ranging from rickets (vitamin D deficiency) and skin wounds, to muscle and joint pain.

Today, cod liver oil is a popular supplement because it’s high in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Given its long history serving medicinal purposes, this is no surprise. This article covers the potential benefits of cod liver oil, if it’s worth trying, and the best cod liver oil supplements on the market. 

What is Cod Liver Oil?

Cod liver oil is extracted from the livers of Atlantic cod (yum). The oil is mostly sourced from Norway and Iceland, but you can find the supplement in virtually any health or grocery store.

Like any other fish oil supplement, people take cod liver oil because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It also has high levels of vitamins A and D. In fact, just one serving of cod liver oil fulfills almost all of your required vitamin A and D intake.

There’s no specific dosage recommendation for cod liver oil. A typical serving size of cod liver oil is 1 teaspoon (5 ml) or 1,000 mg if taking a capsule-based supplement.

However, health experts recommend taking 250-500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day, including EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). So if you need to increase your fatty acid intake, a cod liver oil supplement can help.

What Are The Benefits of Cod Liver Oil?

Cod liver oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can provide an array of health benefits.


Omega-3 fatty acids might help reduce chronic inflammation, which has been linked to increased blood pressure, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions.

By reducing inflammation it may also support brain health. This is one of the leading mechanistic theories for how omega-3s show so much promise for brain and cognitive support.

Eye Health

In addition, cod liver oil contains high amounts of vitamin A. Because of this, studies suggest that cod liver oil might fight against certain eye conditions. One study showed, for example, that vitamin A reduced the chances of developing glaucoma, a group of eye conditions that can lead to blindness.

And similarly to omega-3 fatty acids, studies show that vitamin A can reduce inflammation. Simply, vitamin A is a key antioxidant, and cod liver oil provides a natural source of it.

Bone Health

Cod liver oil also contains vitamin D, a key factor for strong bones since it helps regulate calcium levles. Studies show that vitamin D can strengthen bones and prevent age-related bone loss. 

Supplements containing vitamin D might especially benefit those who live far from the equator and can’t get their required amounts of vitamin D from sunlight. 

Cardiovascular Health

We know that omega-3 fatty acids can support heart health. One meta-analysis suggested that omega-3 supplementation may lower risk of various heart problems.

It may reduce triglycerides and support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Truly, omega-3s are a Super Fat.

Immune Health

Cod liver oil may also support your immune system. This is due to its abundance of vitamins D and A. Look, you already know how important vitamins are, so this shouldn’t come as a shock.

Omega-3s also play a role in this immune support.

When it comes to supporting overall wellness, cod liver oil is a great choice.

If you live in an area far from the equator, cod liver oil can help ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D. All right, now let’s get into products, because we know that not all supplements are equal. Here’s our list of the best cod liver oil supplements on the market. 

*Note: We do have affiliate links throughout this article, which means we receive a commission if you purchase from any of our links. This supports our mission to bring complicated health and fitness info in an entertaining package. And it keeps us from putting up annoying things like banner ads. Those suck.

1) Carlson Labs Wild Norwegian Cod Liver Oil

carlson cod liver oil

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Carlson Labs Wild Norwegian Cod Liver Oil is a high-quality softgel supplement. It contains 1,000 mg of cod liver oil, 250 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, and 400 IU of vitamin D3 in each serving. Its oil extract is sustainably sourced from fresh Arctic cod off the Norwegian coast.

They even add a touch of vitamin E to their formula. 

In terms of quality, Carlson Labs also stands out. Their cod liver oil is made in an FDA-regulated facility. While every product on our list is third-party tested, this is another layer of quality control. This quality means less contaminants and heavy metals, which is something to always keep in mind with extracted oils from the sea. It’s gluten-free with no artificial preservatives.

Each bottle contains 250 softgels. For its clear high-quality, Carlson Labs is our top pick.

2) Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil

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If you’re looking for a liquid form, Artic-D from Nordic Naturals is a potent choice.

It’s sustainably sourced from Norway with 100% Arctic cod. This product is Friend of the Sea (FOS) certified and sustainably made in a zero-waste facility.

Just one serving contains over 1,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. This product is non-GMO verified. With strict testing, they have a certificate of analysis available.

It’s available in a lemon, strawberry, or orange flavor, as well as unflavored.

Each bottle provides 48 servings if you take the recommended 1 teaspoon per day.

3) Garden of Life Olde World Icelandic Cod Liver Oil

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Garden of Life’s cod liver oil is a liquid-based supplement substantially sourced from Iceland. One serving or teaspoon contains 1,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids in addition to vitamins A and D. It also has a nice lemon mint flavor. You can get about 47 servings if taking the recommended 1 teaspoon per day.

4) NOW Foods Extra Strength Cod Liver Oil

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NOW Foods Cod Liver Oil is a capsule-based supplement at a great price point. It contains 1,000 mg of cod liver oil per capsule, 70 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and 100 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Each bottle contains 180 servings if taking the recommended 1 capsule per day. It is free of gluten, soy, and dairy.

5) 21st Century Norwegian Cod Liver

21st century cod liver oil

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21st Century Cod Liver Oil is another good capsule-based option. It contains 400 mg of cod liver, 20 mg of EPA, and 24 mg of DHA (so about 80 mg of total fatty acids). Each bottle contains 110 servings if taking the recommended 1 capsule per day. It is also free of preservatives, gluten, and artificial flavors and colors.

6) Oslomega Norwegian Cod Liver Oil

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Oslomega Norwegian Cod Liver Oil is a potent supplement sourced from Norway. It contains 4500 mg of cod liver oil and 960 mg of total omega-3 fatty acids. It also has a natural lemon flavor like the other liquid-based supplements on our list. Each bottle provides 40 servings if you take 1 teaspoon per day.


Are there any drawbacks?

Cod liver oil is considered safe when taking the recommended doses. Mild side effects include an upset stomach, heartburn, and nausea.

In high doses, cod liver oil might be unsafe. It may prevent blood from clotting, which can lead to increased bleeding. High cod liver oil consumption may also lead to an excess of vitamins A and D in the body. This can cause nausea, vomiting, and weakness, among other symptoms.

Experiences vary from person to person. If you want a supplement that can help you get more omega-3 fatty acids or vitamins in your diet, cod liver oil might be a good option for you.

Does Cod Liver Oil Have a Fishy Taste?

Well, it’s fish, so yes. The products that have a lemon flavor typically have a less strong fishy taste. Typically the highest quality companies use fresh, sustainably sourced fish which can limit the fishy aftertaste. You may also get some burps. 

You probably shouldn’t take your cod liver oil and then immediately go make out with someone. But hey, live your life.

Is Cod Liver Oil Vegan?

No. It comes from codfish. However, there are plenty of vegan omega-3 sources. For that, check out our list of the best vegan omega-3 options. If you’re a vegan looking for vitamin D options, we have some on our list of the best vitamin D3 & K2 supplements.

Does Cod Liver Come From a Natural Source?

Yes. It’s all sourced from places like Scandinavia and the Arctic.

What’s the Difference Between Cod Liver Oil Capsules, Softgels, and Liquids?

Often, softgels and capsules refer to different things. Softgels are supplements coated in a simple fatty acid, so they look like gels. In contrast, capsules made from a gelatin or veggie gelatin substance. In this case, the terms are often used in products interchangably. Since it’s an oil, the softgels make the most sense and that’s why most products use softgels.

The benefit of the liquid is that it’s easier to get a higher dose. A spoonful might contain just as much as two, three, or four capsules. The gels might be more convenient, though.

An Awesome Disclaimer: We are not your healthcare provider. We are strangers on the internet. If your mamma taught you anything, it should have been to not fully trust strangers on the internet. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement.

About the Author

Kelly is a Hawaii-based wellness writer. She graduated with her Master's degree in English and combines her background in health care, wellness, and fitness with her writing background to create content for various health-related companies. In her free time, you'll find her reading on the beach or training for her next half marathon.

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