Cod Liver Oil – A Cure For Arthritis?


Talk of cod liver oil and what comes to mind is the soft gel capsule that grandma said is good for health.

Now you may consider giving it a try if you suffer from arthritis. Earlier used as a vitamin supplement mainly for children, cod liver oil has been a researcher’s delight for a long time now. Confirming the age-old belief that cod liver oil is good for the joints, a new study reveals that doses of cod liver oil taken daily helps ease the pain of arthritis in patients.

Cod liver oil is a nutritional supplement that is derived from the liver of cod fish. This oil is rich in omega-3 fats and has high levels of Vitamin A and Vitamin D. It is prepared by cooking livers of cod with steam and extracting the oil by decanting the cooked livers. This is different from fish oil, which is extracted by cooking the whole body tissues of fish.

Researchers from Edinburgh University and Dundee University in the United Kingdom have found that 10 grams of cod liver oil taken everyday can reduce the need for painkillers in patients suffering with arthritis, by almost a third. They also believe that it could delay surgeries requiring joint replacement.

We all would have heard about arthritis, because the mother or grandmother usually suffered from it. Arthritis means inflammation of the joints (joint pain,) involving the damage to the joints in our body. It is one of the leading causes of disability in older people and usually afflicts people above 50 years of age. There are various types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, septic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gouty arthritis etc. Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition where the body attacks itself. As if there are not enough external forces attacking our bodies, our own immune system can at times become our enemy and attack our joints.

Millions of people around the globe suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease. In UK alone, over one million people are affected by arthritis. Although, it is traditionally associated with older people, it can affect even children (juvenile arthritis.) Statistics show that women are more prone to this dreaded disease, than men. People affected with rheumatoid arthritis have difficulty in walking, writing or even eating because of the inflammation of the tissue surrounding the joints and other organs in the body.

This condition can be life threatening owing to the effect it has on other organs in the body. The medications that are prescribed are usually steroids and NSAIDS, which can harm the body.

According to Professor Jill Belch, who is the lead researcher, “This study offers hope to many rheumatoid arthritis patients for whom cod liver oil supplements can offer a natural pain management treatment without the harmful side-effects associated with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs. It reinforces previous research that has shown cod liver oil, and its high content of omega-3 essential fatty acids to have significant anti-inflammatory properties in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.”

This conclusion that cod liver oil can be helpful for arthritic patients has been reached by researches after extensive studies.

Studies were conducted on 97 adults suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Half of them were given 10 gm of high strength cod liver oil per day and the other half were given a placebo. People who were given cod liver oil experienced greater relief. The main objective of the current study is to assess if patients can reduce their NSAID use without experiencing any worsening of their disease and researchers are happy they have achieved success in all the parameters studied.

In yet another study conducted by Cardiff-based researchers, a set of discarded arthritic knees of people who were undergoing knee replacement surgery were treated with Omega-3 fats for 24 hours and others left untreated. A chemical was added to evoke an inflammatory response. When samples were tested four days later, they found that a certain body chemical called enzymes that destroys cartilage in arthritis was present in the untreated group; whereas it was “turned off” in those treated with Omega-3 fatty acids, as were the enzymes that cause pain and inflammation in joints.

These findings make researchers excited and offer a scientific basis for why cod liver oil can help people suffering from arthritis. Cod liver oil not only reduces pain and inflammation in the joints but also turns off the enzymes that destroy cartilage.

It is exciting to note that something that is as safe as cod liver oil could have the potential to improve the quality of life to all those people suffering from arthritis and they do not have to rely on the medicines with all the side effects.

Join the discussion

  • My mother takes plenty of vitamins D (more info here) and A (more info here) daily, she suffers from osteoporosis and is trying to slow it down. So far, we’ve noticed a difference. She’s been taking cod liver mostly, since it’s rich in vitamin D. Thanks for this informational post! I’m glad it’s helping her in other areas, also!

  • Fantastic article! I’m a firm believer in the health benefits of CLO as well, the research findings you mentioned are very interesting.

  • glucosamine works well in the supportive treatment of arthritis. but dont forget to use other supplements that supports the join. in particular, chondroitin, niacinamide and vitamin-C

  • I have been suffering from osteo-arthritis for some time now and it became necessary to book myself into a clinic where I was put under anaesthetic and had hydrocortisone injections in both hips.

    I must be honest and say for the first time in may months I found relief, but hydrocortisone injections are not a cure so I’ll definitely be trying Cod Liver Oil if I can find them in capsule form and then chew some parsley afterwards.

    Thank you,


  • As a sufferer of psoriatic arthritis, I have always found cod liver oil brings more relief than painkillers.

    • Hello,
      I’ve read your post and feel enthusiastic about trying cod liver oil.
      I suffer from psoriatic arthritis as well, and so far have not found an effective solution.
      Tried Methotrexate but didn’t work that well. Also I had to be extremely careful with birth control, even though we wanted to have another child.
      I tried corteroids but affected my eyes and now I have cataracts and probably will have to have them operated.
      Now I’m on ibuprofen… but cannot run because of the pain.
      I started this morning taking cos liver oil, I hope it works.

      Thanks again for your post



      • Hello Alejandro,

        I noticed that you have started taking cod lever oil tablets since 18th February for your psoriatic arthritis, how are you feeling now? has it done any good? My son is going through same problem and would appreciate your feed back.
        thank you.

  • I started taking 10gms of CLO a day just over a year ago when my RA got so bad that I could not walk – it has had the most incredible effect and I have not had a major outbreak since.

  • I have been taking cod liver oil since I was 5 years old. You can buy it in the gel tabs –almost anywhere. I am a firm believer in cod liver oil. I am 60 years old, and have never had any problem with arthritus, osteoporosis, or even menopause. I swear by it 🙂

  • I am 52 and have slowly been developing sharp pain in the front of my knee below the kneecap when I bend down or walk down hills. The pain has been most severe the last few weeks. I started taking cod liver oil just a few days ago after I read the testimony of the 110 year-old last surving World War One veteran who credited cod liver oil for his long life. The last two days the pain in my knees is reduced to almost nothing. I did not know cod liver oil was good for the joints, so I went on line and found this site. I am amazed and very thankful to have stumbled upon this remedy!

  • Two yrs ago, I suffered a partially torn achilles tendon. I decided after therapy failed that I would just have to live with the pain. I babied that foot, which in turn caused hip pain. I would not go to the doctor because I was scared he would insist on cortisone shots. This went on for two years and would have gone on I guess, if I had not listened to Dr. Radio on sirius xm. They were discussing how good cod liver oil is for your heart, so I immediately bought some. Strangely enough, after taking the cod liver oil for about 3 days, my hip pain was 95% better. I could not think of anything I had done different…..except take cod liver oil. I researched it on internet and found that it is good for joint pain. I am still taking it and even my foot feels better. It still bothers me some, but is lots better. The difference between the cod liver oil, ibuprofen, tylenol and meloxicam is absolutely amazing!

  • 22yrs ago,i was told i had “wear n tear” in my hip joints,being 25yrs old!!see you n goodbye was all the advice i got!…today i suffer quite badly in both hip joints and shoulders,having putting up with bouts of pain 4 years it seems,menopause is now upon me and i am convinced a trigger has set pain off excessively,i am currently awaiting results of bloodtests etc,but,2 days ago i began taking liquid c l o,not too nice in this form but i can honestly say i feel the difference,i read an old medical book written by a doctor and the message all the way through was cod liver oil,in my profession this is great 4 me as i have t b quite active,i have been taking omega 3 for 3mth to no avail so the difference is quite dramatic,i can put up with a tablespoon of this magic potion 4 as long as i need or is that “less”!!!,The only other comment i will make is the “Dr” in the book stated that the clo should b taken 4hrs after food preferably at night,and,diet is a key factor of the intake of “natural oils”,therefore a regime has to take place,a bit complicated,basically to eat or drink at certain temps and order!!,all in all it seems since looking on this site that cod liver oil is a winner!!

  • FANTASTIC!!!! I’m 55 &, have been on all kinds of NSAIDS. Volteran, arthrotec, naproxen &, celebrex. Way too many side effects. I stopped taking the celebrex because, I was getting so dizzy, I thought I was going to faint. Now, I’m going to use cod liver oil. I used to take the liquid when I was a kid &, believe it or not, I loved the taste of it. Thanks so much for all the comments!!

  • i have been taking clo for arthritis in lower back which on bad days i found it hard to walk ( aged38) i take one a day and the odd occassion i forget to take them the pain comes back. So glad i found the solution but have got a side affect which no one else seems to be getting. The insides of my mouth are covered in white lines that feel rough and sometimes quite tight. Its not going to stop me taking clo as the benifets far out weigh the reaction but wondered if anyone does have the same problem.

  • On the CLO, I took it for some time yrs ago BUT got off it when the Omega 3 Fish Oils became the “thing”… did those off and on for some yrs….

    Now trying Krill Oil and into it 12 days now BUT believe I’ll go back on CLO which has been around
    for 100’s yrs…..

    All these “new” oils and perhaps the CLO is the best to take….I deal with advancing OA and approaching 75…..

    Not everything NEW is the best, I now realize….

  • I started taking CLO everyday about 6 months ago due to pain in my left finger that on some days radiated to the adjoining fingers and palm. The pain almost completely disappeared. On last Friday, I decided to stop taking the CLO. (I had forgotten that it was what I started taking for the finger and hand pain). Today [Wednesday] I woke up to the same excruciating pain I’d had befor I began the CLO regime. Needless to say, I am going to start the CLO again today. It’s a no-brainer. CLO has no side effects, its natural and it alleviates the need for chemicals and/or surgery.

  • i have had alot of malpractice that caused alit of problems i am in pain everyday but i do research and find that vitamins minerals and a good diet helps alot need to stay away from foo ds that cause inflamatuon sugar is the worst i love vit A vitD vitE vitC vit magnesiem vit Zinc vit Bniacin very good for you and cayanne pepper good for arthritis feel better everyone

  • When I was about 30 years old my knuckles were so swollen and painful that I couldn’t hold a piece of appear tight enough to avoid dropping. Doctors all told me I had arthritis and should take aspirin. I wanted a cure and not a pain killer. A health food store owner named Edna suggested cod liver and I started taking large doses of it morning and night. I don’t know now whether it took weeks or months to make me OK – but it fixed me. My knuckles look weird shaped but they work pretty darned well. That was over 40 years ago and if I miss a day while traveling or whatever I can feel my hands getting stiff by the second day. II have a grip which will Hurt your hand pretty bad – so long as I take the cod liver every day. And fish oil is useless as a substitute. Cod liver oil is the only thing that has ever worked for me.