Can Giving Teenagers Cod Liver Oil
Multiple Sclerosis?
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December 22, 2017
By Ariadne Weinberg,  Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of Doctors and
Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other members of
our Editorial Board.]

I’ll admit this --- as a vegetarian, seafood and especially
fish, has always been a temptation for me. This was
especially true when I was 18, working as a dishwasher in
a gourmet sushi restaurant.

But cod liver oil sounds more like a punishment, especially
for a young teen.

“You’re grounded! Go take your cod liver oil!”

Personally, I’ve never tried the fishy stuff, at least to my

The good news is that a little cod liver oil goes a long way.

The substance contains vitamin D, a necessary nutrient not
only for preventing multiple sclerosis, but also bone
deterioration. Vitamin D also helps bones grow, as well as
modulates cell growth and boosts immune function.

[Editor's Note:

The scientific community continues to discover diseases
which are prevented or whose risk is lowered by elevating
Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D actually is not a vitamin, which
technically are substances you must take because your
body can't produce them. Actually, your body makes
Vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun.
Technically, Vitamin D is a hormone.]

According to the Food and Drug Board at the Institute of
Medicine of the National academies, 14-18 year olds require
600 international units (or 15 micrograms) of vitamin D.

Cod liver oil contains 3,600 international units of vitamin D
(or 340% of the recommended daily value).

So, really, in order to get your nutrients as a possibly
vitamin-D deficient teen, you’d only need a little bit, that
could be mixed into something.

If cod liver oil really wasn’t your thing, you could try other
fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.

If you were an ovo-lacto vegetarian like me, you could
consume certain cheeses, egg yolks, and mushrooms as
well as vitamin-D fortified orange juice.

Walking around in the sunshine also helps as those
warming rays contain Vitamin D.

But it's not just the Vitamin D. Cod liver oil, specifically, has
been shown to prevent and slow down the development of
multiple sclerosis, especially if consumed as a teen.

What Exactly Is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is an immune-mediated, inflammatory,
degenerative disease of the central nervous system.

The immune system attacks the myelin (a fatty substance
that surrounds and insulates nerve fibers) as well as nerve

The damaged myelin then forms scar tissue (sclerosis)
which gives the disease its name.

Possible symptoms of multiple sclerosis include fatigue,
difficulty walking, blurred vision, problems with cognition,
numbness, tingling, and in some cases, loss of bladder

Risk Factors for Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is something that can’t always be
prevented, given the fact that the disease has multiple
genetic factors.

However, there are many environmental factors that you
can alter in order to minimize your chances of contracting
the disease.

For example, smoking is a major risk factor for multiple
sclerosis, according to a 2012 report by G. Disanto from the
University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The same
study mentions Epstein Barr disease, a type of infectious
mononucleosis, as a probable cause of multiple sclerosis.

Being in a place devoid of sunlight can also up your
chances for developing the disease. Places such as Canada,
the Northern United States, New Zealand, South East
Australia, and Europe are especially susceptible.

However, according to the National multiple Sclerosis
Society, if a person born in a high-risk multiple sclerosis
area moves or migrates to a place of lower risk before the
age of 15, they will be less likely to develop the illness.

Genetic factors are also key to remember: Women are twice
as likely as men to develop multiple sclerosis. Those
between 15 and 60 are the most likely to have the disease,
and are even more likely to if they have a sibling with
multiple sclerosis.

White people, especially Northern Europeans, are at the
highest risk. Asians, Africans, and Native Americans are at
the lowest risk.

Of all these factors, you do have control over your vitamin
D intake, which you can consume in the form of sunlight or

Get out in the sun and play or eat some yummy fish.

Cod liver oil happens to have the highest concentration of
vitamin D3, the nutrient necessary to fight against multiple

Read on to find out what effects just a tiny spoonful of cod
liver oil could provide.

Cod Liver Oil  Reduces Multiple Sclerosis Risk for Those
Between the Ages of 13 and 18 Years Old

In 2015, Mariana Cortese and scientists from the University
of Bergen in Norway tested how vitamin D3
supplementation (the main nutrient in cod liver oil) affected
people at different postnatal stages in terms of the risk of
multiple sclerosis.

They performed a multinational case control study with 955
multiple sclerosis patients with a maximum disease duration
of 10 years and 1,117 controls. Cortese and researchers
looked at reports from childhood to adulthood.

Self-reported cod liver oil supplement usage between the
ages of 13 and 18 was associated with a reduced risk of
multiple sclerosis, whereas supplementation in childhood
didn’t make a difference.

How much cod liver oil/VitaminD3 do you have to take to
affect you risk for multiple sclerosis? There was a dose-
response reduced risk of multiple sclerosis; taking 600 to
800 international units per day drastically lowered the
chances of developing the disease.

Cod Liver Oil Delays Onset of Multiple Sclerosis

Vitamin D has the potential to stave off disease for a time.

T.Y. McDowell and researchers from the MS Center of
Excellence-East in Baltimore tested evidence that cod liver
oil in adolescence reduced the risk of multiple sclerosis.

In 2011, they took 219 people from the Veterans Health
Administration Multiple Sclerosis Surveillance Registry and
performed a cross-sectional study.

After using a multivariable linear regression analysis that
examined the association between the variables of cod liver
oil and multiple sclerosis they found the following:

Consumption of cod liver oil between the ages of 6 and 15
were associated with a four-year later onset of multiple

Cod Liver Oil as Prevention Against Multiple Sclerosis

There are some environments, including higher up in the
arctic circle, where people don’t get enough sunshine, and
therefore their vitamin D is also lacking. Researchers are
studying cod liver oil and fish products as a method to
counteract that effect.

A 2007 study by M.T. Kampman and scientists from the
University Hospital of North Norway used a retrospective
recall questionnaire data from 152 patients and 402
population controls born at and living at latitudes of 61 to
71 degrees. They performed analysis that accounted for
matching variables of sex, age, and birthplace.

There was a protective effect of supplementation with the
cod liver oil suggested in a subgroup that reported few
outdoor summer activities.

Additionally, consumption of fish 3 times a week or more
was also associated with a reduced risk of multiple

Sounds Fishy?

Some opine that more reports are needed to confirm the
power of cod liver oil.

However, what we do know is that the fishy liquid is likely
beneficial and contains many other positive effects aside
from multiple sclerosis prevention.

So whether you are a teenager or raising teenagers, the act
of periodic cod liver consumption might just make you feel

A spoonful of cod liver oil makes the health boost up in the
most delightful way.

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