Cod liver oil for kids: more benefits

Our parents and grandparents often claim to know what’s best for us. In the case of cod liver oil, it turns out they were right! Recent studies show that giving kids this traditional remedy (and supplementing with it while pregnant) can help reduce the risk of a child developing diabetes. Two new studies reveal further benefits.

Since there is a growth spurt in brain development during the last trimester and the first postnatal months, researchers at the University of Oslo theorized that mothers taking cod liver oil during this time could benefit their infants’ brain development. In this trial, a total of 262 women in week 18 of pregnancy were randomly assigned to take either 10 ml of cod liver oil or corn oil until three months after delivery. All infants of these women underwent IQ tests at 6 and 9 months, and 90 children went for IQ tests at 4 years old. These final tests showed that children of the mothers who had taken cod liver oil scored higher on their IQ tests than the children whose mothers had taken corn oil.

In another small study on young boys (4 to 9 years), the use of lemon-flavoured cod liver oil and a multivitamin supplement with selenium was found to improve cases of chronic/recurrent sinusitis that did not respond to antibiotic treatment. The researchers suggest further larger studies.

Sources: Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2004 Jun;68(6):785-93; Pediatrics. 2003 Jan;111(1):e39-44