Making Decisions: Cod Liver Oil & Supplements

I hate medicines. Not because of their taste or because I'm lazy, but because doing a degree in sociology and taking a course on the sociology of health and illness means you know a lot more about the pharmaceutical industry than you wish you knew. So unless under special conditions - I don't trust medicines.

Supplements, it took me a while to realise, are slightly different (although, I imagine, manufactured by similar people). They fall under something people may call CAMs - Complementary and/or Alternative Medicines. This includes things like acupuncture, aromatherapy, herbal remedies, and things you typically wouldn't see in a hospital (they are starting to merge in some places but that's another essay I don't care to write about).

So when I read Caroline's blog on the effects on the skin by eating salmon (which I lurrrrve), I bit the bullet. Cod liver oil is meant to be good for many things - skin, hair, nails, bones, the heart - it's one of those skeptically universally good things. For me, I was looking for more the skin and if it felt like it, the heart benefits. As you may know, I have hormonal spots on my chin that never go away. Aside from actually eating salmon everyday, this seemed like the next best solution.

The effects were beyond what I expected - they were better than any skin care regime I'd tried (bar maybe the first 2 months of Liz Earle which then went downhill from there), and I felt my both normal and under-the-skin spots disappear, and my skin was brighter and more radiant.

What's even more, was that every day that I forgot to take one, I could feel my skin going back to the way it was.

The good? I seem to finally have found something that isn't so harsh and full of crap that actually works for my hormonal spots. Or have I?

The bad? I still worry about the health concerns - fish these days have high levels of radiation and mercury, especially those caught near the UK and Norway. And what is the other stuff in the ingredients list? Also, as the missed days shows, it's still not really a remedy. And finally, I'm forgetful.

The two bags you see behind the Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil are pomegranate elixir tablets from DHC and Docosahexaenoic Acid & Eicosapentaenoic Acid tablets - I only typed it out to sound smart haha, I think that's just scientific for 'fish oil'. The latter have less synthetic ingredients and hopefully more responsibly caught fish, I assume, only because they were handed down from the ex-hippy of a mother (who has recently taken a liking to Royal Jelly tablets). These I hope to try after my cod liver oil finishes.

But my question is this - are these supplements worth it? What are all the other things listed in the ingredients? Would it be healthier to make the effort to change your diet?

Perhaps you could ask the same questions about skincare products in general. But as you click away thinking, "Mentalist." or "Hmm I might have a shot!" or "I need to enlighten her." (please do, btw) - I'll be mulling away to myself, staring at the bags and bottles for an answer. I probably wont get any, at which point will turn to my good friend Google for some good old research.

Do you take supplements?
Does anyone know the answer to my questions? :P



  1. I too am doing a sociology degree but i have yet to do a pharmaceuticals module (doesnt sound like something to look forward too). I have tried taking cod liver oil before but they taste icky and the smell makes me gag. I might try again after reading this though

  2. My best friend swears by these, and she's always telling me to take three a day. So I bought a mega tube of it, with 500 pills last week. So lets see what happens. Like you, I am forgetful and it's why my attempt to take them a while back didn't work out.  I do think diet plays a huge role, as I find when I get more crappy foods, or gluten-foods my skin gets worse. But obviously my body can't deal with gluten properly, but it think it's the same for processed foods etc, which our bodies don't naturally know how to deal with properly.

  3. I try DHC collagen but smell is not really that nice. Currently I'm taking seven seas vitamin. I think it works a little.

  4. I am big fan of supplements for your skin especially. I think that acting from inside you will get long term effect..I am lover of mask, exfoliation  etc but supplements are just what work for all your body.
    I am biochemistry student so if you have some question just ask! 

  5. I take a full omega supplement with both fish and flaxseed oil, as flaxseed seems to be healthier. I also have ground flaxseed and sometimes use it in home made breads. It's amazing what a healthy diet can do for your skin and your overall well being! :)

  6. I take 3000mg of cod liver oil a day and it definitely makes a difference to my skin.

    But I do have to say, that when I make the changes to my diet along with taking the supplements, the results are even better. I am aware of the effects of taking too much omega 3 so I try to eat oily fish about 3 times a week  rather than every day.

  7. I'm usually a supplements junkie, but have been lacking lately, I need to stock up again. Evening Primrose Oil is another great one for skin and also helpful with moods. I've been taking Magnesium and Femergy from BetterYou Ltd which have been really interesting at improving energy levels. My problem is that there are SO many different things out there that can help, it can become a bit overwhelming. I like Wellwoman multi-vits too which are a good all in one supplement.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts