23 December 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Cod Liver Oil for Babies: Is it Safe?

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There are many health benefits that can be enjoyed when cod liver is used on a regular basis, and many people wonder how old children need to be before they can start taking this supplement. Parents are surprised to learn that cod liver for babies is a safe practice, as long as they are using high quality cod liver oil free of contaminant and heavy metals.

Pre-Birth Benefits

A child can start benefiting from cod liver oil as early as conception if the mother is using the supplement. Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should use fermented cod liver oil on a daily basis, because it is a great source of nutrient dense calories that will provide many necessary micronutrients that are needed for the baby’s development.

Many women need to take a supplement in order to get the essential fatty acids that are needed for optimal fetus growth. These essential fatty acids are critical for the development on the human brain, especially from the time that the child is conceived until they are two years old. High levels of essential fatty acids are available in cod liver oil, which is one of the reasons that that this supplement is so beneficial for expectant mothers.

Newborn Benefits

Once the baby is born, a mother can still help her child received the benefits of cod liver oil by using the supplement and breastfeeding her child. During the first few months of life, the baby is still in the developmental stages– cod liver oil can help to prevent developmental delays, and it may also help to reduce the risk of health conditions such as autism.

6 Months Old

When the child is 6 months old, they will be in a stage where they are learning how to eat new foods, and some children may be weaned from breast milk at this point. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, children can begin consuming cod liver oil as early as 6 months, but it is important to keep the doses low. 1/2 teaspoon is plenty for a young child, and it can be added to applesauce, yogurt, milk, or juice. Don’t be concerned about giving this supplement to your child, because it is a naturally occurring food that contains high levels of nutrients which are very beneficial to support continued development of the brain and other functions within the body.

1 Year Old

As the child gets bigger, the dose of cod liver oil can be increased. It is better to use small quantities though, so a child shouldn’t be given more than 1 teaspoon per day. It is a good idea to limit the dosage to 1 teaspoon until they are at least 12 years old.

Benefits for Infants and Young Children

The College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York found that children who used cod liver oil on a regular basis had lower rates of upper respiratory tract infections.

Quality Matters

Because babies are so small, it is important to be giving them high quality fermented cod liver oil. Saving a few dollars by buying the conventional brands can actually be harmful to the child, because those oils have been refined and they are lacking in the naturally occurring nutrients that the child needs. Also, lower quality sources are used to create the oil, often resulting in higher levels of contamination within the oil. Some of the conventional cod liver oils may have heavy metals that may cause toxicity when given to a child.

Don’t risk giving your child a low quality oil. One of the brands that we recommend is Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil, because it is produced through a natural fermentation process. It is important to buy a brand that specifically states that it is fermented, and be sure that they test for heavy metals and other contaminants.

Resources:

Cod Liver Oil Basics and Recommendations, Weston A. Price Foundation

Cod Liver Oil, Young Children, and Upper Respiratory Tract Infections, PubMed.gov

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