23 December 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Cod Liver Oil: Pregnancy Benefits of Using Fermented Cod Liver Oil

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Pregnancy is one of the most important times for a woman to focus on her diet and nutrient intake, because a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals can negatively affect the growth of the fetus. Some of the nutrients that are needed for the developing baby cannot be produced by the mother’s body, so it is essential that she gets those nutrients through her food. Fermented cod liver oil for pregnancy is a great supplement for an expectant mother to use, because it contains high levels of two nutrients that are important for both the mother’s and baby’s health: vitamin D and omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Why These Nutrients Are Important

Vitamin D is necessary for a pregnant woman because of the fact that it supports optimal growth of the baby by helping with bone and organ development. Another reason that this vitamin is beneficial is because it can help the mother to avoid depression during pregnancy, and vitamin D also helps to prevent post-partum depression.

When an expecting mother is deciding on a supplemental source of vitamin D, it is important that she uses food based vitamin sources in order to get the naturally occurring vitamins. Many vitamin supplements contain synthetic sources of vitamin D, and these synthetic sources have lower bioavailability and they do not provide all of the nutritional benefits that are available in food based vitamin D. One of the best sources of food based vitamin D is fermented cod liver oil, and conventional cod liver oil should be avoided because it has been stripped of the naturally occurring vitamin D and supplemented with synthetic vitamin D instead.

Essential fatty acids are another beneficial nutritional element that every pregnant woman should be getting, because they affect skin health as well as brain development of the baby. A mother needs to be sure that she has enough omega-3 essential fatty acids in order to prevent developmental delays and other brain problems in her child. Fermented cod liver oil is a great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, and they should be used on a regular basis.

Decreased Childhood Diabetes

When a pregnant woman uses cod liver oil, she may be helping her child to avoid specific health concerns such as type 1 diabetes. It has been found that pregnant mothers using a quality vitamin D supplement (such as cod liver oil) may have a lower chance of having a child that is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

The use of cod liver oil also helps to increase the birth weight of the baby, which has been linked to lower diseases for the child later in life.

Benefits of Cod Liver Oil

When an expectant mother is using cod liver oil on a regular basis, she will be getting the levels of essential fatty acids and vitamin D that are needed. Both of these nutrients are hard to come by in a naturally occurring form, so many expectant women choose to take a daily multi-vitamin instead. The problem with these multi-vitamins is the fact that they contain synthetically produced nutrients, which can actually be dangerous when they are taken in higher amounts.

According to a study published in Pediatrics, using cod liver oil daily has been found to make babies smarter, and it has been found that the child may excel in standardized testing at age four. Other research has also looked at the fact that cod liver oil during pregnancy may decrease the risk of developmental delays and birth defects.

Controversies of Cod Liver Oil and Pregnancy

The topic of using cod liver oil during pregnancy is somewhat controversial, because some doctors suggest that the supplement might harm the baby. The main reason these concerns arise is because of the fact that some cod liver oil contains synthetic vitamins, which can cause toxicity if it is used in high dosages.

Researchers have discovered that synthetic vitamins are not as effective as naturally occurring vitamins, and they are often toxic when they are used consistently. Because of this, some women have been cautioned against using supplements such as cod liver oil during pregnancy, but the truth is that there is nothing to be concerned about as long as you are using a high quality oil that doesn’t have any added synthetic vitamin D.

Also, be sure that your source of cod liver oil is fermented, because the refining process that many brands go through will actually strip out the naturally occurring vitamin D. Fermented cod liver oil can be beneficial for a number of other reasons, including the fact that it contains both and micro nutrients to support overall health and wellness of an expectant mother.

Resources:

Cod Liver Oil During Pregnancy Makes Babies Smarter, Bastyrcenter.org

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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