Q. I took cod liver oil in the late 1930s and early 1940s when I was a kid. In the 40s a new form of cod liver oil was introduced that my father called the sunshine pill. I guess that even then there must have been an understanding of the need for sunshine.
A. Many people your age have memories of being dosed with cod liver oil for their health when they were children. Most make a face at the recollection!
Cod liver oil in those days was rich in vitamin D, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. Nowadays, cod liver oil is much easier to take, but the vitamin D and some of the vitamin A may be removed during the purification process.
Brief sun exposure is an excellent way to maintain good blood levels of vitamin D. In the winter, however, sun exposure is neither practical nor effective, so vitamin D supplements are advisable. An intake between 1,000 and 2,000 IU daily usually provides most people with enough of this crucial nutrient.

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  1. MKP

    I have just received a paper from Harvard Medical School which advises not to take Cod-liver oil because is “contains large amounts of Vitamin A as retinol, which at high doses can harm bones. Take a vitamin D supplement instead.” I already take D supplement and have no concern for myself on this.

  2. Kathryn J.

    Can I give my children vitamin D3? They are 8 and 10.

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