Cod Liver Oil

Cod Liver Oil is oil derived from the liver of Cod fish (Gadus spp).

Cod Liver Oil has been used for centuries to treat various ailments and is widely lauded for its perceived anti-inflammatory effects. Cod Liver Oil is rarely used on its own as a treatment for acne, but it is often included as a nutritional supplement in holistic Naturopathic acne treatment regimens.

Cod Liver Oil contains high levels of Vitamins A and D, as well as many important fatty acids. There is some research that suggests Cod Liver Oil can reduce blood triglyceride levels and help improve blood pressure. The high levels of Vitamin A are one of the reasons why Naturopathic practitioners use the Cod Liver Oil to relieve their acne symptoms.

Vitamin A is a retinoid and structurally-similar to anti-acne pharmaceuticals, such as Isotretinoin (Accutane) and Tretinoin (Retin-A). Vitamin A supplementation may help reduce sebaceous gland activity, which can help reduce acne symptoms in some individuals. Vitamin D supplementation may help overall immune function, especially in the winter.

Overall, there is very little clinical research on the efficacy of Cod LIver Oil for the treatment of acne. There are some people who have reported positive improvements in their acne symptoms after starting a supplement regimen that contained Cod Liver Oil. Although the available evidence suggests that Cod Liver Oil supplements are safe when used as directed, these supplements are unlikely to dramatically improve acne symptoms for most people.


Effect on blood lipids and haemostasis of a supplement of cod-liver oil, rich in eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, in healthy young men. Sanders, et al. 1981.
Complementary and alternative medicine therapies in acne, psoriasis, and atopic eczema: results of a qualitative study of patients’ experiences and perceptions. Magin, et al. 2006.
Effects of ethyl arachidonate, cod-liver oil, and corn oil on the plasma-cholesterol level: a comparison in normal volunteers. Kingsbury, et al. 1961.
Nutritional skin care: health effects of micronutrients and fatty acids. Boelsma, et al. 2001.