Vitamin D Newsletter

Newsletter

Dangers of Cod Liver Oil

Mary from Pennsylvania writes:

Dr. Cannell:

I don't understand what you have against vitamin A. All vitamins are good and have to be taken together, especially A and D. I give both my children a tablespoon of Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil every day. Also, I disagree with what you have written about vitamin D preventing colds and flu, my children are sick most of the winter.

Dr. Cannell replies:

 "You are giving your children between 3,000–6,000 IU of vitamin A per day but only 3–60 IU of vitamin D."

Did you ever stop to read what is on the label of Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil? You are giving your children between 3,000–6,000 IU of vitamin A per day but only 3–60 IU of vitamin D. In fact, you are slowly poisoning your children. A recent Cochrane review found vitamin A supplements increased total mortality by 16%, perhaps through its antagonism of vitamin D.

Another, recent Cochrane review concluded that, although vitamin A significantly reduced the incidence of acute lower respiratory tract infections in children with low retinol, as occurs in the third world, it appears to increase risk and/or worsen the clinical course of such infections in children in developed nations.

As for the evidence that vitamin D decreases respiratory infections, Wayse, et al compared 80 children with lower respiratory infections to healthy controls and found children with the lowest 25(OH)D levels were eleven times more likely to become infected. Furthermore, 60,000 IU of vitamin D a week administered for six weeks to 27 children suffering from frequent respiratory infections resulted in a complete disappearance of such infections for the following 6 months.

As readers know, I first hypothesized vitamin D will prevent colds and flu in our November 2005 Vitamin D Newsletter. Also, our second paper on influenza is the third most accessed paper in Virology Journal this year, in spite of being out only six months. It is free to download: On the Epidemiology of Influenza.

Vitamin A deficiency in the United States is practically non-existent. The real problem is subclinical vitamin A toxicity, which appears to be fairly common.

As to all vitamins being good, I assume you mean all vitamins are good in the proper doses and if the body is not getting enough from diet. Vitamin A deficiency in the United States is practically non-existent. The real problem is subclinical vitamin A toxicity, which appears to be fairly common. Please stop poisoning your children with cod liver oil and start them on adequate doses of vitamin D.

Page last edited: 16 June 2011