cod-liver oil

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Related to cod-liver oil: fish liver oil

cod-liver oil,

yellowish oil obtained from the liver of the codfish. The oil is rich in vitamin A and vitamin D (calciferol). It was long used as a preventive and cure for ricketsrickets
or rachitis
, bone disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin D or calcium. Essential in regulating calcium and phosphorus absorption by the body, vitamin D can be formed in the skin by ultraviolet rays contained in sunlight; it can also be consumed in such
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 in Baltic and Scandinavian countries, where fish is a dietary staple. However, it was not until the 1920s that doctors in the U.S. finally recognized its therapeutic usefulness. More palatable synthetic vitamins have largely replaced cod-liver oil as dietary supplements, and almost all the milk sold in the United States and Europe now contains added vitamins A and D. See vitaminvitamin,
group of organic substances that are required in the diet of humans and animals for normal growth, maintenance of life, and normal reproduction. Vitamins act as catalysts; very often either the vitamins themselves are coenzymes, or they form integral parts of coenzymes.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cod-Liver Oil


a product obtained from the liver of fishes of the cod family (Gadidae). Cod-liver oil is a clear, thick liquid having a characteristic odor. It is pale yellow or yellow-brown in color. The oil consists mainly of triglycerides of unsaturated carboxylic acids; it also contains small amounts of free fatty acids, cholesterol, phosphatides, and vitamins A and D.

Cod-liver oil is used in medicine and animal husbandry as a source of vitamins A and D. One milliliter contains 200–500 IU (international units) of vitamin A and 80–100 IU of vitamin D. Cod-liver oil is used internally to prevent rickets and vitamin A deficiency. A similar oil, obtained from the subcutaneous fat of aquatic mammals (whales, porpoises, and seals), is used externally to treat skin disorders.

In animal husbandry, cod-liver oil is used to accelerate animal growth and development and to prevent and treat rickets and xerophthalmia. Although the oil is fed mainly to young animals, it may be used to treat fowl of all ages. The oil is stored in cool, dark places, because the vitamin D is converted to poisonous toxisterol when exposed to light.

Cod-liver oil obtained from wastes in the evisceration and processing of fish is used in leather and soap production.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

cod-liver oil

[′käd ‚liv·ər ‚ȯil]
A yellow oil, high in vitamin D, extracted from the liver of the Atlantic cod (Gadus morrhua); soluble in alcohol. Also known as banks oil; oleum morrhuae.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

cod-liver oil

an oil extracted from the livers of cod and related fish, rich in vitamins A and D and used to treat deficiency of these vitamins
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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