Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Awful Tasting Cod Liver Oil Did Do Some Good

Awful Tasting Cod Liver Oil Did Do Some Good, UC History Researcher Says
 
Until the introduction of synthetic vitamins in the 1960s, the nauseating cod liver oil had been used in New Zealand since the earliest days of settlement to ward off or cure illnesses.
 
A University of Canterbury (UC) researcher says despite the terrible taste, cod liver oil did actually do some good but the reasons why did not become apparent until the 20th and 21st centuries.
 
``It is vindicated as a useful food supplement even today as long as manufacturers process and store the fish oils correctly,’’ history PhD student Claire Le Couteur says.
 
``Cod liver oil contains vitamins A and D, but this was not known until the 20th century. People did not know why it helped diseases such as rickets, caused by a lack of Vitamin D.
 
``The early mixtures probably contained very little vitamin A because it is easily broken down when exposed to the air and light. Vitamin D was much more robust and survived the early crude extraction methods.
``Vitamin D in cod liver oil may also have helped build immunity to disease through its action on the immune system.

``The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils are now known to have anti-inflammatory properties, but only if the oils are really carefully prepared and are not oxidised. Fish liver oils were manufactured in New Zealand in the late 1930s and early 1940s when war threatened supplies,’’ Le Couteur says.
 
A factory was set up in Wellington by the Karitane Products Society to supply the oil as a vitamin supplement for baby foods. The fish species included groper, ling, shark, blue and red cod, hake and bass.

The oil did work but the reasons why were unknown for a long time. If the oil was oxidised it would not have had any beneficial effects. It actually made some people ill. 
 
It would have been an easy medicine to sell - the advertising was persuasive and ubiquitous and, therefore, would have been a popular product for pharmacists to market. They all made their own concoctions with strong flavourings to disguise the fishy taste, Le Couteur says. 
 
Until modern medicines came along, it was a reasonably safe and effective product for many purposes.
 
``Cod liver oil made up such a large part of New Zealand’s imported products in the 19th century that it was listed as a separate commodity in government statistics. To satisfy public demand, thousands of litres arrived every year in bulk, as well as in an unknown volume as a constituent of many patent medicines.
 
``Encouraged by excessive advertising in daily newspapers by patent medicine manufacturers, physicians and pharmacists prescribed it for many different ailments and parents force-fed their children the unpalatable mixture to help them grow. At a time when there were few effective medicines for any illness, cod liver oil played an important role in the treatment of tuberculosis and other wasting diseases.
 
``Wartime restrictions on imports in the 1940s saw local production of fish oils in Wellington that lasted until the introduction of synthetic vitamins in the 1960s, eliminating the need for the public to swallow unpalatable cod liver oil,’’ Le Couteur says.

She has previously researched areas including biochemistry, pharmacology, biotechnology of plants and food science.
 
ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Dairy NZ: ‘More Milk From Fewer Cows’ Trend Continues In A Record Year
Vodafone says it has 10,000 customers using its Wi-Fi Calling service. It took less than three months to reach that milestone; the service began operating in September... More>>

Statistics: Consents Remain At Record Levels
There were 47,715 new homes consented in the year ended October 2021, up 26 percent compared with the year ended October 2020, Stats NZ said today. "The year ended October 2021 marks another record for the annual number of new homes consented,” construction statistics manager Michael Heslop said... More>>



Foodstuffs: New World & Four Square Trial NZ’s First Grocery Delivery Offer With Uber Eats

New World & Four Square have partnered with Uber Eats to unlock the first grocery offering available on the platform in Aotearoa. For New World and Four Square it’s yet another way to put New Zealanders first, particularly with those inevitable last-minute grocery needs... More>>


Canterbury Museum: New Research - Bald Haast's Eagle Feasted On Moa Guts

New Zealand’s extinct Haast’s Eagle (Hieraaetus moorei), the largest known eagle, gulped down viscera like a vulture and may even have been bald, new research suggests... More>>

ABC Business Sales: Demand High For Covid-proof Businesses
Despite the continuing challenges facing businesses in this Covid environment, right now there are more buyers looking for a small-medium sized business than there are sellers in the market... More>>


PriceSpy: Producer Prices Increase
New Black Friday and Covid-19 Report* released by PriceSpy says people’s fear of stepping inside physical shops during big sales events like Black Friday has risen since last year; Kiwis are still planning to shop, but more than ever will do it online this year... More>>

NZ Skeptics Society: Announce Their 2021 Awards, And Dr Simon Thornley Wins The Bent Spoon

Every year the New Zealand Skeptics presents its awards to people and organisations who have impressed us or dismayed us, and this year it’s been hard to pick our winners because there have been so many choices!.. More>>