Study Shows Cod Liver Oil Reduces Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

by Sarah Natural RemediesComments: 92

Cod liver oil reduces pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis can be an extremely painful not to mention disabling illness. As a result, those suffering from this autoimmune disease frequently find themselves relying on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Voltaren (diclofenac sodium) for relief in order to function on a daily basis.

The problem is that NSAIDs are associated with increased risk of serious cardiovascular events, myocardial infarction, and stroke. This risk may increase with duration of use as well as increased dosage. In addition, those who already have cardiovascular disease or risk factors are likely at even greater risk for a potentially fatal cardiovascular event.

Consequently, limiting NSAID use and minimizing dosage as much as possible are very important goals in the management of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

The good news is that results of a recent study suggest that it is indeed possible to reduce dependence on NSAIDs for Rheumatoid Arthritis with the help of the age-old remedy cod liver oil.

The pilot study, reported in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research in July 2013 involved 30 Rheumatoid Arthritis patients aged 19 to 60 years. The study was conducted from April to September 2012 at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Hospital.

Each patient received 1.5 grams of cod liver oil twice each day given as five, 300 mg capsules. The cod liver oil regimen continued for a period of 24 weeks.

The omega-3 fatty acid content of each capsule was Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) 20 mg and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) 30 mg. The fat soluble vitamin content of each capsule was Vitamin A-284 IU and Vitamin D-28.4 IU. Hence, the total dosage each day from the 10 capsules (5 taken twice daily) was EPA-200 mg, DHA-300 mg, Vitamin A-2840 IU and Vitamin D-284 IU.

Cod liver oil was chosen by the study’s authors over plain fish oil as cod liver oil contains Vitamins A and D, which fish oil does not. Vitamin A protects against liver damage from Methotrexate therapy, a mainstay in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Cod liver oil is also protective against Vitamin D deficiency which is highly prevalent in the disease.

In addition to the cod liver oil, the patients took 50 mg of Diclofenac Sodium in a single daily dose with the maximum allowed NSAID dose of 200 mg/day.

The average daily NSAID requirement for each patient was recorded and compared throughout the 24 week period. In addition, the pain score of the patients was evaluated using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) at different weeks along with an assessment of the “Subjective Response” to their Rheumatoid Arthritis pain.

Administration of the cod liver oil over the 24 week period resulted in a statistically significant decrease in the mean VAS pain score from 80.38 ± 6.4 at the beginning of the study to 67.30 ± 5.3 at its conclusion.

Even more encouraging, the percentage of patients who experienced a subjective response assessment of “Better” increased dramatically from 15.38% at week 4 to 61.53% at week 24.

The authors of the study concluded the following:

This study revealed that the concurrent use of Cod liver oil which contained n-3 Essential Fatty Acid in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients reduced the mean daily dose of Diclofenac Sodium consumed and probably the incidence of the side effects which were associated with it.

Given that cod liver oil is a safe remedy used for centuries, even as far back as Viking and Roman times, it would seem reasonable to try it for 5-6 months as the patients did in this study to see whether it could reduce dependence on dangerous NSAID drugs for Rheumatoid Arthritis pain.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Sources and More Information

J Clin Diagn Res. 2013 July; 7(7): 1347—1351.

The concomitant consumption of cod liver oil causes a reduction in the daily diclofenac sodium usage in rheumatoid arthritis patients: a pilot study

How I Resolved Night Blindness Naturally

Comments (92)

  • Joseph JS

    Very insightful post regarding cod fish oil. In fact this subject alone can go into great lengths as to which fish oil to take because not all fish oil supplements are created equal though, and cod fish most often potentially contain high levels of mercury which go into the cod fish oil supplement where it’s used.

    Krill fish is a better source in terms of potency. One should also note that Omega 6 and Omega 3 ratio can make a big difference; with Omega 6 being an inflammation contributor itself or aggravates arthritis. Also, synthetic ethyl esther oil is often used in supplements making it hard to be absorbed so you’ll probably not get into the critical mass to reap any benefit.

    Have you ever opened a cod liver supplement bottle giving out that not so fresh smell of fish from the capsules and give you an embarrassing odorous fish burps later after taking it? It’s an indication that it could be highly rancid and of high toxicity already and that can give you more trouble than benefit. It is most probably the reason why some people like Michelle Jones complain about not reaping any benefit.

    This may go into great lengths as mentioned so you might want watch a video about the topic instead:

    You’ll also learn about the 5 worst oil ever to cook with because you will unknowingly get Omega-6 fatty acids that can throw your system’s omega balance towards inflammation plus what other fish you should avoid; being potentially high in mercury content and, hence, will just aggravate an arthritic condition.

    October 13th, 2014 2:12 am Reply
  • Ryan PT Specialist via Facebook

    Interesting.. :)

    May 12th, 2014 8:52 am Reply
  • Laura Jiles via Facebook

    Jackie Robbins Badgley Read this article if you get a chance. I take CLO and really think it helps me get over illness. I wonder if it would be helpful with arthritis.

    May 12th, 2014 8:51 am Reply
  • Amen Keights via Facebook

    My Grandfather used to get up at midnight and have a glass of orange juice with cod liver oil as it helps it to absorb and is taken on an empty stomach

    May 12th, 2014 8:49 am Reply
    • Deborah

      Thank you for this tip, after reading your comment I remember some one telling me they had taken orange juice and cod liver oil at certain time of night, months after doing this he went back to the specialist and had test, came back negative to rheumatoid Arthritis :) so thank you very much for your comment :)))

      August 19th, 2014 9:14 pm Reply
  • Ryanne Santos via Facebook

    What can we use if we’re allergic to CLO?

    May 11th, 2014 10:48 pm Reply
  • Carmel Dunham via Facebook

    Thank You so very much for this TIP!!!

    May 11th, 2014 10:30 pm Reply
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  • Heather

    Yes this does work. I bought some blue ice infused coconut oil (infused with fclo and butter oil) for my mother just for her overall health benefits. Neither of us knew it would help with her arthritis. Not only does it help, her pain is gone. She still has stiffness, but absolutely no pain. She thanks me all the time for buying it for her. She has even recommended it to co-workers who suffer from the same.

    December 29th, 2013 3:45 pm Reply
  • Jessica Haymon Moore via Facebook

    Wendy Ranger… and of course you know, not just any CLO.

    December 28th, 2013 10:24 am Reply
  • Melissa Egbert via Facebook

    Cherise Dever Mikesell

    December 28th, 2013 10:23 am Reply
  • Elizabeth Seguin via Facebook

    Bob Flach

    December 28th, 2013 9:24 am Reply
  • Mary Nail via Facebook

    Didn’t help my pain.

    December 28th, 2013 8:45 am Reply
  • Cynthia Piersall via Facebook

    That’s why I take it …!

    December 28th, 2013 8:19 am Reply
  • Becky Morris via Facebook

    Sandra Bicklein

    December 28th, 2013 7:14 am Reply
  • Connie Doggett-Murphy via Facebook

    Mary Giddings Perkins Im gonna try it and c….maybe this can help roger…

    December 28th, 2013 6:26 am Reply
  • Danielle Suzanne Coulter via Facebook

    Robin Glenn

    December 28th, 2013 6:14 am Reply
  • Crystal CrunchyMama Pronos via Facebook

    Adri check it out.

    December 28th, 2013 5:35 am Reply
  • Audrienne Shellhart via Facebook

    Allison Klein – I have no idea what kind you have, wanted to tag you just in case.

    December 28th, 2013 2:47 am Reply
  • Indiana Monterrey via Facebook

    Luke Fleming

    December 28th, 2013 2:38 am Reply
  • rosella ella

    After age 64 all out joints of fingers on left hand (except ring finger and thumb), and also only the little finger’s outer joint of right hand have swollen greatly and hurt. I guess age has caught up with me, but wonder why not all fingers’ joints are involved- just a few.?? I am very low on vitamin D, and will try the CLO to see if improves. Anyone else with RA have only a few fingers involved ?

    December 28th, 2013 12:58 am Reply
  • Lily Anna Butler via Facebook

    Radiant life company sells fermented clo online.

    December 28th, 2013 12:22 am Reply
  • Sarah Symons via Facebook

    Sue Creighton

    December 28th, 2013 12:20 am Reply
  • Meg Stodghill via Facebook

    Margie Stodghill

    December 28th, 2013 12:15 am Reply
  • Susie Johns Foster via Facebook

    I should try that fof my fibromyalgia.

    December 27th, 2013 11:33 pm Reply
  • Hallie Jerdan via Facebook

    Where do we find authentic cod liver oil?

    December 27th, 2013 11:22 pm Reply
  • Naomi Giuliano via Facebook

    It works like a miracle on toothaches.

    December 27th, 2013 10:08 pm Reply
  • Glo Prater via Facebook

    CLO can also make the condition worse by slowing the thyroid even more. The benefits of CLO vary from person to person. If your suffering with hypothyroidism you should avoid CLO.

    December 27th, 2013 9:50 pm Reply
  • Jamie Lee Morton via Facebook

    Belinda Morton

    December 27th, 2013 9:28 pm Reply
  • Megan

    My daughter who is 12 years old has had issues with joint pain especially her fingers, they are sometimes crooked too. We have found that with 3 teaspoons of cod liver oil the pain refused greatly. If we combine the oil with Dailey Epsom salt bathes she is pain free!

    December 27th, 2013 8:56 pm Reply
  • Pixie Styx via Facebook

    Sometimes you should further research before sharing something that causes and 18% death rate…… Just saying…..

    December 27th, 2013 8:09 pm Reply
  • Tracey Jeffery via Facebook

    Also those needing more
    Pain killers are usually vitamin D3 deficient.

    December 27th, 2013 8:07 pm Reply
  • Michelle Jones via Facebook

    How long till you see results, I’ve been taking fish oil for two years every day and still suffer from Arthritis.

    December 27th, 2013 7:08 pm Reply
  • Rolonne Fry Ross via Facebook

    Thanks for reminding me.

    December 27th, 2013 6:59 pm Reply
  • Nicky Lin via Facebook

    Pamella De Armas for Richard. It can only help, can’t hurt. Might as well give it a try.

    December 27th, 2013 6:23 pm Reply
  • Sarah Schneider via Facebook

    Jan Wright, Larry Wright

    December 27th, 2013 6:01 pm Reply
  • Crystal Pratt via Facebook

    You know i use cod liver oil but for a different reason. The first time I ever took birth control, I took the depo shot. Worst decision of my life. I never had problems just some bloating, seemed normal enough to me. Well after I took that shot I started having all the worst problems. Never went back to get another shot. Also not smart, anyways I had to go back to the doc’s and they told me I had to take birth control again. No other option. I was devastated, I took the lowest dosage for three months and cut myself off again. Found out I could use Cod Liver Oil instead!!! Tried it and it worked!!!!! Been birth control free for a whole year and no irregularities!!! :)

    December 27th, 2013 5:26 pm Reply
  • Janet Lynn Hunt via Facebook

    Barry Hunt, Faye Hunt

    December 27th, 2013 4:53 pm Reply
  • Connie Ross via Facebook

    Work for any other kind of pain?

    December 27th, 2013 4:52 pm Reply
  • Claudia Millerbragg via Facebook

    Diane Bivins read this..

    December 27th, 2013 4:41 pm Reply
  • Sandra K Pulaski via Facebook

    But where to get a good one. Many of the “fish oils” are made from oil extracted from clubbed baby seals in Canada, so I stopped taking them.

    December 27th, 2013 4:25 pm Reply
  • Karen Matejka via Facebook

    Kelsey Matejka

    December 27th, 2013 4:06 pm Reply
  • Cathy Wells via Facebook

    Charlotte Duvall Bicking

    December 27th, 2013 4:02 pm Reply
  • Harmony Miller via Facebook

    Misty Miotto

    December 27th, 2013 4:01 pm Reply
  • Jennifer Lucero via Facebook

    Karen Matejka

    December 27th, 2013 3:53 pm Reply
  • Lizabeth Joi Nash Matthews via Facebook

    Martha Brazinsky

    December 27th, 2013 3:45 pm Reply
  • Sarah Gibbs via Facebook


    December 27th, 2013 3:22 pm Reply
  • Jessica Brandon via Facebook

    Cindy Davis

    December 27th, 2013 3:18 pm Reply
  • Kussum Leadford via Facebook

    Toshema read this

    December 27th, 2013 3:04 pm Reply
  • Mark Brennan via Facebook

    Richard, read this!

    December 27th, 2013 2:47 pm Reply
  • Angela Conner Padalecki via Facebook

    Aunt Barbara. I know you said Mimi took cod liver oil. We swear by it for many ailments.

    December 27th, 2013 2:44 pm Reply
  • Sonya

    This is such a timely post. Last week my doctor suggested I may have RA. I haven’t had any testing yet, but will definitely give this a try to see if I feel better. Thanks for the information!

    December 27th, 2013 2:32 pm Reply
  • Donnie

    I started taking Cod Liver Oil and about 40 days later read that it was good for arthritis. I hadn’t realized that my arthritis had quit hurting.

    December 27th, 2013 2:08 pm Reply
  • Dee Ann Hanks Grom via Facebook

    I am going to try this as my arthritis pain has been increasing.

    December 27th, 2013 1:43 pm Reply
  • Nici Horn via Facebook

    Ann-Marie Weiers, I would love to help you with oils and other Young Living Supplements because they have already helped so many but this may be something you can do now! :)

    December 27th, 2013 1:36 pm Reply
  • Carrie Bailey

    I was wondering if you can get too much Omega 3? We here follow a paleo diet and eat a lot of grass fed meats, eggs etc. Have taken the fermented cod liver oil in the past, but then I read an article about the possibility of overdosing on Omega 3’s especially with children.
    Any insight would be appreciated.

    December 27th, 2013 1:32 pm Reply
  • Amanda Merk via Facebook

    Jean Py Merk !

    December 27th, 2013 1:31 pm Reply
  • Jennifer Gil via Facebook

    Ivan Vasquez

    December 27th, 2013 12:41 pm Reply
  • Jessica Carter Kingsborough via Facebook

    CLO helps with systemic inflammation that can also lead to the heart disease associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis. My doctor also recommends turmeric as a supplement.

    December 27th, 2013 12:29 pm Reply
  • Keely Stewart via Facebook

    Cathy Greene

    December 27th, 2013 12:15 pm Reply
  • Aubrie Granata Pike via Facebook

    Brianna Miller-Awve… Just a little something to read. What the hell else you have to do right now anyway?! 😉

    December 27th, 2013 11:56 am Reply
  • Nichelle Ferreyra via Facebook

    Thanks…I will pass this on!

    December 27th, 2013 11:51 am Reply
  • Reanna Santero via Facebook

    Nichelle Ferreyra for your friend. Maybe fermented cod liver oil would be better

    December 27th, 2013 11:46 am Reply
  • Laura Duvall Huckins via Facebook

    Larry Duvall

    December 27th, 2013 11:45 am Reply
  • Marlo Pabst Hughen via Facebook

    To my knowledge fermented cod liver oil is only sold by Green Pastures. I take a TSP daily (more than this article says) and still suffer from arthritic pain. I do not take additional NSAID though.

    December 27th, 2013 11:35 am Reply
    • Ina

      Try eliminating all gluten, especially North American Hybrid Wheat. See as one place to start. It takes 3 months for all the reactions to clear, but you should notice a difference in a week or two. Some people initially feel like they have the flu for the first week or so, hang in there. Also sugar is very inflammatory.

      December 27th, 2013 1:15 pm Reply
      • Heather

        Being gluten free for a year did nothing to help reduce my stiffness and inflammation. I’m sure it helps some but it’s definitely not a cure all.

        January 29th, 2014 4:22 pm Reply
  • Tisha Hartman via Facebook

    This is very true for me. It helps for fibromyalgia pain and headaches as well. I notice such a difference when I’m not on top of it.

    December 27th, 2013 11:35 am Reply
  • Lisa Zielke Hubbard via Facebook


    December 27th, 2013 11:32 am Reply
  • Lani A. Wolf via Facebook

    Where can I the fermented cod liver oil capsules from the safe fish in Russia?

    December 27th, 2013 11:30 am Reply
  • Heather Gorsett via Facebook

    Samantha Sink Ruiz thinking and praying for you girl!

    December 27th, 2013 11:19 am Reply
  • Amanda Williams

    Sarah, I have always heard such wonderful things about Cod liver oil, but now am wondering… How do you feel about using it after the tsunami in Japan that happened. I know there is so much radiation in the ocean, and currently, we can’t get wild caught shrimp and many other fish here in Iowa due to the pollution in the ocean having caused a virus. Do you have any information on a good Cod liver oil for those that are concerned about this? Thanks so much for your help!

    December 27th, 2013 11:15 am Reply
  • Kerri Alicia Galea Price via Facebook

    How much can a 22 month old take. Do you have dosages chart for children and adults just to take for regular health?

    December 27th, 2013 11:13 am Reply
  • Sara Stewart Vanderbilt via Facebook

    Amen! Quality cod liver oil makes a world of difference!

    December 27th, 2013 10:58 am Reply
  • Fran Small Papadaki via Facebook

    that is sooooo true my mum has saved her life with the cod liver and trying to be now away from painkillers

    December 27th, 2013 10:57 am Reply
  • Pamela Bruesehoff via Facebook

    Cia Oh

    December 27th, 2013 10:56 am Reply
  • Michelle Kissinger Martin via Facebook

    Wanessa Batista Melo didn’t read but title made me think of Gabby!

    December 27th, 2013 10:54 am Reply
  • Laina Scott via Facebook

    Ronda O’Connor

    December 27th, 2013 10:54 am Reply
  • Angela Howell via Facebook


    December 27th, 2013 10:50 am Reply
  • Bob Vigneault via Facebook

    I take 4 fish oil capsules a day for arthritis and it is a lifesaver. It replaces Tylenol arthritis capsules and glucosamine and all those other EXPENSIVE remedies. Fish oil is the way to go.

    December 27th, 2013 10:50 am Reply

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