How to apply cod liver oil to the skin for effective absorption of nutrients as an alternative to orally off the spoon or via capsules.
Hands down, one of the most frequent questions I get is how to get a child to take cod liver oil. Giving a baby cod liver oil is quite easy as you just drip 1/4 teaspoon into the mouth with an eye dropper.
How about young children? Taking cod liver oil off the spoon chased with a swig of water is my favored method as demonstrated in the linked video. But what to do if a toddler spits it out? Not a whole lot except clean up the mess on the floor!
Once they spit it out after the first try, toddlers will typically refuse to open their mouths again for a second go.
What is to be done at this point?
Stop the Gag Reflex
If your child doesn’t like to take cod liver oil due to gagging, using a simple acupressure technique can stop the gag reflex for about 30 seconds. See the linked article for a description of how to use it with a video demonstration.
This approach works very well even for adults who struggle with this issue.
Absorption via Skin
If you’d like to bypass taking cod liver oil by mouth, the nutrients in cod liver oil are readily absorbed by the skin too.
In fact, until just a few decades ago, over the counter diaper rash creams used to contain cod liver oil!
Drug companies are increasingly taking advantage of the ability of skin to absorb chemicals of all kinds with the smokers patch being one of the most well known.
There are now skin patches for birth control and even a patch for motion sickness when you take a cruise or fly in a plane.
Skin will not only readily absorb drugs but it also absorbs nutrients.
How does the skin compare?
Research suggests that absorption of substances (both good and bad!) placed on the skin is about 64% with near 100% for areas with thinner skin such as the armpits. (1)
Externally Applied Cod Liver Oil
When sunbathing with no sunscreen, the vitamin D forms in the tiny pools of oil on the skin to be easily and quickly absorbed.
When you take Epsom salt baths, the magnesium and sulfur are readily taken into the blood.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, there is evidence that oil itself is absorbed by the skin.
Midwives frequently suggest rubbing castor oil on the belly of an overdue patient or using a castor oil pack in order to stimulate contractions.
Using this information to get cod liver oil into your child with no swallowing needed can be a very practical approach!
Thinner Skin is Best
Since high vitamin cod liver oil can stain clothing and burn the eyes, it is important to put apply it to an area that is not easily accessed by little fingers and hands.
It is also a good idea to apply where the skin is a bit thinner for maximum absorption potential.
With these goals in mind, the best place for application seems to be your child’s bare bottom. Slathering a bit of cod liver oil on this area during a diaper change once a day works really well.
You can slather the 1/4 -1/2 tsp daily dose on at one time if you like. There’s no need to put it on at every diaper change.
If your child is out of diapers, you can slather the cod liver oil on the belly area instead and wrap some gauze around the torso to keep it from contacting clothing. This method also works for older children with disabilities.
Don’t worry about a lingering fishy smell. Any odor is surprisingly gone within just a few minutes of application!
Which Brand to Use?
Should you apply the high vitamin cod liver oil with the synergistic butter oil too? That is a good idea as they work together to increase the potency and effectiveness of each other according to the research of Dr. Weston A. Price.
Please refer to my shopping guide for vetted brands that are pure, unprocessed and contain only natural vitamins.
This is the brand my family has used since 2015. If you decide to try it, be sure to use coupon HealthyHome10 for a 10% discount even on reorders!