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5 Cod Liver Oil Benefits for Kids

Made by vikings and used for centuries for its health benefits, cod liver oil helps in the growth and development of kids in many ways. It may prevent illnesses and encourage brain development during their formative years.

Close up shot of cod liver oil capsules on a wooden surface.

Cod liver oil benefits both kids and adults. It has large amounts of vitamins A, D, and omega-3 fatty acids and it’s so healthy, it’s supposed to reduce inflammation, promote brain function, improve eyesight, and boost the immune system.

While the taste of cod liver oil leaves a lot to be desired by kids, you’ll still want to incorporate it into their diets because it’s so nutritious. Find out how this health food aids child development and other herbal ingredients that make suitable alternatives.  

Ways Cod Liver Oil Benefits Kids’ Well-Being  

Lowers risk of rickets 

A teaspoon of cod liver oil has approximately 400 IU of vitamin D – the recommended daily intake for kids below 12 months old. The health supplement may help prevent a deficiency of the vitamin and rickets onset.

Rickets is a condition that occurs when a kid’s bones become too soft, making them vulnerable to warping, and easy bending or breaking. 

Lowers risk of type 1 diabetes 

Giving your child cod liver oil within the first year of life can help lower their risk of developing type 1 diabetes. It attributes to the anti-inflammatory effects of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). 

Lowers risk of upper respiratory tract infections 

Cod liver oil contains vitamin A, which helps maintain your child’s vision. It can also fortify their bodies against an upper respiratory tract infection. Regular intake of cod liver oil will strengthen them, and you’ll find that they don’t need to visit a paediatrician so often.

Suppresses the effects of neurodevelopmental disorders 

The omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil have also been proven to alleviate the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in kids aged seven to 12 years. 

Encourages proper brain development

Pregnant woman uses her left hand to drop cod liver oil supplements from a plastic bottle into her right palm.
Taking cod liver oil supplements during the last trimester of pregnancy helps promote foetal brain development.

Omega-3 fatty acids can support optimal brain development in your child. As such, it may be good for pregnant women to use cod liver during the last trimester. It can also be given to kids directly during infancy. 

Herbal Alternatives to Cod Liver Oil That are More Palatable

Cod liver oil usually doesn’t sit well with children. There are liquid gel capsules that mask the taste, but some children may be too young to take them without choking or have difficulty swallowing them.

Try disguising the taste to help them take it in liquid form. These include: 

  • Using a fruit-flavoured cod liver oil 
  • Adding the oil to a peanut butter sandwich 
  • Adding the oil to fruit juice or a smoothie 
  • Mixing the oil with their favourite food 

You can consider herbal remedies if your child refuses to take the supplement.

“InTraditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), these ingredients are selected based on their abilities to nourish yin (passive energy) and jing (essence) and strengthen the Kidneys.” 

Eu Yan Sang TCM Physician Kong Teck Chuan.


Close-up image of Cassia seeds in a ceramic bowl and flat surface.
Different parts of the Cassia plant are used to aid bowel movement

The roots, leaves, and seeds of the Cassia plant (jue ming zi, 决明子) are heavily used as folk medicine in Asia. These are well-known for their laxative properties but can also enhance eye function. 

Try giving your child a high-fibre beverage made from multiple grains and seeds to assist in bowel movements.


Fresh chrysanthemum flowers in a cup of tea are displayed alongside dried buds on a wooden surface.
A herbal tea made from chrysanthemum flowers is a popular remedy for influenza.

Yellow or white chrysanthemum flowers (ju hua, 菊花) can be boiled to make tea as they have many medicinal uses. For example, children can drink it to recover from influenza, which has a high infection rate. 

Goji berries

Goji berries in a white ceramic spoon and on a wooden surface. 
Regular use of goji berries help kids sleep better at night.

Generally, goji berries (gou qi, 枸杞) are associated with better health, increased energy levels, and improved alertness. Besides these, they’re capable of improving sleep quality. To improve eye health, you can brew and drink a tea that combines cassia seeds, chrysanthemum, and goji berries.

In TCM, goji berries are sweet and neutral in nature. This fruit may help nourish the Liver and Kidneys while boosting jing and vision quality. 

Ginkgo biloba

Close-up of gingko biloba leaves in a wooden tray and rattan basket. 
Gingko biloba has protective effects over multiple human body components. 

Two out of the 40 components of ginkgo biloba (yin xing, 银杏) – flavonoids and terpenoids – have medicinal properties.

Animal studies show that flavonoids can protect the nerves, retinas, heart muscles, and blood vessels from damage. Terpenoids boost blood circulation by widening the vessels and reducing platelet adhesiveness.

It’s undeniable that cod liver oil’s benefits outweigh its drawbacks. If your kid is put off by the supplement’s taste, there are herbal ingredients that may be considered alternatives. Discuss these options with a licensed TCM practitioner if they are safe to use and meet your kid’s specific needs.


  1. Wikipedia. Cod liver oil. [online] [Accessed 19 December 2022] 
  2. Brittanica. Cod-liver oil. [online] [Accessed 19 December 2022] 
  3. Firstcry.com. 2020. Cod Liver Oil for Kids – Benefits, Side Effects and How to Give. [online] [Accessed 19 December 2022] 
  4. Mom Junction. 2022. Cod Liver Oil For Kids: Benefits, Dosage And Possible Side-Effects. [online] [Accessed 19 December 2022] 
  5. Kiddle. Senna obtusifolia facts for kids. [online] [Accessed 19 December 2022] 
  6. Kiddle. Chrysanthemum facts for kids. [online] [Accessed 19 December 2022] 
  7. All Things Health. 2021. What is Goji Berry, and How Will It Benefit Your Health? [online] [Accessed 19 December 2022] 
  8. MyHEALTH. GINKGO BILOBA. [online] [Accessed 19 December 2022] 

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