Fish Oil or Cod Liver Oil Supplements

I’ve never given my children any supplementation from birth till now (they are now 5 & 7) because I’ve always believed in everything natural preferring to give them nutrition in the form of natural foods instead. However, recently, my husband and I were thinking of giving them some fish oil or cod liver oil supplements because we keep on hearing about its goodness and we remember that we used to take it when we were young.

However, I do not know much about fish oil or cod liver oil supplements. All I know from what I’ve read (rightly or wrongly) are …

  • Oil from fish contains EPA & DHA. Both are Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • The most beneficial form of Omega 3 can only be found in fish.
  • The difference between fish oil and cod liver oil is that you can consider cod liver oil as fish oil plus added Vitamin D & A
  • It is important to get Omega Fatty 3 acids that is purified or free from toxins like mercury

Criteria to evaluate Fish Oil Supplements:

  • Is the type of fish used naturally high in DHA & EPA Omega 3 especially DHA?
  • Is it purified?
  • Is the fish used fresh/not rancid?
  • Does the product tell you the breakdown between DHA & EPA per serving?
  • Look for one that is higher in DHA compared to EPA. This is because 60% of the brain in made up of fats and DHA comprise half of that. In addition, the body can convert EPA into DHA when the body is deficient in DHA but it is not very efficient in converting DHA into EPA

So, armed with this little knowledge, I went to visit the pharmacies for a research. I saw that most supplements come in the form of little capsules or hard chewable candy type for children and most are multivitamins. Eventually I could only find two brands which I remember from my childhood days. They are in liquid form. They are cod liver oils. They are Seven Seas and Scott’s Emulsion.

Scott’s Emulsion does not state the EPA or DHA content. It merely states that it has DHA. So I skipped that even though it had orange flavour. I remember the ones that we used to take was a white coloured liquid which tasted horrible. Apparently, it is more palatable now. The Seven Seas one lists down the EPA and DHA content. EPA was more than DHA and it only comes in original and cherry flavour. I think cherry is yucky. However, left with not many choices, we decided to try the Seven Seas one. The pharmacist did recommend a brand (I can’t remember its name now) which looks like much more serious supplementation so I dare not try it.

When I was shopping for the supplements, I asked one salesperson about fish oil supplements and I was amused when she pointed out to me a few supplements on how to increase children’s brainpower, help them study etc and say “All these are for kiasu parents.” Now, if I was a kiasu parent, I would probably have felt offended and left the shop. lol. Not a very good sales strategy, I am afraid.

Jokes aside, what I would like to know is whether anyone gives their children fish oil supplements? I would like to know what brand etc. Can you tell me more about it?

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25 thoughts on “Fish Oil or Cod Liver Oil Supplements

  1. I’ve been giving my daughter the Scott’s Emulsion (white liquid one) since she was age 3+ as it is said it can boost lung/respiratory system besides providing omega oils/DHA/EPA. This was following her recovery from pneumonia and asthma then. There are softgel capsule versions too but not suitable for kids unless they know how to swallow pills/capsules properly without choking. Her paed also recommended a good multivit supplement with good antioxidant content. The combi of fish oil and multivit seemed to help reduce her frequency of flu/cough. Her overall health has improved but not solely because of the fish oil/multivits. I attribute it to the combination of her growing older and eating better plus the supplements.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. i started philip with scott emulsion orange flavor since 1 yo.. cos its cheaper than appeton 😮 so far so good for him

    Oh, I see that most here are using scott emulsion.

  3. Hi Mumsgather,
    I got to know your blog from Penny. You have such a great blog – it’s so informative and fun to read…

    Just to share my comment on Cod Liver Oil.. I’ve been feeding my son with Scott’s Emulsion (both flavours) since he was 1 y/o. Since then, he seldom fell sick and his body resistant against flu is stronger now..

    Thanks for dropping by my blog Emily, for your generous comments and for sharing. 🙂

  4. hi mg,

    rye li has been taking scott’s emulsion – orange at the daycare since just over a year old simply bcoz all the kids there do. lol. whether it has done her health any better, i can’t tell coz she still got her occasional flu & cough. when she’s about 2, i also added in vit c till today n lately some multivits too (coz she’s been coughing 4 longer periods).

    i know some moms are giving this kawai drops too (from japan). taste yummy it seems like sweets but kinda pricey. i may give this a go in future.

    Oh yes, when I was shopping around, this kawai promoter passed my kids the “sweets” to try.

  5. hey MG, i heard from a doc that 7Seas is better. According to him, Scotts Emulsion is not pure. i’m planning to get 7Seas for my girl too. i took scotts emulsion when i was a kid though 🙂

    It would appear that way if you study the list of contents for both.

  6. Hi MG,

    I’ve been giving both my girls Scott Emulsion, mostly white version the moment they turned 1 yr old. Now I top it with the kawai drop as well, just to be double kiasu. Hehehe. I learned about Kawai from Z&Z mom’s blog. The power of blogging.

    Ah yes, the power of blogging indeed. I just love it, don’t you?

  7. I think most people gravitate towards Scotts Emulsion because it has been around for eons! 🙂 My bbsitter also used to give SC and we have a bottle at home as well. More coz he is used to the taste rather than any other reason.

    If the write up about Seven Seas is better, go with it! But I do recall there were some recalls on 7Seas vits some years back…

    There were recalls for Seven Seas? Aiyoyo. Do you remember why?

  8. i’ve been giving my elder daughter the white emulsion since she was baby (she’s 3 yo now), didn’t see any drastic improvement but i wasn’t expect any either, since i was treating it more like a food supplement that has accumulative goodness over long period.
    however recently i switched her and my 10 mths old boy to Seven Seas Pure cod oil and i do see improvements overall. They recover very fast from a cold and seldom fall sick. However i can’t say THIS is the only factor but i hv good feeling abt it. Also I didn’t make lotssa comparison so this is more of a mommy’s gut feeling and based on my experience so i can’t tell u abt the DHA/EHA, etc comparison :).
    In this kinda season (raging H1N1), we just wanna give them as much protection as possible, isn’t it? so sometimes maybe it’s just for peace of mind and letting them take the oil does make me feel i’m doing ‘sth’ positive 🙂

    Thanks for sharing. I haven’t started them on it yeah. Still doing “research”. 😉

  9. Benghui prefers the one on the left. dont know why he doesnt want to change to the new orangey one.

    Probably its an acquired taste and he is used to it now so no need to change. 🙂

  10. Hi,
    Stumbled on your site & blog & found them very interesting. Certainly made me smile & grin! Made me wish I had more time to blog! I’m a sahm too.
    My son’s been taking Scott’s original flavour for about a year now. Surprisingly I didnt do research on it like I normally do on everything. Think it’s cos I took it as a child (& detested it) & it’s been around for ages & every other person seems to have grown up on it. Started him on it cos he was getting sick so often back then. He’s 3yrs 8mths now. He was seldom sick this year & if he does it’s not as severe. Like what some of the mums said above, I too dont think this is solely attributable to Scotts. I think it’s a combination of his multi-vits, better eating habits, getting older & his pro-biotics.
    I’ve been thinking of changing to Efalex by Efamol, distributed by BioLife in M’sia. But put off by the price! I think it’s more “pure” and concentrated. Was that the one you saw for kiasu parents? 😀

    Hi Humbledmum, Thanks for dropping by. No, it was not Efalex. It was something else but I just can’t remember it! Getting old. Hehe.

  11. My hubby has the same thought as you that all these vitamins/nutrition should come from natural food. I was thinking if I should let Darrius start on the cod liver oil too. I just bought a bottle of Marine Omega from Nuskin and thought I’ll share with him. After all he was a breastfed baby and his immune system is quite strong. I guess only when he starts going to school that I should be more concern… 😛

  12. I give 7 seas to my younger one (natural not the cherry one) since my older one is allergic to fish(bummer). I am suprised that he does not complain as the smell is yucky. Whether it is effective…am not too sure since he still falls ill here and there. However, as I take cod liver oil too, I can vouch for its effectiveness. Not so easy to fall sick since i started on it.

  13. Hi, my older kids are taking Neurogain PB For Children and my youngest girl who is 2yo Childlife Cod Liver Oil which is in syrup form. 🙂

  14. Hi
    i did bought Scott Emulsion but my 3yrs+ gal refuse to take it. no choice i bought a bottle of Kawaii chewable cod liver. Seems not much helping, even i gave her bio-life pro-biotic daily. she had a lung infection earlier this year, which Doctor told me the virus is kind of strong that is why she very easy to get sick. ya i admit, she sick almost 2wks once (getting me crazy, need to jaga her + working)
    Recently she is having flu+cought+phlegm for 3wks+, not so serious now…but still unable to recover..
    no choice, today i go to buy the SevenSea Cod liver oil, recommended by my aunty. Hopefully it will help, will share after one month, hahahah.
    but i m curious on the dosage, outside the bottle said 10ml for adult & age above 1yr, but after check from the net it mention 5-15yrs recommended to 5ml only?!
    i m stuck now 🙁

  15. Hi,
    I would like to have some advice from anyone can recommend what type of supplement suit for kid age 3yrs for children illness such as flu,cough,phlegm. I’m also bought Scott Emulsion for my kid since age 1 under now 3yrs but still easily to get sick. Even consult doctor the illness still coming back. Now my kid having a bad flu,cough & phlegm again. I’m so worry 🙁 Pls help!

  16. Hi
    when i was kid my parents used to give us scott emulsion too. but i am hesitant to give to my kids now. reason being i wonder how much preservatives are added to make sure the fish oil does not go bad ? come on… we buy fish in the market too… and if it is not flozen and leave in open, within 24 hours it will be bad and cannot be consume ? i remember buying once and left the bottle in room temperature, the contents remained the same, not rotten. i threw it away. so now… i believe only in giving them milk. and i mean milk power. and i believe more in infant milk powder coz logically to my mind, the chemical used in infant milk powder has to be a good one, so the infant being so fragile will not die from chemical reaction. never mind they said the nutrition value is not adequate… to me… then just drink additional 2 or more cups and voila.. they will get good quality and adequate nutrition:-D

  17. I’m afraid it’s waayyy too late for me to say anything now. But I like the discussion about cod liver oil.

    During the H1N1 season hitting malaysia, I took up scott’s emulsion as protection for me from the virus (my immune system is quite bad. even a few drops of rain on my head can cause me fever) thank God, it worked.

    But my college professor used to urge us to take seven seas cod liver oil. he said that it is a magical supplement. my mom did give us seven seas before.

    I’m now pregnant and am relying on scott’s emulsion to keep me away from sneezing (i have bad morning sinus too) plus there is DHA content. so it wud be good for my baby 🙂 it’s been long since i last took seven seas anyway.

    Hi Zahira. Its never too late… not even for a blog comment. 😉 Wish you a smooth sailing pregnancy and delivery.

  18. General rule of thumb regarding any medical supplements: always check with your physician as to any side effects! This is especially important for those who administer it to infants and pregnant women.
    In the case of cod liver oil, unlike other fish oils, it has very high content of vitamin A & D. If you’re taking it purely for vitamin A, then it may be safe. But due to its rather low EPA/DHA contents (note: though not in label, Scott’s Emulsion also contains these), be careful of excessive vitamin A intake if the two essential fatty acids are what you’re aiming for.
    To put it short: with cod liver oil, if you get just enough vitamin A, you don’t get enough EPA/DHA.
    If you get just enough EPA/DHA, you will get too much vitamin A.
    Overdose of vitamin A (hypervitaminosis A) in early pregnancy is shown to cause birth defects.
    Check your family’s diet: if they’re getting enough healthy food, maybe the oil intake can be reduced. Also check if kids are given vitamin-enriched milk too.

  19. Hi, I never thought that scotts emulsion still exists. My 6 yr old son gets cough & fever and tonsilitis 5 to 6 times a year, and is frequently taking antibiotics for the latter. My mom reminded me she used to give us scotts emulsion when we were kids to prevent colds. I am considering giving it to my 6yr old, but i want to know your feedbacks about scotts emulsion nowadays cause its been 22yrs maybe since we last used it. And reading the previous posts, which one is better, scotts or the seven seas (though it’s 1st time i’ve heard of it). Hope i can get replies soon. Thanks.

    Hello Grace, I am using Seven Seas so I can’t comment on Scotts but I believe both are just as popular these days. Just go to any pharmacy and you will see them both fully stocked. You can check with the promoters but perhaps they may be biased or you could ask the pharmacist. I hope this helps.

  20. Sometimes I give my children (3yo+ &5yo+)Scotts original flavour but they didn’t like it but I try to persuade them. But whenever I give them, they always fall sick (i.e flu) after a few days later. My mother- in-law said some children can’t take them due to their body “heatiness” and asks me not to give them anymore. Is there such a thing? I want to strengthen their immune system as they get sick easily. Can Scotts cod liver oil cause “heatiness’?

  21. Pingback: cod liver oil - Hong Kong Baby, Pregnancy and Parenting Forums

  22. Hie there. My turn now to find out more on supps for my kiddo. Nice write up… But still hesitant cos I believe that nutrients should come frm naturally too. But with mixing ard with other children in daycare, bacterial, germs and virus will somehow spread ard. Sigh, but I think I need to explore more since I think it’s time for supplements since my Missy is choosy with her food.

  23. hi there is SE or SS safe for toddlers aged 1 yr? and also is it safe to be taken together with a multivitamin and a vitamin c supplement? just want to know coz i have a 20 month old son and frequently gets cold and cough and is a really picky eater, i wanted to give him something that can enhance his immune system and boost his appetite also. thank you…

  24. Hi all I have a question I just started giving my 13 month old son scotts emulsion for the last 3 days but now since I introduced it to him he won’t sleep at night could it b the side effect thanks any advice will help

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