Research project: Can cod liver oil prevent Covid-19?

This question will now be investigated in greater depth in what will be one of the largest clinical studies ever conducted in Norway.

2020-11-18

Researchers at Oslo University Hospital have indications that cod liver oil may reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, but is it because cod liver oil prevents COVID-19 disease or are there other factors associated with persons who take cod liver oil that place them at lower risk?

This autumn, Oslo University Hospital will start a research project to examine whether cod liver oil is effective in preventing COVID-19. Cod liver oil is rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids and the Cod Liver Oil Study will be based on findings from the major COVID-19 study (“Koronastudien”) that was begun this spring.

– Preliminary data from our ongoing COVID-19 study (“Koronastudien”) suggest that cod liver oil users may have a reduced risk of COVID-19 and a lower risk of severe disease outcomes if they are infected. This finding supports existing literature on omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D on respiratory tract infections and COVID-19.

However, the results from the associative study can not rule out that cod liver oil users have other protective characteristics in their way of living. To find out whether cod liver oil itself actually offers a protection against COVID-19, a properly designed randomized study is needed, says Arne Søraas, physician-scientist at the Department of Microbiology, Oslo University Hospital.

The Cod Liver Oil Study will include at least 70,000 participants, making it one of the largest clinical studies ever conducted in Norway. The study will also be extensive by international standards.

During the study, half of the participants will take a daily dose of cod liver oil, while the other half will be given a placebo product. The participants, who will not be told which group they have been placed in, are currently being recruited.

– I hope that many people will see this as an opportunity to be part of the great collective effort to combat COVID-19. The results can give us valuable insight into how we can prevent infection by COVID-19 and other viral diseases such as seasonal influenza and colds, says Søraas.

Möller’s Cod Liver Oil will be used in the research project. The study will be partially funded by Orkla, which owns Möller’s.

– We were contacted by Oslo University Hospital, and saw this as an opportunity to contribute to the fight against the pandemic while also gaining new insight into the positive effects of taking cod liver oil. Cod liver oil contains both vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, says Gunnhild Aarstad, head of Research, Development and Innovation at Orkla Health.

Click here to access the registration form for the Cod Liver Oil Study: https://transtudien.no

Facts about the Cod Liver Oil Study:

  • The Cod Liver Oil Study stems from the major COVID-19 study conducted by Oslo University Hospital.
  • Findings from the COVID-19 study suggest that people who took cod liver oil had a lower risk of COVID-19 infection. Moreover, preliminary observations from the COVID-19 study indicate that cod liver oil can prevent severe disease outcomes if a person is infected. The COVID-19 study cannot determine whether this correlation is due to the fact that individuals who take cod liver oil have a particularly healthy lifestyle and protect themselves from the disease or whether the cod liver oil itself has a protective effect.
  • The Cod Liver Oil Study, which will start up in November and run until April 2021, will reveal what effect cod liver oil has on preventing COVID-19 and other viral diseases such as seasonal influenza and ordinary colds.
  • The Cod Liver Oil Study will recruit both participants from the COVID-19 study and entirely new participants.
  • In the Cod Liver Oil Study, half of the 70,000 participants will take cod liver oil every day while the other half will be given a placebo product.The participants will not be told which group they belong to.
  • Persons participating in the study must not have taken cod liver oil, omega-3/fish oil capsules, vitamin D or multivitamins regularly in the course of the past year.
    Cod liver oil has a natural content of vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
  • The Cod Liver Oil Study is partially funded by Orkla Health, which owns Möller’s Cod Liver Oil that will be used in the research project.