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Oil obtained primarily from the liver of the Atlantic cod and related fish. It is principally a mixture of the glycerides (seeglycerol) of many fatty acids, but its minor constituents, the fat-soluble vitamin A and vitamin D, give it its importance. It was once used to treat and prevent rickets, but the widespread fortification of milk with vitamin D in the United States and Europe beginning in the 1930s eliminated rickets as a significant public health problem. It is still used as a remedy for joint pain caused by arthritis and as a preventive of cardiovascular disease, although these benefits have not been proven scientifically. It is also used in feeds for poultry and other animals.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on cod-liver oil, visit Britannica.com.
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