PEI Museum & Heritage Foundation
Cod Liver Oil

For those who grew up starting their day with a spoonful of pungent cod liver oil, this month’s artifact will surely bring back memories (perhaps more unpleasant than not). The nutrient-rich oil is extracted from the livers of Atlantic cod. Medicinal value of the oil was backed up by scientific proof once vitamins A and D were discovered.

Many parents believed that a daily dose of the oil would prevent rickets in their kids. Rickets, which is now relatively uncommon in Canada, is a softening of the bones in children, mainly caused by a severe vitamin D deficiency. The symptoms of the disorder include delayed growth, delayed motor skills, pain in the spine, pelvis, and legs, muscle weakness, and various skeletal deformities.

While this bottle is from a Quebec company, it was not uncommon for Island fishers to keep the livers from cod they fished to create their own homemade oil.

It should be noted that the oil was also taken as a general tonic.

About Molly Pendergast

As a self-proclaimed "broke bon vivant," Molly spends a lot of time thinking about food, talking about food, and trying new food. She is a recent graduate of Carleton University's Journalism School and loves nothing more than telling/listening to a good story. If you ever need to chat with her, the topic of baked goods is usually a great place to start.

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