My main question is that my pregnant girlfriend is suffering from low back pain. I believe it is in her SI joint and I am a little concerned!! I want to give her cod liver oil as a supplement to help ease the excess weight that will be placed on her joints. I am going to pay for her to have a message regularly to ease the tension. The only problem is that cod liver oil contains Vitamin A which is toxic and can cause problems during pregnancy, so I am told. Can you comment on this please?
First let me reassure you that low back pain is a common symptom during pregnancy. Your girlfriend should discuss it in detail with her doctor so a cause can be determined. The most common cause is musculoskeletal in origin. I believe your plan for regular massages is excellent and most likely will help a great deal.
The ingredient in cod liver oil that helps reduce joint pains is the omega-3 free fatty acids, which are fine for pregnant women. But we do recommend that pregnant women avoid supplements containing Vitamin A, which you are correct, is abundant in cod liver oil. Therefore, cod liver oil is not a good idea. A 1995 clinical study established an increased risk of birth defects in women who took to much Vitamin A during pregnancy. I would try the message therapy instead of supplements.
We do not recommend fish oil supplements as a way for pregnant women to increase omega-3 levels during pregnancy because they contain only fractional amounts of the long chain omega-3 free fatty acid (DHA) that we want. They can also cause bleeding if taken in excess. I also doubt that the recommended level of 200mg of DHA per day is enough to produce the anti-inflammatory effect on joints. Supplements are not a good solution to this problem.
Dr John Mamana
CEO American Health Sciences