Norwegian Children Have to Drink “Tran” – Cod Liver Oil

For generations, Norwegian children “have been forced by their parents” to drink at least one tablespoon of cod liver oil every day – during all months containing the letter “R”. Can you guess why?

The reason is of course that Norway is so far up north that in the period from September to April there is a lack of sufficient sunlight. The sun is the most important source of vitamin D which cod liver oil is very rich of. Lack of vitamin D can lead to serious deficiency diseases.

But kids hate cod liver oil – because it tastes, and smells like … cod liver! (Even though the producers over the years have tried to improve the taste…).

Tran also has a number of other health benefits because the oil also is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A.

The children of mothers that drink cod liver oil while breastfeeding may have better nutritional intake, get higher intelligence and a reduced risk of ear and respiratory infections, according to the Weston A. Price Foundation. Babies born to mothers that drink cod liver oil during pregnancy tend to have heavier weights, an indicator of a reduced risk of disease in later life.

Traditionally, the liver from various species of cod is used for oil production, and manufactured both in traditional oil mills as well as industrial production. Historically, Tran has been a by-product of the dried fish production, and Tran mills have been common in Norwegian fishing villages. Tran was produced by putting large barrels filled with cod liver into the sun. When the liver rotted, the oil was floating to the surface.  The top layer was yellow and had a mild flavor, but the rest was brownish, with foul odor and taste.

Møllers tranIn 1854, the chemist Peter Möller introduced a new, revolutionary method of Tran production. About 50% of the liver fat was used as ‘Medicine Tran’. The rest was used for other purposes, such as oil for lighting and animal feed.

Möller’s Tran is the most well-known cod liver oil brand in Norway, and their Tran is produced purely from Arctic cod liver. Today, the product also is sold as capsules as well as other product variants.


Text by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews

Photos from top: Crying Baby by Jill Greenberg/ Ad by Helge Svendsen, Below:

Sources:Weston A. Price Foundation, Wikipedia (Norwegian)

Categories: Quirky, Sports & Health

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