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        Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil Trawler pack

Our History

For almost 80 years Seven Seas has been expertly blending the right ingredients and providing the products that are right for your needs to support family health.

Here are some of our early adverts:

How it all started

Cod liver oil already had a long history as a popular folk medicine among Nordic and Scottish fishermen . In the 18th century, scientific research endorsed its reputation as it was conclusively demonstrated that Cod Liver Oil could help to combat the effects of malnutrition. It quickly became accepted by the medical profession as a mainstay in the battle against the diseases of poverty.

By the early 20th century, cod liver oil was a vital tool in the battle against the crippling bone disease rickets, after it was discovered that it was a rich source of bone-building vitamin D, vitamin A and polyunsaturated fats. However, unsophisticated manufacturing processes often meant that the quality of oils was variable, and taste was frequently very unpleasant.

This was sufficient encouragement for the trawler owners of Hull to invest in the commercial production of cod liver oil - essentially a by-product of the fishing industry. In 1935, cod liver oil was launched with the brand name Seven Seas. The trawler owners invested in new technologies and processes to improve the quality and taste of the oil they produced – a continuous improvement process that we’re proud to continue to this day. See Seven Seas Time Line.

The Second World War

During the Second World War, in recognition of the critical role of good nutrition even at times when the nation’s food production was under serious pressure, cod liver oil liquid was distributed free to pregnant and nursing mothers and children up to five years old through the Ministry of Food’s Welfare Food Scheme. This unique endorsement of the nutritional value of Cod Liver Oil has never been surpassed for any other healthcare product.

Seven Seas was the original producer of both cod liver oil and orange juice for the scheme, which continued until the end of food rationing in the 1950s. At this time it was thought that cod liver oil’s health value was solely due to its vitamin content.

After the war, sales of Seven Seas branded cod liver oil declined in the face of competition from newer multivitamin and mineral formulations. But everything changed in the 1970s with the discovery of the long chain omega-3 fatty acids by scientists investigating the Eskimo Paradox.

The discovery of Omega-3

The Eskimos (Inuits) of Greenland seemed virtually immune from heart disease despite their high-fat diet of whale and seal blubber and oily fish. Danish researchers Bang and Dyerberg concluded that the long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in their diet must be health-protective – a conclusion confirmed by subsequent research trials into heart health and other degenerative conditions. The realisation that cod liver oil was a rich and rare source of these omega-3 nutrients had an instant impact on sales. Suddenly, cod liver oil was once again at the forefront of nutritional science.

As the evidence that omega-3 fish oils are heart-protective became compelling, Seven Seas introduced new higher-strength products, using Fish Oils as well as Cod Liver Oils. These products offered higher concentration of Omega-3 oils than had previously been available. In 1982, Seven Seas launched the first natural fish oil product available on prescription.

For people wanting to buy without prescription, the Pulse Pure Fish Oils was launched, with the strap-line "helps maintain a healthy heart".

Cod liver oil meanwhile, was becoming increasingly known as an effective supplement for healthy joints. Although already widely used for the relief of stiff, aching joints, cod liver oil was finally proved through clinical trials to have a significant effect on joint discomfort. Under the strap-line "helps relieve joint pains and stiffness" when its popularity soared.

Into the 21st Century

Seven Seas continues to support and invest in scientific research.

Today’s cod liver oil is a far cry from the original oil, of doubtful purity and unpleasant taste, force-fed with a spoon. The most widely used health supplement in the UK, Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil is available in capsules in a choice of strengths packaged in tubs and blister-packs and as a clear, golden liquid in bottles. Both on its own and when fortified with other essential nutrients, the Cod Liver Oil range continues to provide great nutritional support for the UK.