How Cod Saved the Vikings

  • Published on Jul 7, 2019
  • The Vikings suffered many hardships living in the north of Europe: long, cold winters and importantly a lack of sunlight. Luckily, they had cod.
    Check out Vitamania:
    When making a video about vitamins I thought the story would mainly be about supplement pills, whether we should or shouldn't take them and how they're made. But what I found out is vitamins have a remarkable story that affects many more aspects of our lives. For example the Vikings needed a source of vitamin D to last the dark winter months and for their children to develop strong, healthy bones, avoiding rickets.
    Special thanks to Patreon supporters:
    a human, Albert Jachowicz-Brzeziński, Alfred Wallace, Arjun Chakroborty, Brent Stewart, Chris Vargas, Chuck Lauer Vose, Clip Tree, Coale Shifflett, Colin Bellmore, DALE HORNE, Eric Velazquez, Fedor Indutny, Fran Rodriguez, James Wong, Jasper Xin, Joar Wandborg, Johnny, Jorge Angel Sandoval, June Kang, Kevin Beavers, Kishore Tipirneni, Levan Ferr, Listen Money Matters, Manuel Zürcher, Mark Bevilacqua, Mathias Göransson, Michael Bradley Wirz, Michael Krugman, Mohammed Al Sahaf, Nicholas Hastings, OddJosh, Patrick Čalija, Peter Tajti, Philipp Volgger, Roberto Rezende, Robin DeBank, Ron Neal, Stan Presolski, Swante Scholz, Tiago Bruno, Tige Thorman, Warrior8252
    This video was filmed by Harry Panagiotidis
    Researched and written by Derek Muller and Jonny Hyman
    Editing, animation and music by Jonny Hyman
    Cod liver oil animation by Iván Tello
    Vitamania was written, directed and produced by Sonya Pemberton

Comments • 3 330

  • Another Penguin
    Another Penguin Day ago

    Lol just today my sister bought me a cannister of 'pure cod liver oil' vitamin supplements.

  • jbe
    jbe 8 days ago

    @8:03 Slightly misleading... the first British randomised trial on this was not until the 18th century. The citrus-scurvy relationship was well established in the 16th century! Wikipedia actually has lots of detail on this... I guess there was a slightly different fleet dominating the seas back then with lots of lemons on board :)

    HAYAO LEONE 11 days ago

    If vikings were very pale and adapted to weak sunlight, why the need to compensate?

  • gabrielchcosta
    gabrielchcosta 12 days ago

    Call of Duty sure was important for the vikings

  • NatGazer
    NatGazer 14 days ago


  • Ems
    Ems 15 days ago

    Course I read God

  • stan wong
    stan wong 16 days ago

    Scott cod liver oil. Most of the kid in my town consume this when we are young.

  • Torerikk Korneliussen

    Im sorry but as a norwegian i cringed when you said lofoten. You kind of said it totally wrong. Im sorry

  • Gabriel B.
    Gabriel B. Month ago

    What a cod solution to the problem

  • solsek7
    solsek7 Month ago +1

    Thinking cod meant call of duty.

  • Matty Mathew
    Matty Mathew Month ago

    I hear their new currency says 'In Cod we trust'

  • Reece Shaney
    Reece Shaney Month ago

    7.30 take cod oil like it’s a drug

  • Jeffery Mitchell
    Jeffery Mitchell Month ago

    you seem to be conflating 'Norse' with 'vikings' but I forgive you.

  • John Koemans
    John Koemans Month ago

    The Eskimo's also .

  • Eonwulf
    Eonwulf Month ago

    So before the scientific method, we just relied on natural selection.

    • MavTuber
      MavTuber Month ago

      "Bob is dead."
      "Seems to have eaten those berries here."
      "Maybe should tell the others not to eat them."

  • instone09
    instone09 Month ago

    Brilliant presenting style.

  • Daniel Moore
    Daniel Moore Month ago

    Is Vitamania still available on SBS / in Australia for free?

  • Anthony PC
    Anthony PC Month ago

    The lessons taken from this in your conclusion are great. the kind of nuance more people need to hear and comprehend to have a more reasonable perspective on "alt meds" and other tradition-based proscriptions.

  • Y tho
    Y tho Month ago

    Call of duty?

  • Godzilla
    Godzilla Month ago

    But call of duty doesn't exis.......... *OH WAIT*

  • Josh W.
    Josh W. 2 months ago

    cod oil memes created vikings

  • Czech mate
    Czech mate 2 months ago +1

    Thanks a lot for reminding me to take me vitamin D pills so I don't go outside and can watch this.

  • Doug Dickerson
    Doug Dickerson 2 months ago

    It was a gift from Odin

  • JustCreAtoR
    JustCreAtoR 2 months ago


  • Aman Singh
    Aman Singh 2 months ago

    Science is awasom..

  • Totally a white president

    my mother gave me a lot of cod oil when i was little, loved it, was so tasty (ofc it was artificial flavor)

  • Miguel Bueno
    Miguel Bueno 2 months ago

    anybody here that has read the Brotherband series by John Flanagan?

  • poke
    poke 2 months ago

    Or or or maybe.. maybe they just ate cod because there was a lot of cod around and realized meat is good

  • Adrian
    Adrian 2 months ago

    Ok, as a Norwegian that don't like fish I will start taking vitamin b3

  • GamerKLS
    GamerKLS 2 months ago

    This is the most perfect video i have ever seen. Perfectly summarized :)

  • Lina Rydland
    Lina Rydland 2 months ago +1

    The way he pronounced “Lofoten” made me smile
    It’s funny listening to people trying to pronounce our Norwegian places!
    Especially Stavanger, Trondheim or Tromsø😂❤️ (for me at least🤣🤣)

  • Felipe Bertolini
    Felipe Bertolini 2 months ago

    yeah, ending scurvy sure is why Britain enslaved and colonized the world...I got what you were going for, but sounded really weird. And actually is just what the european "progress" ideology wants us to think

  • ivofena83
    ivofena83 2 months ago

    I live in north Scotland and NHS told me I don't need any cod oil or vitamin D. Who is wrong?

  • Ragnar Þór Guðmundarson

    Actually... the Vikings didn't use hammers.

  • Ragnar Þór Guðmundarson


  • Eduardo A. Chongkan Líos

    I love how it ends: "with that knowledge, our future is determined not by luck, but by our ability to manipulate reality to our advantage"

  • zhead86
    zhead86 2 months ago

    8:21- i would argue that gems like this are what make you a perfect fit to spread knowledge

  • Sidney Lin
    Sidney Lin 2 months ago

    i know cod saved them or whatever but bro that plate of food looks disgusting god bless i cant believe europeans still live like this

  • adlsaias
    adlsaias 2 months ago

    There is no citrus in Scandanvia. You need to explain why vikings did not die from scurvy which will kill you faster as an adult then rickets. Polar explorers had huge casualties in only a few months when they tried to pass a winter on carbs and boiled meat. The obvious answer is that Vikings were a low carb society. If your grains are close to zero you can get enough vitamin c from animal foods to avoid scurvy.

  • John Doe
    John Doe 2 months ago


  • DIY Miracle
    DIY Miracle 2 months ago +3

    Heads up, viking was an occupation (pirate), not a culture.

  • deepstrasz
    deepstrasz 2 months ago

    How do animals survive in the worst of conditions? It's the same with humans. No reason to go scientific about it to whys and hows. Even they did not think about these things.

  • That one guy you wish you were

    It's an occupational hazard.

  • InkayNgOG
    InkayNgOG 3 months ago

    I thought it was how call of duty saved Vikings lmao

  • LuTubuMeu
    LuTubuMeu 3 months ago +3

    Annual Massacre? Annual food to survive. Use the right words!:)

  • Shawn Lehmann
    Shawn Lehmann 3 months ago

    Vikings didn’t have video games... how did they play cod

  • Samuel Estenlund
    Samuel Estenlund 3 months ago

    I saw Vitamania on national television in Sweden. That was awesome!

  • Nightmare Blade
    Nightmare Blade 3 months ago

    I remember seeing a Townsends video on Stockfish that these sailors would take aboard their ships and such, so it was pretty cool being able to cross reference both videos!

  • alfred garza
    alfred garza 3 months ago

    Awesome info sir thank you . 👊🏽 Trump 2020 Victoria,tx

  • Nína Sólveig Svavarsdóttir

    What about Iceland?

  • Droid 16 Beta
    Droid 16 Beta 3 months ago

    The game isn't even that good

  • Anthony W
    Anthony W 3 months ago +1

    5:20 I believe that's the definition of the word MEME

  • Adena Properties
    Adena Properties 3 months ago

    What beautiful children ! So...eating cod, cod liver and potatoes cooked in butter saved the Vikings. ( If only they'd had potatoes back in the days of Lief Ericksson, lol. ) Cultural knowledge is a two-edged sword. The Viking Settlements in Greenland died out after the start of the mini-Ice Age. They dressed in the latest impractical European fashions ( curly-toed boots and all ) by that time and wouldn't eat organ meats from seals, etc. like the Esimaux did. Meanwhile, colder, ice-bound conditions meant that the Norse Settlers there couldn't fish for cod offshore anymore. Lacking the all-important oil-soluble vitamins, warmest clothing ( the Eskimaux started sewing themselves and their own children up in seal skin clothing with the fur on the inside ) and without regular trade with Scandinavia, the Norse settlers in Greenland simply died out. In an earlier cold snap centuries previous, the Eskimaux had deserted Greenland, leaving it entirely open for Norse Colonisation. Now...the Norse disappeared and they thrived again. Had the Norse taken up eating organ meat from marine mammals and their own livestock--and had they started dressing properly for the colder conditions--it is likely that Greenland would today be peopled entirely by Scandinavians and that much of North America would have already been speaking Norse by the time of the Columbian contacts.

  • Steven Wu
    Steven Wu 3 months ago never changes

  • xBrainZy
    xBrainZy 3 months ago

    COD is trash tho 😅

  • Antoine Papelier
    Antoine Papelier 3 months ago

    I did not know they went there before Christoph Colomb thank you for that info among lots of others in that video...
    Like in all of them lol.

  • Joakim
    Joakim 3 months ago

    Scandinavia gets as much sunlight as everyone else, it’s just more unevenly distributed

    • Thomas J
      Thomas J 3 months ago

      Yeah sure, but the intensity is also lower

  • b l v v d s a w g e k k t

    this is not my type of CALL OF DUTY

  • Fucazzia
    Fucazzia 3 months ago

    Fun fact: Many Scandinavians have an older family member that insists on Cod Liver Oil as some kind of magic cure-all. Head-ache? COD LIVER OIL! Coughing? COD LIVER OIL! Fever? COD LIVER OIL etc. It is practically a running joke. Also that it tastes god-awful and that children will always hate it

  • Axel Rønne Music Channel

    In my younger days I have catch a cod , about 25 pounds (Øresund ) Danmark ,Sports Angling "
    I have still pain in my arms ....... big smiling , By the way that great fish , are tasting very good !