Journal, Spring 2009, The Cod Liver Oil Debate

Wise Traditions, Volume 10, Number 1

Journal in PDF Format (8M)

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President’s Message: Hot Topics

by Sally Fallon Morell

In this issue we explore the topic of the fat-soluble activators A and D, especially as found in old fashioned cod liver oil. Those of you who have been receiving our email informational alerts know that we have issued several announcements on this topic over the last few months. Cod liver oil has come under attack as a “dangerous” source of vitamin A. And while vitamin A has fallen to the bottom of the Vitamin Hit Parade, vitamin D has risen to the top, with many voices calling for extensive supplementation in the nutrient and an increase in the RDA for the sunshine vitamin.

The establishment view is as follows: the animal form of vitamin A is toxic and also interferes with vitamin D metabolism, so we should avoid foods rich in this nutrient, like liver, organ meats and cod liver oil; we can get all the vitamin A we need from the conversion of carotenes in plants; it is impossible to obtain adequate vitamin D from food, so we need to take vitamin D supplements.

We hope to put these mistaken notions to rest in this issue by showing the extensive scientific literature on cod liver oil and vitamin A, as well as on the synergistic—rather than antagonistic—relationship of vitamins A and D. To bolster our premise that vitamin A is not toxic, and vitamin D can be obtained from food sources, we have included a delightful article on the traditional Scottish diet, which was rich in fish liver oils, organ meats, shellfish and fats. Here is yet another traditional diet that corroborates the discoveries of Dr. Weston A. Price. As for the mistaken notion that our bodies can obtain sufficient vitamin A from plant foods, we have covered this subject in earlier articles. (See Vitamin A Saga.)

Another hot topic these days concerns high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). We explore the accumulating evidence of HFCS’s harmful effects in this issue, with particular attention on agave “nectar,” which is produced in a manner similar to the process for HFCS. When the health-conscious consumer began to discover the harmful effects of corn and soybean oils, the industry ushered in the supposedly healthful canola oil for use in products aimed at this market. As the health-conscious public has become more concerned about HFCS, the industry has quietly substituted agave “nectar” in so-called healthy snack bars and other sweetened health food store items.

On the political front, we are carefully following congressional bills that would mandate a National Animal Identification System (NAIS) or a draconian federal food safety system. We urge you to respond to our action alerts on these subjects. If you are not receiving action alerts and would like to, please contact our office at (202) 363-4394 or info@westonaprice.org and supply your email address.

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