Returning to Traditional Production Techniques for the Quintessential Sacred Food
When I began to import cod liver oil, in order to sell it along with the high-vitamin butter oil I was manufacturing, I felt it imperative to go to Iceland and Norway to visit the various cod liver oil factories there. At that time, most cod liver oil in America was imported from Scandinavia, with a small amount coming from China. What I learned is described in an article published in the Fall, 2005 issue of Wise Traditions, Cod Liver Oil Manufacturing: How Our Most Important Dietary Supplement Is Produced.
To summarize my findings, all the factories were engaged in industrial processing of cod liver oil, which involved alkali refining, bleaching, winterization and deodorization. Each of these steps, especially the deodorization, removes some of the precious fat-soluble vitamins, especially vitamin D. The resulting products can be divided into four categories. First is a fully cleaned and deodorized product with nothing added back in. Products with very low levels of vitamin A with virtually no vitamin D are of this type. To obtain meaningful levels of vitamins A and D from these products would require consuming many tablespoonfuls—a practice that is not only difficult to achieve, especially for children, but poses the danger of supplying an excess of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The second type is a non-deodorized product with a fair amount of natural vitamin A and D left in. According to the company website, Garden of Life cod liver oil falls in this category. It contains 500-1500 IU vitamin A per gram (2500-7500 IU per teaspoon) and 100-175 IU vitamin D per gram (500-875 IU per teaspoon).
The third type is the fully cleaned and deodorized cod liver oil with synthetic vitamins added back in. Most of the cod liver oils on the market fall into this category. (You’ll need to check with the individual manufacturer to verify whether their cod liver oil falls in this category.) These vary in dose from about 1100 to 4600 IU vitamin A per teaspoon and 180 to 460 IU vitamin D per teaspoon. One company, Nordic Naturals, now adds supplemental vitamin D to their Nordic Naturals Vitamin D brand, to compensate for the vitamin D removed during processing.
The final category is the fully cleaned and deodorized product with natural vitamins added back in. This is the so-called high-vitamin cod liver oil, standardized at 2340 IU vitamin A per gram (11,700 IU per teaspoon) and 234 IU vitamin D (1170 IU per teaspoon). This is the type of cod liver oil I imported into the U.S. and sold under the Blue Ice label; it is also sold by Radiant Life and Dr. Ron’s UltraPure.
Handwriting on the Wall
With only one factory still engaging in the relatively expensive process of adding natural vitamins back into processed cod liver oil, it was easy to see the handwriting on the wall. The odds that this factory would soon fall in with the others and start adding synthetic vitamins instead of natural ones were great. I was also concerned that we had no cod liver oil manufacture in the U.S. What would happen if FDA found some reason to prohibit imports? And finally, I was offended by the industrialization of a sacred food. I now fully understand that today’s fish oil industry has committed the same crime to a historically sacred food as the dairy industry has committed on milk.
As predicted, the factory in question ceased using natural vitamins early this year. When my current stock runs out, this relatively natural high-vitamin cod liver oil will no longer be available.
Return to Old Methods
Fortunately, I had anticipated this eventuality several years ago when I began contemplating manufacturing cod liver oil myself. I wanted to produce a cod liver oil that contained only natural vitamins and, if possible, do it without the industrial alkali and deodorizing treatments. I also wanted to produce cod liver oil in the traditional way, which is by fermentation. I had read that in Roman times, long before refrigeration, fish guts were placed in a barrel with sea water and allowed to ferment. What came out the bottom of the barrel was a watery fermented fish sauce called garam, widely used as a seasoning (probably the precursor of Worcestershire sauce). The oil floated to the top and was collected carefully. This fermented fish oil was undoubtedly the civilized world’s first health elixir, reserved for the soldiers and nobility. It is said that the soldiers refused to march without their daily ration of liquidum.
South Sea Islanders put great store in shark liver oil—enduring considerable danger to procure the sharks even though other, less dangerous-to-catch seafood was plentiful. To prepare the oil, they put the livers inside the leathery stomachs of the shark and hung them in the trees for several months. As it ferments, the oil gradually comes out of the livers and fills the hanging stomachs! The yield is about one liter per shark.
Shark stomachs containing shark livers from Tahiti, hanging in the trees to ferment. Photo courtesy Kay Baxter.
A description of traditional European cod liver oil processing is provided by F. Peckel Möller in an article entitled “Cod-Liver Oil and Chemistry,” published in London, 1895. “The primitive method. . . is as follows. As soon as the fishermen reach the Voer [pier], and finish separating the livers and roes, they sell the fish and carry the livers and roes up to their dwellings. In front of these are ranged a number of empty barrels into which the livers and roes are placed, separately of course. The fishermen do not trouble to separate the gall-bladder from the liver, but simply stow away the proceeds of each day’s fishing, and repeat the process every time they return from the sea, until a barrel is full, when it is headed up and a fresh one commenced. This is continued up to the end of the season, when the men return home, taking with them the barrels that they have filled. The first of these, it may be noted, date from January, and the last from the beginning of April, and as on their arrival at their homes the fishermen have many things to arrange and settle, they seldom find time to open their liver barrels before the month of May. By this time the livers are, of course, in an advanced state of putrefaction. The process of disintegration results in the bursting of the walls of the hepatic cells and the escape of a certain proportion of the oil. This rises to the top, and is drawn off.
“Provided that not more than two or three weeks have elapsed from the closing of the barrel . . . to its being opened, and if during that time the weather has not been too mild, the oil is of a light yellow colour, and is termed raw medicinal oil. As may be supposed, however, very little oil of this quality is obtained. Indeed, as a rule there is so little of it that the fishermen do not take the trouble to collect it separately. Nearly all the barrels yield an oil of a more or less deep yellow to brownish colour: this is drawn off, and the livers are left to undergo further putrefaction. When a sufficient quantity of oil has again risen to the surface, the skimming is repeated, and this process is continued until the oil becomes a certain shade of brown. The product collected up to this point is known as pale oil. . . . By this time the month of June has generally been reached, and with the warmer weather the putrefaction is considerably accelerated, and the oil now drawn off is of a dark brown colour, and is collected by itself. It is rather misleadingly called light brown oil. . . When no more can be squeezed out, the remainder is thrown into an iron caldron and heated over an open fire. By this process, the last rests of oil are extracted from the hepatic tissues, which float about in the oil like hard resinous masses. . . . In order to fully carry out the extraction, it is necessary to raise the temperature considerably above the boiling point of water. . . . The oil prepared in this way is very dark, almost black, and with a greenish fluorescence in reflected light. In thin layers and by transmitted light it shows a brown colour, and it is therefore termed brown oil. . .”
The writer then describes processing methods introduced to Norway in the 1850s by Peter Möller, which resulted in a much purer, consistently light-colored oil made from fresh, not putrefied livers, considerably more palatable in terms of taste and smell. He notes, however, that the “brown oils are actually used to a certain extent for medicinal purposes at the present day.”
After reading this passage, and foreseeing the demise of the last natural cod liver oil from Europe, I was determined to produce a light brown fermented cod liver oil according to the old methods.
Production of Fermented Cod Liver Oil
But how to do this on a large scale? That was the challenge I was facing. It has taken six dedicated years of work to get to the point of offering the fermented cod liver oil to the community. The first challenge was to figure out a way to ferment the livers in large vats; and the second was to find the livers.
The method we have developed processes the cod liver oil through a proprietary non-heating natural lacto-fermentation. The process can take up to six months and is carefully handled throughout the process to ensure the oil is clean and natural. Industrialized fish oils, including cod liver oil, are heavily carbon filtered and heated after rendering or extracting. We have developed a unique cleaning process that does not use carbon filters or heat. Both heat and carbon filters remove flavors, odors, colors and nutrients, and also denature the fragile unsaturated fatty acids such as DHA and EPA.
Our cod liver oil “factory” is a large building in north central Nebraska. We prefer to call it our cod liver oil green house. The building was built to store potatoes, but was gutted by fire soon after completion. It had been sitting empty all these years and came on the market at just the time we were looking for a facility, and became available to us at virtually no cost. We cleaned it out, washed and painted the walls, painted it and installed a new steel roof. The building currently holds six fermenting vats of just under 10,000 gallons each.
The roof is a solar roof and we use natural sunlight for heat and light—we have lots of sunlight in Nebraska. Our next project is to start sun drying fish eggs in a part of the building.
My other task was to find the livers. The search began several years ago—I picked up the phone and made many cold calls, most of which got me nowhere. People said I was crazy to want to purchase thousands of pounds of cod livers. Finally I met a Russian who took an interest in the project and found the livers for me—in Russia, they know about cod livers.
The first load of 10,000 pounds, which we used for experimental purposes, arrived two years ago. The first load for commercial production— 40,000 pounds of frozen cod livers—arrived in a tractor trailer—packed into pallets. Future deliveries will come by railroad!
Testing Cod Liver Oil
Our next challenge was to test the oils for nutrient content. Of course, we do the standard tests for pathogens, PCBs and heavy metals. We do this to every batch, and our batches are small, so the number of tests per gallon of product is substantially greater than typically carried out in the industry. The heavy metal levels are “not detectable” and the PCBs meet WHO .090 ppm standards, the limit to which these compounds can be measured.
Measuring nutrient levels turned out to be complicated. When you test industrial cod liver oils to which have been added synthetic vitamins A and D, you get graphs with well defined peaks, indicating the presence of vitamin A or D. But the tests for our fermented cod liver oil came back showing a jagged line, with numerous peaks, no matter which method we used, and these peaks did not always match up with synthetic control peaks. The lab technicians were as surprised as we were. Their explanation was that this natural oil contains many isomers of vitamins A and D. We have to add the peaks to get some idea of the total. We currently receive a wide range of nutrient values depending on the laboratory test method and interpretation of the analysis.
In general, the test totals are substantially higher for vitamin D than one would find in any industrialized cod liver oil. Whereas the highvitamin cod liver oil contains almost 12,000 IU vitamin A and 1200 IU vitamin D per teaspoon (five milliliters), the fermented oil contains 4,000 – 9,000 IU vitamin A per teaspoon and 3,000 – 4,000 IU vitamin D. The vitamin levels likely test lower because we are only testing for retinol and palmitate, not for all the other vitamin A isomers.
Anticipating increasingly stringent controls on supplements, we have decided to label the fermented cod liver oil as a food—which it certainly is. Thus the label will contain a suggested dose and list vitamin A as a percentage of the RDA. There will be no mention of vitamin D on the label.
The suggested dose will be 5 ml or 1 teaspoon for adults, double for pregnant and nursing women and those under stress, and half that for children. Some practitioners are giving larger doses to treat serious health problems. The experience of Dr. Rosann Volmert (see page 31) indicates that best results are obtained using a combination of fermented cod liver oil and high-vitamin butter oil—a confirmation of Dr. Price’s own experience.
Since this product is a fermented one, we surmised that it would contain vitamin K2 as well as vitamins A and D. What we found was a range of quinones, which include the various forms of K2. The fermentation increases the total quinone count by 700-1600 percent compared to readings prior to the fermentation process. We have not identified the specific quinones but I suspect that the K2 category and Co-enzyme Q family will be important components within the quinone nutrients. The fermented cod liver oil tests at 4-8 mg per gram, compared to the high-vitamin butter oil at 23-25 mg per gram. Quinone testing presents a fertile field for future research.
Taking Cod Liver Oil
Most of those who have consumed the fermented cod liver oil report that it is not as fishy tasting as the industrialized varieties. However, because it is a lacto-fermented product, it can leave a slight sting on the back of the throat, which some find bothersome. It is best to take the oil mixed with a small amount of warm water, swallowing quickly. Adding something acidic such as lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or kombucha may help with the tingling at the back of the throat. Others report good results adding a little honey or maple syrup or “chasing fat with fat” by following the cod liver oil with cream, egg yolk or butter. Another way to minimize the throat tingle effect is to take it during or after a fatty breakfast.
Our current batch of fermented cod liver oil will come in plain, cinnamon and liquorice flavors, as well as in one-milliliter capsules. In the future we will offer Viking strength (unflavored), Mediterranean (garlic, oregano, pepper oil and unrefined salt), salty cod (unrefined salt) as well as a gel product in several flavors that can be eaten off a spoon. We will also offer a cod liver oil-butter oil combo in gel as well as capsules. The products will be available through Green Pasture Products and also through several distributors, including Radiant Life, Dr. Ron’s UltraPure and others in the U.S., as well as in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the European Union.
Finally, we will be offering skate liver oil in capsules and possibly liquid. Our Russian supplier swears by the many benefits of skate oil. We are also exploring different types of packaging. Currently the products are packaged in green glass from China. We are looking into recycled PETE plastic products that do not leach oils, and which are made in the U.S. This keeps our product completely domestic and also cuts down on shipping costs.
Other products in the works: dried fish eggs and an all-natural fish sauce. It’s been quite an adventure. Stay tuned!
Cod Liver Oil in Britain
“The British desperately needed not only food but cod-liver oil. They had a history of being great cod-liver oil enthusiasts. For centuries before it was refined for ingestion, a blackish residue from livers left in barrels was used as a balm, as it still is in West Africa. In the 1780’s British medicine decided that cod-liver oil was a remedy for rheumatism, then a catchall diagnosis for aches and pains.
“During the nineteenth century, it was used to treat tuberculosis, malnutrition, and other poverty-related diseases. Between the wars, cod-liver oil became a major business in Hull and was used both for livestock and humans. During World War II, the British Ministry of Food, concerned about the effect of a tightened food supply on health, provided free cod-liver oil for pregnant and breast-feeding women, children under five, and adults over forty.
“School nurses forcefully administered spoonfuls of the vile-tasting liquid, while adults were often given it with orange juice. All this oil came from Iceland, where it contributed to a secondary Icelandic trade that remained and prospered after the war.
“The British government, believing that the oil had produced the healthiest children England had ever seen, despite bombings and rationing, continued the program until 1971. It was finally discontinued because people refused to take the oil. Icelanders, however, still take it, as do many Americans.”
Source: Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, pages 154-155.
From an 1893 Physicians’ Handbook
The Cottage Physician, published 1893 was “prepared by the best physicians and surgeons of modern practice.” It contains an introduction by George W. Post, AM, MD, Professor of the Practice of Medicine in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Chicago, Illinois.
According to the handbook, “Cod liver oil is obtained from the livers of the common cod fish. There are three varieties according to the mode of extraction, known as pale, light brown and dark brown. . . the pale is the most palatable. . . . as a remedy for consumption and other constitutional diseases of an exhausting nature, cod liver oil takes high rank. It is really more of a food than a remedy, its power of producing fat is well known. In scrofulous diseases generally, hip joint diseases, white swelling of the knee, caries of the spine, lumbar and psoas abcesses, rickets, etc., cod liver oil will nearly always do good. It is also useful in skin diseases, some forms of eye troubles and syphilis. Young children who have grown weak from diarrhoea in summer, and who seem unable to assimilate the food given them, can often be saved by rubbing cod liver oil into their skin. The common dose of cod liver oil is from one to two tablespoons, three times daily.”
Father John’s Medicine
Father John O’Brien was an Irish-born priest who came to America before his ordination. He served in Virginia and Newburyport, Massachusetts before coming to the mill city of Lowell in 1848. It was the time of massive Irish immigration with each newcomer seeking employment and a new life. The good pastor understood the balance that was needed for these people who were caught between two worlds, the need to retain their own identity as Irish men and women, and that of identifying themselves as Americans. It was during his pastorship that the Irish became an active and prominent factor in Lowell’s population.
Tradition has it that Father John was taken ill in 1855. He made his way to the pharmacy of Carleton and Hovey on Merrimack Street to get something for relief. He was given a tonic that was composed of cod liver oil, which had a licorice taste. Unlike many other medicines of its time, the prescription contained no alcohol. It worked so well for the priest that he began recommending folks to visit the apothecary and ask for “Father John’s Medicine.” From this, a legend was born.
Soon the shop was packaging the medicine for sale. Father John was given a small stipend for using his name and picture. It was agreed that anyone Father John sent to the shop personally would not have to pay for the medicine. The pastor was always looking after his flock. For many years the company was overseen by the Donehue family. The generosity of the management to its employees was well known, even so far as keeping workers long past the need to, just so an employee could have a job. Within 50 years the medicine was known far and wide. Early literature claimed it worked on “consumption, grip, croup, whooping cough, and other diseases of the throat,” which it most certainly did. Pamphlets given to customers stated, “All disease is due to a run-down condition of the body, unhealthy tissue, blood poisoned with impurities, and general weakness.” Guarantees were made by the manufacturer of its restorative powers. The potion was sold in numerous countries. Pharmacies built huge displays in their windows advertising the product.
The factory building was a model of production. Every process from manufacturing, to bottling, to packaging, to advertising was done in that one spot. Freight cars pulled in back of the building to ship cartons to parts unknown. A second factory was built in Montreal, Canada. In the 1970s the company was sold. The building was made into an elderly housing complex, and the product no longer made its home in Lowell. It continued to be produced by the Oakhurst Company in New York for a number of years. The brown-orange bottle with the trusting face of Father John O’Brien was a sign of assurance to people for 140 years.
Benefits of Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil Are Many and Varied
by Rosann Volmert, DO
I am a family practice physician in Pasadena, California. I have been using Green Pasture’s fermented cod liver oil and high-vitamin butter oil with my patients for only nine months now, and I have noticed dramatic results. The most dramatic of these is the effect the oils have had on lowering blood pressure in patients with hypertension. This effect has enabled several of my patients to lower their dose of prescription medication, and hopefully eliminate it all together. In addition, I have found that patients have lost weight and lowered their blood sugars without any change in diet or activity. I have also had reports of less stiffness and pain of joints in arthritic and temporomandibular joint dysfunction patients, improvement in eczema, elevated mood in depressed patients, lessening of symptoms of PMS and increased energy and overall well being. I have a very small practice so these testaments are drawn from a few patients here and there, but they are indicative of tremendous benefits for a large number of people.
All of this has really illustrated for me the huge nutritional deficiency people have been suffering from due to a fear of cholesterol. For many years now a fear of cholesterol-containing foods has kept people from consuming healthy amounts of butter, eggs, cheese, milk, animal fats and many other foods rich in nutritious fats and fat-soluble vitamins. It is no wonder that the vitamin D level is pitifully low in 95 percent of my patients. Due to continued bias against cholesterol-rich foods, I am at times unable to convince my patients to eat more of these foods. However, I have been successful in getting them to take the Green Pasture’s oils. This is mainly because they are easy to take, and only small amounts are needed. Using these products has enabled me to give back to my patients the fat-soluble nutrients their bodies have been lacking for some time now, and they are feeling better for it.
Because Green Pasture’s fermented cod liver oils and butter oils contain such a wide variety and potency of fat-soluble nutrients, they not only enhance my patients’ lives, but simplify them as well. Patients are able to take much less cod liver oil than with their old brand and eliminate the need for additional supplements, which are lacking in other brands. (I recommend 3 ml or 3/4 teaspoon fermented cod liver oil and 2.5 ml or 1/2 teaspoon butter oil.) When I introduce them to the oils, I ask them to bring in all the supplements they are taking. I show them that with taking this oil combo they can eliminate one-half to two-thirds of their other supplements, and sometimes all of them. Often my patients are taking so many different types of synthetic vitamins, they literally walk in with a big box full of them. The reason they are taking so many is because each bottle usually contains only one or maybe a couple types of synthetic vitamins or nutrients. Obtaining nutrients through natural food sources allows them a more potent and broader range of nutrition, thus eliminating the need for boxes of bottles and huge dosing.
One of the nutrients found in cod liver oil is vitamin D. I found that it took just 2,800 IU of the vitamin D contained in Green Pasture’s fermented cod liver oil in combination with the butter oil to raise one patient’s serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D level from 12.6 ng/ml to 82.3 ng/ml in just three months. According to the guidelines for supplementing synthetic vitamin D3 it would have taken 7,000 IU to achieve this and without all the benefits of the many other fat-soluble nutrients found in these oils. What a testament to the power of nutrients in their natural form!
I am finding similar results in other patients. Several have raised their vitamin D levels from the teens or low twenties into the forties within several months using the combination of fermented cod liver oil and high-vitamin butter oil alone, in easy-to-take capsule form, and without any other vitamin D supplementation. Since the patients are also getting substantial amounts of vitamin A with this regimen, it is difficult to conclude that vitamin A interferes with vitamin D assimilation as critics of cod liver oil have claimed.
What About Fish and Krill Oils?
Fish oil and krill oil, sold as supplements to provide omega-3 fatty acids, are by-products of the fish and krill meal industries. They are produced in large factories humming with the noise of conveyer belts, grinders, separators, extractors and dryers. We provide two descriptions of fish oil manufacture and one of krill oil manufacture, and let our readers decide whether or not they want to consume these products. Remember that omega-3 fatty acids are very fragile and highly subject to damage when exposed to heat and oxygen.
FISH OIL MANUFACTURE, METHOD ONE: “The bulk of the world’s fish meal and oil is today manufactured by the wet pressing method. The main steps of the process are cooking for coagulation of the protein thereby liberating bound water and oil, separation by pressing of the coagulate yielding a solid phase (presscake) containing 60-80% of the oil-free dry matter (protein, bones) and oil, and a liquid phase (press liquor) containing water and the rest of the solids (oil, dissolved and suspended protein, vitamins and minerals). The main part of the sludge in the press liquor is removed by centrifugation in a decanter and the oil is subsequently removed by centrifuge. The stickwater is concentrated in multi-effect evaporators and the concentrate is thoroughly mixed with the presscake, which is then dehydrated usually by two-stage drying. The dried material is milled and stored in bags or in bulk. The oil is stored in tanks. . . . An important prerequisite for efficient [oil] separation is high temperature, implying that the press liquor should be reheated to 90°-95°C before entering the centrifuges. This applies to sludge removal as well as to separation of oil and water. . . Oil polishing, carried out in special separators, is the final refining step done at the factory before the oil is pumped into storage. Polishing is facilitated by using hot water, which extracts impurities from the oil and thus ensures stability during storage. . . . good temperature control is required; the temperature of the feed should be maintained at about 95°C, but not less than 90°C” (The Production of Fish Meal and Oil, http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/003/X6899E/X6899E00.HTM).
FISH OIL MANUFACTURE, METHOD TWO (We are not making this up!): “Phospholipid-deprived fish oil is obtained by mixing fish oil with water and a monosodium glutamate (MSG) by-product with stirring, fermenting the mixture in the presence of urea, processing the mixture with steam, and centrifuging the mixture to separate water and phospholipids from the fish oil. Further steps are neutralizing the separated fish oil with NaOH [caustic lye], washing and drying the washed fish oil in vacuum; mixing the dehydrated fish oil with powders of earthworm excrement, subjecting the mixture to reaction at least 30 °C or higher for 0.5-1 hour, bleaching the fish oil absorbed into the earthworm excrement powders by use of activated clay, and filtering the bleached fish oil through a filter, and deodorizing the bleached and filtered fish oil under a steam atmosphere in a high vacuum, deodorizing apparatus, cooling and filtering the fish oil and packaging it into a closed vessel. The refined fish oil is significantly improved in acid value and peroxide value” (Method for Manufacturing Refined Fish Oil, http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?wo=2001042403).
KRILL OIL MANUFACTURE: Frozen Antarctic krill are crushed and the lipids and proteins are extracted using acetone. Following extraction, the krill proteins and lipids are filtered through an organic solvent-resistant filter under reduced pressure to enable physical separation of lipids and proteins. Excess acetone is evaporated and water is separated from the oil. The oil is subjected to additional filtration and purification to remove impurities and is packaged in a modified nitrogen-containing atmosphere and stored. The notifier provides product specifications for krill oil, including specifications for fatty acids, total phospholipids, esterified astaxanthin, saturated fatty acids, and trans-fat (<0.1 percent). Specifications also include limits on residual acetone (<10 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg), lead (<0.1 mg/kg), mercury (<0.1 mg/kg), arsenic (<0.1 mg/kg), cadmium (<0.1 mg/kg), pesticides, and microbiological contaminants” (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~rdb/opa-g242.html).
Some Cod Liver Oil Testimonials
After about two weeks taking a one-half teaspoon high vitamin cod liver oil I noticed that my hands were not cracked anymore. I have had dry skin my whole life and in winter they will crack and bleed. My mother is 99 years old and has had skin cancer on her forehead. They have burned it off several times but it always bleeds and never really healed. I got her to take the cod liver oil so she wouldn’t get a cold. Incredibly, her forehead has now healed up. -WL
Since I started using fermented cod liver oil in my naturopathic practice, I have two completely resolved cases of endometriosis, women experiencing pain-free periods for the first time in their lives, surprisingly within two or three weeks of starting the fermented cod liver oil at a dose of 5 ml per day. Up to this point in my six-year career, I had yet to have any luck whatsoever when it came to endometriosis. I have another very complicated case of endometriosis combined with Wolf-Parkinson’s-White-like heart problems and this particular woman experienced twelve to fifteen days of excruciating pain monthly related to the endometriosis. Within six weeks of starting the fermented cod liver oil she is down to three days of pain per month, which she is thrilled about. While her WPW symptoms persist, her endometriosis symptoms are all but a thing of the past. Again, I put her on a dose of 5 ml per day. I have another patient who came to me, a mother in her thirties, who was experiencing hair thinning and had not had a period in over nine months for no apparent reason. Within three weeks of starting the fermented cod liver oil, she had a period again. -Laura Margaritis, ND, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
I have a handful of clients that I have on high vitamin or fermented cod liver oil and when they stop taking it, they have discomfort and pain rather quickly in their arthritic areas, not to mention a return of depression and mood problems. They tell me they won’t give up cod liver oil no matter what anyone says to them. . . our bodies don’t lie. -Anabela Bacchione
I have been using fermented cod liver oil for about eighteen months. I have been checking my vitamin D levels over the last four years and this year I went from 37 to 48, whereas the three years previous I went from 16 to 26 (ten points total, for the three years). During those years I was taking vitamin D in doses from 10,000 to 50,000 IU. The only thing I can attribute the increase to is the fermented cod liver oil. I also have a few customers who swear that the cod liver oil wards off depression, especially in the winter (Minnesota). -BS
We’ve been using high-vitamin cod liver oil and the butter oil for the Weston Price protocol for several years. The biggest changes reported have been improved muscle strength, stamina and immunity. I have also noted improved moods in my family—they are less irritable. I also feel the Weston Price protocol, including bone broths, raw goat milk kefir, etc., helped save my mother’s life when she was stricken with severe sepsis several years ago. The frequent drops of cod liver oil and butter oil appeared to increase her strength and improve her ability to absorb and utilize her food. -LH
One of my patients, an active but hobbled sixty-five-year-old female, kept complaining of joint pain and stiffness for the past year. Our chiropractic work did wonders to keep her feeling quite well and able to maintain a busy schedule as well as go skiing in Colorado, but she would always return with the same old complaints. After two months on the high vitamin cod liver oil, her complaints of joint pain were gone! -Michael J. Kudlas, DC, MA, MEd
My son’s acne completely cleared up and he is so happy on cod liver oil that it is the one thing he will consistently take. Also he noticed that his seasonal affective disorder was much better last winter taking the cod liver oil (for his skin) and his grades and general energy were markedly improved over previous winters when he didn’t take it. -Megan McCoy, MD
At eight months, my one-hundred-percent breast fed daughter had a bad case of eczema and an allergy to egg whites. We tried everything (different soaps, oils, creams etc.) to get rid of the eczema and nothing worked till our homeopathic pediatrician told us to give her 1-2 ml of high-vitamin cod liver oil along with high-vitamin butter oil every day, as well as a teaspoon of coconut oil. Today she is a happy healthy two-year-old who takes 1-2 ml cod liver oil almost every day. She has perfect skin and her allergy to egg whites is gone as well. Her amazing recovery from the eczema and egg allergy inspired me to go back to school and become certified as a nutritional therapy practitioner. Our whole family of five has been taking 1-2 ml of high-vitamin cod liver oil for the past two years. We are all healthy and happy. The children, ages two, four and six, have never had a cavity and are noticeably healthier than the majority of their friends. -Shelley Ballantyne, NTP
I am writing for myself and my family with all the changes which have taken place after the consumption of high-vitamin butter oil and cod liver oil and all good fats. First, I was deeply ill, with many local doctors diagnosing me with severe depression and anxiety. I was unable to sleep, digest or eliminate foods in a healthy way; I could not work or take care of myself at all. I was unable to do simple tasks like do the wash or button a shirt, for my coordination was impaired. I would trip often and could not finish a thought or sentence. I was severely paranoid of all things and people. With many medicines, my symptoms became even more severe and intense. I was scared to death, along with my family! I became very suicidal. I should explain that previously I was in the hair salon business and was quite successful, but using many chemicals all day long, five days a week. My diet was filled with wrong foods. I was taking care of a very sick family member daily. Thanks to Dr. Roy Ozanne I learned about good fats and fermented foods. With his help I eliminated all sugars, caffeine, alcohol, white flour, etc., but more importantly, I added cod liver oil and butter oil. Over the course of two years, my body healed itself. I am now able to communicate with all, I am motivated, and I am back to work (not in the hair business!). My children on this diet report that they are able to focus much better than they used to. -LMP
In our clinic we’ve used Premier Natural Cod liver oil for about five or six years with great success. Our babies born to patients of the clinic in many cases have facial structures Weston Price found in his travels of traditional cultures. They have broad jaws, ears with unattached, slightly enlongated lobes, and have great emotional dispositions. Many sleep through the night at a fairly early age, and developmentally are either early or right on target. Many parents have reported that their children do well academically and conditions such as allergies, behavioral disorders are markedly absent in these children. All our patients take two capsules pre-pregnancy and continue this during pregnancy and during lactation along with a diet that includes Chinese medical theories and Weston A. Price principles. In addition, half of those patients also take butter oil pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy and lactation. Adult patients with anxiety or depressive disorders do extremely well with our treatments which, of course, include cod liver oil. -Dagmar Ehling , MAc, LAc, DOM(NM), Dipl OM, FABORM
I have had chronic fatigue syndrome for over seventeen years. At first, when I took the fermented cod liver oil, it gave me a headache so I stopped taking it. After I had the flu awhile back, I was left with a symptom where I could not lie down without feeling like I was smothering, even though I could breathe fine. This was accompanied by deep anxiety. The doctor suggested I had a classic symptom of congestive heart failure and suggested an angiogram, but that wasn’t really an option for me because I have terrible reactions to drugs. Meanwhile, I found out I had low vitamin D levels (I live north of Seattle, WA) and learned that low vitamin D can cause heart problems. I started taking vitamin D3 and it helped a bit but I kept needing more to keep the awful smothering symptom away. I was up to 6,000 IU per day of D3 but kept feeling colder and colder and sleeping more fitfully. Finally, I got to the point where I didn’t sleep all night and I knew it was the vitamin D keeping me awake. Fortunately, I had just bought some raw Jersey milk for my husband—not for myself because I thought milk didn’t agree with me, but I tasted his and decided to have a glass of my own because it was so good. It calmed my nerves and I was able to sleep. Then I decided to try taking the fermented cod liver oil again because I knew I needed to get vitamin D somehow. The first dose did give me a headache for a short time, but I felt some well being afterwards. So for the past nine days I’ve been drinking three glasses of raw milk per day with no digestive upset and taking one to one and one-half teaspoons fermented cod liver oil daily. Pain and inflammation seem to be subsiding, my energy is improving, the constant feeling of heat and pressure in my head is gone, and I am so amazed and grateful that the awful smothering feeling is quickly becoming a bad memory. As an added bonus, I no longer feel bothered at all by the gray Pacific Northwest winter days. Given the improvement I have experienced in just a few days, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens as this winter progresses and I keep taking cod liver oil and drinking raw creamy milk! -JI
Finally my vitamin D test results are back, and my vitamin D level has risen from 39 to 46 after taking two bottles of the fermented cod liver oil. Previously I had taken the regular high-vitamin cod liver oil for a year and my vitamin D level stayed at 39 before and after. -SH
I come from a family that suffers from arthritis so was concerned when I developed stiff hands and knees in my mid forties. Several months after taking high-vitamin cod liver oil and high-vitamin butter oil, the stiffness disappeared, never to return. -SM
Since taking fermented cod liver oil, my libido has returned (after three years’ absence), and my periods are not painful now. My hands no longer ache as they did and my skin is clearer. My daughter’s fungal rash went away within a couple of weeks after she began taking it. -LM
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2009.