- How Much
- Orange Color
- Sufficient calcium with CLO
- Cod Liver Oil and osteoporosis
- CLO and sun exposure
- putrefaction process v. fermentation process
- increased cancer risk?
- canned cod liver oil
- CLO and fatigue
- How many butter oil capsules
- Prostate cancer and fish oil
- What to do if you can’t take CLO
- LYSI in CLO
- CLO store brands
- Is it really a fermentation process?
- non-dairy sources of calcium
- white spots on teeth
Cod Liver Oil (CLO)
For a summary of our position on cod liver oil click here for the Cod Liver Oil section of the website.
Q. Is Carslon’s a good brand of cod liver oil?
A. We no longer recommend Carlson’s because the vitamin A content is too low. See our brand recommendations here.
Q. How much cod liver oil should I take?
A. We recommend the equivalent of 10,000 IUs of vitamin A per day for general health of adults and half that for children. A high vitamin cod liver oil will have that much vitamin A in 1 teaspoon.
Q. Should cod liver oil have an orange color?
A. Vitamin A is colorless (carotenes are orange). So there is no need for cod liver oil to have an orange color. In the past, before modern filtering techniques, cod liver oil was a dark yellow or brown color, which was from the livers.
Q. Cod liver oil makes me belch, what do you suggest?
A. If someone is belching from cod liver oil, try giving a smaller dose, more often, usually just right before a meal.
Q: In Krispin Sullivan’s article on vitamin D, it mentions to be sure that you have sufficient calcium intake when you are supplementing your diet with cod liver oil. The article mentions the amount of 1200 – 2400 mg of calcium a day. Can you tell me how many mg of calcium are in 8 ounces of raw milk or 8 ounces of raw milk yogurt?
A: About 600 mg in 16 ounces of raw milk. About 200 mg in one ounce of cheese.
Q: I know that fish oil is bad for us especially because there is too much omega-3 derivatives EPA and DHA. And this disrupts the balance between omega-3 and omega-6, which weakens the immune system right? You clearly mention on your website that you don’t recommend fish oil. But cod liver oil is a fish oil right? So the same reasoning applies to cod liver oil. It will disrupt the balance between the omega-3 and 6, which is bad. In this case, is it better to take the cod liver oil with some omega-6 rich oils like safflower or sunflower oils? Dr. Mercola, and others, recommends krill oil, what do you think of that?
A: We recommend cod liver oil to get adequate A and D. Using the high-vitamin cod liver oil or even the regular dose cod liver oil, you can get adequate A and D without overdosing on either omega-6 or omega-3. Also, the vitamin A protects the polyunsaturates from oxidation. Be sure to use only the brands of cod liver oil that we recommend.
The manufacturers of krill oil do not reveal how much A and D is in their oil, so I have to assume it is not much. So there is no reason to take krill oil.
Q: I’m looking for information that backs up including fish and fish oils in our diets, but also something that takes into consideration the mercury and heavy metals issue. Basically, vegetarian groups and groups like PETA use the claim that the heavy metals and PCBs in fish preclude us eating them.
A: Fish does contain mercury but if you have good intestinal flora, you are completely protected against absorbing the mercury–but you are not protected from absorption through the mouth (as in mercury fillings) or the skin. Also, mercury is store in the protein not in the fats in the fish.
There is a good article on our website on dioxins and also, do read the whole section on cod liver oil. Vitamin A from cod liver oil is our best protection against dioxins, which are found in many, many foods, not just animal foods.
Q: Does Cod Liver Oil have a negative effect on Osteoporosis?
A: from Chris Masterjohn: There is no evidence that Cod Liver Oil worsens Osteoporosis risk and the scant evidence that exists suggests it may be beneficial. Here is a very brief description of the evidence that should be beneficial.
Also I have a very lengthy review of the evidence on vitamin A in general:
In brief, vitamin A can probably aggravate the risk of Osteoporosis in someone who is deficient in vitamin D, but since most brands of Cod Liver Oil contain both, it is most likely protective. Indeed the only epidemiological study that mentioned Cod Liver Oil as a major vitamin A source, found that those with the highest vitamin A levels had the lowest risk of fracture.
Q: My husband works on an organic farm in Austin, TX – as you can imagine, he is exposed to the sun. He has been taking CLO and I am worried he maybe getting too much Vitamin D. I contacted Green Pastures and they responded that it was different Vitamin D.
How much CLO would you suggest he be taking, if any?
A: (from Chris Masterjohn) I doubt he will overdose on vitamin D because CLO contains much more vitamin A than D. While I believe it is important to also get plenty of vitamin K from a diversity of sources including leafy greens, fermented foods, and grass-fed animal foods, animal experiments suggest that having a hefty amount of vitamin A in the diet and virtually eliminate any risk of vitamin D toxicity.
That said, I think we should also be wary about overdosing on CLO because of the omega-3 fatty acids and because, traditionally, there were limits to the perceived safety. Price, for example, used 3/4 of a teaspoon of high-vitamin cod liver oil and did not consider it advisable to use more than a teaspoon for extended periods of time. John Hughes Bennett noted that peasants would often use it in large quantities of 1-2 pints, but only for a week at most. Medical men, he said, would give 2-4 tbsp/day to adults and 1-3 tsp/day to children, but he noted that if this was continued for six or seven months it would invariably result in toxicity.
I think these problems are partly from oxidation products and modern CLO might be somewhat safer. However, I think that overdose on omega-3 fatty acids is a genuine concern, and I also think we should stick within traditional precedent.
Thus, I would say 3/4 tsp/day should be considered an absolute maximum for long-term use. If you are using it for some therapeutic reason in the short-term, you could use more, perhaps much more, but should listen to your body and only use it if it seems to be helping.
Q:”Slighting the process” is the same as slighting their wonderful product. Are you saying the putrefaction process of the 1800’s used for industry is the same as the Green Pasture process? I just want to be crystal clear on what you are stating. I was under the impression that fermented cod liver oil was just that, fermented cod liver oil and I know for a fact that a lot of other folks think the same thing. If it is nothing more than a putrefaction process why do they call it fermented cod liver oil? That seems to be where all of the confusion is arising.
A: Dave’s process is essentially the same as the traditional one. He ferments his livers in a large vat rather than a barrel. Until the industrial revolution, the standard process was to put the fish guts in a barrel with salt water (ocean water) and let it ferment. The liquidum (water fraction/flavoring) came out the bottom of the barrel and the oil (mostly the oil from the liver) rose to the top. This same process is used in Asia to this day, and was done throughout Europe including Scandinavia until the industrial revolution. In India, they put the fish livers in a metal pan in the sun on an angle and allowed the oil to drip down and they catch the oil. In the South Seas, they put the shark livers inside the shark stomachs and hang them in the trees to ferment. The fermented oil drips out. This is considered a sacred food, very important for fertility. We had photos of this in Wise Traditions a while back.
All these oils are fermented and they are dark. Calling them putrid and rotten is like calling cheese putrid and rotten. They are fermented, not rotten. If the oil is light in color, it is refined.
But the real way to find out if a fish liver oil is a good one is to look at and compare the vitamin content, because the refining takes out the natural vitamins. For example, in the Moeller cod liver oil, there is practically no vitamin D and very little vitamin A. That’s because it is all taken out in processing. Some companies add synthetic back in.
Dr. Rosann Volmert has been using very small doses of the fermented cod liver oil and tracking the vitamin D levels in her patients–just a small amount works very well to raise serum vitamin D to normal levels.
What do you think about this? Junk science? Not all parameters considered?
A: I can well believe that fish oil is associated with cancer–it is a rancid, industrial product, and we have never recommended it. We recommend the low-temperature processed fermented cod liver oil.
Q: I have a question regarding canned cod liver. I have found a local store that imports an Icelandic Cod Liver in cans. For ingredients it simply says: Cod Liver in its own Oil.
Do you folks know if a typical product like this has been modified at all or heated to extreme temperatures?
And do you feel that overall it is a very beneficial way to get some cod liver and oil?
A: This cod liver oil has been heated (in the canning process) I think the best choice is the Blue Ice cod liver oil, which has not been heated. But I think the canned cod livers would be a better source of cod liver oil than the highly processed European cod liver oils. Sally
Q: Fermented Cod Liver Oil: Made me exhausted within a day or two. I only took 1/2 tsp. a day. I could barely walk for 2-3 days. I think this is due to too much Vit A and liver toxicity. I cut it back to 5 drops and was still tired. I read on the net that it made someone else sick also. A sick liver will cause extreme fatigue. I stopped it. By the way, fish oils (and Cod Liver Oil) keep platelets from clumping together (in a similar fashion to the drug Plavix). Platelets need to clump together to form a blood clots, which are necessary for wound healing. Fish oils inhibit blood clotting.
A: About the cod liver oil, again, we have not had any reports of fatigue with the fermented, but everyone is different. I suspect that you are very sensitive to the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil. Be sure you are eating plenty of butter and other saturated fats to balance the unsaturated fatty acids. We do not recommend fish oil, it is all industrially processed.
Q: If I get the Blue Ice Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Liver Oil blend in capsules, how many should I take a day?
A: You should take enough to give you 10,000 IU A and 1000 IU D. I am not sure how many this is, but you can contact Green Pasture products to find out. Personally, I take them both as a liquid, not in capsules. I mix them with a little hot water and just gulp them down. It is so much less expensive than the capsules.
Q: Just wondering if you’d addressed the recent Swedish study showing a higher incidence in men’s prostate cancer as a result of eating fish oil? Also wondering if cod liver oil has relevance to this study.
Please let me know.
A: I believe Chris Masterjohn will be commenting on this. Of course, we are not surprised. Fish oil is a junk oil, highly processed and bound to be rancid. Not at all the same as our low-temperature processed cod liver oil that we recommend.
Q: My wife has many food & chemical sensitivities. She is able to use raw milk & pure foods. She was able to take the Blue Ice cod liver oil, however she cannot take the new Blue Ice since it changes to the fermented type. We have not been able to find any cod liver oil that she can tolerate. She has been eating salmon however her vitamin D levels are below average as indicated from her blood test & she is concerned that her immunities will be weakened since we live in Indiana and it has low UV levels in the winter & fall. Do you have any recommendations for increasing her vitamin D to a normal level?
A: You will need to stress vitamin-D rich foods, such as fish eggs, shrimp, egg yolks from pastured hens, chicken and pork liver. Also, plenty of time in the sunlight during the warmer months.
Q: The cod liver oil WAPF recommend I have contacted lysi reference their cod liver oil and they tell me that it contains very little natural vitamin A retinol, and has palminate added, and that the d3 is from Lanolin not the liver oil! Also that of the two products they sell, one has a ratio of 50/1 the other product of 100/1! Do you know that nutritional facts on the other cod liver oil products you recommend, in regard to Retinol and D3. I have had no response from NOW FOODS OR SWANSON. It is essential that I find a product with natural d3 and retinol – the fermented cod liver oil is very expensive compared with the other and my clients are reluctant to pay the extra, can you help. I am very impressed with the worth of the association, but am concerned that at least one of the products you recommend does not seem to be as WAPF would want themselves.
A: We have included these compromise products for the very reason you say–that people want a less expensive product. The only one we really recommend is the Green Pasture. Perhaps several could get together to purchase a case at a discount? We will have another look at the Lysi.
Q: I have been working with Nordic Naturals in California as a demo person – Please review your recommendations for store brands – I can tell you that you have recommend brands that are oxidized – damaged oils- that is worse then taking nothing. Dav Rana our chapter leader in Berkeley and Jessica Prentice were the ones who first told me that Nordic is the safest product now is oxidized for sure – I have tried it Nordic has a trainer that is pain the but- but their product is safe carlsons – is great – I love there stand on cholesterol that it’s not the health issue.
A: I am sure that the Nordic Naturals is oxiized also, all these highly processed cod liver oils are heated to high temperatures. What we are looking for in cod liver oil is high levels of A and D, with a good balance of A to D. There is hardly any A and D in Carlsons. The best cod liver oil is the unheated fermented cod liver oil, with all the natural vitamins, by Green Pasture products.
Q: Recently, I received an email from one of the owners of Green Pastures (I switched, about 3 months ago, from getting my cod-liver oil from Carlson’s to getting it from Green Pastures.) that discussed an
article dismissive of fermented cod liver oil. In my humble opinion the owner of Green Pastures did not do a good job defending his cod liver oil. That’s why I am writing this email and, in fact, it is why I joined your organization—to get a better answer, as I’m sure one must exist! One of the criticisms leveled against fermented cod liver oil, by this other fellow, was that it shouldn’t, strictly speaking, be called
fermented cod liver oil because, apparently, that word, fermented, is more appropriately used in the context of carbohydrate metabolism. Now, this seems to be a justified criticism. I teach my high school
physiology students that alcohol fermentation and lactic-acid fermentation are processes that allow a cell to regenerate the NAD+ needed to sustain glycolysis under anaerobic conditions. Well, glycolysis is a pathway concerned with the partial oxidation of glucose, a carbohydrate. In what sense, then, is the process utilized by Green Pastures, in the production of their cod liver oil, a fermentation process? Secondly, this other fellow criticized the method of preparing cod liver oil utilized, apparently, by Green Pastures to the extent that it wasn’t so much a fermentation process that was liberating the oil but, rather, decay processes and that consumers were getting not just oil out of the bottle but also products of putrification!
A: From ancient times, fish guts have been thrown in a barrel and fermented. The liquid comes out the bottom and was used as a flavoring and the oil rises to the top. I do think that proteins ferment, although I don’t know the details. The oil is not technically fermented, but liberated by the fermentation process. Fermentation (you can call it putrification if you want, it is the same thing–just like Asians refer to cheese as rotten milk) is the only way to get the oil out of the cells without heating or chemicals. (Actually there is a 4th way, which is freezing.)
Q: I have eaten Weston A. Price Foundation diet for several years. I have weak teeth. I eat bone broth and cod liver oil while home. I will be traveling without access to a refrigerator. What I can supplement to support my teeth? I am allergic to all dairy except ghee.
A: Without dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc) it will be hard to get enough calcium. However, the fermented cod liver oil can travel and be stored at room temperature. When traveling look for an Asian store. I have seen powdered bone in Asian shops.
Q: I have white spots on my teeth from eating a high fruit diet several years ago. The areas are de-mineralized. Fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil have not corrected this. Although in other ways, my dental health has benefited, my tooth sensitivity is gone and there is no longer tarter on my teeth. A dentist wants to put veneers over my teeth. The surface of my tooth would be removed. What should I do?
A: I would do the veneers! It is important for your teeth to look good and I do not think that diet can restore the demineralized spots.