Are You Taking This Superfood? If Not, You Should Be.

It’s no lie when I say cod liver oil is a traditional food and has been around for hundreds of years.

Before battle Roman soldiers used to take fish liver oils to give them strength and stamina. Cultures ranging from the South Seas, the Eskimos, and the Scandinavians valued fish liver oil for it’s health-giving properties. Hippocrates understood the medicinal uses of fish oils and even doctors at one point were recommending daily dosages of cod liver oil to babies.

Cod liver oil, more notably the fermented kind, is rich in fat soluble vitamins A and D (and may even contain small amounts of vitamin K) which plays a role in the over all well-being of your health — particularly your reproductive health. Cod liver oil also contains omega-3 fats which are vital to brain and visual function.

Let’s take a little closer look on why cod liver oil, especially the fermented kind by Green Pastures (the only kind I recommend), is crucial to the health of you and your family. I’m going to use the abbreviation FCLO when talking about fermented cod liver oil.

Rich in Fat Soluble Vitamins A & D

First, let’s clarify what a “fat-soluble” vitamin is. When a vitamin is fat-soluble it simply indicates the vitamin is dissolved in fat. This means, we need to eat fat in order to obtain these vitamins. More importantly, we need to consume animal fats in order to assimilate these vitamins properly. The higher quality the fat the more prevalent these fat soluble vitamins are. Studies have been shown that when humans consume beta-carotene (vitamin A) with beef tallow rather than sunflower oil, the amount of beta-cartoene absorbed jumps from 11 to 17 percent. (source)

We need vitamin A for:

  • mineral metabolism, 
  • strong bones, 
  • immunity, 
  • normal growth, 
  • successful reproduction, 
  • healthy skin,
  • good eyesight

We need vitamin D (aka the “sunshine vitamin”) for:

  • mineral metabolism, 
  • nervous system function, 
  • insulin production, 
  • immunity
  • protection against depression

Sadly due to the modern fad diets suggesting we eat a no-fat, low-fat, or even vegan diet, the average intake of these crucial fat soluble vitamins are disturbingly low. The reason these diets are low in fat soluble vitamins is because of the lack of fat consumption in them — which, if I can just state are NOT traditional diets. The dramatic reduction of fats in modern day low-fat/no-fat diets result in deficiencies — especially vitamin D. Being deficient in these vitamins (even if only slightly) make it difficult to stay healthy and at the worst, cause serious health problems. (source)

Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids as Well

While the purpose of FCLO is not necessarily for presence of the omega-3’s as it is for the abundance of fat soluble vitamins, the omega-3 fatty acids that are present in FCLO are definitely a bonus. DHA and EPA are vital for optimum brain function and visual function. In Nina Planck’s book, Real Food: What to Eat and Why, she states that “the brain is actually an astonishing 60 perfect fat of which half is docosahesaeonic acid (DHA) which is only found in fish.” (source) If you don’t feed your brain with these omega-3’s then you are basically starving your brain of the nutrition it needs.

Some may argue the body can actually convert these omega-3 fatty acids from plants in the form of Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) but the conversion is actually inefficient. In order to make DHA and EPA from the plant source of omega-3, ALA, the body needs other minerals and vitamins such as vitamin B6, magnesium, calcium and zinc. Unfortunately, these are hindered by the things that are so prevalent in our modern diets; trans fats, cortisol, alcohol, and sugar. (source) Which is why we can not entirely depend on ALA to convert our daily need of omega-3s.

In numerous studies, the elongated omega-3 fats found in cod liver oil have been shown to improve brain function, memory, stress response, immune response, allergies, asthma, learning and behavioral disorders, including bipolar syndrome and manic-depression. (source) DHA and EPA also help resolve inflammation and supports the immune system.

Why Green Pastures Brand?

Green Pastures is the only brand on the market that naturally ferments using a slow, natural lacto-fermentation process. The lacto-fermentation allows all the beneficial nutrients to be retained and not damaged. (source) Note that most cod liver oils/fish oils have a pale yellow color to it — this is due to the loss of nutrients. The color of the FCLO from Green Pasture’s is a deep, golden color. It’s literally screaming “I’M NUTRIENT-DENSE, EAT ME!”

Also, because the heat sensitive vitamins A and D are not damaged it is unnecessary to add any synthetic vitamins. Although scientists can argue that the chemical compound of a synthetic vitamin A is the same as the chemical compound of a true vitamin A, I believe synthetic is not as usable to our bodies because it is isolated. In nature, there is not just ONE vitamin occurring in a food, there are multiple and they all work synergistically. Another thing to note is that as a result of no synthetic vitamins added, the FCLO from Green Pasture’s contains the proper amount ratios of vitamin A to vitamin D, thus eliminating the worries of toxicity.

Check out what David Wetzel of Green Pasture’s has to say about fermentation and cod liver oil–

In Tahiti, shark’s stomach’s containing the liver is hanging to ferment

“Cod liver oil was always fermented until 1850, when we learned to render. If heated, we could extract oil in day instead of fermenting which takes 6 months. They didn’t understand oxidation and that they were cheating the system, so as we started to industrialize fish oils, we lost a lot of the nutrition. I suspect the product wasn’t as effective, but we have no samples so it’s just a guess. Likely this heated oil would oxidize very quickly. When you heat the viscera, you break bonds and create free radicals which causes oxidation.

Around the turn of century, cod liver oil started to lose favor. The industry used heat and pressure, and they found that nitrogen would clean up the free radicals. Unfortunately, this tasteless, colorless product was also probably nutrient less. It was all about marketability.

Making fermented cod liver oil is taking it back to its historical roots. Throughout history FCLO was commonly used, and people knew what it did and that it was important without understanding nutrients. I don’t think regular cod liver oil is even the same product that was revered for centuries.” (source)

Some other cool facts about fermented cod liver oil

  • Cod liver oil contains more vitamin A and more vitamin D per unit weight than any other common food
  • Cod liver oil alters the linings of the arteries in such a way as to improve healing after damage from a heart attack
  • Cod liver oil is most famous for contributing to bone health, preventing and reversing rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults
  • In women, higher levels of vitamin D from cod liver oil improve bone mineral density
  • Cod liver oil taken by nursing mothers improves the fatty acid profile in breast milk to promote optimal brain development and also increases levels of vitamin A to prevent infections
  • In the 1930’s and 1940’s cod liver oil was recommended in books on feeding infants but it was until a doctor by the name of Dr. Spock replaced this wisdom with recommendations for vaccinating
  • Vitamin D in cod liver oil helps lower blood pressure because the vitamin D promotes absorption of calcium and magnesium
  • As a great treatment for diaper rash and other skin conditions, you can mix cod liver oil with zinc oxide
  • The vitamin A in cod liver oil has been shown to be protective against cancer (source for all listed above)
  • FCLO can even contain small amounts of vitamin E and K2, CoQ10 (also rich in heart tissue and some fish like sardines) and various quinones (known for anti-tumor, anti-microbacterial, and anti-cardiovascular disease properties) (source). 

“Dr. Price was right. . . we all need to take cod liver oil (and eat plenty of good butter). For growing children, and for almost every disease condition, cod liver oil is the number one superfood, the supplement of choice.(source)

Come back tomorrow to enter for your chance to win a bottle of Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil — 3 bottles are being given away!

Click on the link above to enter to win!

Until next time,
Loriel – Healthy Roots, Happy Soul

Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck

This post is part of:  Thank Goodness Its Monday, Homestead Barn HopFat TuesdaysFamily Table TuesdayTraditional TuesdaysHealthy TuesdaysTitus 2sday, Backyard Farming ConnectionTeach Me TuesdaysAnti-Procrastination TuesdaysGathering Spot, Hearth and Soul Hop, Tasty Tuesday, Tutorial Tuesday, EcoKids Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Seasonal Celebrations, Healthy 2day WednesdayWicked Awesome WednesdayParty Wave Wednesdays, Homemaking Linkup,  Fresh Food Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesdays, The Mommy Club

6 thoughts on “Are You Taking This Superfood? If Not, You Should Be.

  1. Great information! I take it in the capsule form and give it to my 3 older kids that can swallow the big things! 🙂 I love knowing that we are taking something that is healthy for us! I also use Green Pastures.


  2. My kids threw up after taking it. I can handle it if I chew on the pulp inside of an orange peel (We juice so I have left over peels).. My daughter's going to be 4 and my son is 1. I wish I could give them the capsules.. It doesn't taste good in smoothies, water, OJ, ect. I wish it tasted more like those flavors that are labelled on the bottles. I got the orange one and my daughter refuses to take it. It's kind of frustrating because I know how important it is and wish they were fine with it.. and at the same time I feel horrible that they threw up and really did try not to. I googled several ways to get children to take it and have yet to find something that works. Peanut butter, yogurt, and ice cream were some of the options and the liquid feels thick when going down so having some thick substance mixed with it only makes it harder to go down and makes them lose the taste for it. My daughter loved eating butter as is… now she won't touch food if she sees butter (unmelted) on top of it.

  3. I've been taking my FCLO/Butter Oil blend for about a month now, and it helps that I purchased the Cinnamon Tingle flavor. Perhaps it's a cop-out…but I've gotten to where I really enjoy it now, thanks very much to the delicious cassis oil. Excited for your giveaway!

  4. What a bummer. I still can't figure out how to get Andrew to take it. I gave it to him when he was around 1 year old and in his homemade formula and he took it like a champ. I ran out and didn't have it for a while and when I tried to get him to take it again he gagged. 😦

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