Whenever I recommend cod liver oil as a much needed supplement, people wrinkle their noses and say “Yuck”! Maybe their mother or grandmother forced them to take it. I remember my mother coercing us to take a liquid vitamin that was horrible, so I can appreciate the aversion. However, once you understand the incredible robustness that cod liver oil imparts, you may change your mind.
The traditional way of manufacturing cod liver oil was to dump the cod livers into barrels until the barrel was full. Then it was sealed and the livers left to ferment. After months of fermentation, the hepatic cell walls break open allowing the oil to float to the top of the barrel. The barrel was then opened and the oil carefully skimmed off.
Modern manufacturing had lead to a decrease in the nutrient content due to alkali refining, bleaching, winterization and deodorization. There is only one manufacturer to my knowledge that actually replicates the all natural method of cod liver oil manufacture and that is one of the sponsors of Real Food Media, Green Pasture. You may have seen the ads on my blog.
We support this particular manufacturer because he has invested a great amount time and expense to learn how to ferment the cod livers in the traditional way, creating a product that is extraordinarily pure and nutrient dense. I would not use any other cod liver oil product because it is just not worth it.
There are many reasons to add cod liver oil to your diet. Here are just a few:
Reason #1: Cod liver oil contains more vitamin A and D per unit than any other food. It has three times the vitamin A than beef liver, then next highest source. It has four times the vitamin D than lard, the next highest source. It is truly a superfood.
Reason #2: Making up seven percent of the composition of cod liver oil are the valuable fatty acids, EPA and DHA. These essential fatty acids are the basis for important hormone-like prostaglandins that help fight inflammation. DHA is extremely important for the developing brain and eyes.
Reason #3: There is also a small amount of the important vitamin K that is necessary for strong bones and healthy blood clotting.
This is what Sally Fallon Morell has to say about cod liver oil:
Doctor Price was right, as usual. Cod liver oil is very good for you, more than you ever knew. Research studies ranging from 1918-2001 give cod liver oil an A+ rating… Many of the conditions addressed by cod liver oil are considered related under the title Syndrome X. These include obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, adult onset diabetes and stroke. Evidence is accumulating that these diseases of civilization are the result of high levels of omega-6 fatty acids and low levels of omega-3 fatty acids along with deficiencies of fat-soluble vitamins. We may be paying a very high price for our rejection of parental wisdom to take our cod liver oil.
If you are not presently taking cod liver oil you may want to review the importance of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, K2, EPA and DHA. These vitamins are absolutely essential for good health. Most people do not get enough, for many reasons.
Vitamin A has been labeled toxic due to poor research that used artificial vitamin A, not naturally occurring. Healthy traditional cultures received ten times more vitamin A (naturally occurring) in their food then we get in our modern diets. Conventional recommendations are to stay out of the sun so that we can’t make the vitamin D that our bodies need. Modern packaged foods and grain products are very high in omega 6 fatty acids, creating a completely out of balance ratio of omega 6 to 3 for many people. These deficits have created fat soluble vitamin deficiencies which are the basis for many health conditions and diseases.
Dietary changes to real foods may come slowly. But taking cod liver oil constitutes taking a giant leap forward in your health goals.