Cod liver oil Q & A
COD LIVER OIL SERIES: See the complete index of posts about CLO
You won't believe all the ways a daily dose of Cod liver oil can help you, so today we'll do a Q&A!
1. Which cod liver oil do you recommend?
Click here for which kind of CLO to take.
Short story: these two are the ones I mostly recommend nowadays this one or this one. Get a discount with the code KOP and free shipping over $99.
2. Is cod liver oil a traditional food?
Until the late 1940's most Americans took this superfood every day. However, these days the typical American diet is full of foods that provide plenty of omega-6 essential fatty acids (found in commercial vegetable/seed oils, packaged/processed foods, and more…), but not enough of the omega-3 essential fatty acids – DHA & EPA (found in green vegetables, cod liver oil, egg yolks from properly fed hens, organ meats from grass-fed animals, and some fish.)
3. Cod liver oil Q & A: “Essential fatty acid ratios”…who cares?!
This all sounds like mumbo jumbo until you understand that when these ratios are off, studies are increasingly showing that it can affect many areas of our health. Even the American Heart Association, (who don't always give the best advice in my opinion!), say on their site, “Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of — or who have — cardiovascular disease.”
Here's more from a podcast with Sally Fallon Morell:
- In today's diet, most people have a 20-1 ratio of omega-6's vs. omega-3's in what they're eating, but it should only be twice as much omega-6 as omega-3, a 2-1 ratio.
- An omega-6 surplus is the #1 enemy in the SAD — Standard American Diet and this causes inflammation, skin problems, joint pain, and many more health issues.
- Omega-6 is still important, just not too much.
- You can also get too much omega-3 though, if this happens you'll have digestive disorders or dry skin. You definitely need both in the right balance.
- Today people are taking lots of fish oil, eliminating vegetable oils and eating a lot of flax & canola oil (which have omega-3), so now some are getting too much omega-3!
- Butter has the perfect ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, 2-1! Beef fat and lard too if from animals raised outside.
- When our diet has the right ratio of these fatty acids, you'll have a keen mind-no brain fog, nice skin, overall good health.
- It's interesting that a lot of the foods that we love together are omega-3's with 6's: salmon and sour cream, liver and bacon, butter and spinach — foods that are great together are also a good nutritional balance. (Source)
More about EPA and DHA ratios:
EPA has slightly more of functional role, and DHA –slightly more of a structural role; and we need both. As for the precise ratios of EPA and DHA, the rule of thumb that one wants to follow with any nutrients, food or dietary supplements is to follow the path of nature. Our ancestors ate fish. The tables with the EPA and DHA content of various fish species in this article show that EPA to DHA ratio varies in fish between 1-to-2 to 2-to-1. (Source)
4. What are the health benefits?
The omega-3's and other nutrients in cod liver oil aren't just for heart health. Read the related sites below for more details, and also here's an excerpt from a CLO article on the Weston Price site:
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.”
If you have a specific ailment and you are wondering how cod liver oil can help you, do an internet search and see what you can find.
Read more here: Cod liver oil – the number one superfood!
5. Cod liver oil Q & A: Will I notice health improvements?
In some cases you may notice a big difference when taking cod liver oil, in other cases you may notice benefits slowly over time as you also implement other treatments and dietary changes. (Be in contact with a good naturopath or a doctor you trust who is open to looking at the whole picture, not just drug therapies.)
Cod liver oil is the first thing I recommend to friends or family who tell me they're having issues with anxiety because it helps them SO fast. Read more natural ways to fight anxiety and depression here.
6. Why not just take plain fish oil?
As explained above, one of the biggest reasons cod liver oil is so beneficial to us is because of the omega-3's it contains, but if you take a good brand, you'll also be getting the very important A and D vitamins in the right ratios, and this is one reason why cod liver oil is a better choice than fish oils.
Also, according to Sally Fallon Morell in the podcast mentioned above, “fish oils are also highly processed, heated and boiled for hours, so they're not recommended at all, they are very rancid.”
7. What about flax seed oil?
Nina Planck says in her book, Real Food: What to Eat and Why, “The body can make EPA and DHA from flaxseed oil, but the conversion is uncertain and imperfect. It bears repeating: fish is vastly superior to plant sources of omega-3 fats.” (More here on why you shouldn't get too much flax.)
8. What about too much vitamin A?
Doctors may advise against high amounts of vitamin A in your diet and tell you not to take a daily supplement like cod liver oil for that reason. But one thing important to know is that the KIND of vitamin A makes a big difference. Read more here about the importance of proper ratios of vitamin A & D in cod liver oil.
Read about why vitamin A is so important, and another article about vitamin A benefits.
9. Cod liver oil Q & A: What about getting enough vitamin D?
Read all about the benefits of vitamin D in your diet or from the sun.
(Read more about the bad rap sunshine has gotten.)
Important note about vitamin D and possible toxicity:
One thing to remember – as much as we need enough vitamin D, like anything, some say it's possible to get too much as well, and sites like Dr. Mercola encourage you to get tested if you're in the sun a lot. But according to this Vitamin D Council site, it's very uncommon to get too much vitamin D. If you get a LOT of sun and are concerned, read here to find out more about testing your vitamin D levels. Also, read this about who should be extra careful about the amounts of vitamin D they take.
(Here's the only vitamin D I take.)
10. Another note:
As explained in the book, “Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats“, “make sure your diet contains adequate calcium and magnesium with plentiful whole dairy products, bone broths and lightly cooked green vegetables along with certain nutrient-dense animal products such as butter, organ meats and shellfish. These will provide a calcium- and magnesium-rich diet as well as the fat-soluble vitamins necessary for their absorption.”
Newer post about this: Are you Taking Vitamin D or Calcium? What You MUST Do First (Scary: My doc didn’t even know)
This was a just quick overview on how powerful and important cod liver oil is and why we need to make it a daily habit, I hope it helps!
More you might like:
- Info on possible vitamin toxicity from Chris Masterjohn
- More info on possible vitamin toxicity in a cod liver oil update from Sally Fallon
- Pregnant or nursing moms, read this article on the importance of omega 3's for your baby's brain development!
- Help for depression or anxiety issues
- Read this to find out if you should limit the amount of cod liver oil you take
- Omega 3's can prevent sunburn?! Read this study
- Read about where exactly cod liver oil comes from and why some brands are much superior to others.
- Cod liver oil and constipation treatment
Hopefully you’re still checking this….I’m allergic to seafood, I think. I say “i think” because I’m beginning to wonder if it’s fluoroderma caused by the iodine leaching out the fluoride in my system (I only break out in hives when I eat seafood). However, I’m really nervous to try cod liver oil because i’m not sure if it’s a true allergy or not and I’d prefer not to aggravate it if it is. Is there something else that acts in a similar way and provides similar nutrients that isn’t from fish?
Hi Hayley, sorry I’m just getting through my in-box to get to your question!
The best suggestion I have if you can’t take CLO is to eat plenty of grass-fed meat and dairy, which also has omega-3’s, as well as CLA (cancer fighter), and many other beneficial nutrients.
A good naturopath may have more good advice for you, too.
Hope that helps!
Thanks Kelly! Unfortunately the only meat we can afford is still corn and grain finished…but it is grass-raised and not corn-fed quite as long as most “industrial” beef. Hopefully I still get some benefit from it…
Love your blog!,
Would you recommend CLO for someone that lives in the tropics where it is sunny all year round?
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
I’d probably still take it, but maybe a lower daily dose. To be sure, the best thing might be to get tested & see where your vit D levels are.
Where to Buy Coconut Oil says
The liver cod oil is really good because it’s natural and effective rates are high in some studies. But I just want to add that all these sickness are brought about by the food we take. We should eat the right kind of food, fruits and vegetables and meat only in moderation. I hope this helps.
I have been taking CLO for just 3 days, and my eczema is clearing up! I have tried EVERYTHING, and nothing has helped until now. I got the Garden of Life brand to start, since it was so much cheaper. But now that I know it’s working, I’ll definitely switch to the fermented when I run out of this. Thanks for all the information!
I just wanted to let you know that I bought the Blue Ice Fermented CLO in the chocolate cream flavor and I really enjoyed taking my first dose! It looks just like chocolate pudding and actually tastes good!!! I couldn’t believe it. It does have a bit of a fishy aftertaste, but I think that could be avoided by eating something quickly afterwards. However, today is Good Friday which means fasting, so I’ll just have to live with the fishy aftertaste until I can eat something small at lunchtime! 🙂
Reeeally?? It tasted GOOD? Hmmm, maybe we’ll have to try this flavor!
Makes sense, Debra, thanks for clarifying that. 🙂
Hi Kelly, I have enjoyed reading your site and just received the FCLO from Green Pasture’s. Can’t wait to see some results!!
A correction for your “Vitamin D and Sunlight” section: Dr. Mercola only recommends testing for Vitamin D if you take it as a supplement. He clearly says that exposure to sunshine will not cause you to get too much vitamin D.
Just for the record!
Melody Joy says
Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I linked to this post at https://joyfulmelody519.blogspot.com/2009/10/adult-adhd-treatment-without-medication.html
Your info on FCLO was very helpful in my decision to start using it daily! I appreciate all the research you do 🙂
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
Good question – I know Mercola talks about Krill oil quite a bit – actually he says it’s good to take both. Krill oil for the antioxidents and CLO for the vitamin D.
I haven’t researched it a lot, but personally, I plan to stick with the fermented CLO – it’s extracted without heat so it’s more natural and full of unprocessed nutrients.
Thanks for asking!
Have you done any research on krill oil verses CLO? I take CLO, but have been recommended by other to switch to krill oil. Wondering what your thoughts are on that?
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
I was just talking to my sister about cod liver oil and her psoriasis (see the first comment above), and she was telling me something that I thought I should clarify here…
She said what she has found is that CLO won’t take the psoriasis AWAY, but if you can get it to go away somehow, taking enough daily CLO can keep it from coming BACK.
She got hers to go away with the shots, but if anyone knows of a method that is more natural (the sunshine being one way, of course), then please comment here.
I just did some research on eczema and found some interesting information for you. To answer your question: YES, I think cod liver oil WILL help you!
In my reading it said that cod liver oil reduces free radicals and inflammatory processes as in arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, psoriasis or other inflammatory conditions. (And I’ve read the same thing many other times, it’s pretty widely known, just so you know it’s not some new idea.) I found quite a few stories of people who have been helped greatly. (Google it and you’ll find some interesting stuff.) I found the capsules we use (the best and least expensive brand) at iherb.com – go to part 3 in the cod liver oil posts and if you click on that link it will take you right to the kind I buy – there are many different kinds and some are way better than others. (The more you buy the cheaper it is because there’s a $4 flat rate for shipping.)
I’m putting out a post (hopefully this week) about the benefits of coconut oil, and I knew I’d read before about coconut oil helping with eczema too, so I also did some more research on that – scroll down about half-way at this site (under “eczema”) to read more amazing stories: https://www.earthclinic.com/Remedies/coconut_oil.html. (You’ll have to cut and paste that address, it’s not letting me put a link in the comment section.)
I’m not going to tell you what to do, all I can tell you is what I’d do: I would take both – 5 cod liver oil caps/day AND use coconut oil topically.
By the way, I found the coconut oil way cheaper here (than was originally on my popcorn recipe post) and it’s a good brand too – don’t forget to type in “free shipping” in the comments section when you order: https://www.rawveganbooks.com/index.php?cPath=0_28_100228_100231&ref=213.
You asked how I came up with 5 cod liver oil caps to take each day – I got that from the dosage chart at this site: https://www.westonaprice.org/basicnutrition/clarifications.html. I looked on my bottle and knew 5 was the number for adults, based on the vitamin A amounts in each capsule.
One more thing. I don’t have eczema, BUT I’ve changed a LOT of diapers through the years (not just my kid’s, but many day care kid’s too!) and have had some very sore hands in the past. What I would do when it got really bad is put a TON of coconut oil or bag balm all over my hands before bed, then wear gloves on them for the night. This always helped, especially when they’d been cracked and bleeding. Sometimes it only got me through until the next night when I’d have to do it all over again, but at least it brought some relief. It is always worse in the winter for me.
Hope all this helps! I’m just wacko enough that I could stay up all night long chatting about this stuff, if my contacts weren’t drying out so much and telling me that I’ve got to get some sleep, so goodnight! 🙂
For people with psorasis says
For people with psoriasis.
Raw grass fed milk is a cure for psoriasis. It really started clearing up my scalp and skin psoriasis! I ran out of the raw grass fed milk and it started to get worse again then I got some more and it started clearing up again.
Also before taking the raw grass fed milk, when I was in Hawaii Just going in the ocean water started to clear up my psoriasis it was bright red with flaky patches and then it started turning a light pink and parts of it regular white skin. I was so excited.
But I had to leave Hawaii and my psoriasis never finished healing so it got worse again when I came home. If I would have stayed longer in Hawaii in the ocean water I’m sure it would of cleared up all the way.
P.s The sun also helped to heal it in Hawaii
This was the worst case of psoriasis I have ever seen. This boy was literally covered from head to foot with scales. We put this boy on a milk diet and in less than a month he had a skin like a baby’s.” To me, this means that there was evidently some nutritive substance or vitamin or glandular secretion lacking, that was furnished by the milk.
Wow! Do you think this might work for me? I have an extreme case of hand eczema. My fingertips are near raw and are cracked and bleeding a fair amount of the time. Everything I do is extremely painful. My fingernails grow abnormally, and I rarely have any cuticles. I too have taken various prescription medications none of which I have found to offer much relief. I’m not necessarily looking for a cure, but to at least stop the cracking and bleeding would be a huge comfort. I have seen both my family physician and a dermatologist for this issue. The dermatologist told me she often sees such extreme cases of hand eczema on people who use baby wipes. Well, I certainly am using baby wipes and will be for a few years yet. I use baby wipes that are fragrance free, alcohol free, and hypoallergenic. There are many nights I have been near tears because it is just so painful especially by the end of the day. Prescriptions that are ointments are fine for night but impossible to put on during the day. I find it almost impossible to get any topical medications on my hands during the day with the amount of time my hands are washed or just in water from making bottles, rinsing dishes, etc.
All that being said, do you think I should give this a try? I have had eczema my entire life, but the hand eczema has been the most extreme and hardest to relieve. I’ve often wondered if it was a vitamin deficiency of some kind.
Why did you suggest that your sister try this for her psoriasis? What makes five capsules the magic number?
I’ve had psoriasis for over 35 years and have been on too many different medicines to name.The latest being $1600.00 a month injections. Kelly (my sister) told me to start taking 5 capsules a day of cod liver oil. Since doing so, I haven’t needed any meds. I went to my skin Dr. last Monday and he doesn’t know I’ve quit taking the injections, and he said this is the best you’ve ever looked!Terri