Cod liver oil Q & A
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?
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.
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.
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