One of the few supplements we take for our family is Fermented Cod Liver Oil ~ and while we feel like it’s one of the best supplements around, many times I get asked what the difference is between that and Fish Oil.
Fish Oil and Cod Liver Oil – how different can it be.. is one better than the other and what brand is the best to buy? Is it necessary for kids?
Fermented Cod Liver Oil is the result of fermenting cod livers – fermenting allows the fat soluble vitamins and beneficial oils to separate from the cod liver without damaging the fat soluble vitamins.
Fermentation allows the cod liver oil to maintain its high Omega 3, vitamin D & vitamin A content – which in turn allows the cod liver oil to be more bioavailable to your body. Many other supplements that include vitamin D or vitamin A are heat processed which destroys valuable nutrients. EPA, and DHA are Omega 3 fats that the body needs as an anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular support, and eye and nervous system support.
The Difference Between FCLO and Fish Oil
Cod Liver Oil contains EPA/DHA (Omega-3’s) as well as Vitamin A and D from the livers of the cod fish. Only two brands (Green Pasture and Rosita) have the natural form of A and D with the Omega 3’s. Many of the other brands add synthetic forms of Vitamin A and D after processing.
Fish Oil, on the other hand, contains only EPA/DHA with no vitamins (A and D). Fish Oil comes from bodies of oily fish (like sardines, anchovy) and the Omega 3’s come from the plankton and the microalgae in their diet.
Cod Liver Oil is processed one of several ways – it’s incredibly hard to find quality cod liver oil because many national brands will process with heat and chemicals, then bleach, flavorize and degum – which is similar to drinking processed milk and killing the good nutrients.
Green Pastures and Rosita are two brands of Cod Liver Oil that do not use high processing (heat, chemicals or bleaching) to achieve Cod Liver Oil.
Fish Oil is processed from whole fish or scraps after canning – and to process, the fish meal is highly heated and then purified to take out the heavy metals the fish have absorbed from the depths of the ocean. Just recently I saw American Seafood process fish meal on a television show online and what a stinky job – not a job I could do at all 😉
One of the main differences of Fish Oil and Cod Liver Oil is that the vitamins have been stripped out of Fish Oil.
You can typically buy Cod Liver Oil in capsules OR in a liquid – Green Pastures has several flavored varieties (Orange, Cinnamon Tingle) that are sometimes more preferred by kids. My kids love the Oslo Orange variety and it’s relatively easy to get them to take it in a little juice or milk.
It’s incredibly important that you pick up a high quality Fermented Cod Liver Oil, as many cheaper versions that are out there on the shelf are extracted at a high heat and not a great option in terms of nutrients. We pick ours up at Thrive Market.