Fermented Cod Liver Oil is one of the FEW supplements that our family takes daily – while we realize it’s importance, not many other people do.
I’m definitely not a doctor – but I do love to read and research things that pertain to my family’s health. Cod Liver Oil is one thing that we find to be incredibly beneficial from a health and wellness perspective.
What is Fermented Cod Liver Oil?
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.
We started using Cod Liver Oil as part of a larger effort to remineralize the teeth on our boys – despite having a great diet of whole and largely raw foods, the decay in their teeth is incredibly pronounced. We avoid using fluoride, and we don’t purchase juice or soda. Their decay is evidence that their body is not making valuable nutrients available. There is a lot of evidence that diet has a large effect on tooth decay – but in many cases that decay can be halted or even reversed.
The health of our teeth is largely determined by diet – and several other factors:
- Presence of enough minerals
- Presence of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K)
- and the ability to make these nutrients available – how well they are absorbed in the body is the result of the amount of phytic acid in the body that is regularly consumed
That led me to do a little reading on phytic acid. I knew that consuming raw milk is a great way to build up our dental health, but that led me to wonder if there was something else that was preventing those nutrients from becoming available in our body, and how well they are being absorbed.
Studies on phytic acid reveal that for some people, the phytic acid in whole grains blocks calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and copper; others seem immune to these adverse consequences, probably because of favorable gut flora, which in some cases can break down phytic acid. In addition, when animal fats providing vitamins A and D accompany dietary whole grains, the effects of phytic acid are mitigated.
Phytic acid is a mineral blocker that is found in grains, seeds and beans – 80% of phosphorus in grains and beans is bound to phytic acid, which makes it unabsorbable. This blocks phosphorus availability in humans and the molecules bind minerals necessary for oral health.
It also takes minerals out of your body, too
Our Goal with our Kids
Considering our boys had some pretty bad tooth decay, we knew we had to take some considerable steps. Sure, getting their teeth filled was an option, but I wasn’t too eager to fill them considering that the root of the problem was still going to be prevalent. The last thing I wanted was for them to get their adult teeth and have on-going issues.
We opted for the following:
- Limit those foods high in phytic acid content – While it’s impossible to avoid them completely, we can avoid large amounts of them by incorporating other food options. Soaking our beans, limiting the flour tortillas, and baked goods and foregoing Soy based products (which we don’t buy anyways).
- Taking a daily supplement of Fermented Cod Liver Oil. Our kids get 1/2 tsp, while we get 1 – 2 tsp in a little bit of liquid.
- Using remineralizing toothpaste (which we made at home).
- Cutting back refined sugar – should we need any type of sweetener, we reach for raw honey or maple syrup, but in moderation.
- Regular hygiene.
Fermented Cod Liver has a variety of benefits – I thought it was the best option for our family due to it’s high level of nutrients.
Cod Liver Oil has vitamins A and D. We can get our Vitamin D from sunlight, but getting vitamin A is a little more difficult to get.
Cod Liver Oil has 25% DHA and EPA – which are recommended daily supplements. Because it is cold pressed (through fermentation), the Omega-3’s and fat soluble vitamins are retained and not damaged.
Vitamin D helps strengthen immunity against the common cold and flu. It’s also linkA deficiency in vitamin D has been noted in childhood autism, asthma, and diabetes. Vitamin A and Vitamin D need each other to function properly… and while Vegetables “can” be a source of Vitamin A, they are in no way a sufficient source. From Baby Code:
Beta-carotene is the precursor (inactive form) of retinol, the active form of vitamin A. While beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in humans, only 3% gets converted in a healthy adult. And that’s assuming you’re not one of the 45% of adults that don’t convert any beta-carotene into vitamin A at all.
This means that – contrary to popular wisdom – vegetables like carrots and red peppers are not adequate food sources of vitamin A.
Vitamin A is found in significant amounts only in animal products like liver and grass-fed dairy. You’d have to eat a huge amount of beta-carotene from plants to meet vitamin A requirements during pregnancy. For example, 3 ounces of beef liver contains 27,000 IU of vitamin A. As the chart below illustrates, to get the same amount of vitamin A from plants (assuming a 3% conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A), you’d have to eat 4.4 pounds of cooked carrots, 40 pounds of raw carrots, and 50 cups of cooked kale!
Vitamin A plays such a HUGE role in our reproductive health and most people do not get enough of it. Rich Vitamin A foods like Raw Milk and Liver are not consumed by many people. Raw Milk is something we consume daily (6 gallons for 7 of us per week), but aside from our family, I don’t know too many people who drink raw milk.
Benefits of Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Cod Liver Oil has a variety of benefits – here are just a few reasons to look at using it as a supplement for your own family:
Cod Liver Oil is a high source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. These Omega-3 foods can help power the odds of developing heart disease, ADHD, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, cancer and more. While Omega 6 Fatty Acids are great, if they are consumed too much without Omega-3’s they can lead to inflammation, which is the root of many diseases. (source)
High in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is something you can capture by spending time outside without sunscreen. It helps support healthy bones and cellular function. Your body needs vitamin D to replenish and multiply cells. A deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to autoimmune disease, illness, diabetes and cancer.
High in Vitamin A. We mentioned before that Vitamin A is essential for brain and bone health, and hormone production. Natural sources of vitamin D are shellfish, animal fats and fish liver. Eating vitamin A from vitamin A rich foods is needed to allow your body to have successful bone growth, oral health, and ovarian and testicular function.
Prevents Heart Disease. A diet that is high in liver oil in supplement or whole food form can help lower high triglycerides (a fat in your blood that raises your risk for heart problems). It also balances your cholesterol.
Supports healthy hormones and fertility. Fats are necessary for your pregnancy and to help you get pregnant – fats help your body produce estrogen and progesterone. The Vitamin A and D in Cod Liver Oil help your endocrine system do its job, and support the glands that control the release of sex hormones for reproduction. For men, the DHA in cod Liver oil helps with healthy sperm production.
Great for Arthritis Sufferers. Cod Liver Oil is a wonderful alternative natural treatment for arthritis. Regular use helps treat inflammatory conditions (pain, stiffness, and arthritis).
Supports those who are Diabetic. Cod Liver Oil helps control insulin and glucose (sugar) levels in the blood.
Supports healthy teeth. Cod Liver Oil is high in Vitamin A.It has the same amount of vitamin A as 5 quarts of milk, 9 eggs, or 1 pound of excellent butter. Note: the vitamin D in cod liver oil is also very important in preventing tooth decay. You can read more about that HERE.
Taking Cod Liver Oil Daily
ALL 7 of us in our home take Fermented Cod Liver Oil daily – we recommend and use Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil.
- My husband takes 1 teaspoon of the Fermented Cod Liver Oil
- I take 2 teaspoons of Fermented Cod Liver Oil since I am nursing.
- Kids 2 and under get 1/4 tsp each day.
- Kids 3 to 6 get 1/2 teaspoon per day.
- Kids 6 and up get 2/3 teaspoon per day.
If you are giving your infant Fermented Cod Liver Oil, it’s best to put a small amount in breast milk in a bottle for them to take – avoid using the flavored Fermented Cod Liver Oil and opt for the unflavored.
Getting children to take it isn’t too difficult ~ my kids take it in a short glass combined with Young Living NingXia Red, and my 3 year old uses a syringe to take her Cod Liver Oil willingly.
There are some concerns with Fermented Cod Liver Oil and its relation to Vitamin A toxicity – but you can read the concerns here to help you separate fact from fiction.
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.