f I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times…the number one “supplement” I wholeheartedly endorse is cod liver oil. The health benefits are almost as numerous as uses for coconut oil!
To be honest, our family has struggled over the years to make this healthy supplement a daily habit. Merely knowing the health benefits doesn’t equate to a habit. Oh how I wish it did…but the reality is, until recently, the cod-liver-oil we had tasted gross. Sure it was healthy, but it was so gross!
So, what’s the big deal about cod liver oil? Let’s break it down…
EPA and DHA
Cod liver oil provides both EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docasahexaenoic acid) fatty acids made by the body from omega-3 linolenic acid. EPA is an important factor in making prostaglandins (tissue hormones) and DHA is necessary for good brain and nervous system health.
For years the FDA promoted the safety and health of polyunsaturated and hydrogenated oils, and many of us fell for it, hook-line-and-sinker. Unfortunately, those who did may now have a hard time naturally producing EPA and DHA. Also, those with impaired pancreatic function (such as diabetics) may have a hard time producing these fatty acids.
Our bodies need vitamin A for proper bone growth, good vision, healthy skin and protection for the digestive, respiratory and urinary tracts against infection. Those suffering from leaky gut syndrome, gluten intolerance, IBS, autoimmune diseases, or poor absorption (malabsorption) are more prone to suffer vitamin A deficiencies.
There is much concern and worry over vitamin A toxicity, understandably so. However, the vitamin A found naturally in foods such as cod liver oil, liver and butterfat is not to be confused with the synthetic vitamin A found in many supplements that can be toxic in large amounts. The fat-soluble vitamin A, naturally occurring in foods, can be taken in dosages as high as ten times the amount of the synthetic version. Also, the naturally occurring vitamin D in cod liver oil actually helps protect against vitamin A toxicity.
I’ve shared before the importance of vitamin D. Our family spends an adequate amount of time in the sun during the spring and summer months prepping and tending to our garden. Because our bodies can produce adequate amounts of vitamin D naturally during these sunny seasons we stop taking cod liver oil during the summer (we do continue to take it through spring as our stores may still be lacking from the sunless winter months). But if you’re working to reverse a vitamin D deficiency, taking cod liver oil year round can be very helpful in obtaining healthy levels.
Since we stop taking cod liver oil in the summer (which naturally contains vitamin A), we are very purposeful to get adequate vitamin A from other sources such as butterfat, egg yolks (from free-range hens getting plenty of sunlight) and liver. Vitamin A and vitamin D work synergistically, therefore, adequate sun means nothing without the vitamin A for proper D absorption. Our solution is to take grass-fed liver capsules. (Gross, you say? We take it encapsulated so it’s not so horrible!)
Another tip when taking cod liver oil is to pair it with grass-fed butterfat. Dr. Weston A. Price found a correlation between those who just took cod liver oil and those who paired cod liver oil with butter from grass-fed cows grazing on rapidly growing grass in the spring and summer months. Those taking CLO with butter had much more favorable results (mind you this was high vitamin butter oil, regular grocery store butter will not have the same favorable results). He called the secret ingredient “Activator-X”, later to be found as vitamin K2.
“Vitamin K2 is an important fat-soluble vitamin that plays critical roles in protecting your heart and brain, and building strong bones. It also plays an important role in cancer protection. The biological role of vitamin K2 is to help move calcium into the proper areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth. It also helps remove calcium from areas where it shouldn’t be, such as in your arteries and soft tissues.” Dr. Mercola
For this reason, cod liver oil paired with butter and raw milk is our top defense against cavities (even above brushing, believe it or not! Although we do adore our clay toothpaste!). If you’re looking to remineralize your teeth or reverse tooth decay, this would be a vital supplement to adopt.
When you pair cod liver oil with a good amount of butterfat (and best of all, wash it down with a glass of raw milk) you’re getting the powerful synergistic punch of vitamins A, D, K2 and calcium all working together to protect your body.
Cod Liver Oil Brands
Our family used to take Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil paired with High Vitamin Butter Oil. These were definitely hard to swallow, and even after encapsulating them, the fishiness was still burped later (true story). We all found it difficult to stay motivated to take it on a daily basis, regardless of the health benefits. A few months ago I read up on NutraPro International Virgin Cod Liver Oil and decided to give it a try. It’s flavored with peppermint and lemon essential oils and has no fishy taste (even when burped!). This brand was the turning point for our family in making that healthy habit and keeping it daily.