***UPDATE: As of August 2015, I no longer recommend Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil. Here is why: http://realfoodeater.com/new-fermented-cod-liver-oil-dangers/
When most people find out that we take cod liver oil at our house, the look on their face says it all.
And you know what? Their assumptions are right. It tastes nasty (especially the fermented type). Over time, I think I’ve just gotten used to it and can swallow it without too much problem.
But my kids? That’s another story. Up until recently I would try to figure out every possible way to get them to take it – bribery, chasing it down with chocolate chips and even PAYING them to take it…all were unsuccessful.
I since have found THE BEST solution that has proven effective in getting my kids to swallow it without running away or gagging – all 4 of them have taken it all week with NO problems. I’ll share my fool-proof tip down at the bottom. But first, you’ll need to know why you’d even want to go through the trouble of taking this awesome supplement. (And I use the word “supplement” here very loosely – it’s actually FOOD!)
What is Cod Liver Oil?
Cod liver oil is a dietary supplement which provides great nutritional benefits – especially Vitamin A and Vitamin D. This oil has been consumed for centuries, especially by those living near large bodies of water and in traditional European villages. In fact, it is rumored that the Vikings would have a perpetual barrel drum of fermenting cod livers outside their doors.
We use it for it’s myriad of health benefits – and we especially try to take it every day during the dreary and often sunless winters here in Michigan. Vitamin D is such an important thing and is one that most of us do not get enough of. We’ve noticed less sickness, better moods, shorter duration of sicknesses when we DO get a bug, and for me (sorry if TMI) I’ve noticed an absence of those nasty pre-period headaches and cramps. BONUS!
*Please note: taking cod liver oil is NOT the same as taking fish oil capsules: 1/2 Tbsp of cod liver oil has the same amount of elongated omega 3 fatty acids as does TWELVE 1,000mg fish oil capsules.
What are the Health Benefits?
Here are list of only SOME of the many things cod liver oil has been found to possibly help with:
– provides fat soluble vitamins A and D (Vitamin D is needed to help our bodies absorb calcium, is useful in preventing depression and for the treatment of osteoporosis)
– provides elongated Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (EPA is needed for nerve transmission and retina formation, DHA can help treat/prevent depression)
– helps promote the absorption of calcium and magnesium (which in turn can help lower blood pressure)
– can increase bone mineral density
– reduces pain and damage in inflamed joints due to arthritis
– beneficial for helping to treat colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease
– when taken orally, helps maintain soft skin and minimize wrinkles
– a study in China found that cod liver oil protects against childhood leukemia
– provides accelerated wound healing – Source
– results in decreased incidences of Type 1 Diabetes in babies of women who ingested cod liver oil during pregnancy – Source
– “A Norwegian study of more than 68,000 women reported that female cancer patients who took daily cod-liver oil supplements had significantly reduced mortality (25% for all cancers, 45% for lung cancer) compared to women who did not take such supplements.” – Source 1 and Source 2
– may be a great complimentary treatment for MS (multiple schlerosis) – Source
– effective in decreasing morning muscle stiffness, swollen/painful joints and overall pain intensity in those with Rheumatoid Arthritis – Source
I also found these fascinating bits of info in an article about the manufacturing of cod liver oil – and how it was used in history as a superfood:
What are the Best Brands to take?
Our family has only used the high-vitamin Fermented Cod Liver Oil from Green Pastures. Fermented is certainly tougher to get down, but because it is fermented, the nutrients are more concentrated and so you have to take less! The Weston A. Price Foundation recommends the following brands in the U.S (taken from Cod Liver Oil Basics and Recommendations).
Here’s the trick I’ve been using to get it down!
This is the BEST trick I have come up with…during the winter months especially, I give all of us a Tablespoon of Homemade Elderberry Syrup to help prevent/treat the colds and flu. I have found that mixing the Elderberry Syrup with the squirt of fermented cod liver oil in a shot glass helps the kids get it down without any trouble! It actually tastes good! All 4 of my kids (plus my hubby) have remarked that they can take it this way.
Now, we use the liquid form and currently are using the Oslo Orange flavor. If you just cannot find a way to get that stuff down, they also offer capsules (more expensive) and even a gel form. I also know that some brands have several “kid-approved” flavors of emulsified cod liver oil. I have not tried that yet, but I know others who have had good luck with them.
Give it a try – tell me what you think. In the meantime, cheers to good health…and bottoms up!
If you’re interested in eating more real, wholes food and are local to West Michigan, click here to join my food buyer’s club!
We also use ground up fruit/veggies in a capsule and gummy form to help stay healthy. Learn more about that HERE.
Cod Liver Oil: The Number One Super Food – Weston A. Price Foundation website
The Advantages of Cod Liver Oil – Livestrong.com
Update on Cod Liver Oil Manufacture – Weston A. Price Foundation website
Disclosures: This blog post contains some affiliate links which can earn me a small commission if clicked or a purchase is made. Thanks! Also, I am not a physician, so please do not take my suggestions as medical advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified health practitioner.