Fermented Cod Liver Oil vs. Fish Oil

Fermented Cod Liver Oil vs Fish Oil

Fermented Cod Liver Oil is one of the very few things that I take daily and give to my kids (starting at a few months old). I get quite a few emails asking why I take this particular one and if regular fish oil would work just as well. I’m not a doctor and I’m not trying to play one on the internet, so I’m just sharing the reasons that my family takes Fermented Cod Liver Oil.

Why Fermented Cod Liver Oil?

Fermented cod liver oil is made when cod livers are fermented. This allows the fat soluble vitamins and beneficial oils to separate from the rest of the liver without damaging the fat soluble vitamins (unlike in some methods like heat processing where the vitamins are damaged). This cool temperature fermentation process allows the cod liver oil to maintain its Omega-3, Vitamin D and Vitamin A content. This also makes the nutrients more absorbable to the body as Diane of Balanced Bites explains:

In our bodies, digestive breakdown is the mechanism by which we do this internally – by means of not only the physical churning in our stomach, but also by means of stomach acid, bile, and, perhaps most notably digestive enzymes. There are several ways in which the reduction of nutrients may occur: heat, synthetic chemical processing, and digestion (or fermentation, which is an exogenous means of pre-digesting nutrients). Heat is damaging to delicate nutrients, especially when they are isolated from their whole-food source. Synthetic chemical breakdown of nutrients is damaging as well.

Digestion or fermentation (enzymatic breakdown) is by far the safest and most effective way to reduce the molecular structures in foods to their end usable constituents. (If you are an organic chemistry-buff, perhaps you’ll know a lot more about what the following information means than I do) When reduction is initiated by digestion (digestive enzymes) or fermentation, 100% of molecules break “to the right” – which is how our body uses them best. When the reduction is initiated by either heat or synthetic chemicals, 50% of the molecules break to the left (which may be toxic or unhealthful at the very least) and 50% to the right.

Vitamins in FCLO:

Many healthcare professionals recommend taking Omega-3s in some form, and after researching the processing and Omega-3 levels in Fermented Cod Liver Oil, I decided that it was the best option for our family for several reasons:

  • Unlike many Omega-3 supplements, Fermented Cod Liver Oil is cold processed through fermentation so it retains high levels of fat soluble vitamins and Omega-3s and these are not damaged by high temperatures. Additionally, Fermented Cod Liver Oil contains about 25% DHA and EPA, which are highly recommended forms of Omega-3s.
  • Fermented Cod Liver oil Contains Vitamins A and D, which are both necessary for many aspects of health. While we can get Vitamin D from sunlight, Vitamin A can be harder to consume or absorb and FCLO is an excellent source. Vitamins A and D need each other for proper absorption as the Weston A. Price Foundation explains:”At least 2,000 genes, or nearly 10 percent of your genes, have been identified that are directly influenced by vitamin D, which in turn impact a wide variety of health issues, from preventing the common cold and flu to inhibiting at least sixteen different types of cancer. There’s even evidence linking vitamin D to the process of brain detoxification of heavy metals such as mercury. Widespread vitamin D deficiency has also been strongly linked to the childhood epidemics of autism, asthma, and diabetes, both type 1 and 2. Vitamin A, which is essential for your immune system just like vitamin D, is also a precursor to active hormones that regulate the expression of your genes, and they work in tandem. For example, there is evidence that without vitamin D, vitamin A can be ineffective or even toxic. But if you’re deficient in vitamin A, vitamin D cannot function properly either.”
  • Vitamin A (found abundantly in Fermented Cod Liver Oil) is a vital nutrient for our bodies, but it can be difficult to obtain. From The Healthy 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!”

The Studies on FCLO

According to the Weston A Price Foundation, recent studies have shown that Fermented Cod Liver Oil can be beneficial to those with certain conditions including:

  • “PAIN IN RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: Cod liver oil supplements were better than controls in relieving pain and can be used as NSAID-sparing agents in rheumatoic arthritis patients (Rheumatology (Oxford). 2008 May;47(5):665-9).
  • VITAMIN D STATUS AND BONE LOSS: Inclusion of cod liver oil in the diet appears to attenuate the seasonal variation of vitamin D status in early postmenopausal women at northerly latitudes where quality of sunlight for production of vitamin D is diminished. Cod liver oil can thus protect against greater bone turnover, bone loss and obesity (Bone. 2008 May;42(5):996-1003).
  • DIABETES-RELATED CARDIOVASCULAR DISORDERS: Cod liver oil treatment in diabetic rats completely prevented endothelial deficiency and partly corrected several biochemical markers for cardiovascular disorders (J Pharm Pharmacol. 2007 Dec;59(12):1629-41).
  • MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: In Arctic climates, supplemental cod-liver oil during childhood may be protective against multiple sclerosis later in life (J Neurol. 2007 Apr;254(4):471-7).
  • BREAST CANCER: Reduced breast cancer risks were associated with increasing sun exposure and cod liver oil use from ages ten to nineteen. “We found strong evidence to support the hypothesis that vitamin D could help prevent breast cancer. However, our results suggest that exposure earlier in life, particularly during breast development, maybe most relevant” (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Mar;16(3):422-9).
  • DEPRESSION: Regular use of cod liver oil is negatively associated with high levels of depressive symptoms in the general population (J Affect Disord. 2007 Aug;101(1-3):245-9).
  • WOUND HEALING: The combination of zinc oxide and cod liver oil was found to be superior to the formulations containing only one active ingredient. This combination was also found to be most efficient in accelerating wound healing when it is retarded by repeated dexamethasone treatment (Dtsch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2006 Sep;113(9):331-4).
  • BREAST MILK: Women using cod liver oil had a significantly higher levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in their breast milk. “As this may have an impact on the health and development of breast-fed infants in later life, regular maternal cod liver oil intake could be relevant for the infant as well as for the nutritional adequacy of the maternal diet” (Ann Nutr Metab. 2006;50(3):270-6).
  • PAIN AND JOINT STIFFNESS: Cod liver oil application allows reduction of the dose of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and improves chief clinical symptoms, reducing pain and morning joint stiffness (Klin Med Mosk2005;83(10):51-7).
  • HIP FRACTURE: Multivitamin or cod liver oil supplementation was associated with a significantly lower risk of any fracture. “We found no evidence to support any skeletal harm associated with increased serum indices of retinol exposure or modest retinol supplementation in this population” (J Bone Miner Res. 2005 Jun;20(6):913-20).
  • HIGHER BIRTH WEIGHT: Women who used liquid cod liver oil in early pregnancy gave birth to heavier babies, even after adjusting for the length of gestation and other confounding factors. “Higher birth weight has been associated with a lower risk of diseases later in life and maternal cod liver oil intake might be one of the means for achieving higher birthweight” (BJOG. 2005 Apr;112(4):424-9).
  • UPPER RESPIRATORY TRACT INFECTIONS IN CHILDREN: Children supplemented with cod liver oil had a decrease in upper respiratory tract infections and pediatric visits over time (Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2004 Nov;113(11):891-901).
  • VITAMIN D STATUS: In Norway, three mølje meals (consisting of cod liver and fresh cod-liver oil) provided an amount of vitamin D equal to 54 times the recommended daily dose. Subjects with food consumption habits that included frequent mølje meals during the winter sustained satisfactory vitamin D levels in their blood, in spite of the long “vitamin D winter” (Public Health Nutr. 2004 Sep;7(6):783-9).
  • DIABETES: Use of cod liver oil in the first year of life was associated with a significantly lower risk of type 1 diabetes. Use of other vitamin D supplements during the first year of life and maternal use of cod liver oil or other vitamin D supplements during pregnancy were not associated with lower risk of type 1 diabete (Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Dec;78(6):1128-34).
  • INTELLIGENCE IN CHILDREN: Children who were born to mothers who had taken cod liver oil during pregnancy and lactation scored higher on intelligence tests at age four compared with children whose mothers had taken corn oil (Pediatrics. 2003 Jan;111(1):e39-44).
  • RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: Use of cod liver oil decreased occurrence of morning stiffness, swollen joints and pain intensity in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (Adv Ther. 2002 Mar-Apr;19(2):101-7).
  • EAR ACHES IN CHILDREN: Children prone to ear aches (otitis media) receiving cod liver oil plus selenium needed lower amounts of antibiotics during supplementation compared to before supplementation (Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2002 Jul;111(7 Pt 1):642-52).
  • DIABETIC NEUROPATHY: Use of cod liver oil in mice played an important role in the prevention of diabetic nephropathy (Lipids. 2002 Apr;37(4):359-66).
  • FAT-SOLUBLE VITAMINS IN BREAST MILK: Maternal use of cod liver oil resulted in higher levels of fat-soluble vitamins in breast milk, especially vitamins E and A. (Ann Nutr Metab. 2001;45(6):265-72).” (source)

What Fermented Cod Liver Oil We Take

My family takes Fermented Cod Liver Oil daily. I’ve only found one brand that is manufactured with the cold process fermentation (in the US) and this is Green Pastures (we order ours here). There are several options for Fermented Cod Liver Oil and we typically take the Fermented Cod Liver Oil/High Vitamin Butter Oil Blend. The High Vitamin Butter Oil has Vitamin K2, another fat soluble vitamin which Dr. Price called “Activator X” and which has been shown to help improve heart, bone, immune, brain and other aspects of health (source). For our family personally, this is what we take daily (ask your doctor before taking any new supplements!):

  • My husband and I take 1 teaspoon of the Fermented Cod Liver Oil  Butter Blend everyday
  • Kids 2 and under (up to 30 lbs) get 1/4 tsp per day
  • Kids 3 and up (over 30 lbs) get 1/2 tsp per day
  • Kids 6 and up (over 50 lbs) get 2/3-3/4 tsp per day
  • I take up to two teaspoons if pregnant/nursing or trying to remineralize teeth

We use the Green Pastures brand of Fermented Cod Liver Oil (usually with High Vitamin Butter Oil added) which I get from here.

Vitamin A Concerns?

Some sources question the safety of consuming regular doses of Vitamin A. After much research, this doesn’t concern me when taken from a healthy source (like fermented cod liver oil) since it has Vitamin A and Vitamin D in synergistic doses. I also make sure to include organ meats and other sources of fat soluble vitamins in our diet. Chris Kresser has a great post that addresses many of the Vitamin A concerns here.

Sources and More Reading:

-“The Cod Liver Oil Debate” by Chris Masterjohn on the Weston A. Price Foundation website
-“A Response to Dr. Mercola on Cod Liver Oil” from the Weston A. Price Foundation website
-“Separating Fact from Fiction on Cod Liver Oil” from Chris Kresser
-“On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor” by Chris Masterjohn
-“Vitamin K2 – The Missing Nutrient” by Chris Kresser
-“All About Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Why I Don’t Take Fish Oil” by Diane Sanfillipo of Balanced Bites

Other posts I’ve written about our use of Fermented Cod Liver Oil

How to Remineralize Teeth Naturally
Supplements I Take Daily
Supplements for Pregnancy and Nursing
Healthy Teeth From the Inside Out
Eat Your Sunscreen
9 Tips to Balance Hormones Naturally

Do you take fermented cod liver oil? Why or why not? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Okay, great article but how does it TASTE??!!

    • I just had it delivered to my house. I tasted it because I thought it was going to taste amazing and delicious. However, it is a butter blend with fermented cod liver and the best way I can describe the taste is that it is oily and slightly fishy. To be honest, it isn’t that bad, I mean I did not vomit or gagged. Apparently, the chocolate flavor is terrible at covering up any of the fishy taste but cinnamon tingle does a better job, plus it feels a little spicy afterwards. I LOVE SPICY, so that is a good thing for me. If you do not want to deal with the tasting part, maybe try the non-gelatin capsules. I hope that helps.

    • I’m on day two of the butter blend cinnamon tingle. It is not awful, but it’s not the greatest thing either. Honestly I plug my nose and swallow and have no problem. Your not taking a large amount so it is manageable! I do recommend the cinnamon, probably cuts the fish taste significantly!

    • Two questions. If I’m able to get it in UK. One so should I take this. Krill oil and fish every day or is that too much?. Two how long does a bottle last as of course it is expensive? Thanks

  2. What is silica and should i be concerned about it as an ingredient jn the blend? I was looking at just buying the FCLO and butter blend separately but thats twice as expensive!

  3. I’ve taken it in capsel form here and there, never been on a regular basis. But plan on taking it more! I’m nursing and curious, I wonder how you give it to babies that are not yet eating real food?

    • eat extra it will get to ur baby vie ur breastmilk!

  4. I was taking the capsules but ordered the gel this last time and have a hard time getting it down. Any tricks to getting over the texture of the gel?

    • I did this same thing! I thought that non-flavored was the same thing as un-flavored, but IT IS NOT!!!! What a gag fest! I have since found two solutions. My first solution is to take a deep breath, hold it, swallow the FCLO, chase it with some juice, chew a vitamin c tablet, swallow some, then start breathing again. It’s a lot, I know, but that stuff turns my stomach! The second solution is to encapsulate it yourself. I ordered a capsule machine that came with 1000 gelatin capsules for under $30 on Amazon. I immediately sat down and filled them and now have no problem taking my FCLO. I went with the gel to save money per serving….and because I thought it was unflavored. It’s not so bad when you put on a good documentary and sit down and make capsules while you watch. I have a quart jar of capsules now! I haven’t gotten the nerve to eat liver yet either, but you can also make your dessicated liver capsules. A partial day of some hard work can give you months of much cheaper capsules with all the same benefits. Hope this helps!

      • Jenny, what is the machine called? Or maybe share the link to it, please?

      • Jenny, your description of your ritual to be able to down the oil made me laugh out loud! 😀

      • Hey I know this comment is old but the gel didn’t dissolve the capsules? Thinking about making my own as well since the gel is extremely hard to take. I find myself gagging for the next 30 mins and I have about a 50/50 success rate of keeping it down x.x Only thing is that I read any liquids will dissolve the capsules. Maybe cause its a gel it doesn’t?

      • Amber, did you try and encapsulate the gel? I keep hearing it will and then it won’t dissolve the capsules? I’d love to try it.

  5. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for posting this. I have been really curious about this and you’ve helped me out a ton here.

  6. I’m about 19 weeks pregnant and just ordered the capsules. After I ordered, I did a bit more research and found out I’d have to take a lot of capsules in order to get the recommended amount (like 16+). How many would you recommend total, and would it be OK to work up to this? Next time I’ll just get the liquid! Also, should I take it all throughout the pregnancy or wean down towards the end?

  7. We tried FCL oils before, but it gave us terrible gas! Could it be the brand? Or perhaps, the way we were taking it? I’m exclusively breast feeding, and would love to take these (since we live in MN and get basically zero vitamin D from the sun these winter months.) Any tips for me, would be awesome! Thank you

  8. I’d love to know how you give it to babies. The first time I gave it to my baby (maybe around 9 months?) I mixed it with some coconut oil and he happily ate it. The second time, he made a few faces. The third time, I couldn’t get him to take it!

  9. I’m always so impressed with the research you put into your articles, Katie! I had no idea there were so many studies in support of FCLO. I’m going to go take a spoonful of mine right now. 😉

    • The Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF) page that Wellness Mama linked to is largely a rebuttal to Joe Mercola of mercola.com who was arguing that cod liver oil is too high in vitamin A. The studies that WAPF cites have nothing to do with fermented cod liver oil. WAPF recommends FCLO as their top quality, but by no means have there been any published studies to date on FCLO.

      Slight oversight. It happens. Katie, keep rockin’ it! The world is a happier place with you improving people’s wellness!!

  10. Would you recommend giving this to a 1 month old or should I wait a bit longer?

    • If baby is breastfed, it is best to delay everything but breastmilk because of the open gut theory. KellyMom is a good resource that explains a baby’s digestive processes before and after six or so months old. It talks about solids but I believe it applies to everything, even water. If you take the supplement, baby will get the benefit through your milk.

      I can’t speak to the use of vitamins in formula-fed babies.

      Just thought I would weigh in. I’d be interested to read Katie’s opinion as well.

      • Thank you very much. I’m going to wait until about 4 or 5 months I think

    • The Weston A. Price website has good information about giving it to babies. Might want to check it out. I started giving it to my 5mo, just 1/4tsp, and I try to take 2tsp per day of the FCLO/butter oil blend. I have noticed a change in his diapers, much thicker and more substantial. He used to have fairly thin, often green diapers. The only things I changed were starting the FCLO and upping my intake of animal fats and coconut oil. Really looking forward to our next doctor’s checkup to see if his weight curve has changed!

      • Thanks so much for your response 🙂 that web page was really helpful

      • How do you get your children to eat the paste? I was using the liquid and putting it in the elderberry syrup. Any suggestions on the paste since it’s advertised in this article to be more beneficial.

  11. Brilliant article I have started taking it a few months ago and am loving it! The taste was not as bad as I expected and thank for posting all the studies – I love reading that stuff!

  12. Hi! great article!! I dont know where to buy this oil in Chile. And im a little concern about the adecuate doses of fat soluble vitamin… isn’t risky to overdose? after all, the body can not get rid of the excess easily… please talk about this

  13. Just ordered mine from Green Pastures! Ive been struggling with eczema (leaky gut) and am using it in my healing protocol. Thank you for clarifying the Butter Oil part. I had no idea what it was or it benefits.

  14. I have just started reading all your post and I am so inspired but at the same time very disappointing. My husband and I are just starting out.. you know the time.. when everyone is eating Ramon noodles and I’m afraid I can’t afford all these healthy choices. With all of your homemade and DIY ideas I look up the ingredients you use and the prices are so high! Not to mention the price of organic food so sadly it comes down to, are we hungry and eat little healthy foods or full with food that may not be great for us. I try my best to at least cook decent meals at home, and we rarely eat out but it’s sad that this is where America is. Full or healthy?

    • Megan, I feel your pain. I don’t know where you live, but you may have some options. Being broke means being creative! One great Wellness Mama recipe that is cheap is bone broth. Even cooking ramen noodles in bone broth is infinitely better than using the little MSG packet that comes with it! I make a bunch and freeze it in smaller containers. I’m not sure about the cost of the carrots, celery, and onion right off (not much), but two lbs of marrow bones were like $4. I also went to Earth Fare and got suet (the fat cut off from around steaks and whatnot) to make tallow. That endeavor cost about $1.50. I also encourage you to garden. If you have a yard, great. If not, perhaps someone you know would lend some land in exchange for some of the loot. Do you have a community garden you can get involved with? Grow things in pots outside your front door. Now that summer will be upon us, find places to pick wild berries. Whatever you do, start freezing all the excess so you have some winter options.

      Also, there are some things that should always be bought organic no matter what. One example is apples. Conventional apples have way too many chemicals, and I can assure it’s not worth the physical hurdles that come along with it. You can do some research to find the foods with the most pesticides and make the best choices you can afford based on that research.

      One benefit of eating higher quality food (even though it is more expensive) is that you also require less food (therefore taking the cost back down some). When we went grain free and started eating more quality fats and veggies, I found that we didn’t need to snack anymore. Now, this was a shock to me because I’ve always considered myself a “grazer”, requiring food every hour on the hour. I can assure you that you will need much less food throughout the day and that you will have more energy and satisfaction. My sugar mostly went away too…..except for that one time a month…. If you knew me, you would know what a miracle that truly is!

      Anyway, we just started our own business (in other words, WE ARE BROKE!), I work 40 hrs a weeks in between, and we’re trying to pay off debt. First off, if debt is an issue, you gotta consolidate it and get rid of that stuff! I highly recommend the proven strategy of Dave Ramsey. His method has helped us tremendously, and I’ve seen others mention him on this blog. Debt will kill you about as fast as conventional foods = not worth it!

      I also opened two stores on a well-known site for vintage and handmade items. Those stores alone have allowed me to experiment with Fermented Cod Liver Oil, whole food vitamins, coconut oil, gelatin, etc. I encourage you to find a way to make money in your free time by doing something you like. For example, I like thrift store shopping. I flip things I find by selling them online to people all over the globe, and that has supported having better health. Let’s face it, good grass-fed meat costs more, but there are ways to make money and ways to save money when eating good becomes your priority.

      I encourage you to be creative. I encourage you to make eating healthy a fun challenge. You will have failures and successes with your experiments, but it will always be worth it. Trying to follow this blog precisely can be overwhelming and expensive. You have to pick out the things you can do now while having some goals to work up to later. For example, I wanted a capsule machine. We are so broke, it took me 3 paychecks (a month and a half) to save for the $30 I needed to get the machine and capsules off Amazon. I saved for it, ordered it, got it! Now, I can make my own dessicated liver capsules for only a few bucks from here on out! Because I can tell you now that there’s no way I could afford to buy them every month!

      To summarize:

      DO your best and FORGET the rest!

      Good luck to you on your health journey!

  15. Very curious of the taste and how little ones react to the taste. Also, is this “technically” your digestive enzyme? My mom takes them when she knows she’ll need them (if we go out to eat) and I’ve wanted to look into something for myself and my son.
    He has acid reflux so I’m very cautious of his diet.

  16. I used to give my kids the Genestra brand cod liver oil, based on my nutritionist’s recommendation. Then I read about FCLO on the Weston A. Price Foundation’s website and bought 2 bottles right away. I got the Cinnamon Tingle and found that the cinnamon taste was strong and more than just a “tingle”. My kids refused to take it, so I’ve now ordered the chocolate cream. I’ve gone back to Genestra in the meantime, until my order comes through. I actually e-mailed the Weston Price foundation to ask why the Genestra brand wasn’t on their list of high quality fish oils. It apparently didn’t meet their standards.

  17. Hi, How do you manage to get your babies and little ones to take it? I’d love to buy it, but I don’t want to waste money. I was unable to get my baby to drink a mixture of milk and DHA oil much past 1.5 years.

  18. I take it daily, but it is hard for me. I have to scrape the gel off of knife with my teeth, while holding my nose, then I chase it with water, and while still holding my nose, I take a dose of elderberry syrup and swish a bit with it. Then I run and brush my teeth. The chocolate variety is incredibly foul to my senses. I gave it to my youngest daughter and she practically gagged it out of her mouth. She will try again sometimes, but she makes a really awful face and most of it ends up on her clothes (or on mine–yuck!). My 6-year-old cannot get it into her mouth. I am certain it’s a good idea, but thus far, I am the only one who can take it. We have the chocolate flavored FCLO/butter blend (I had no illusions that it would taste like chocolate, but I picked that because I was worried the cinnamon would be too spicy). Any tricks for getting kids to take it would be great–or flavors to try. I am thinking of getting one of the emulsified kid versions. Anyone have success with those? I saw the video where one kid declared that the peppermint kind tasted like candy. Perhaps I can sell it a bit…the chocolate kind just speaks too loudly for itself!

    • I use the syringe from the regular FCLO and suck up the butter blend oil, take a sip of water and shoot the gel into the back of my throat. I swallow and hold my nose for a breath or two and all unpleasant tastes are gone. I barley even taste the fish.

  19. I really want to do this, but I have tried taking cod liver oil and the taste makes me feel ill. Any suggestions on how to make it taste nicer? Are the capsules as good?

    • I’ve found mixing it with the juice of 1 orange really helpful

      • Thank you! I mixed it with Apple Juice and it tasted so much better 🙂

      • Do you mix it with reg flavored fclo or another one?

  20. This is really interesting…since some of these diseases (cancer, MS) run in our families I think this would be a good supplement for us to take as well. What I wonder about is when I was pregnant, I read in several places to avoid eating organ meats because of the high levels of vitamin A and apparently too much vitamin A is bad for the baby. But this seems to say the opposite. Am I misinterpreting something or perhaps there is some controversy on this topic? I’d be interested to know as we are planning on having another little one soon.

  21. Really interested in taking this to remineralize teeth. For the brand that you buy, how quickly are you going through it, if you don’t mind me asking?

  22. Which is better for you to take cod liver/butter oil or coconut oil if you had to choose one to supplement with?

  23. Me and my 3 year old son take the Green Pasture Fermented cod liver oil chocolate flavored. He loves it and so did i. when we first got it we both gaged on it, but the next time we loved it, we chase it with milk or juice, but he eats it right of the spoon straight out of the jar in the cupboard, he cries for it because he likes it so much and i crave it, its a delectable taste, i want to try another flavor now!

  24. we get the butter added in as well

  25. o the first few times we also held our noses and drink it out of a shot glass with the cod liver oil in it, to get the taste use to our tonguy,,,but like i said below we love it

  26. So glad you posted this! I started taking Fermented Cod Liver a few weeks ago and the results have been nothing short of amazing- my cystic acne has completely cleared up and I have great, sustained energy. I take 2 caplets 2-3 times a day (which I think adds up to about 1 tsp… It is amazing what the addition of healthy fats can do to repair the body!

  27. Love it! Thank you 🙂

  28. Hi, I really enjoy your blog, it has many good resources, but here you make it sound as if there were no other Omega 3 DHA and EPA suplements that use Cold processing vs High Temperatures in order not to damage and to retain the High levels of Fat soluble vitamins and Omega 3s. There are companies that use cold processing with their Omega 3 supplements. Fermentation is not the only way to achieve the preservation of the nutrients. I think it is important for people to always consider the source and their practices but it is inaccurate to portray all Omega 3 supplements as processed at high temperatures that damage them and make them worthless.

  29. It’s hard to find butter oil or butter oil blend in Vancouver BC. Can I simply take FCLO with grass fed butter or coconut oil?

  30. How times have changed-when I was pregnant I got told to avoid using anything with vit A in and to stay away from liver….have I missed something??

  31. I’m sold!!! I was wondering if I should be taking this, and you’ve cleared up a lot of things for me. I really appreciate the work you do here!! 🙂

  32. I am concerned about the “negative association” with depression. Do you mean it is associated with helping to lessen depression, or does that mean that it can cause it to worsen? Really hoping it’s the former, as I am trying to find ways to help my husband naturally deal with his anxiety and depression. Thanks for all you do, Katie! You’re such a wonderful resource!

    • i think it means it’s a positive experience.

    • This is a year and a half after the original comment, but just in case anyone is still wondering…

      “Regular use of cod liver oil is negatively associated with high levels of depressive symptoms in the general population.”

      The article is describing a correlation between two variables, cod liver oil use and depressive symptoms. In this study, when cod liver oil use was higher, depressive symptoms were lower. So, in general, people who used cod liver oil were less likely to have depressive symptoms than people who didn’t use cod liver oil. This doesn’t mean that cod liver oil necessarily cures depression, just that there’s a relationship between the two factors. It’s called a “negative association” because as one factor increases the other factor decreases. A “positive association” would mean that the two factors increase or decrease together.

      • Absolutely. And it is a well known saying fact in the scientific community that correlation does not equal causation, but I thought that this was an interesting (and potentially relevant) correlation that was worth noting.

      • I’m glad i wasn’t the only one who read it like Calina did. Lol!
        Thank you so much for this explanation, Lisa.
        I’m still learning how to read these medical texts and this was very helpful information!

        I’ve been taking FCLO to help with my low energy symptoms with depression and it’s been great!
        I follow a mostly Paleo diet with plenty of starchy vegetables but I wasn’t quite reaching that good energy consistently and some days can’t get over that “hump”. Sadly, I am not a fish eater or an organ eater. For now, FCLO works great!

  33. Hi, I am 29 weeks pregnant with my first baby and I have been taking the capsule form of the FCLO from Green Pastures. Is the capsule form just as good as the liquid? Also, I plan on breastfeeding my baby, so do I need to give her 1/4 tsp of oil per day even though she should be getting the benefits of the oil through the breast milk? If so, how old should be before I start giving it to her and what is the best way to administer it? Thanks!

  34. Hey Wellness Mama, I love reading your articles. I have been tossing around the idea of taking cod liver oil for a long time now, and right now I am only taking Nordic Naturals Pro-Omega. I try to get out into the sunshine a lot and eat some liverwurst from time to time, though. I have a question about it–I have a vegan friend who I was discussing nutrition with, and obviously she and I don’t agree on a lot of things nutrition-wise, but she was saying that FCLO is a terrible supplement to take. Could you address some of the issues she might be talking about? I wondered if it might be the foods that Cod eat, themselves, or something else. Of course, she doesn’t agree with eating animals for nutrition anyhow, even if they are pastured and organic, but I thought it was an interesting question. Thanks!!

    • I’m vegetarian not vegan but I can see her point… Why take a life just to save yours… Seems messed up and selfish to me….

  35. I cannot take the FCLO because they put Stevia in it and Stevia triggers migraines for me. Can you recommend another CLO?

    • The Arctic Mint flavor doesn’t list stevia as an ingredient — maybe there are others as well?

  36. What are your thought on the need for cod liver oil if you eat (really) fresh, high quality fish 1-2 times a week?

  37. Ordered this in chocolate and received it. Opened it stuck my spoon in …. YUCK. Threw it right back up.. Anybody have ideas to eat this healthy $65??

  38. I’m a proponent of Fish Oil supplements and, as such, have used them for years and am very particular about the manufacturer, indeed. I’ve done my research. After reading your post, however, I thought it would be worthwhile to conduct a little experiment, give up my supplements and replace with the FCLO (one bottle’s worth) and watch for any differences. I’ve received my FCLO (cinnamon gel tingle) and have used it two mornings in a row now and…….oh my gosh, even with the cinnamon aftertaste, I can hardly get it down! LOL Maybe it’s the texture……I’m not sure, but it gags me. Are there any other ways I can eat this?? Perhaps mix it with something else? I really want to finish my little experiment and report back my findings, but I’m just struggling to get this done. I am determined, however.. Help!!! 😉

  39. I just received my plain FCLO and was very curious to try it; I was of course expecting some dreadful taste, but I was very surprised! The taste was much milder than I thought it would be… I’m probably used to awful tastes, anybody who tried noni juice will understand me:)

  40. The high vitamin butter oil that I purchased from GP was mostly butter wax and very pale yellow. Raw Spring high vitamin butter oil is bright yellow/orange, pours at 65F and taste great, no flavoring necessary. Some of GP’s mixed products have only 2ml/butter oil(wax)/per serving. I’m now making my own raw (unheated) Spring high vitamin butter oil and will be making my own fermented cod liver oil soon. It’s sad people can’t buy real high quality butter oil at a good price. Do you really know how much K2 your getting in your butter oil.

  41. I am worried about the cinnamon essential oil in the cinnamon gel flavor – I heard this is a must avoid during pregnancy. Any thoughts?

    • I am also worried about the cinnamon essential oil in the cinnamon gel during pregnancy. This is what I take and I recently found out we are expecting, I’d like to continue taking it if it is safe.

    • Hi, I am also worried about the cinnamon in the FCLO from Green Pasture. I can’t find anyone out there to speak about this. Have you found out if the cinnamon in this is actually JUST cinnamon flavor, or is it actual cinnamon oil? The label says Natural Cinnamon Flavor.
      I wonder if it’s a safe quantity to take during pregnancy. I’m 5 weeks now. Please help!!! Thank you!

      • I am 17 weeks pregnant and have been taking the cinnamon flavor my entire pregnancy with no problems. I actually didn’t know you should avoid it.

  42. I have been hearing about FCLO for a while now but only today bought my first bottle of Green Pasture High Vitamin Butter/FCLO blend. I bought the unflavored capsule type because I was scared about the taste of the other ones based on other peoples’ comments. I broke open a capsule to taste it to see what it was like—-definitely NOT yummy…a strong fishy taste and a rancid butter taste mixed together. I don’t think I could eat the gel on its’ own on a daily basis.
    My main reason for finally taking the plunge and buying it is that my 5yr old daughter has cavities in her teeth. I bought it hoping I can convince her to try eating it to reverse her tooth decay! I know she hates anything that “tingles” like cinnamon and peppermint and they didn’t sell the chocolate type at my health food store. So I got the capsules thinking that I’d break them open for her to take on a spoon (with something sweet mixed in), and if she won’t take it still I could eat them myself so I don’t waste $65. Although it’s full of sugar, I was thinking of maybe buying fruit-flavor syrup like grenadine to mix with it. I know the sugar is bad but I was hoping the benefit of the medicine outweighs the negatives of the syrup. Other option is honey but she already loves honey and I’d hate to make a bad association with honey if this doesn’t work out for her.
    At the health food store they were giving out free samples of “nordic naturals” cod liver oil in a strawberry flavor. I tasted and was very surprised that it had a very mild taste with a slight berry flavor….now that is something I could probably sneak in a smoothie and the kids wouldn’t notice. problem is that it’s not fermented and there’s no butter oil. I’m in canada and there’s no good pasture butter to be found ANYWHERE. Anyone try nordic naturals or anyone have an opinion on the grenadine idea???

    • Read about vitamin k2 and how it moves calcium into the teeth and bones. I use the one on Amazon.com called Nutrigold vitamin K2. Been using for 6 months. It helps tremendously with any kind of bone pain. I fell on my hip really hard and was in pain for months.. This worked like if I had taken two Advil every 4 hours.

  43. I bought the cinnamon flavor and I try so hard to take it but the taste makes me gag. Is there a trick to taking this? I dont want the capsules since I would have to take too many to get the same effect of 1 tsp. I’m doing IVF in April so I really want to take this and prepare my body for pregnancy (fingers crossed & prayers said).
    Is cinnamon bad to take during pregnancy? I never heard that before.

    • I keep in the fridge so it is a little firmer. I scoop out a little on a spoon, scrape off with my teeth and wash down with water so I don’t taste it

      • You mention in the article the amount you give your kids, but how do you get them to take it exactly? Could it be mixed in with a smoothie of some sort? Also, I have a newborn 5 weeks old, at what point would i start it with him, and in what way?

        • I give it to them with honey to help the taste and for babies, I start at a few months and just rub a tiny amount inside the mouth so they get used to the taste.

  44. You mentioned under “depression” that FCLO actually worsens the symptoms…was this a typo? My husband suffers from clinical depression and I’d hate to make it worse by using such a great supplement!

    • It is typically helpful. The study says that regular consumption is negatively associated with high levels of depression (in other words- consuming it helps lower levels of depression)

      • Thank you for clarifying for me! I was misunderstanding 😉 I’m nervous about the taste, but we’re making the change (from fish oil)! I’m sorry if this is out of line because it’s not about this subject, but it was reading one of your posts today (looks like from a few years ago) on going grain-free, and you mentioned in it that you don’t drink raw milk, just coconut milk. I’m wondering if that has changed since then, as I’ve also read your posts on pregnancy and fertility and following the WAPF diet (which includes lots of raw milk!). I’m just curious about whether you think coconut milk is healthier than raw milk…I’m sorry this is off topic from FCLO!

        • It will depend on the person which is better for you. Some people can be allergic to one or the other…

  45. I’ve had a fish allergy since I was a little girl. Are there other ways I can get the essential nutrition that fish oil gives you?

  46. Please note that the studies are done with cod liver oil, NOT fermented cod liver oil. Also, fish oil or cod liver oil that tastes bad IS bad. Pure and fresh oil should not have a bad taste or smell. Please do not give your children fermented cod liver oil without first obtaining the independent test results from the manufacturer. Look for Minimal levels of PCBs, arsenic, and oxidation. The Vikings used the fermented oil as lamp oil and to treat and protect wood and leathers. Please do not give to your little babies without at least verifying its quality.

  47. So I finally got around to buying the FCLO (I got the cinnamon flavored butter blend) and having read all the comments on here I was expecting the worst. I set up a few “chasers” (water, tea, juice), plugged my nose, quickly took a little spoonful and… it wasn’t bad at all! I must have different taste buds because I actually liked the flavor. I took some again today and I’m still okay with it. Maybe there is something wrong with me?! 😉 The texture is definitely buttery and the cinnamon wasn’t overpowering but covered the cod liver taste up well, there is a slight slight after taste but nothing I can’t handle.
    We’re TTC so this will be a great way to get my DHA up (it is incredibly important to have optimal DHA levels BEFORE you get pregnant because the baby needs it right away, especially for brain development).

  48. It says dosage is 2 capsules. Is more better and how much more is safe.

  49. Hi,
    I’ve been taking fermented cod liver oil in hopes of remineralizing my teeth (I have GERD, and it’s wreaked havoc on my enamel). I could see the improvement and had no plan in stopping my supplement regiment until my brother, who used to be a chemist at the NIH, told me that fish oil supplements were recently discovered to be extremely damaging to your health. Now, I understand there is a difference between the fermented cod liver oil and regular fish oil pills – they aren’t the same thing. One of your points in this article is that you can get even more EPA/DHA out of the fermented but according to the NIH, it’s actually already an overdose of EPA/DHA which is causing health problems. This is the link my brother sent me:
    The biggest problem is the overdose causing inflammation (contrary to what the supplements claimed initially, it’s actually causing more inflammation than reducing like they thought). Chronic inflammation is bad for a variety of reasons including creating an environment conducive to carcinogenesis. It also promotes arterial plaque build up and possible neurological problems.
    I’m not sure anyone should be taking high doses of EPA/DHA, and I think I will probably stop my supplement regimen even though I’m very happy with how my teeth have been looking.

    • I”d encourage you to do more research on the topic. If you look at the study, the types of fish oils being used were likely rancid or oxidized which would make them harmful to your health. Contrary to what this study says, there are chemically proven fish oils that do not oxidize. That “study” is actually an analysis by a professor and he leaves out a lot of studies showing the positive benefits of fish oil. Definitely research for yourself but his analysis is not consistent with anything I’ve seen personally or in others.

  50. Some people take more then the recommended 2 a day. Then some people say, take it until the symptoms get better. What are the symptoms we are trying to cure?
    I know its good for your heart, your bones , muscles aches, joints. Are we talking pain and when there isn’t any more pain, thats how much you are supposed to take?

  51. The dosage on the capsules versus the gel doesn’t seem to add up…and from what I’ve read, people are taking 1 teaspoon of the gel. For remineralizing teeth, should I take 3 or 4 capsules?
    Thank you!!

  52. I take green pasture fermented cod liver oil. I have Hahimotos and Leaky gut and I know I need the omega 3s and teh fermentation helps me digest it better. Thanks for letting so many people know about this! It is very important to educate people about this!

    • Do you also take thyroid meds? I’m looking to heal naturally. Also have Hashimotos.

  53. Hi Katie,
    I read on the Weston Price Foundation page that taking this supplement should be paired with a very specific diet. Is it dangerous to take this type of oil if not getting as much protein as recommended? I am 10 weeks pregnant and am wanting to use this supplement for a source of DHA over fish oil capsules. What are your thoughts? I know I need to up my protein intake and plan to purchase grass fed meats from US wellness Meats- but until then- is it ok to start these supplements while I am still eating a lower protein, more plant based diet? Thank you!

  54. Is there anything i could take that could replace FCLO. Maybe not completely but at least give me some of the nutrients. My husband isn’t really into all this healthy stuff, we are all big gamers, though we still get a lot of sunshine and get out and about, we won’t be giving up our games and game systems soon. We are also big tv watchers, and have cable. Our electricity bill is high every month because we only have one company in the area and hey overcharge. And we pay rent. I could afford the FCLO but my husband is the only bringing money in and he doesn’t want to spend that much on a supplement. We have food stamps and we happily found an organic farmers market that takes them as well as doubles what we spend if we use our food stamps card. It’s all the supplements and vitamins i can’t do. We also have two young girls who still use pullups at night, and my husband can eat a good few plates of food every meal. We have to use cash to help supplement our food and he and my girls are not currently on the non-grain diet. Just me cause neither of us trust the internet. I am experimenting with it right now. If it works i will at least be switching our girls to it. He is a very tough nut to crack. Not completely interested in eating healthy even if it proves to work for me. I want to start taking FCLO but we just can’t afford it. So anything that i can use until we can will help.

    • I just want to say, if you’re struggling with money issues, paying high cable bills isn’t the way to go. You could save SO much money by cutting cable and selling the game systems and teaching your girls to use their imagination and get some exercise instead of sitting inside.

      • you took the words right out of my kathy, mouth. these generations of people whos entertainment is sitting in front of a screen. and teaching their kids to do the same. then they wonder why they are overweight and have health problems. i think its about choice and sacrifice. you are on food stamps, yet you have huge electric and cable bills? to me, whats the point of even answering this question cassie? sounds like you have already answered it for yourself. if you would rather spend your money on cable and video games, then thats your choice. unless you are rich, you have to make choices. when you said “big gamers”, i thought you meant hunters, which would provide you with a healthy meat source AND plenty of exercise AND entertainment. then i figured it out….ugh.

      • hey wellness mama, would taking this FLCO replace the omega 3 supplement i am already taking? or would i still need to take that too. thanks and PEACE

    • Cassue, not sure how okd this post is, but wanted to give you a vote of encouragement – you are headed in the right direction, in your search for a healthier lifestyle…keep it up! Check out an earlier comment, #14, posted by Megan, and a great reply by Jenny…one baby step at a time! Perhaps one day, your husband will be persuaded by your example. All the best to you and yours.

      To you others who replied so condescendingly to her: she’s working with what tools she has at this time. You have no right to look down on her…all the best to you, as well!

  55. hello fermented cod liver oil is not available in my country. purchasing it on a regular basis will be too expensive for me. can i use regualr cod live oil? seven seas or nautre’s made?

  56. I just ordered some and am nursing my 3 month old.
    Should I work my way up to 2 teaspoons or immediately start taking 2 teaspoons?

    • Either is fine, although you may not be able to handle 2 teaspoons all at once. The taste is… memorable.

      • Just got mine in today. You are right…very memorable lol.

  57. One more question. I bought the fermented cod liver oil without the butter oil by accident.
    Is the recommended dosage still the same?

  58. If you eat beef/sheep/ chicken liver twice a week and grass fed butter, do you still need cod liver oil supplement and butter oils supplement? thank you very much

  59. Hey Katie! Great post I guess after mercola site and weston price im still unsure. My raw prenatal has 5000 iu of vit a in beta cartotene..and I have garden of life olde world icelandic cod liver oil with 4500 iu vit a. Is this not a danger since 5000 is beta caratene not to mention any foods I eat. I just dont know where to go with so many things changing ..if you know what I mean. Also in regards to balance of omega 3 and 6 weston a price has a warning to not do oo many omega 3 for fear of hemorrhaging by making sure its balanced. If we eat meat and eggs this should be fine right?
    thanks so much!
    Om currently 5 weeks so just making sure to do the right stuff!

  60. Hello Katie! Thank you for this informative blog. I am taking FCLO with the high vitamin butter oil blended. I am wondering how you get your kids to take it? Mine refuses. He can detect it on his toast too even when covered with jam. Do you use any special tricks to get them to take it?

    • I just make them take it and sometimes give them a chocolate chip after they take it

  61. I’m a breastfeeding momma– that being said, would this replace the fish oil I’ve been taking? Also, would you recommend giving this to a one year old if I take it for her? And do you have any flavor recommendations? 🙂

  62. Can you confirm that all those studies posted above were conducted using fermented cod liver oil?

  63. I am pregnant in my third trimester and just started taking this. I have been taking Nordic Naturals DHA fish oil supplements most of my pregnancy. Since I am now taking FCLO, do I not need the NN DHA supplements still? Do I get the 500-1000 of DHA that they recommend in pregnancy from the FCLO?


  64. Have you ever considered their skate live oil or know much about how it differs from cod liver oil?

  65. Hello! My son is 15 months old and has a decaying incisor. I am creating a protocol for healing that includes fermented cod liver oil. I am lost on how to give it to him in the most palatable way possible. Do you recommend a fun and tasty-ish way to administer it? I read the cinnamon is way to hot and has burned kids mouths. Thank you! I really appreciate it, and everything you do here on your blog!

    • I’ve found that little ones usually don’t mind it as much, but I have mixed with a little maple syrup to help them take it and they seems to do better with it cool instead of room temp.

  66. Hi Katie,
    I would like to start taking fermented cod liver oil, but I’m not sure how I will do with the flavor… I may have overlooked this in the sea of comments above, but is there a reason you choose to take the liquid/gel form? Are there additional benefits for consuming the liquid over the capsule?

    And thanks for this post! It’s so useful!

    • Not really, but the capsules sell out frequently (can’t think why).

  67. hey! what prenatal vitamins did you take? I originally was taking Pure Encapsulations w/ vitamin K (per Chris Kresser’s recommendation), but was told to switch to something that wasn’t a “mega dose” vitamin. I did and am now on Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatals (not crazy about them) and take fermented cod liver oil. I’m concerned because these prenatal vitamins have 5,000 iu of vitamin A (as beta carotene). Or should I not be concerned because I’m not absorbing most of the vitamin anyways? Its all so confusing! Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    I take a tsp of the cinnamon tingle FCO/Butter Oil blend every night and I’ve discovered a foolproof way to get past the taste and texture. I make a cup of herbal tea and keep it right next to me. I then hold my nose while I put the spoonful of FCO in my mouth and swallow it down in one gulp. I quickly grab my tea and drink about half of it and when I unblock my nose, the only taste I get is the herbal tea flavored with some cinnamon. The warmth from the tea clears the FCO/Butter Oil out of my mouth. I don’t end up tasting fish at all. Just cinnamony herbal tea.

  69. I’m on the autoimmune Paleo diet and have had a couple of flares lately. Could it be this product that I’m taking due to the butter oil?

  70. Katie,

    You had mentioned in another post that you really notice a difference if you skip a day. I believe it was the FCLO post you mentioned, I think! 🙂 Just curious what you notice? I have been taking it now for about 3 weeks. Are there any health benefits that may be noticeable while taking? I take 1 tsp a day.

  71. Regarding the study on the conversion efficiency of carotenoids to retinol, that was done on tiny bits of carrots in a petri dish. It’s not possible to extrapolate that result directly to living things, much less human beings.

    The study cited for the figure that 45% of people don’t convert beta-carotene into retinol at all studied just 11 men. The citations of clinical studies in that paper studied similarly small groups of people: 11 women, 1 woman, etc. Based on such small study populations, how can we accept that these study results automatically apply to the general population?

    Broad generalizations based on inadequate human studies or even on mice (who are herbivores) and rats (who can safely eat more O-6 fats than humans can as a percentage of daily calories) that end up not working for people are why the public doesn’t trust nutrition research in general. It’s policy recommendations based on this kind of sketchy research that got us into our current dietary nightmare. When people who are regarded as lay authorities on nutrition write about such matters of science, they need to be much more cautious about their convictions when they’re based primarily on the slender body of evidence that most nutrition research provides.

    Frankly, I trust the collective clinical anecdotal experience of people advising clients/patients directly (e.g., Chris Kresser, Diane Sanfilippo, Laura Schoenfeld, Kelsey Marksteiner) on matters of food to eat for optimal health.

  72. Hi. Thank you so much for all the wonderful information you provide on your website. I am 10 weeks pregnant. I know that Vitamin A is very important, but I am concerned about taking too much. I take a serving of fermented cod liver oil from Green Pastures each day. My pregnancy multivitamin (Dr. Kelly Brogan’s brand) has 5000 IU of Vitamin A (40% from retinol). I have just ordered desiccated liver tablets. Will that be too much Vitamin A?

    Thank you very much!

  73. Katie, why do you choose the liquid type vs capsules? What does it taste like?

    • I just do because it is cheaper. It doesn’t taste bad if you use the gel and refrigerate it first 🙂

      • I just bought the gel caps but I don’t see how many are you suppose to take to amount to 1 spoon? I’ve been taking 2 caps a day. Should I be taking 4-6 caps?

  74. Katie,
    In light of your FCL oil/butter blend recommendation, do you know if you could just take the FCL oil with coconut oil instead? I am sensitive to dairy. I do not even know if I would have a problem with the butter oil, do you know about dairy sensitivity and using butter oil?
    Thank you,

  75. Hi Katie,
    You doing an excellent job. I’d like to know your ideas about a special cod liver recipe. 🙂 We are allergic to dairy so I ordered the liquid fermented cod liver oil but my kids have hard time swallowing it. I tough I could make something like the one you use with my oil and gee and gelatin. Do you think is it possible? Can you give me tips on how to make such a mixture. Thanks Kata

  76. Hello! I’m looking to buy FCLO but Green Pastures is just not affordable. Can you recommend an alternative?

    • Hi,

      From what I’ve seen (commercial statements from Green Pasture) other brands that don’t use the cold fermentation process generally fortify/replace the natural vitamins in their product with synthesised alternatives. Most on this site would probably agree that’s not the ideology you should be seeking for optimal health.

      Although Green Pasture’s product is more expensive (as I suppose all traditionally fermented alternatives are,) the bioavailability/benefit of taking CLO at all (here’s where I’m guessing) is likely to be worth the cost difference. What I’m saying is that you’re probably better off paying twice as much and having a half dose than buying a low quality product filled with synthetic vitamins.

      After all, CLO is viewed as particularly good because it’s a “whole food” (kind of) vitamin, not a pharmaceutical pill. The cheapest CLO is probably no better than manufactured multivitamin pills and therefore self defeating.

  77. Hi Katie.

    When you say 1 tsp that is actually a large spoon correct? I saw the video of the healthy home economist who says to take a large spoon! I was always taking an actual tea spoon!!! What do you do? Also, do you take (and give to your kids) vitamin D3 on top of your cod liver oil in the winter months? Thank you!

  78. How do you give it to your children? Do you mix it? or give it to them straight up on a spoon?

  79. Hi!
    I am currently breastfeeding and I have the FCLO capsules curious how many of the capsules you recommend daily ??
    Thank you!

  80. I see they offer an option for a 120 ct non-gel capsule. Is there any reason this wouldn’t be as effective as the gel? I’m just thinking if
    I’d prefer to take a capsule vs swallowing a mouthful of gel.

  81. Hello and thank you for this great information. When I researched Cod Liver Oil during pregnancy, some medical sites stated that it was okay to take omega capules ( derived from a fish’s body) but it was considered harmful to take Cod Liver Oil during pregnancy due to the high Vitamin A retinol content. Can you clarify this??

    Thanks so much!

    • I wanted to comment on this. Never ever take high doses of retinol aka preformed (animal sources) vitamin A during pregnancy. It increases your risk of birth defects substantially and is likely the reason my daughter has a genetic syndrome with many birth defects. Never, ever, ever take high doses of retinol while pregnant.

      The consequences aren’t worth it. This is why its best to take blogger health recommendations with a grain of salt. As a woman of child baring age, I never would take cod liver oil. I think its horribly irresponsible. That and those recommending eating liver.

      I say this with so much love for this site because I think she gets 99% of it right. But don’t take cod liver oil if you’re going to be pregnant — or at the very least take it sparingly and watch what other animal products you eat while taking it.

  82. How much of the cod oil/butter oil blend do you recommend giving a 5 year old who is 72 pounds and has 2 cavities in permanent molars? We are trying to heal the cavities naturally.

  83. I’m vegetarian and so I can’t take this, I was wondering what your thoughts were on Omega-3 vegetarian/vegan DHA Algae???

  84. Great article! In terms of where you buy it – I have tried Radiant Life but prefer LiveSuperfoods.com. They have a full selection of Green Pasture Products and great prices. I subscribe to their email list and have gotten some excellent discount offers. Always a good way to stock up on your cod liver oil. I think if you sign up for their email they give you 10% off your first order too. Not positive though. Definitely check them out if your in the market for Green Pasture Cod Liver oil. By the way my kids LOVE the Oslo Orange flavor!

  85. My biggest concern, and I was curious as to how you address this is the DHA for a little one. For example, I was giving my 1 year old FCLO but I was giving the butter blend which has less FCLO than the full strength (but more Vitamin A)… and then the 1/4 tsp which ended up being like only 50mg of DHA.. most sources recommend at least 100mg for a child. Some sources recommend for an adult at least 600mg of DHA… problem is that other DHA sources also have MORE vitamin A. I want to get her the amount of dha she needs but I don’t want her to be overdosing on vitamin A. For now I have moved away from FCLO and just went with the DHA supplement…(becuase Nordic Naturals also has D3 and vitamin A)… but I am curious as to what you think of the low DHA in FCLO …

  86. Great article! I have a question though… You said you give FCLO to your infants started at just a few months, are you also taking the nursing dosage while you give them their dosage or what…? I have an 8 month old nursing and am wondering if my intake of 2 tsp would cover for him, or I should give him 1/4 tsp and cut my dosage back or what. Thanks in advance for your help! 🙂

  87. Hi Katie! Apologies if someone has asked this question already, but do you additionally supplement Vitamin D? Or do you get all D from the cod liver oil supplement? Thank you!

    • Do you count spending lots of time in the sun as additional supplementation?

      • haha yeah sure that counts. the reason i asked is because i am not sure what is the content of D3 in that particular brand of fermented cod liver oil you’ve recommended. i would love to spend a lot of time in the sun, but unfortunately that’s a bit of a challenge 🙁

  88. Would fermented Skate liver oil be a good option. I’m pregnant and i see it has vit a, d, e, k2 and the omegas?? or is there a reason you prefer the cod liver?

  89. Hi Katie! Been following your blog for years and love it! I’m about ready to purchase some cod liver oil for my family but I just cannot stomach the price. Please don’t suggest cutting out cable and such because we literally have none of that. Just a broken down used iPhone on a prepaid plan. For us it’s either find a cheaper brand of clo or none. Please suggest a reputable brand. Is Carlson any good? Is appreciate a reply thank you!

    • Nordic Naturals is supposed to be a good brand as well, though I haven’t tried it personally.

  90. Hi i want to give this to my 2 year old daughter to replenish her teeth. How Much do you think i should give?

  91. Does the FCLO have an expiration date? I’ve been taking it and loving it and now want to order in bulk but don’t want to order too much. I recieved mine in I think February and noticed it had a produced date that it was made in December. Didn’t notice an expiration. Any recommendations?

  92. Is there any concern with Omega-6 in the butter oil? I’ve read in quite a few places, including your site 🙂 to watch Omega-6 comsumption or avoid altogether as it causes inflammation among other things. I’ve chosen to avoid all together so I’m a little wary of the butter oil/fclo blend, everything else about it sounds fabulous!

    • It is a small amount and balanced by the Omega-3s so I don’t worry about it in the butter oil…

  93. I just turned 50 & recently started taking this FCLO with butter oil to help with my receding gums (not due to gum disease) I can’t figure out why my gums are receding, but I am guessing it might be a nutritional reason?
    After taking the FCLO gel, I become very anxious and agitated, when it wears off later into the night, I get a headache. Everytime I try taking it! I cannot find any information on this reaction from the internet, and I am hoping someone can help me understand why this happens. I don’t know what else to do to reverse my receding gums if I cannot take the FCLO. Any thoughts appreciated !!

  94. I am 29 weeks pregnant and my rib cage is terribly inflamed. My dr told me to try any natural remedies I saw best. I’m taking coconut oil and flax seed daily for the omega 3s. What about the FCLO? Would that help? Does it act as a blood thinner? I am also taking a low dose aspirin daily.

    Thank you!!

  95. Katie,
    I apologize, but I mentioned the wrong oil. I meant to ask about the BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL , as to taking it with the FERMENTED COD LIVER OIL and the BUTTER OIL……..NOT THE CAMELLIA OIL. SORRY for asking about the wrong oil. Is it OK to take the 3 oils together? 1.) BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL 2.) FERMENTED COD LIVER OIL 3.) HIGH VITAMIN BUTTER OIL Is it safe to take these 3 together?

    Thank you so much,

    • I had the chance to try that one a few months ago. It tastes pretty decent and from what I’ve read, it is another good option.

      • Thank you, Katie!

  96. Good Afternoon Wellness Mama,
    My son have hypotroidism .He is 4 years old. TSH : 1.5 .Can he take Fermented Cod Liver Oil ?
    Please you can answer ? Thanks a lot.

  97. Most of the studies I have read recommend the omega 3’s found in fish body oil, not liver oil. While the liver oil does contain these, it is less potent, in different ratios of DHA to EPA, and less pure than fish body oil. They also point to the best sources as being wild caught ocean fish. Not farm raised fish. Just some info I have discovered in my own research. Hope it is helpful to someone! Thanks!

  98. Have you had experience with ordering the FCLO/BO in the summer? I just received the two jars of the Cinnamon Tingle that I ordered (mixed with applesauce my son never notices it’s there!) and they were very hot from the delivery truck. I’m worried that the heat might affect the product. Thoughts?

  99. I don’t recommend trying the cinnamon tingle gel. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to look at cinnamon the same way again! It was terrible. I’d advise getting the unflavoured and getting it over with quickly. The cinnamon leaves an awful after-taste. If you’re very sensitive to strong flavours the capsules are the best bet.

  100. Hi Katie,
    Was wondering, if I’m drinking raw milk every day, do I need to take the butter blend or can I just take the capsules? If so, about how much milk would you say that I need to consume daily? Just trying to see if I can cut the cost down a little?

    Thank you!

    • I heard about this am in the process of researching all the details and will be writing about my findings on it soon.

  101. Did you see the article on 8/22/2015, on green pastures fermented cod liver oil being rancid and containing vegetable oils

    • Yes, and I’m researching it now and will be writing about my findings soon.

  102. im just wondering if anybody on here has brushed their teeth with FCLO and if they think it would help with remineralizing teeth

  103. I follow your blog, and love your articles. I’m concerned about the recent news about FCLO. I gave it to my 4yr old for almost 3 years, we went through 8 bottles. If it is true that it contained vegetable oil and toxins, what do I do to reverse any damage? 🙁

  104. Have you tried the extra virgin raw cod liver oil by corganic that Chris Kresser recommends?

  105. Can you tell me which cod liver oil you take and who makes it. The links provided don’t match the information you have given. The link goes to raw Rosita brand but you mention Green Pastures high vitamin butter fermented cod liver oil bland but the link of “this is what we take” doesn’t come up with that product. Just wanted to confirm if you believe raw is the way to go or fermented and which brand. Thanks so much, jj

      • HI Katie, Thanks for your response and link. So, do you take the high vitamin butter separately? And if so, which one? Thank you. Oil pulling brought me to your site but I am really loving all the amazing information you have on you here. It is truly a wealth of information and beyond. Thanks for your dedication and contribution. Best, jj

  106. Katie, elsewhere on your site you’ve been very cautious about ingesting essential oils, yet you seem to be comfortable with the oil in daily doses of WAPF proportions of essential oil flavored Green Pastures FCLO. Can you help me understand how you’re come to terms with this? For my current pregnancy I’ve switched to the chocolate gel to avoid the oils, but now I’m wondering even about the safety of it for my kids and husband. We have taken the peppermint flavored FCLO for years. I’d really appreciate your thoughts.

    • I’ve never seen the peppermint flavored one but am comfortable with the unflavored, the chocolate or the cinnamon which is flavored with cinnamon flavor but I haven’t seen any that say they contain essential oils…

      • Thanks for your reply. The GP Blue Ice Arctic Mint ingredients list organic spearmint and peppermint oil, organic wintergreen flavor oil and organic lemon oil. I figured that only the wintergreen was a flavoring and the others were essential oils. Do you think all those might be flavorings and not essential oils?

        • I would guess, but you could definitely email them to find out for sure. I haven’t personally taken that one, and I’m not 100% sure what type of oils they use for the flavors…

  107. Thanks for this great post! Why do you take FCLO vs the Fermented Skate Liver oil?

  108. Thanks for all that you do Katie!

    I wanted to clear up an issue I found with Chris Kresser’s perspective on the conversion of beta-carotene to retinol, since it was mentioned in this post. I love Chris and think he is correct on many issues, but not this one. I believe he underestimates the amount of retinol converted from carotenoids in plant foods.

    Using IU is not the best unit because it does not account for bioavailability. The IU value for plant-based foods will always overestimate the retinol equivalent and the IU value for animal source foods will always underestimate it. Retinal Activity Equivalent (RAE) is better, though not perfect for every food. It assumes a 12:1 ratio of conversion of beta-carotene from fruits and vegetables to retinol. Read the overview of Vitamin A, RDA, IU etc. here: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/#h2

    There is a wide range of bioavailability and vitamin A equivalency of beta-carotene depending on “the food matrix, food-processing techniques, size of the dose of b-carotene, and the amounts of dietary fat, fiber, vitamin A, and other carotenoids in the diet as well as by characteristics of the target population, such as vitamin A status, nutrient deficiencies, gut integrity, and genetic polymorphisms associated with b-carotene metabolism” (Haskell, 2012). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23053560

    The amount of retinol equivalent absorbed from plant foods is not trivial. Even assuming a vitamin A equivalency ratio of carrots of 28:1, raw carrots have approximately 8285 mcg of beta-carotene, so this would convert on average to about 296 mcg of retinol. For an adult non-pregnant, non-lactating women with an RDA of 700 mcg RAE this is nearly half of her requirements for the day. I am aware that one study found the conversion of beta-carotene to retinol in raw carrots to be as high as 77:1 when the beta-carotene content was greater than 6 mg, but most of the beta-carotene (6 g) would be converted at about 28:1. Sources of beta-carotene in oil or in biofortified crops have much greater retinol equivalencies, as low as 2:1. See this article for a simple chart showing the average retinol equivalencies of beta-carotene from different sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25270992

    Studies have found that 27-45% of people may be low responders of beta-carotene (poorly convert beta-carotene to retinol) (Lietz at al., 2012: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/142/1/161S.short). However, even if this is the case, it does not mean they convert no beta-carotene to retinol. In fact, Lietz et al. only state that conversion efficiency can be reduced by as much as 59% in the low responders.

    So while it is important to obtain vitamin A from animal sources (such as FCLO), particularly if you have a low responder single nucleotide polymorphism, the contribution from plant sources is likely much higher than Chris Kresser suggests. Moreover, since vitamin A toxicity is a concern during pregnancy, it may be smart for pregnant women to limit their dose of FCLO and make sure to eat lots of carotenoids from plant foods.

    And the USDA Food Composition Table:
    US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27 (revised). Version Current: May 2015. Internet: http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl

  109. Are you and your family still consuming this?

  110. Just wanted to add some interesting personal experience..I am expecting baby #4, and we have taken FCLO/HVBO mix from green pastures for a few years (along with a Weston A Price diet minus a few disarcharides, mainly grains, my hubby has trouble with). We switched to Rosita EVCLO in Jan, and shortly thereafter I began to experience some mild jaw pain which lasted a few minutes, and occured sporadically for about a week. I did not know the cause, none of the teeth in my mouth seemed sensitive. Purchased a locally produced brand of HVBO and began taking along with EVCLO, after a couple weeks of switching (took a while to source). A couple of weeks ago, I developed incredible nerve pain, from an unidentified tooth, and fever and general illness. Turns out I had a tooth root abscess, and had to have an extraction and course of antibiotics 🙁 It was a horrible experience, and even after the extraction, many other teeth connected to that nerve, my ear and eyelid remained incredibly sensitive. Purchased green pasture’s FCLO/HVBO blend and after 24 hr taking it, all sensitivity was gone. It takes 1 1/2 or 2 tsp to reach maximum effect. No other family member experienced any difference, but I really think that the fermented cod liver oil is best for me. I am freckled and red-haired, maybe the mutations affecting vit D make a difference.

  111. Hello,

    I saw your link to the fermented cod liver oil/butter blend. You state you take a teaspoon. But when I click on the link you provide, it only shows capsules. I was looking for a product that was liquid form, I think it is more economical. Any ideas?
    Thank you.

    • If you click through the link provided to the Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil, there are options for both capsules and gel…

      • Thank you! I’ll try that!

  112. hi there Katie, ive enjoyed numerous blog posts and finally am commenting. i take the fclo but every time a try to switch to the butter blend i feel it negatively the affects my digestion. I have been nursing for two years and my body is now declining….I also wonder how much i should take and why my vit d levels are still low when i take about 1.5 tsp/day???

    thanks for your work

  113. How about toxins levels in cod like mercury? Cod is predator fish that lives even 18-25 years (depending on species), so it may accumulate lot of toxins like PCB, mercury etc.

  114. I’m taking cod liver oil- I keep getting bv and candida- I stumbled across an artical that had a list of things that could cause bv flare ups and that yeast could grow from- and the cod liver oil was on it!! I was heartbroken a little because I feel like “brainwise” I need it– is there a fishy sister of this oil u could recommend to me that would have same benefits but not cause yeast/bv??

  115. Hello all 🙂 Should I take FCLO and butter oil seperate as opposed to the mixed product? (Many consumers have been saying it’s better to take separately ) Also…I have ordered Desiccated Liver, is it OK to take this along with the FCLO? I have been researching and have read controversial views on whether the two together would contain too much Vit.A when it comes to RDA. I wouldn’t think so…but maybe someone has done research on that subject previously and might be able to tell me their findings.

    When taking FCLO/Desiccated Liver…should a extra D3, Vit C and or any other suplements be concidered?

    I have Hashimoto’s, as you know that comes with some horrible inflammation and other autoimmune disorders. Leaky gut and NAFLD are also culprits 🙁 so a great Turmeric (Curcumin ) and Milk Thistle (Silymarin) are highly recommended for my liver…along a good probiotic.

    It can all be overwhelming at times…but it’s posts like this and the many knowledgeable men/women that share their findings and success stories, that make this journey a bit easier. **research…..research and more researching….that’s what it’s all about 🙂 it’s time very well spent, because my health is well worth it ? Thank you all in advance for any additional info/replies 🙂

  116. I have the eczema lotion formula that called for fermented cod liver oil; Is using regular cod oil like Carlson Norwegian Cod Liver Oi will diminish the effectiveness of the lotion? I understand fermenting is longer process and ensure higher quality of the oil that why it is 3.35 times higher than the regular oil. Thanks