Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fermented Cod liver oil

The following is a very limited overview of some of the brain building nutrients that are obtained through fermented high vitamin cod liver oil supplementation.  This is for educational purposes only.  Please make health decisions based on your own research and in conjunction with the help of qualified healthcare practitioners.

About 60% of your brain is made up of fat, much of which is DHA an omega-3 essential fatty acid.  Although some plant foods such as flax seeds contain an omega-3 that is a precursor to DHA, evidence is that our bodies do not convert this efficiently to DHA.  The only sources of DHA that do not require conversion are from sea food or animals raised on pasture.  Cod liver oil has about 500mg of DHA per teaspoon.

The following are symptoms that may be associated with essential fatty acid deficiency:

dry skin            dandruff           frequent urination                      irritability                       attention deficit
soft nails          allergies            lowered immunity                      weakness                      fatigue  
dry hair             brittle nails        excessive thirst                         chicken skin on backs of arms
dry eyes           learning problems                                              cracked skin on heels or fingers

There is research that suggests supplementation with essential fatty acids is beneficial for learning and behavior.  You can read one study here .

Vitamin D
In a review of research, Joyce C. McCann, Ph.D., and Bruce N. Ames, Ph.D., at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) point out that evidence for vitamin D's involvement in brain function includes the wide distribution of vitamin D receptors throughout the brain. Vitamin D affects proteins in the brain known to be directly involved in learning and memory, motor control, and possibly even maternal and social behavior. Studies involving both humans and animals present suggestive though not definitive evidence of cognitive or behavioral consequences of vitamin D inadequacy. 

The more doctors test our vitamin D blood levels, the more apparent it is that we are culturally deficient.  The type of vitamin D that is recommended for cancer prevention, protection of bones and teeth, reduction of inflammation and other health benefits is primarily vitamin D3.  The most significant source of Vitamin D3 is sunshine.  Our bare skin converts sunshine to vitamin D3.  Production is inhibited by sunscreen and the skin being washed before the conversion takes place - think swimming pool.  Also depending on where you are on the globe and what season it is, there may be little opportunity to get enough sunshine for vitamin D production.  Some people increase their FHV cod liver oil consumption in the winter and decrease or eliminate it in the summer.  The are some convincing arguments that vitamin D deficiency is a major culprit in the winter "cold and flu season." The only other source of naturally occurring vitamin D3 is certain animal foods such as shellfish, lard from pastured pigs in the sunshine, butter from grass-fed cows, and egg yolks from pastured chickens.  High vitamin fermented cod liver oil has a significant amount of vitamin D.
Vitamin A

Another vitamin in high vitamin cod liver oil, Vitamin A, has been the center of much controversy.  Like vitamin D, vitamin A is fat soluble.  This means that these vitamins are stored in the body and it is possible to build both vitamin A and vitamin D to the point of toxicity.  For this reason, many advocate having vitamin D levels tested before supplementing.  In addition, there are those who would say that the safest way to obtain vitamin A is from plant sources like carrots which don't contain true vitamin, but rather beta-carotene which the body must convert to vitamin A.   The body won't convert more vitamin A than is needed.  The problem is that many bodies especially children aren't good at this conversion.  The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) maintains that when vitamins A and D are taken in a natural food source like fermented cod liver oil, they are synergistic.  WAPF states that Vitamin D increases the need for vitamin A and the two together in the proper ratio provide great health benefits and prevent toxicity of either.  WAPF would not recommend taking either of these vitamins separately as a synthetic supplement (as is the current practice in the medical community with regard to vitamin D3).  You can read a lot more about this here.
In addition to benefits for vision, the immune system, and cancer protection, the following two studies give some insight into the role of vitamin A in learning:

 Why does my family take high vitamin fermented cod liver oil?
·         For memory and mood support
·         To prevent cavities and strengthen our bones
·         To protect us from the flu and other viruses (I take cod liver oil instead of the mercury containing flu shot. More on the flu shot here.)
·         As an anti-inflammatory
·         To prevent cancer
·         To raise vitamin D levels (the three of us who have been tested know we need it).

 Why do I only use Green Pasture Fermented High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil (I'm not getting any compensation for this endorsement.)

The following is reprinted from the Weston A. Price Foundation.  You can find more information here.

Most brands of cod liver oil go through a process that removes all of the natural vitamins. The resultant product contains very low levels of vitamin A and virtually no vitamin D. Some manufacturers add manufactured vitamins A and D to the purified cod liver oil and until recently, one manufacturer added the natural vitamins removed during processing back into the cod liver oil. Fortunately, we now have available in the U.S. a naturally produced, unheated, fermented high-vitamin cod liver oil that is made using a filtering process that retains the natural vitamins.

What are the recommended doses? (according to the Weston A. Price Foundation)

The high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil is sold as a food so does not contain vitamin levels on the label. However, after numerous tests, the approximate values of A and D have been ascertained at 1900 IU vitamin A per mL and 390 IU vitamin D per mL. Thus 1 teaspoon of high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil contains 9500 IU vitamin A and 1950 IU vitamin D, a ratio of about 5:1.

Based on these values, the dosage for the high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil is provided as follows:
  • Children age 3 months to 12 years: 1/2 teaspoon or 2.5 mL, providing 4650 IU vitamin A and 975 IU vitamin D.
  • Children over 12 years and adults: 1 teaspoon or 10 capsules, providing 9500 IU vitamin A and 1950 IU vitamin D.
  • Pregnant and nursing women: 2 teaspoons or 20 capsules, providing 19,000 IU vitamin A and 3900 IU vitamin D.
Please note that the fermented cod liver oil contains many co-factors that may enhance the body's uptake and usage of vitamins A and D; in fact, many have reported results equivalent to those obtained from high-vitamin cod liver oil with half the recommended dose, that is ¼ teaspoon or 1.25 mL for children age 3 months to 12 years; ½ teaspoon or 5 capsules for children over 12 years and adults; and 1 teaspoon or 10 capsules for pregnant and nursing women.

For the desired health results, WAPF recommends that fermented cod liver oil be taken in conjunction with a diet that includes plenty of butter (especially butter from grass-fed cows) or that it be taken with high vitamin butter oil.  Dr. Weston A. Price got truly amazing health results when using cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil in conjunction.

ILC clients may order Green Pasture High Vitamin Cod Liver oil at a significant group discount through the Little Rock Buying Club.  E-mail littlerockbuyingclub AT gmail DOT com for information.


  1. One of the vitamin d benefits that I know aside from being the immune system booster is that it also helps in brain function. I have proven these good effects because I've been taking it for a couple of years now. Really effective for me.

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