Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fermented Cod Liver Oil: More Than Just EPA/DHA

By now you should know about the benefits of fish oil. Since that blog post I have switched from fish oil capsules to a liquid form of fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) from Green Pasture.  Why? Here are some things about FCLO that you should know. 

Why cod liver oil?
The fish oil industry has focused largely upon the omega-3s and benefits of EPA and DHA. While this is good especially for cardiovascular health, there are many more nutrients present in cod liver oil that may not be in regular fish oils. If you read my post on Liver: The Paleo Superfood You Should be Eating,  (yes I have been on a liver kick lately), then you know that liver is nutrient powerhouse and has a crazy benefit to endurance efforts. Most fish oils have nowhere near the vitamins and nutrients that FCLO has because they only focus on the o-3s. Think of FCLO more as a food than a supplement. The concentration of vitamins A and D alone make it a good idea to supplement with FCLO, especially in the winter when vitamin D from the sun is scarce.

What's Up with the Fermentation?
Very few companies produce fermented cod liver oil (one of them being Green Pasture). Most others use a heating process, but as you know, fish oil should not be exposed to heat due to possible omega-3 fatty acid oxidation (this is why we store fish oils in a refrigerator or freezer). Fermentation allows the fish oil to be extracted in a cold process that can take 6 months up to a year!

Does it taste like fish? 
As you can see in the pictures, I have the peppermint and the ginger flavors. As much as you'd like to think that it's like eating candy, it's not. There is definitely a taste of fish with a strong sharp taste of peppermint or ginger, so if you can't stand it, then I suggest getting the capsules of FCLO. I haven't tried unflavored FCLO, but I imagine only the baddest of bad can handle the taste.

What about doses?
I take about a teaspoon a day. Most experts recommend a maintenance dose of 5-10ml, which is 1-2 tsp/day. Chris Kresser recommends women looking to get pregnant to take 10ml/day.

Cheeseslave "Why Fermented Cod Liver Oil?"


  1. So should you take the FCLO or just regular fish oil? Or both??

    1. if you still have fish oil, finish that. If you're looking to get a new batch, go for the FCLO and that can take the place of regular fish oil. If the taste is going to be too much, either get the capsules or stick with a nice flavored regular fish oil like Carlson's (found in my Amazon store - link on the right side)

  2. One other thing to be aware of is that FCLO also has vitamin A & D in it. A and D are fat soluable vitamins so they are something that you can "take too much of" I noticed that I needed to cut back on my D3 supplementation when I started taking the FCLO.
    I have the capsules and you can still get a bit of the fishiness through there, this is not for the extremely faint of stomach!
    You can also get FCLO with Butter Oil, this is something that is supposed to help with skin clarity so if that's something thats on your list as well, myabe try that FCLO + Butter Oil - it's also made by Green Pastures here is a link: http://astore.amazon.com/laurpapphealc-20/detail/B002M06SMU

    1. I take a multivitamin and eat a lot of asparagus and broccoli. Should I remove the multi if I jump to the FCLO?

    2. Dan, no need to remove the multi unless you want to. Vitamin A toxicity is balanced by the presence of vitamin D (studies that have demonstrated Vit. A to be toxic have not included vit. D) PLUS the amount of vitamin A has to be astronomical. In other words, unless you're consuming half a bottle of FCLO or eating 3lbs. of liver a day, there is nothing to be worried about.

  3. This oil can be referred as a superfood, because of the fact that it is so high in nutrition and there are many health benefits that can be gained when the oil is used on a regular basis. It helps promote healthy immune system function, bone and teeth health and healthy blood sugar levels. Thanks a lot.

  4. @Chris,
    When I was taking the unflavored FCLO, I would put my dose in a shot glass, add some lemon juice, and then pound it. It was the only way I could keep it down.

    @Laura, how did you know to cut back on D3 supplements? Just from max daily dosage, or some other test/indicator?


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