Fermented Cod Liver Oil: Our Experiences

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The answer to all the questions or myths you’ve heard about fermented cod liver oil is probably “Yes.”

For example:

  1. Does it smell awful?
  2. Can you taste it in other things?
  3. Is it hard to swallow?
  4. Do you burp it later?

The answers to all, an unqualified Yes. On the burps, there’s usually a two-hour window or so, although once, in the parking lot at the grocery store, I had an unprecedented 4-hours-later CLO burp. It just reminds me how healthy I am!

fermented cod liver oil green pastures I kept reading that the benefits of fermented cod liver oil were huge and that it was just about the only supplement worth taking. It’s so important that any time you read about Dr. Weston A. Price’s findings, cod liver oil and Activator X from high-vitamin butter oil are his star players.

Putting it off was easier than facing the issue head on.

Plus, I was so scared!

After my research on sunscreen and cancer and Vitamin D this summer, I realized it was time to face my fears and make sure my family had a source of Vitamin D this winter. Did you know fermented cod liver oil has over twice the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D in just a half teaspoon? The next closest food is Atlantic herring – raw! – and you have to eat ten times as much to get the same benefit! I’m thinking a little spoonful of CLO would taste much, much better than raw herring, wouldn’t you?

Cod liver oil is also an excellent source of Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, two other nutrients Americans really need to beef up on. Reading an article like vitamin d deficiency and infertility quickly gives one more reason to work hard to get the right nutrients in our bodies.

Why Fermented?

Quite simply, fermenting the cod liver oil is not only the most traditional way to consume it, but it increases the nutrients ever more. I had originally set out to compare various cod liver oils for swallowability, among other things. As I tried to find other reputable sources, I kept being sent back to Green Pasture as the only fermented cod liver oil and the best stuff around. I never ended up bothering with anything else.

We tested both straight “FLCO” (fermented cod liver oil), which is a liquid oil, thick and oily, much like taking olive oil from a spoon, and Green Pasture’s unique blend of 2/3 fermented cod liver oil and 1/3 X-factor high vitamin butter oil. Blending butter oil with cod liver oil makes it thick enough to stand up on the spoon, so taking it is more like eating butter or solid coconut oil than drinking oil.

What is Activator X?

Activator X, discovered and coined by Dr. Weston A. Price, is now thought to be Vitamin K2, and is found in very few foods. Butter from cows on fast-growing spring/fall grass is one of them, and Green Pasture has captivated it. A friend of mine tells me her naturopath has been pushing her to get some good activator X supplements for years, and she just recently took the plunge. I wasn’t surprised to find that she was told to order Green Pasture’s blend.

The Flavors

Green Pasture also does a darn good job of offering flavors to make the cod liver oil swallowing experience more pleasant, and I was surprised that my poor friend hadn’t been offered the flavors! She was pretty excited to hear about the ones we’d been trying. There’s really something for everyone.

I always assumed I’d like “Cinnamon Tingle” the best, and I was right. If I’ve learned anything by testing them all, it’s “go with your gut.” Dave Wetzel, the head of Green Pasture, says that his daughters like the Mediterranean flavor best, but my kids won’t touch it and I think it’s wickedly bitter. Luckily for them, mom is going to have to be the one to take one for the team and finish that bottle! There’s garlic oil in it, so I’m hoping that’s a little added immunity boost. Right?

The 5-year-old boy decided he likes the Arctic Mint flavor, which I hated, so that works out well! We also tested Chocolate Cream, which has an almost pasty, chalky texture and is on the “least favorite” list. My 2-year-old has trouble taking her cod liver oil, but chocolate was the only flavor she actually spit out (yes, that was gross). It’s an insult to chocolate in my book, but if our other experiences tell us anything, it’s that everyone likes something different.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention my husband’s favorite flavor. As head of household, he quickly commandeered the capsule form of FCLO. I’ll try not to pick on his weak palate too much! He says he doesn’t even like opening the other kinds because the smell sticks to his fingers, but the capsules are no problem. Thanks for testing those out for us, honey… 😉

UPDATE: Some readers have great ways that actually DO hide the FCLO in the comments. I surely don’t know it all! 😉

And a laugh for you: actual video of me and the kids taking our cod liver oil!

How to Take Cod Liver Oil

With chocolate.

Seriously, if you have little ones, you may want to offer an incentive like chocolate chips for taking their cod liver oil. (Thanks, Kelly, for the suggestion!) My 5-year-old takes it like a champ. He recommends the syringe that comes with the straight FCLO and likes to take it right out of the “shooter” because it passes over your tongue that way. Just make sure your child closes their mouth around the tip before you shoot it, or it sprays all over. Yes, we test everything, just for you! 😉

The little one and I generally take the blended oil from a spoon. I used to think a big spoonful all at once was the way to go, but I found it was just too big to swallow. Now I take about three little bites and swallow it with milk like a pill. We all chase the FCLO with a drink!

The Smell: Not Something to Take Lightly

I’ve finally learned not to let the 2-year-old take her FCLO at the beginning of the meal, because once she takes one sip out of a glass after it’s on her lips, that glass is done forever. She won’t drink any more, and I get it: anything that touches the oil smells like it, so your entire drink is contaminated, no matter where you put your lips for the next drink! I’ve learned to use my teeth to slide the cod liver oil off the spoon and avoid contaminating the edge of my drinking glass, but that’s a little complicated for a 2-year-old.

I would also not recommend using the same spoon for FCLO and eating food. Sometimes I even make the dishwasher smell fishy with the spoons in there. Blech.

I’ve been trying in vain to figure out how to describe the smell of cod liver oil for you. It’s not like salmon or tuna, which some would already say is icky, but I appreciate those aromas. This is fermented CLO, so take your fishmonger smell from the wharf and let it rot. It smells a bit like garbage, laced with cinnamon, with fishy undertones coupled with an unidentified scent that I just can’t capture for you. Tempted yet?

Can You Hide It?

I’ve been told to mix the fermented cod liver oil in with various things to make it more palatable, such as:

  • Homemade Yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Smoothies, frozen smoothies
  • Juice

In our experience, mixing the cod liver oil in with something just makes more bites of yuck you have to suffer through. It ends up wrecking the food. I tried it in yogurt and it was simply inedible. I can’t imagine wasting a whole smoothie trying to mix! Hiding cod liver oil is like trying to hide cinnamon, or garlic – it just doesn’t work.

I tried this concoction:cod liver oil - with applesauce (1)

A half spoon of applesauce with the Cinnamon Tingle, but I’d rather just chase it with raw milk. Swallowing more instead of less was more difficult for me.

The Bottom Line: Just Do It

I know I haven’t made this sound very appetizing, but I’m not really one to sugarcoat things (and sugar probably wouldn’t hide the FCLO anyway). I’m not going to tell you taking cod liver oil is fun. I will tell you I think it’s worth it.

When my daughter went two weeks refusing to take hers, she kept getting colds, and my 5-year-old would tell her, “Leah, I really want you to take your cod liver oil because I don’t want you to be sick anymore.” It was pretty darn cute, and now when she coughs or sneezes a lot she says, “I need to take my cod liver oil.”

(If you want to know the trick, there wasn’t one. We just offered it every day and didn’t make a big deal of it, and finally one day she wanted to take it to show off for Grandpa. Now she sucks it down every day and we joke together about how awful it tastes!)

Who wants to be a pansy? In a country where we exercise ourselves to death and profess “no pain, no gain” as a national mantra, I think we all need to just be tough and take a 5-second inconvenience to improve our health.

How many people dislike beer or coffee when they first taste it, but then proceed to force themselves to drink it to “get used to it?” Be tough, kids, you can do it!

Or, for the weak-palated among you, go with the capsules. Your pockets will just have to be a mite deeper.

Prices run between $40-50 average per bottle. Capsules cost around $30 for half as many servings, which is not quite twice as much. If you ask my husband, he’d say they’re worth it!

Even with capsules, you’re still getting two months worth (at normal dosing; some people take much, much more) for under $50. I remember pricing some other supplements and realizing they would cost about $30 a month for just the one item. If you can swallow the real thing, you’re looking at considerably less money than that, and if you buy in bulk you can save up to $10/bottle. Get together with like-minded, strong-palated friends and make a big order! The FCLO can stay on the shelf before you open it but must be refrigerated when opened.

Feel free to ask me questions about the fermented cod liver oil and Activator-X butter oil at this post, and visit Green Pasture to see all the flavors and prices.

UPDATE: Here is my interview with Dave Wetzel, owner of Green Pasture, who was happy to help us through the questions in the comments section. Bonus round up of the best swallow tips from the comments here!

UPDATE: Some answers to your questions are at two posts by Sarah of The Healthy Home Economist. She talks about babies, dosages, and the difference between fermented cod liver oil and the regular stuff at Should Babies Get Cod Liver Oil? and demonstrates what a typical adult dosage should be, updated to this fall’s recommendations (2010) in a cod liver oil 101 video.

Coming Up: Germ Fighting Warriors and More Deals

Next week’s Monday Mission at Kitchen Stewardship will be to Fight Germs Naturally. It’s a topic I’ve explored little, but I’m turning to others (like Green Pasture) to help me on my journey as we enter cold and flu season. Look out for a giveaway and discount code Monday for Frugal Granola’s Herbal Nurturing: A Family Healing and Learning Guide eBook, and don’t forget to enter this week’s giveaway for Modern Alternative Mama’s In the Kitchen: Real Food Basics cookbook HERE. Buy some garlic to get ready for next week! 😉

Also – your advance announcement – I’m having an end-of-season half off sale on the Family Camping Handbook! Look for a discount code on Monday, October 25th for only $2.50 for the first 250 books sold, good midnight Sunday to midnight Monday.

Disclosure: Green Pasture provided products for my review at no cost, but, quite obviously, nothing could pay for my opinion or get me to be any less than 100% honest with you, my dear readers. See my full disclosure statement here.

I’m happy to enter Fight Back Friday with a bunch of other real food bloggers!

Click here for my disclaimer and advertising disclosure - affiliate links in this post will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price.

168 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. elaine says

    Excellent info (as usual!). We take ours with a shot of our good raw milk — mix an overflowing spoonful with a tablespoon of milk in a cup and have the milk jug in hand to rinse out the cup a time or two with another small shot (don’t want to waste one drop of that precious FCLO!). The fat in the milk helps cut the oily taste and there is rarely the nasty fishy aftertaste.
    I don’t know if you’ve seen the info that Sarah (The Healthy Home Economist) posted recently about proper dosages but when I did the math for actually how many capsules were required to get the “recommended” not “suggested” dose (something like 18 capsules/day — YIKES!) I decided we’ll all be taking the liquid from now on. We just received our newest order from Green Pastures and are going to be trying Mediterranean this time because it has additional antioxidants in it (very few, if any of the other flavors, have those). Should be interesting :)

    • Katie says

      Whoa, that’s a lot of capsules! I just watched Sarah’s video on the tsp vs. Tbs, which was good information, too, but I didn’t find the capsule scoop. Thank you! :) Katie

  2. Sarah says

    Very timely post! We just started taking lemon-flavored unfermented CLO from Carsen’s – no bad taste there. I’m wondering how much we’re missing out on by not taking the fermented kind.

    • Katie says

      I’ve already got that question on my list for Dave Wetzel for next month’s interview! I should have figured out how to get a non-fermented CLO just for taste comparison’s sake. :) Katie

      • Sarah says

        Thanks, Katie! Obviously this is a common question! Now I’m feeling like a wimp but at least we’re making progress :)

  3. Esther says

    Katie, a quick question. I am planning on starting my two kids (ages 4 and 19 months) on probiotics as we enter the cold in flu season. I am not one who like to over medicate my children–firmly believing in whole foods for healing. However, being in daycare, I figure an added boost to the immune system wouldn’t hurt. Would you suggest CLO in conjunction with probiotics? I realize that you’re not a medical practitioner, but I am interested in your opinion as a mom and whole foods believer. Thanks!

    • Katie says

      I can certainly tell you that even as we started on the CLO, I got my husband on probiotics, too. I think they tackle the immunities problem differently, both in important ways. For the kids and I, for now, we’re just eating yogurt as often as possible!
      :) Katie

  4. shelley says

    I’m interested in Esthers question as well. I found a chewable at our local health food store. After I got it home I realized it said for 5 years +… hum, my oldest is 2 1/2… not sure if I should continue him on it?

    Also, curious on the CLO. Would this be instead of a fish oil or in addition to? I just purchased some Barlean’s mango peach and to be honest it was delicious! Imagine that. I don’t see any D in this magic bottle which is something that I would love to get in us.

    Great post!

    • says

      You need to be careful. If it is pure CLO and had no synthetic vitamin A or vitamins, the CLO is awesome for your child no matter the age. But if it has synthetic vitaminA, then do not give it to anyone. Synthetic vitamin A is harmful.

      Can you image what must be done to the fish oils/cod liver oils that the taste can be covered up like that? Many of them are “washed” and then have synthetics vitamins added with flavorings. Not a healthy choice!

      • shelley says

        Sorry if this sounds like a silly question, but how would I know if synthetic vitamins are added? I’m doubting it would spell it out for me. I appreciate your reply, thanks so much!

        • Katie says

          I can assure you, absolutely none. You’ll all hear more from Dave Wetzel next month, but he’ll talk about his production practices a little. No synthetic anything, to be sure. :) katie

    • Katie says

      I think of CLO as fish oil, one step up (or 2 or 3). I do think you could probably nix the fish oil if you’re taking CLO, because that should have the omega 3s in it, too. Great question! :) Katie

      • shelley says

        Thanks Katie,
        It would be great to sample before making a big purchase. If/when we get on board with a GP “flavor” I maybe in for a bulk buy if you’re looking for more local folks to boost the order?

    • Katie says

      Fermentation allows the nutrients to be even more available…but we’ll all find out more when I interview Dave Wetzel of Green Pasture next month. I’ll be sure to ask him this question! :) Katie

  5. Shannon says

    Hi Katie. I currently take CLO capsules. How do I find out if they are fermented? Would it just say on the bottle? Thanks

  6. says

    Ugh, I don’t think I can do this one. I got a sample of some fish oil capsules a few years back that were supposed to be specially formulated not to taste bad or burp it back up. They lied! I tasted it for HOURS (like 4+) and even after eating multiple meals.
    I think I’ll just eat fish instead.

    • Katie says

      The fish is great for omega-3s, but you are still hard-pressed to get enough vitamin D from fish as opposed to cod liver oil. Try here or here for amounts of Vitamin D in different foods.

      My husband says he has never had fishy burps with the capsules, and he DID used to with fish oil supplements.

      :) Katie

    • Keli says

      I also got burps from other fish oil supplements (capsules) but with the GP fermented arctic mint CLO, I get none.

  7. Bethany W says

    @Esther: we give our two year old probiotics and CLO from Green Pastures. She uses “Nature’s Way” Primadophilus for Children — a powder that gets tossed in with her yogurt in the morning (along with some flax meal). No taste, no smell.

    We also all take Green Pastures’ Orange Oslo LIQUID cod liver oil. We tried the other stuff — I felt like I was eating fishy toothpaste. Having the Activator X is awesome, but I was simply not taking it. So, we got the liquid (still fermented) and we take it MUCH more regularly.

    @Katie – My 2yo DD loves CLO. We take about 2 TB orange juice, mix in the CLO, and give her a straw. I found the straw helps a LOT — it gets her nose just far enough away that the smell doesn’t gag her. The Oslo Orange mixed with OJ completely disappears … no taste issues. And I feel fine about giving her 2 TB of juice a day. :) I take mine in about 1 TB of juice.

    BTW – the company recommends 2mls (LIQUID) per adult and 1ml (~1/4 tsp) for a kiddo.

  8. Heather says

    When I got pregnant again, we had to skip straight to the capsules. I couldn’t take any flavor of FCLO unless in capsule form without waking the morning sickness monster. Still, my toddler has only known his morning yogurt with FCLO mixed in. It is his FAVORITE food. He won’t eat the sweetened, non-FCLO yogurt his grandparents try to give him. If you start them young enough, good things happen!

  9. says

    Love the review, very helpful, 2 questions I had though, I have heard you “can” overdose on Vit D….. is the “serving size” still the same recommendation for both adults and children and how young of children can take it?
    I am assuming there are no concerns taking it while nursing or pregnant, but would you know how much of it is passing to baby in breastmilk?
    thanks for any thoughts!

    • Katie says

      Two more excellent questions. I’ll ask if DAve knows about how much (if any) passes through in breastmilk. I know people who take 2-3 TABLESPOONS of FCLO a day, so I don’t know if you can overdose on natural Vitamin D. Maybe the synthetic stuff?
      :) Katie

      • says

        Thanks for the honest article on FCLO! I might get up the guts to try this over the winter.
        I am a nurse practitioner and I wanted to let you know that, yes, you can overdose on Vitamin D, whether it is synthetic or natural.
        Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, so unlike Vit C or the “B’s” it doesn’t get processed and excreted in the urine if you take too much. Vit D and A can build up in the body and cause toxic side effects. Your healthcare provider can order a blood test to check your vitamin D levels. `I generally order supplements for anyone whose level is below 100 and I recommend 400-1000 units daily depending on how low their levels are.
        The current research seems to indicate that most of us don’t get enough sun and thus not enough Vit D, so a supplement providing 400-1000 units a day most likely won’t hurt, but you do have to be careful. Just because something is “natural” doesn’t make it safer.
        An FYI on Vit K, this is also fat soluble and can affect blood clotting so anyone who has had blood clots in the past or who takes a “blood thinning” medication should avoid taking anything with high levels of vitamin K. It can also affect levels of Coumadin (warfarin) if you take it and thus affect your blood work results that you have (or should have :)) monitored if you take warfarin.

        • Katie says

          Thank you so much for the scoop on Vitamin D! I do know people who take multiple Tablespoons per day. Do you know what the symptoms of too much Vitamin D would be?

          :) Katie

          • says

            The “official” recommended daily allowance is between 400-1000 units daily, and nowadays it is generally 1000 for adults. I’m quoting Medline here(it’s a reasonably reliable source): “An excess of vitamin D causes abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood, which can eventually severely damage the bones, soft tissues, and kidneys. It is almost always caused by forms of vitamin D that require a doctor’s prescription.” “Normal” levels are generally between 30-75 depending on the lab.
            The symptoms of too much vitamin D (toxicity) include anorexia, constipation, dehydration, fatigue, irritability, muscle weakness, excessive thirst, passing excessively large amounts of urine and vomiting. All are kind of vague symptoms and could indicate a problem of many other kinds. However, if you take a lot of vitamin D and are experiencing any unusual symptoms, it would be worth investigating. Always tell your health care provider about any and all supplements that you take! Most of us are savvy enough to have knowledge about supplements because they are so popular and it can help us prevent and diagnose interactions and toxicities. And if you believe in taking supplements but your provider doesn’t take it seriously or has an opposing view on them, I would look for a provider who is willing to work with you. We are out there!

            • says

              Check out Chris Masterjohn’s article on the WAPF site about vitamin A; he talks about the synergy of A and D and how it affects toxicity levels of both. I’ve overdosed (mildly) on D3 and essentially what happens is a magnesium deficiency – headaches, leg cramps, heart palps, constipation. I didn’t want to get into raising D, then Mg, then finding out I’d thrown something *else* out of balance, so I backed off on the D and try to get more sun. Unfortunately summer was late this year!

  10. says

    Hi Katie, I’m so grateful you posted this because I’ve been considering buying some FCLO from Green Pastures; I’ve been re-reading Nourishing Traditions a bit and am seeing so many areas diet-wise that I’ve been slacking in that we need to improve upon! The cost seems a little prohibitive but considering we don’t really have health insurance right now, the FCLO probably be a good replacement for that so that we can stay healthy. I would love to win some…. :) thanks again! I will probably pass this along to my husband to help further convince him that it’s a worthwhile cost for us.

  11. says

    i cannot eat fish for the life of me so FCLO is very very hard. my 2 1/2 year old will accept the orange flavor FCLO in his green smoothies every morning…hooray! my husband and i are babies and we do the capsules. when our capsules run out i am thinking of making my own capsules with the less expensive liquid oil instead.

  12. says

    I eat a about a tablespoon of normal cod liver oil or fish oil a day. It’s not hard to get down at all, and I don’t know why people are so scared of it.

  13. Sarah W says

    As for me, I put the FCLO in a shot glass with OJ and do my best to throw it in the back of my throat. DS2 used to take it off the spoon, but stopped being so trusting of the spoons I was offering and wouldn’t take it anymore. I am able to put a few drops in my sons’ morning “juice” (a concoction of juice and kefir) or smoothie. It’s less than a dose, but better than nothing, and they don’t seem to mind.

    I actually like Mediterranean the best b/c it is the LEAST fishy, IMO. I could never take oil off a spoon. Personally, I do not get fishy burps when I take the FCLO. Interestingly enough though, I got horrible fishy burps from a prenatal DHA supplement that was supposed to NOT be from fish when I was pregnant the first time.

    I also find plain butter oil pretty palatable since it tastes like oily butter. I just stick a clean knife in the jar and spread it on my morning toast or eggs or whatever. It is also more economical to buy the butter oil straight up. My only real problem is the inconvenience of opening so many bottles and having so many little steps in the morning breakfast routine. Sometimes we go without for a few days when I am feeling lazy.

  14. says

    Luckily for me, a local health food store carries the capsules for $24 per bottle. It’s the best price that I’ve ever seen, and only a 15 minute drive. :-) It’s still very expensive, though, especially as I’m sharing with hubs. I tried to get away with half doses to make it stretch, but quickly found that I need at least a full dose (hubs is still on a half dose since he eats sardines 2 times a week).

    One thing that’s funny about my bottle, though, is that some of the capsules don’t taste like anything (except faintly of fish, though it’s a richer flavor than straight fish has), some have a faint orange taste and some have a faint mint taste. Since they sell both orange and mint flavored capsules, I’ve wondered if the non-flavored sometimes use up excess of the flavored, or if maybe they store their capsules close to each other and there’s some cross contamination. I’m certainly not complaining! And since the flavors cost the same, I may just buy one or the other next time.

  15. Brittany says

    Katie, I know you’re always up on the research. :)
    Can you point me to some sources that sing the benefits of FLCO vs. CLO? Especially some that verify fermented CLO as a traditional food.? Not to be a skeptic (okay, well, kind of…I can’t help it though!), but I’m always a bit hesitant to invest in something that you can only get from one source. Anything I can ever find on the subject points me right back to Green Pastures. No one ever seems to give any particulars on FCLO as a traditional food, just that “it’s the only kind worth buying” without backing it up. Also, NT/WAP used to highly recommend CLO, but now they’ve switched to only FLCO. Why the switch if FCLO is the traditional way? I’m not trying to be a naysayer, I’m genuinely asking. Help convince this natural-born cynic that the fermented cod liver oil is worth the extra money! :)

  16. says

    We have been using Green Pasture CLO for about 7 years. The health benefits have been unendless! Yes, it does not taste very good but you do get use to it after awhile. My children were not given a choice. Now at the ages of 14 down to 8 yrs, they do not mind it at all. When Green Pasture went to fermented, my family was not excited but guess what we all got over that also. The benefits out way any queasiness! The burbing it up afterwards goes away too! Within a few months we had no burbing issues. Just do it! Your body will thank you for it!!!

  17. MaryEllen says

    I feel the same way as Brittany. It’s getting frustrating constantly feeling like I’m being told if I can’t afford the fermented CLO I shouldn’t even bother, and yet I’ve found no answers to the “why” other than “it’s better”. If the Weston Price foundation has been recommending CLO all these years before Green Pastures started fermenting it, what is so wrong with plain CLO?

    • Drema says

      [QUOTE] “If the Weston Price foundation has been recommending CLO all these years before Green Pastures started fermenting it, what is so wrong with plain CLO?” [UNQUOTE]

      I spent 12 years in the nutraecutical business and thanks to my dad I have the mind of a detective – always trying to ask ‘the question behind the question’ and digging for information. I think this website should at least get you started on your quest for information. I also find doing different google search questions and sometimes adding the word forum after a plus sign to it in a string of words I want in whatever comes up for a choice of websites to go to – seems to work well for my quest. It would be nice to think that most manufacturers of nutraceuticals are interested in preserving the nutrients in what they make, but the bottom line is most people are not educated enough to think beyond the price tag. So manufacturers have to keep coming up with faster ways of doing the job (heating up the product & destroying more nutrients …. just like buying a very quick centrifuge type juicer compared to a “Omega 8004 Nutrition Center Juicer”…. the Omega is a masticating juicer & slower. Slow juicing means more time in kitchen but more nutrients being preserved. Most people want QUICK, NOW juice so they buy the juicer that does it fast sacrificing nutrients.) All that to say I have spent multiple years of research & I believe Green Pastures is onto something. In China & in other countries a lot of foods are made very slowly the old fashioned way and the peoples health seems to reflect it. Faster or newer processing is not always better.


  18. says

    The Mediterranean flavor is quite awful, like someone left a garlic fish dinner outside in the sun for a few hours, only worse, but it was on sale and now we have to finish it :)

    • Katie says

      Amy, I dance around and act like a food when I take that one just to make my kids laugh…but it’s all real! 😉 Katie

    • elaine says

      Oh, I couldn’t agree more – it is AWFUL!! I feel like I’ve been chewing on raw basil or something and burped it up for HOURS the other night (sorry – I know that’s TMI). I was practically nauseous : / I ordered it b/c it was the only one I could find that had the antioxidants added in but am really regretting my decision! (And, to add insult to injury – I ordered 6 (SIX!) bottles of the stuff b/c we have a large family and go through it so quickly I ordered enough to get the price break. Wonder if they would exchange for me??
      Katie – when you chat with Dave at GP – you can mention that I’ve tried repeatedly on past occasions to ask a question via email and never get a response. It is only their reputation amongst Weston Pricers and read foodies that keeps me coming back. Also – they used to have a plain version of the FCLO with antioxidants (orange label) — besides Mediterranean are there any other choices?

      • Katie says

        Oh, shoot, I had the interview yesterday. I’ll email him directly and quote you and see what he says.
        :) Katie

        • elaine says

          I hate to put you to any trouble but if you’re in touch with Dave for any reason I would appreciate you mentioning my questions! Thanks!!

  19. says

    I had too many compliance issues with the spoonable CLO (one child would actually vomit it up – all over me) to continue long enough to get used to it. We take the capsules, and there are no compliance issues there at all. We take them at night right before bed and any “fish burps” pass in our sleep.

  20. Tamara says

    It is my understanding that the fermented CLO is the only CLO on the market being made by natural methods, containing all natural ingredients only. http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showpost.php?p=13234327&postcount=49
    I need to buy a bottle of FCLO here soon, but previously took just regular Blue Ice CLO and loved it (but i love sardines and smelly fish lol). That being said, i always chased it with something acidic, mostly lemonade or orange juice. I plan to do the same with FLCO.

  21. says

    I’m with the others asking about CLO vs. FCLO… Is it really that much better?

    I’ve been taking CLO–a brand recommended by WAPF. It’s no problem to get down, and my kids will take it too.

    Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure also offers a fermented “blue ice” cod liver oil, so there’s another source…

  22. says

    Yep, we’re wimps and take the orange capsules. (Capsule so we don’t have to taste it going down, and orange so when we have the inevitable FCLO burps, they aren’t so bad!) We give our 1 year old the chocolate gel, though, and she likes it just fine! We just knew we wouldn’t take it as often as we should if it wasn’t in a capsule, so we coughed up the extra money. Although now I’m curious about how difficult it would be to put the liquid or gel into your own capsules at home!

  23. Heather M says

    My 3 1/2 year old little girl and I like the cinnamom tingle the best and chase it with a glass of raw milk. My little one I do not vaccinate and she is one of the healthiest kids I know. I do contribute this to the help of FCLO. Also, I noticed that we do not burn in the summer when in the sun and taking our FCLO, usually, daily.

  24. Marcee says

    I just recently bought the orange flavored FCLO for Green pastures. We CANNOT take it, even with smoothies. I bought some capsule and injected them with the FLCO using the syringe that came with the bottle. Each capsule holds about 1/4 tsp. It was a little time consuming, but might be worth it to try. I wish they still sold the gummy fish, my boys stopped complaining after awhile and took 1/3 of one with every meal. since they can’t swallow a “homemade” capsule, I bought the Nortic Naturals Childrens DHEA chewables. I know its not the best, but better than nothing. Hopefully they are supposed to have a new gummy type product at the beginning of next year (GP).

  25. says

    I was wondering if anyone could tell me the difference between the liquid and the emulsified? The Oslo Orange flavor comes in emulsified only… is it still a liquid?

    • Martha says

      Yes, the emulsified Oslo Orange is a liquid. That is what my kids and I “like” best. The 3yo asks for seconds, the rest of us just take it quickly and drink milk or juice right away. We too take it with supper so those who burp from it only deal with it until bedtime.

  26. says

    I’m with the others asking about the dosage issue. My mother-in-law was told NOT to take CLO bc it can be easy to overdoes on the Vitamin D. Which begs the question: is MORE vitamin A&D in the FCLO really better?

    We’ve been taking CLO from TwinLab, which I thought was a recommended source. Is that not so?

    • Katie says

      Terri, The WAPF has changed recommendations recently, would be worth searching their website for your source. I will look into the overdosing on Vitamin D. :) Katie

  27. says

    Thanks so much for all the info. I always learn something new. I’m interested in the dosage recommendations as well, b/c we all take 2 capsules each morning and I thought we could just check it off the list.

    I also have a friend who only takes the CLO in the winter time when they all get less sun. I wonder, in your research, if it can be verified that we get enough Vit. D during summer time.

    I also didn’t realize until I just looked at the website again that they don’t sell the cinnamon gummy fish anymore. I bought them as our “vacation CLO” and at first they didn’t like them but now they love them. Bummer.

    The one tip I have is to add raw honey to the chocolate stuff. I was super disappointed when I first tasted it as well because it wasn’t sweet, so the honey made a HUGE difference and my 18 month old downed it after that.

    And I’ve noticed that if I eat a few bites of breakfast, take the CLO and then finish the rest of my food, I don’t burp it up. Just try to pile most of your meal on top of it, I guess.

    I’ve gone in with a couple of other real food friends and purchased a variety of 12 bottles (to get the discount) so that we could all taste them and see what we wanted to stick with. And whatever you don’t like, you can just figure out a way to choke it down until it’s gone and never get it again. This has worked for us…

    Looking forward to the Green Pasture interview!

      • Sarah W says

        Just wondering where you learned that 2 hours of direct sun per week is the right amount? …I’ve had difficulty addressing the whole sun-for-vit-D thing b/c I can’t find recommendations or a prescription for how much skin, how long, what time of day etc. And i’d have to imagine that this varies from person to person depending on their skin type and what not…

        • Katie says

          Oh, dear…I don’t always label the folders in my head very well… It may have been in conversation on the phone with Dave Wetzel of Green Pasture, but I’m really not sure. I am 100% certain of the figure itself, because I keep thinking about it as our early fall week went by, realizing that although 2 hrs/wk sounded really low, it probably was pretty hard to get in any time but summer.

          You know what? That might be in The Maker’s Diet. I think that’s pretty likely, because Jordan Rubin talked about taking less in the summer and more in the winter. I don’t know what counts as “direct” sunlight or how much skin has to show – I wonder the same as you! :) Katie

          • says

            It is my understanding that “direct exposure” to produce adequate vitamin D is a minimum of 15-20 minutes a day with your arms and legs completely exposed, no sunscreen. Sadly, many of us don’t get that much, even during the summer. Hence the low vitamin D “epidemic.”

            • Sarah W says

              OK… but what about people who live in cold climates and seldom if ever have anything but their face/partial face exposed to direct sunlight? Couldn’t the low vit D “epidemic” be dietary in a large part as well?

              I think there is something too to be said for “health fads.” Not that it’s not real, but we are constantly being able to measure and account for new things. I’ve heard that vit D has over 3000 different constituents or subtypes (not sure of the correct term), yet we have only been able to isolate a few of them, hence supplements like Vit D3, which is just ONE that we can measure and recreate in a lab and bottle and sell to consumers.

              And just as a personal anecdote, after Katie’s series this summer on sunscreens and vit D and what not, I decided that I would try to get some additional vit D while on vacation at the beach. It was after 4 pm and I put ONLY my legs in the sun for 10-15 minutes. I got burned!! Then I had to wear sunscreen for the rest of the week to keep from making it worse. What’s a fair skinned girl like me to do? (And my dad’s a dermatologist, so you can imagine what I was taught my whole life!)

              • says

                I agree with you about the dietary “fads,” but it is also a sad fact that our lifestyles have changed a lot in the past century and our exposure to sunlight has become negligent.

                Our bodies are going to be our best source of the D that we need. Dietary sources such as fish and eggs are second best. Synthetic supplements are third but are sometimes necessary. I have used Vit D3 on many of my patients who I have found to have levels as low as 5 or 6. These are typically older adults confined to home or a nursing facility. They don’t get sunlight and they don’t get the best diets. Good luck finding a recognizable piece of fish in a nursing home!

                If you live in a northern climate and don’t have adequate sunlight exposure, your best bet would be whole food sources to start with. What the research is showing is that supplements are helping to prevent falls in the elderly and the associated fractures and increased morbidity and mortality (sickness and death in layman’s terms) that accompany falls. They know it enhances immune function. Will we ever know every single type of vitamin D (really, it’s a hormone) or any other vitamin or nutrient? No? Nor will we ever know what other constituents in any particular food help said nutrients to work better or at all. That’s why whole food sources are generally the best.
                Calcium is a good example. If you eat naturally calcium rich foods, prepared properly, you will absorb much more of it than taking something awful like “oyster shell” calcium which can have dangerous levels of heavy metals (why maybe we usually don’t EAT the shells???) or Tums.

                Then again, as you state, there are dangers that come along with sun exposure. Fair skinned folks tend to burn, and having a blistering burn once or more, especially early in life puts you at higher risk of skin cancers. However, the catch is that if you have chronic exposure to the sun, such as someone who works on a farm in the south, there is actually a protective effect against melanoma. Go figure. The downside is that you will likely look like my leather jacket at age 60, but you take the good with the bad, right?

                So some caution is advisable. If you rarely, if ever, get “sun” and you are fair skinned (and it sounds like you are extremely fair like my son is-he NEVER tans, only burns and does so quickly), you really should be wearing sunscreen and avoiding midday sun. Freckles may be cute, but not so much actinic keratoses (precancerous lesions) and basal cell carcinoma.
                I’m luckier and can get 30 minutes or so without burning, which is about my limit of wanting to be out in the full sun anyway. There can be a real chasm of difference between what you should get and what you are able to get based on many other factors. That’s where supplements help.

                But before you dump all your regular CLO and buy fermented CLO (which is likely more expensive for a lot of reasons, being the “new thing” not least among them), continue to do your research. And if you come to my house, I’ll give you a dose of Vitamin D in the form of an omelet made with the eggs from my pastured hens out back!

                • Katie says

                  So…you’ll stick around here, right? Fabulous stuff! I love your balance. I’m going to end up giving away the whole Dave Wetzel/Green Pasture interview if I’m not careful, but I did appreciate that he made a distinction between “food” and “supplements” and that fermented cod liver oil is just…food. But eggs taste better!

                  The diet in America has changed a lot in the past century (and lifestyle), and I do think FCLO is trying to take a step backward to the “old” ways that worked for centuries. Who knows for sure? We go with what we notice working. And if my son wakes up in the morning without a massive cold, we’re sticking with the stinky stuff! :) Katie

              • Katie says

                Good call, Sarah. There have to be other sources of D than the sun.

                I’m sorry you got burned! I can’t believe how fast that happened. Shucks. Tip back the CLO! 😉 Katie

            • Katie says

              Thank you so much for this information! The Vit. D recommendations sound very familiar. I guess it’s nice to know the symptoms in case I start to love CLO and take multiple spoonfuls a day! 😉

              Thanks, Katie

              • Sarah W says

                Just felt like following up here. I asked my midwife to check my vit D levels along with the other routine bloodwork as part of my prenatal care. My vit D came back at 25 which is “insufficient” but not as bad as “deficient.” (30 and up is normal as Elizabeth said above). I know I don’t get very much sun exposure. I’d like to say I take FCLO every day, but it is probably more like 5 times a week (1 tsp or less), and I eat approx 2 free range eggs maybe 5 times a week as well. Those are probably my primary sources. Now I am thinking about how can I get a little more sun time in! Fortunately in NC it’s usually still warm during the day, but it’s not going to be easy for me!

  28. Jassica says

    I didn’t read all the comments, so I don’t know if this has already been posted. You did mention Yogurt as one of the mix-ins, and though this works for my kids, I too can’t stand taking more bites of yuck.

    I did find it helpful to chase the FCLO with about a quarter cup of yogurt and this DRASTICALLY cut down on fish-burps. HTH

    All that said, I’ve chickened out on the FCLO, though I need to get back into it since the cold and flu season is upon us. The kids and I have spent the last 2 winters catching one thing after another. I’ve never experienced this before, but we’re in a new country, and my daughter’s in a preschool program, so lots of new germ exposures!

    I think I still have some unopened bottles of FCLO in the pantry….hope it’s still good!


    • Katie says

      Good luck! I found that the raw honey with chocolate cream was a HUGE difference! Hope you find your best method – there are some really good ideas in the comments here, summed up also here.
      :) Katie

  29. Robin says

    We have the un-fermented GP CLO.

    I found some organic blueberry juice (I think it is blueberry with something else -apple maybe?) and put some in a tablespoon with a dose of CLO and butter oil for my son. We don’t normally drink juice, so he enjoys it. The strong flavor of the juice helps to hide the fishy flavor…a little bit 😉

  30. Rebecca S. says

    Our trick: Eat pickles after the FCLO. We take the plain kind straight, toward the back of the tongue, follow it with pickles and don’t hardly notice the taste.

  31. Susanne says

    I’m the only one taking FCLO oil in my household (so far). I actually like the Cinnamon Tingle and Chocolate Cream varieties – I take it plain on a spoon. I’ve tried the Orange Skate Oil, too – that was an acquired taste, and I managed to acquire it. Whew! I’ve got a bottle of Mediterranean on order, and am curious to see how I do with that. Now, the Flavor/Antioxident-Free FCLO/BO is another story… whoo-ee! *That* is definitely a challenging flavor for me.

  32. Erin says

    Do you have to worry about the FCLO spoiling?
    I’ve heard that if fish oil spoils it is very bad for you. But if it is already fermented….

    • Katie says

      Another good question – you are supposed to keep in in the fridge after opening, but there’s no expiration date…so…I don’t know what that means! :) Katie

  33. Sarah W says

    I just asked this question of Green Pastures and am awaiting a response. I am now trying the flavor and antioxidant free FCLO, and it solidified in the fridge – not very user friendly! – so I emailed and asked if I could keep it on the counter, and they said yes. My follow up question was how long before it spoils, if ever, and I haven’t heard back yet.

  34. Virginia says

    Can’t read all the comments, but wanted to share:

    I take my Orange Oslo FCLO with a kombucha chaser at breakfast – it’s perfect, the kick of the kombucha carbonation chases away the taste.

    My son takes his on a spoon mixed with a glug of molasses, his “iron supplement” in my mind. Works so well, and I was so thrilled, since I’d been trying to get molasses into his diet for the iron!

  35. Liz Salisbury says

    I’m currently watching Health, Beauty and Strength with Nourishing Traditional Diets with Sally Fallon, and in it she says that you can only get the proper Vitamin D from sunlight in mid-afternoon during July and August because that’s when the UV-B rays are at the appropriate levels…

  36. Vivian says

    I’ve been taking the fermented CLO for a couple of months now and am starting to notice that my skin is turning a bit yellow. I am wondering if the Vit A in it could be causing it. Any thoughts?

    I just pretend that I am swallowing a pill when I take mine (doable when it’s cold) and I almost taste nothing. It’s a trick that works well for me and I don’t lose any of it, versus putting it in a smoothie and sharing it with the blender and the glass.

  37. Sheri says

    We are taking the FCLO Arctic Mint flavor. It is the only one we’ve tried so far.

    My 13 and 10 year old boys both drink it in about 3 Tbsp. warm peppermint tea. Me and my 12 year old take it straight and chase it with kefir or kombucha.

    Someone else inquired about how it solidifies in the fridge. This is a problem for me as well. I am unclear on the response…. can FCLO be left at room temperature all the time after it has been opened?

    I have been letting mine sit on the counter until it liquefies and then putting it back in the fridge. This is a pain because the process of taking it each day is so drawn out and I get busy and forget about it sitting there. Anyone know the answer?

    • Sarah W says

      When I emailed and asked about that I was told I could leave it at room temperature all the time and when I asked if it would ever spoil, Dave replied “I’m not sure that it can spoil.” So I am leaving my bottle that would solidify in the cupboard and I’m hoping that helps motivate me to take it a little more regularly as well, b/c sometimes the rigamorol of taking a bunch of things out the fridge to make my “concoctions” makes me a little non-compliant. 😉 (I am currently on a bottle of flavor free. It’s the only one I’ve tried so far that solidified. Mediterranean and Orange and salty cod all stayed liquid in the fridge.)

    • Roberta says

      For FCLO (I used the chocolate kind) that is refrigerated and solidified, I’d just stick a table knife in it and scoop up about the amount I needed. I kept it in the fridge because I lived in a hot environment and didn’t want it to go rancid. The taste was bad, so I chased it with 1/2 teaspoon of royal-jelly paste (honey with propolis mixed in I believe), or a child’s calcium gummy bear.

      • Roberta says

        Also, keeping it refrigerated made the taste more tolerable – I read somewhere that cold foods are harder to taste, and also when I scoop up a bit from refrigerated FCLO, I’m able to swallow the teaspoon size lump more quickly and it doesn’t melt all over my mouth, and I don’t experience as much as the flavor.

  38. Heather says

    Hi, I just found this forum when searching for FCLO–I currently take Green Pasture’s, but was still searching for another brand. Now I realize there really is no other brand. I stay with it because it’s the only one, but I do have my hesitations and *issues* with the company. I went to a talk by Dave Wetzel and he stated that their FCLO was fermented in stainless steel vats. This by itself alarms me and sent off a major red flag in my mind–because I thought that all fermented foods should never touch metal! I make my own water kefir, yogurt and other fermented foods, so I have always understood this to be the case. Can you please ask Dave about this? I also have not found him to be the easiest person to get answers from… Does anyone else have any thoughts or information on this matter? I also wish there were other brands to chose from; I am skeptical of the “one company” thing, with no back-up information or research besides the comment of “biblical times,’ which is not very convincing. My own common sense and intuition, however, tell me that fermented anything is better than non-fermented. I give my children the gummy fish which he does not make anymore (I stocked up when they went on a close-up sale!). The only thing I don’t like about them is that they contained sugar, which I don’t normally give my kids, but they seem worth it to me than to try to struggle with giving my older son the FCLO from a spoon or mixed in, etc. I do wish Green Pastures would come up with a gummy fish again using stevia or another natural sweetener.

    • Katie says

      Dave is really a busy guy, so I understand that his customer service is at times understaffed.

      As far as metal, mostly those recommendations are from old times when the metal was corrosive. I use stainless steel on my sourdough and yogurt all this time with no ill results.

      I hope that helps shed some light….but you’re right, with somewhat scarce historical information on fermented CLO, at some point we just have to take a leap of faith when it comes to nutrition. That is tough to do…

      :) Katie

      • Heather says

        Hi Katie,

        Thanks for your reply :) And thanks for your input about the metal/stainless steel. I haven’t actually tried to ferment anything in ss, so I have no first-hand knowledge about this, and it’s good to hear that it causes no problems for you!

        I do really like the fermented cod liver oil and will continue to use it. Hopefully in the future there will be some more information about it, but I’m glad someone is making it for now.

        :) Heather

  39. Amanda says

    I wanted to respectfully say that I have followed much of what Weston A Price Foundation has recommended and that is why I tried the fermented cod liver oil from Green Pastures. But I have to say that I truely believe they are wrong on this one. I honestly think they have led people to believe that just because it is “raw” and “fermented” all buzz words to us, that it is better. I believe that FCLO was absolutely NOT meant to be food for us no matter what they say about the Roman soilders and Vikings. We have no quantitative way and truely knowing what all they ate. And all the studies that Weston A Price did was not with this gabage. Please do not follow blindly or throw out what your OWN mind and body are screaming at you just to believe what someone else says because frankly that is when a good thing can become a cult. I believe they are wrong on this and that people in this generation need to stick with what Weston A Price and what our own grandmothers have taken and taught us to take and that is regular cod liver oil. The fermented “sounds” better but use your brains and instints on this please and do not put this stuff into your body or the bodies of your precious children.

    • Katie says

      I truly appreciate your thoughts, and you’re right, the evidence on the romans is slim. Do you think the FCLO is actually dangerous to take, or just ineffective?
      Thanks, Katie

      • Amanda says

        Hi Katie,
        I do not see research that quantitatively shows that it is dangerous but there is very little known about this which is the first red flag to me. My personal belief is that at best it is not necessary and that at worst it is dangerous. I have through reviews ran across people who have had bad reactions to it. In my own family we all felt sick and got sinus blockage after taking it. We tried two days with the same effect. We never had any reactions from the regular cod liver oil and in fact have seen some really good things such as my husband’s psoriasis clearing, great mood lifting for all of us, much less cold/flu, etc There is clearly no good data to prove that the FCLO is good but there are numerous studies as well as testimonials from people as far back as the 1850s showing the great benefits of regular cod liver oil. I know it is getting harder to find good sources but we have got to keep trying and not just go with the FCLO in my opinion. It is almost like no one is questioning this new substance but blindly forcing themselves and loved ones to take it while our bodies are screaming no. I personally believe that God gave us great ability to know what to put in our bodies and what not to and children are really good at listening to this I believe. There is no real proof that I have seen that it is better than the cod liver oil we have been used to and that has been used by our grandmothers etc. The only sources people are using are Green Pastures themselves which I believe the creator probably means well and Weston A Price in which he is a big contributor to. I think these are not outside independent sources that we should go by. It is almost like people believe this is the only option for cod liver oil and this is not even close to the same substance nor is it what Weston A Price used so successfully.

        • Sarah W says

          What type of CLO did Weston Price and others use generations ago? What exactly is “regular” CLO? I thought the problem with most of the CLO products on the market today is the synthetic vitamins that are added back in. Synthetic Vit A in particular can be toxic if you OD on it… Is there anything that’s really like what they had a few generations ago or have we inserted too much technology and processing into the final product?

          • Amanda says

            Hi Sarah,
            What Weston A Price and others used was the Cod Liver Oil in which the process is to cook the livers and then exact the oil. To find the fermented variety you would have to look back farther than 150 years and then we really do not know EXACTLY what it was or if it was good or bad since there really is not much documentation from that time era nor were there “studies” into it. You are exactly right that too much synthetic vitamin A can be toxic. But it takes a lot unless you are pregnant than smaller amounts of synthetic A can be bad for the baby. From my research I understand there to be three types of CLO if you don’t count the fermented. The first being where it is totally cleaned and deodorized and basically you lose most of the natural vitamin A and D. Then they sometimes add the synthetic back in. Then there is where it is cleaned but not deodorized and retains some of the natural vitamin A and D. Garden of Life is a brand of this type I believe (the only brand I know of). Then the last group being where it is totally cleaned and deodorized but they retain the natural vitamins and add back in the natural vitamin A and D. Quantum high vitamin cod liver oil is one like that. This is what my family has been taking unfortunately they are discontinuing this brand. When I contacted the company this is what they told me “Premier Research Labs is discontinuing its Cod Liver Oil and Cod Liver Caps products because Norway will no longer sell the USP Wild Cod Oil outside of Scandinavia.” So to be honest I am on the hunt for another cod liver oil like this or I may do more research into the Garden of life brand. I know the vitamin D is not as high in this brand but other things may be more important. I am also curious if they nitrogen flash it which from my understanding is important to prevent rancidity. I plan to contact the company to find out more as well as look at some other brands to see if I can find a cod liver oil with natural vitamins added back in even if it not a high vitamin cod liver oil brand. I have “heard” that Twin Labs may be like this but I have not done the research to find out yet. I plan to do more research. Having a background in which I have a nutrition degree from Purdue University as well as my own personality causes me to always want to research things out to hopefully eventually find the truth.

            • Katie says

              Amanda – PLEASE come back and let me know when you find out some answers – that’s the kind of post I’d love to share with my readers. Thank you!!! Katie

        • Katie says

          Thank you so much for sharing your story – I have to say, my family was awfully darn sick this winter, our first taking FCLO (but not daily – we forgot a lot!). I stayed healthy myself, but the kiddos came down with a whole bunch of stuff. ??? I so WISH there was real research on this – there is a body of evidence that the way many companies are making CLO, with synthetic vitamins, isn’t so good, so you have to be picky. I believe there are a few other brands that are still pretty “clean”. Worth looking into!
          Thank you again, Katie

  40. says

    Just “food” for thought-the Vikings also used to put their newborn children out on a hillside in the open. If the child lived through the night it was deemed strong enough to stay in the community and if it didn’t, aka died of exposure or of being eaten by some creature, they believed it was because the child was weak.
    I’m just thinking that just because some ancient culture did something does not necessarily make it good for us or that we should try to emulate it.
    All of the research on fish oils have been done on medical grade purified fish oils with standardized doses and even these oils, which would be considered stripped of vitamins by the FCLO crowd, showed to be effective in improving skin conditions, mood, cholesterol, and also has an anticoagulant effect. I believe there is something inherent in the fish oil itself that is effective, not the vitamins that come along with it or the fermentation process.
    I am a believer that you should get the majority of your vitamins and minerals from real foods but this is one case where I think perhaps you don’t want to mess around with something that can’t be measured. At worst you could be consuming something that is rancid and causes oxidative stress to your body as well as potentially overdosing on Vitamin A or D and at best is likely to contain vitamin levels that although are naturally derived, are far below any therapeutic value.
    The newest recommendations for Vit D intake are 1000-4000 IU PER DAY with some camps recommending even more. As a comparison, a day spent in full sun with arms and legs exposed sans sunscreen can produce 10000 IU of Vit D in your body. Most of us don’t get enough exposure and should supplement it. I’ve used synthetic Vit D with patients and it is effective. I have never had anyone have a reaction to it or not be able to take it. Really no one should need Vit A supplements unless you have the measles (it shortens the duration of the disease and the severity). Get your A from beta carotene, a non-toxic water soluble form of Vit A found in youy red/yellow/orange fruits and veggies. It’ll also help give you a healthy glow!
    As a nurse practitioner I am not afraid to explore and employ holistic natural medicine but some of it can be dangerous and really expensive. Use caution and do research. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is!

    • Sarah W says

      Re: Beta carotene…. I used to use this as a supplement because it is a precursor to vit A… but I subsequently heard somewhere along the line that this is based on the presumption that a body can convert beta carotene into vitamin A and that in fact most people cannot / (or maybe that a body can only convert a small amount?). This also seems similar to the recommendations about flax seed as a way to get Omega-3, which also seems to be quite misleading as I have also learned that most bodies do not make Omega-3s out of ALA. What can you tell us about beta carotene actually becoming vit A in the body? Thanks!

      • Katie says

        All that sounds vaguely familiar…but I’m not sure that I can add anything to what you said. I know we need fat paired with our carrots…! 😉 Maybe you’ll get your answer here from others. :) Katie

    • Katie says

      I really appreciate ALL your perspectives, esp. the story of the poor Viking children! 😮

      Now you’ve got me thinking about the whole cod liver oil thing – fermented, not, certain “good” brands, any kind, synthetic…? Anything that has to do with supplements just drives me crazy b/c it’s so hard to tell if it’s “working” or doing absolutely nothing at all (or, worst case, actually harming). Sounds like you would NOT take fermented cod liver oil, then, but you would take the regular stuff?
      Thank you! :) Katie

      • says

        Katie-I have given my children regular cod liver oil when they are sick and I have taken some myself but not on a regular basis because I tend to bruise and bleed easily. I give my husband 1000-3000mg of omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil daily for his cholesterol. I had originally thought about trying FCLO but on further consideration and research I decided against it. When there is only one company making something and no proven research to back up the claims it makes me cautious, especially with something I would give my kids. Maybe the Germans will do some research on this stuff-they seem to better at that than we are here in the US! :)
        Sarah-I m not proposing using beta carotene supplements but rather obtaining those types of nutrients through food. What’s provided in carrots and red/green/yellow veggies and fruits is far superior to any supplement. Adding butter or olive oil to these makes the fat soluble vitamins absorbable. If you eat them alone, your body can’t absorb all of the nutrients. That’s why you should always eat your salad with fat. Never use fat free dressing or just plain vinegar (as I used to do on WW).
        There is a lot of nutrition information out there and a good naturopath can help too. Good luck!

  41. Amanda says

    I checked with Twinlabs and got this reply” The A & D is natural to the cod liver oil. We do not
    exchange it for synthetic A & D. Thanks for checking with us!”. I also called Garden of Life and was told that their cod liver oil was totally natural and had no synthetic vitamins in it. She did not know if it was nitrogen flushed but said it was vacuum sealed (?) since it was in a glass bottle. Twinlabs says to be nitrogen flushed. Garden of Life brand comes only in lemon/peppermint flavor and does not offer an unflavored. Twinlabs brand comes in unflavored or flavored varieties. I think I am just going to have to try one and see what we think as there is only so much information you can get over the internet/phone regarding a specific company and I am on the fence as to which I think seems better overall. Has any tried either one? Thanks

  42. Amanda says

    I have been researching about this further and one important thing to consider is that the main difference in how fish oil in the past was produced and how it is today is the molecular distillation process. While fish oil for over 150 years has been to boil it and extract the oil it is now necessary to purify further to extract all the contaminants in the fish due to the high levels of pollution in our generation. This can denature the structure some it depends on how long the process is done to the oil but without it while the levels may be acceptable levels that may still be very high in contaminants which is something that I think may be very dangerous about the fermented cod liver oil. They are fermenting fish livers that may very well be full of toxins. While I disagree with fermenting the fish to begin with and would prefer to just simply boil the fish liver and take the oil off the way it used to be done, it just may not be possible in our polluted generation. I would rather have safer from toxins if I have to pick. It is too bad we have not taken care of the earth God gave us.

  43. Nikolina says

    I’m not sure if the fermented butter oil/chocolate cream from Green Pastures has recently changed or not. I had no sooner ordered some, when I started reading that chocolate cream tasted pretty bad.
    When it came yesterday, I was anxious even about opening it, I was anticipating a very fishy smell, but I had no problem with it. It wasn’t bad at all.
    Next, of course, I had to actually take some. I had read somewhere that raw honey would help with the taste. I put a little honey on, stared at the spoon for a while and then, finally, made myself take it.
    To my surprise, I actually liked it. It didn’t taste bad at all. I gave some to my son. He didn’t want the honey but he still had no problem getting it down.
    I’m wondering if maybe there are two different chocolate cream flavors–one with simply cod liver oil and the other one, the butter oil/cod liver oil which I got. This one is really good.
    In fact, knowing that its what we’re both going to be taking, I already ordered more.
    With six, I not only saved money on each bottle, the shipping costs are almost the same as if I had ordered two bottles individually.

    • Katie says

      The raw honey made a huge difference for me with the chocolate cream! I think it’s all really just personal preference – some love the Mediterranean, and I can barely choke it down. ???

      Glad it worked well for you!
      :) Katie

      • Sarah W says

        I have found a difference from bottle to bottle sometimes. And I’ve since seen on GPs website some explanation of that. The first bottle of mediterranean I ever had tasted and smelled just like basil and I found it to be quite good, for fish oil. Subsequent bottles of medditerranean – totally GROSS!

    • Ali says

      You can get free shipping on even 1 bottle of Green Pasture’s products, plus a small discount, through Renewed Health Supply (google for website). I have no connection with them but heard about them on another blog and have had good service, plus no cost on shipping. At the price of this stuff, it’s good to save a little when you can.

  44. Nikolina says

    About the controversy about whether to take regular cod liver oil or fermented, these are some things that my own research has dug up.
    First, I called Carlson’s a few weeks ago and they told me that they do NOT put synthetic vitamins into their cod liver oil. What I have read on different sites, instead, is that the natural vitamins are replaced after the heating process and that, bowing to outside influences, they cut back on the amount of the Vitamin A because it can build up in the body, even though the original levels were well within safety limits. That’s why it was taken off the “best” list and why it was no longer recommended.
    I also read that in the l970’s, the Norwegian government urged all their people to take cod liver oil. That probably was in order to cut back on health care costs and have a healthier population. Norway is so far north that part of Norway is above the Artic Circle so they don’t see much sun for months at a time. Their bodies can well use the Vitamin D that the clo provides. Also, Norway does not export their highest grade of cod liver oil. They keep it for themselves, which is probably pretty smart of them–though, of course, unfortunate for us.
    I switched to the fermented myself based on wanting higher levels of the Vitamins A and D.
    I know how important Vitamin A is for the skin because when I was in high school, I had the worse acne in our graduating class. But, once I was told to try 10,000 units of Vitamin A a day, it was clear within two weeks. I felt like I’d stumbled on a miracle.
    I also read a couple blogs that said that Fermented Cod Liver Oil was supposed to be able to restore enamel on teeth and even heal cavities. Supposedly this was documented.
    I’m wondering if there’s a possibility that the fermented cod liver oil can create a die-off effect, like probiotics–ridding the body of toxins. Perhaps that’s why some people get sick when they start taking it.

    • Katie says

      Thank you for these great additions to the conversation and information here at this post! I’m always being challenged to think deeper by my readers; I love it! 😉 Katie

  45. says

    Hi Katie,
    Greetings from Singapore! I have just ordered our Green Pasture’s FCLO online, so I have to wait for another 4 weeks. I started my 5 year old daughter on Nordic Naturals CLO for the meantime. I found that juicing half of an orange and putting it on a shot class and adding the CLO — works best for my 5 year old. I wonder if FLCO tastes worse than normal CLO.. thanks for your article, lots of different ways of trying it out..


    • Katie says

      According to my 6yo, who actually likes the TwinLabs brand mint regular CLO, yes, definitely, the fermented stuff is much stronger. Hopefully the orange juice will still do the trick! 😉 Katie

  46. Amanda says

    I have finally figured out how to get past my gag reflex with the FCLO…perhaps it will help others. I purchased the FCLO/BO gel in chocolate cream and I agree it is truly disgusting. Oh well it’s an investment I can’t see wasting. So what I do is get some unrefined coconut oil and spread it over a spoon. Then I get some FCLO/BO out of the refrigerated bottle with a butter knife and lay it on top. Then I top it with some raw honey. And chase with plain milk kefir. Kind of extensive I know but I can only taste it 9 times out of 10 so it’s a win

  47. jacqueline joy says

    I have taken fish oil capsules frozen for years because my ND said that it would keep me from getting gall bladder problems from them as I had every time I tried to take them Will this work with these cod liver butter capsules or could it damage the nutrients in any way? Thanks. J

  48. Vanessa says

    I just got in my bottle of fermented cod liver oil after taking the capsules that contain a blend of the oil and the butter. I am curious if anyone has taken FCLO for relief of fibroid symptoms? I tried a rather heavy dose with the capsules and for the first time in years experienced a reduction in my symptoms (mainly extremely heavy bleeding and general hormonal imbalance). I purchased the oil so that I can take the higher level recommended to cease problems. After reading several of these posts I am a little concerned with the discrepancy over fermented versus non-fermented. Hoping someone can shed some light on this for me . . .

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