We have learned how beneficial fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) is for our health, now let's discuss what to look for in FCLO and what is the best brand out there.
What To Look For in Cod Liver Oil? What is the Best Brand?
"When I began to import cod liver oil, in order to sell it along with the high-vitamin butter oil I was manufacturing, I felt it imperative to go to Iceland and Norway to visit the various cod liver oil factories there. At that time, most cod liver oil in America was imported from Scandinavia, with a small amount coming from China. To summarize my findings, all the factories were engaged in industrial processing of cod liver oil, which involved alkali refining, bleaching, winterization and deodorization. Each of these steps, especially the deodorization, removes some of the precious fat-soluble vitamins, especially vitamin D" - David Wetzel, founder of Green Pasture, the only company that makes FCLO the traditional way)
The Traditional Cod Liver Oil, the Way It Was Always Done
1. Fermentation Method. Traditionally, cod liver oil has always been processed via fermentation and without heat. Fishermen put the livers into a barrel with a bit of sea water and let it ferment. Most cod liver oil we see today is highly processed (with heat) which causes oxidative damage. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly vulnerable to oxidative damage when heated (a process called rendering), which turns them rancid. Rancid oils form free radicals that leads to premature aging and many diseases, including cancer. Fermenting CLO makes the oils very stable and resistant to oxidative damage. Fortunately, there is still one company that still follows the traditional ways of fermenting cod liver oil. It is listed as the "best" FCLO by Weston A. Price Foundation and the health community. The company is Green Pasture. Fermenting CLO takes between six to twelve months, that's why no one wants to do it this way anymore. Industrialized processing of extracting CLO takes only a day but removes the natural and highly beneficial nutrients in them. Fermenting cod liver oil not only retains all its natural nutrients, but enhances it.
|Stages of fermentation of cod liver oil (Image source)|
2. No-Added Vitamins Added. Most brands of cod liver oil is stripped of all the natural vitamins through industrial processing and the result is very low levels of vitamin A and virtually no vitamin D, thus synthetic vitamins A and D need to be added to make up for the loss.
3. Balanced ratio of vitamin A and D. This article explains in detail why it is not recommended to take cod liver oil that are low in vitamin D. Essentially, vitamin A and D protect each other against the toxicity of the other. Green Pasture FCLO has been tested to have a balanced (and ideal) ratio of vitamin A and D of 5:1, which is important for optimal health benefits. Most cod liver oils have excessive vitamin A (preformed retinol) and very little vitamin D. Imbalanced ratio of vitamin A to D is unhealthy, much like the imbalance ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids which can lead to health problems (That's why it's important to eat the right kinds of fats!).
"Nearly all brands of cod liver oil provide a token amount of vitamin D, typically a mere 400 to 1,200 IU of vitamin D per tablespoon but anywhere between 4,000 to 30,000 IU of vitamin A. This is clearly inappropriate. About the lowest ratio I have seen is ten times as much vitamin A as vitamin D but, as I stated above, it can be as high as 12,000 times as much vitamin A." (source)
|Check the labels! This is an example of very|
low vitamin D to A ratio in cod liver oil.
Here is a summary of Green Pasture's Purity Statement. This is why their FCLO is the best of all.
- Whole Food Form
- Wild, as Provided by Nature
- Real, Unsurpassed Nutrition
- Natural fatty acid complex, nothing removed or changed
- Full, deep range of Vitamins A, D, E, K; CoQ enzymes; and other quinones
- Deep, Rich, Historical Processing Methods
- Non-industrialized Production
- Clean, Pure, and Third Party Tested
They also guarantee that:
- All their fish are exclusively wild caught in and around the Arctic region. A substantial amount of today's cod liver oil is produced from farmed fish.
- All their fermented fish oils are pure using traditional methods of production
- There will be no compromise on nutrient quality and integrity by any industrial means that will damage or remove flavors, odors, colors, textures and/or nutrients.
So all of the above is what you want to look for in cod liver oil. There are other ones considered "good" by WAPF, but if you can get the best one, why not? :) If Green Pasture FCLO is not available in your area, you can check WAPF website for brand recommendations. I will not recommend any CLO that is not listed there.
Green Pasture is a company I will recommend again and again for their integrity and values. You can take a peek into what their farm and facility look like here and here.
Next we will discuss the differences between FCLO, regular CLO, and regular fish oil.
Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with Green Pasture nor am I paid to write a review about their products. I'm just a very satisfied consumer and believe in the effectiveness of Green Pasture FCLO. All opinions are completely my own.