This month at Pasture Living, we will be doing a series about "In-Depth on Cod Liver Oil." This was one of the first health food, along with coconut oil, that my family consume daily since we started our journey of healthy living. The health community regards cod liver oil as the number one superfood and I will share with you why that is so. Hopefully by the end of this series, your eyes will be opened to this amazing elixir that has kept the ancient generations healthy and strong. Afterwards you may just be convinced why you MUST, and not just SHOULD, take cod liver oil. I promise it will be the best investment to you and your family's health and something you do not want to miss out.
Why Should I Take Cod Liver Oil if I'm Already Healthy?
We've learned the health effects of consuming fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) in adults, especially pregnant/nursing mothers and children. Now let's discuss why we need to consume FCLO, especially those of us who are healthy. "Healthy" is relative. In the old days, people worked the ground, reared their own animals and catch their own fish, consumed raw milk, meat from pasture-raised animals, eggs from pastured chicken, wild-caught fish, and they consumed plenty of healthy fats including livers and fish eggs. They also did not eat all the processed food that many of us eat today. Nowadays, many of us work indoors with jobs that require us to sit all day and the modern version of "healthy" is eating raw salad with a lot of processed salad dressings that may contain rancid oils, a diet of low-fat or even fat-free, and high in soy, all of which are detrimental to our health. And for the majority of us, we:
- Eat too much processed food. We eat out on most days, we buy frozen food and convenience food. We eat chips, sodas, juice, food ladened with MSG, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, salt, and grains, and we all choose low-fat food (not realizing that those savory snacks you munch on throughout the day on top of your frozen lunch and dinners are full of not just fats, but the wrong kinds of fats), creating havoc in our body and an imbalance of our body's pH level.
- Consume very little to no wild-caught fish, especially all of us in Singapore where wild fish is either rare or very expensive. Seafood is well known for its abundance in omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Farmed fish does not have the beneficial fatty acids content of wild fish and may contain contaminants and toxins, even artificial dyes (e.g. to make salmon more pink).
- Have an inactive lLifestyle (thus lack of vitamin D). Vitamin D is one of the most important building blocks for healthy life. Many of us who work or stay indoors most of the day and those living in countries where sun is not out all year round lack the natural vitamin D that is most potent when the sun is at its peak. Also, it is hard to get natural vitamin D from our modern diet that is full of processed food and not enough wild seafood where vitamin D is abundant.
"Primitive peoples instinctively chose vitamin-D-rich foods including the intestines, organ meats, skin and fat from certain land animals, as well as shellfish, oily fish and insects. Many of these foods are unacceptable to the modern palate." (source).
"The assimilation and utilization of vitamin D is influenced by the kinds of fats we consume. Increasing levels of both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids in the diet decrease the binding of vitamin D to D-binding proteins. Saturated fats, the kind found in butter, tallow and coconut oil do not have this effect. Nor do the omega-3 fats. D-binding proteins are key to local and peripheral actions of vitamin D. This is an important consideration as Americans have dramatically increased their intake of polyunsaturated oils (from commercial vegetable oils) and monounsaturated oils (from olive oil and canola oil) and decreased their intake of saturated fats over the past 100 years. In traditional diets, saturated fats supplied varying amounts of vitamin D. Thus, both reduction of saturated fats and increase of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats contribute to the current widespread D deficiency. Trans fatty acids, found in margarine and shortenings used in most commercial baked goods, should always be avoided. There is evidence that these fats can interfere with the enzyme systems the body uses to convert vitamin D in the liver." (source)
- Lack natural vitamin A. Animal fats are sources of true vitamin A. Vitamin A from plants (fruits and vegetables) are not enough and we over-consumed meat that are barn/farmed raised, which lacks the naturally-occurring vitamin A. (source)
"Vitamin A levels are far too low in the modern American diet compared to primitive diets. Primitive peoples consumed very high levels of vitamin A from organ meats, insects, fish eggs, fish heads, liver and fish liver oils, as well as from butterfat and egg yolks from grassfed animals. Most of our animals are raised in confinement today and many of the vitamin A-rich foods are unacceptable to modern palates." (source)
These reasons alone explain how cod liver oil is essential to those of us who are taking our first baby steps towards healthy living, even for the healthiest people in our culture. You will see how your body and skin will start to improve and notice an increase in energy.
Read here if you are worried about consuming too much vitamins A and D and risks of toxicity.
Next we will discuss what to look for in FCLO and what is the best brand of FCLO around.