Best Sources of Omega 3 and the Controversy Over Cod Liver Oil

Best Sources of Omega 3 and the Controversy Over Cod Liver Oil

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been associated with many health benefits. We know that Omega 3 helps patients with dry eyes, it decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and helps with the health of many other organs of the body. We now even know that Omega 3 has a neuroprotective effect and even increase macular pigment optical density (which is very good news if you have a family history of macular degeneration.)

But the best way to take Omega 3 remains controversial.

As I mentioned in previous posts, Omega 3 supplements is a multimillion dollar industry and many people have a vested interest in “their Omega 3 being the best.”

The number of randomized, controlled, double blinded studies are few. I could only find 1 last time I checked and it was sponsored by the company who made the Omega 3 pill recommended: PRN.

I recommend a balanced approach: eating natural versions of Omega 3 as much as possible: wild Sockeye Salmon is my favorite. But it is impossible to eat 2000-4000mg per day of salmon.

In a previous post, I went through a list of Omega 3 sources:

Here below, I dive into the controversy. 

While I respect Dr. Mercola to a degree, I do wonder if he does have a bias or vested interest against Cod Liver Oil.

For years, Cod Liver Oil has been given to children around the world (cue Little Raschals episodes). The risk of overdoing Cod Liver Oil and causing excess Vitamin A or Vitamin D intake is likely rare: could not find a study on pubmed noting a huge risk. 

Currently, I take Nordic Naturals:

Some MDs, recommend Udo’s Oil.
It is frustrating as most of us have to choose a product we hope has the right amount of Omega 3 for us without risks. Who should you trust? I am still looking for a good study comparing some of the best brands, but I have not found one yet. 

Sandra Lora Cremers, MD, FACS

Cod Liver Oil:
1 Tablespoon contains 2664mg Omega 3

The Controversy on Cod Liver Oil is below.

A Response to Dr. Joe Mercola on Cod Liver Oil

On December 23, 2008, Dr. Joseph Mercola, owner of the popular holistic website, issued a statement, “Important Cod Liver Oil Update,” in which he rescinded his long-standing recommendation to take cod liver oil. The Weston A. Price Foundation received dozens of inquiries about this statement and it is for this reason that we have devoted much of this issue to the subject of cod liver oil.

Mercola’s official pronouncement is a strange mixture of true statements and illogical sequelae, conflicting reasoning and unexplained omissions. While it is unfortunate that Mercola has joined establishment voices against vitamin A, what concerns us most is not the fact that Dr. Mercola disagrees with us, but that he misrepresents the WAPF message on the importance of vitamin A in the modern diet.
The following is a point-by-point rebuttal, with Mercola’s statements in bold.
Mercola Statement: For years, I have recommended cod liver oil as a dietary supplement to support healthy vitamin D levels. However, based on more recent findings, I am updating my recommendations regarding cod liver oil, as it may not serve you as well as previously believed. My previous recommendation was based on the fact that cod liver oil contains vitamins D and A in addition to healthy omega-3 fats. These vitamins are essential for most everyone who cannot get regular sun exposure year-round.
WAPF Response: It is a true statement that vitamins A and D are essential for “most everyone” but contrary to the implication that follows, we do not get vitamin A from sunlight. Mercola is correct in stating that cod liver oil may not serve us as well as previous believed. That is because most cod liver oil today has had a large part of the vitamin D removed during processing. We warned our readers about this situation in an article on the manufacture of cod liver oil in the Winter 2005 issue of Wise Traditions. This is why we recommend only those brands of cod liver oil that contain adequate vitamin D (as well as adequate vitamin A).
Mercola Statement: But more recent research has discovered that the ratios of these two vitamins may be of paramount importance in order to extract optimal health benefits, and unfortunately, modern cod liver oil does not supply these vitamins in healthy ratios to each other.
WAPF Response: A detailed explanation of this research was compiled by Chris Masterjohn and published in Wise Traditions, Fall, 2005 (Vitamin A on Trial: Does Vitamin A Cause Osteoporosis?). The Weston A. Price Foundation was the first organization to provide the public with this important information. We noted that most—but not all—cod liver oil does not supply vitamins A and D together in the right ratio. Mercola avoids telling his readers that we can still obtain cod liver oil that contains adequate vitamin D, a fact with which he is surely familiar since he seems familiar with all the other information on cod liver oil posted at
Basically, adults need about 1000 IU vitamin D daily to avoid vitamin A toxicity. This can be supplied by a dose of a recommended brand of cod liver oil that provides 10,000 IU vitamin A, which is a completely safe dose of natural vitamin A. Our recommended brands of cod liver oil are listed in our shopping guide and posted on our website.
At least 2,000 genes, or nearly 10 percent of your genes, have been identified that are directly influenced by vitamin D, which in turn impact a wide variety of health issues, from preventing the common cold and flu to inhibiting at least sixteen different types of cancer. There’s even evidence linking vitamin D to the process of brain detoxification of heavy metals such as mercury.
Widespread vitamin D deficiency has also been strongly linked to the childhood epidemics of autism, asthma, and diabetes, both type 1 and 2. Vitamin A, which is essential for your immune system just like vitamin D, is also a precursor to active hormones that regulate the expression of your genes, and they work in tandem. For example, there is evidence that without vitamin D, vitamin A can be ineffective or even toxic. But if you’re deficient in vitamin A, vitamin D cannot function properly either.
WAPF Response: These statements are all true. The information about the importance of balance between vitamins A and D comes from our website.
Mercola Statement: There are many problems with modern cod liver oil but one of the primary ones is that there is no standard definition of what constitutes cod liver oil. Manufacturers are free to add or subtract as much vitamin A or D as they see fit.
WAPF Response: This is a true statement to which we have alerted our readers in several places on our website. When it comes to cod liver oil, it is important to read the labels!
Mercola Statement: In fact cod liver oil was discovered in the sewers of England several hundred years ago by starving children who drank it and scientists noticed they did not get rickets. Cod liver oil is in fact a highly processed food that was never consumed by humans prior to this.
WAPF Response: Reference please?? In fact, for thousands of years, traditional peoples from Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Russia, North America and the South Seas have valued the oil from cod and other species of fish and shark. Medical research on the benefits of cod liver oil dates back to the 1700s. The notion of cod liver oil running through the sewers of England is ludicrous—if cod liver oil is a new, highly processed food, how did it get into those English sewers hundreds of years ago? How could it have been manufactured before it was even discovered?
There have been two recent meta-analyses done. The first one showed that people who took vitamin A supplements in cod liver oil, or in supplements, had an 18 percent increase in death rates.
WAPF Response: Mercola is referring to a meta-analysis by Bjelakovic and others published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2007 Feb 28;297(8):842-57), cited in the Cannell study and discussed in depth on page 23. This analysis looked at selected randomized trials involving adults given beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium. By manipulating the data in a certain way, the researchers claimed they found an association with supplement consumption, including vitamin A consumption, and increased mortality. Actually, only two of the studies included in the meta-analysis involved vitamin A given alone, neither of which even mentioned cod liver oil. Both were small studies and in neither did the authors claim that vitamin A had any effect on mortality. By referring to the meta-analysis rather than the individual studies, Cannell was able to avoid mentioning the fact that the two small studies offered no useful information about the effect of vitamin A on mortality.
Mercola Statement: The other study showed that unlike third world countries where vitamin A supplementation appears to decrease infections, vitamin A supplementation in developed countries like the U.S. actually increases infections.
The researchers believe this is due to massive nutritional deficiencies in the third world because most of their calories are from grains and they simply don’t have an opportunity to consume as many fresh fruits, vegetables, butter, eggs and other vitamin A-containing foods that those in the developed world do.
In fact current research could not find any vitamin A deficiency at all, but approximately 5 percent had vitamin A toxicity. The converse is true in the third world where vitamin A toxicity is virtually unheard of, yet vitamin A deficiency is pervasive.
WAPF Response: As discussed in the sidebar “Does Vitamin A Increase the Risk of Infections?” in Chris Masterjohn’s article “The Cod Liver Oil Debate,” the analysis cited by Mercola did not even look at vitamin A supplementation in the U.S. but was a meta-analysis that pooled the results of nine studies conducted in India, Ecuador, Indonesia, Brazil, Ghana, Mexico and the Republic of Congo. Several of these studies have suggested that vitamin A may reduce the incidence of respiratory infection in malnourished children but increase it in well-nourished children, but none of them present evidence that the effect of vitamin A depends on vitamin A status or that vitamin A is helpful in the Third World but harmful in the developed world.
A number of studies included in the meta-analysis showed vitamin A to have no effect on respiratory infections while nevertheless reducing severe diarrhea by over 20 percent, gastrointestinal-associated mortality by over a third, infection-associated mortality by half, and measles incidence by 95 percent. The general picture that emerges from the scientific literature is that vitamin A consistently reduces mortality from severe infectious diseases but has a more complicated relationship to lower respiratory infections that we still do not completely understand.
Mercola Statement: Additionally new research has shown that vitamin D protects against cancer. But a paradox was found as those with higher vitamin D levels did not seem to have this benefit. A bright Harvard researcher carefully analyzed the data in the study that showed this and found that when he removed the people with high vitamin A and vitamin D levels, those with normal vitamin A levels and high vitamin D levels continued to have reduced risk of colon cancer. So those that did not take vitamin A had the protective effect from higher levels of vitamin D.
WAPF Response: In this report, which was based on data drawn from the Nurses’ Healthy Study and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, 2007, total intake of vitamin D from foods and supplements was associated with a lower risk of colon cancer when total vitamin A intakes were below 5,000 IU, but not when total vitamin A intakes were above 5,000 IU. The vitamin D intakes in this study, however, were very low. Even the 20 percent of people consuming the most vitamin D consumed an average of less than 600 IU. If the participants were receiving a lot of sunshine, the thousands of IU from that source would likely have diluted any effect of the vitamin D, so the strong association at low vitamin A intakes suggests they were not receiving much sunshine. Basic adequacy of vitamin D status would require over three times the highest intakes consumed in the study.
In order to truly indict intakes of over 5,000 IU of vitamin A as excessive, evidence should be provided from a population consuming adequate vitamin D. As soon as someone begins taking vitamin D supplements at the levels recommended by Dr. Mercola and the Vitamin D Council, they are no longer a member of the vitamin D-deficient population studied in the Nurses’ Health Study so the results of that study do not apply to them. It must be emphasized, moreover, that correlations never show causation. We can use the observations in this study to hypothesize that high vitamin A intakes antagonize the beneficial effects of vitamin D intakes when vitamin D intakes are very low, but in order to demonstrate this premise, studies must be performed showing that increasing vitamin D intakes or decreasing retinol intakes reduce the risk of colon cancer compared to controls.
Mercola Statement: Other research is now showing a connection between high levels of vitamin A and osteoporosis. In fact many Scandinavian countries that regularly supplement with cod liver oil have rampant osteoporosis even though they are getting adequate amounts of oral vitamin D.
WAPF Response: We have thoroughly addressed the problems of osteoporosis in Scandinavian countries in an article published in the Winter 2005 issue of Wise Traditions (Vitamin A on Trial: Does Vitamin A Cause Osteoporosis?). The vitamin A in this study does not come from cod liver oil but from milk and cereals to which vitamin A is added. In the context of a vitamin D-deficient diet, consumption of high levels of synthetic vitamin A was associated with a higher risk of osteoporosis. Although human and animal evidence strongly suggests that vitamin A can only exert harm against the backdrop of vitamin D deficiency, it also suggests that the body’s requirements for vitamin A are even higher than once thought.
Mercola Statement: Dr. John Cannell, head of the Vitamin D Council, along with fifteen other researchers, recently released an article “Cod Liver Oil, Vitamin A Toxicity, Frequent Respiratory Infections, and the Vitamin D Deficiency Epidemic” in the November issue of Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology. In this paper Dr. Cannell raised questions about the efficacy of cod liver oil due to its highly variable and frequently excessive amount of vitamin A. Typically modern cod liver oil contains far less vitamin D than it used to, due to the deodorization process used today which removes much of this essential nutrient.
WAPF Response: Most of this paper is a review of studies showing the benefits of vitamin D in protecting against various illnesses, including respiratory infection. This paper does not present any information whatsoever indicating that cod liver oil is toxic and, in fact, admits that vitamin A can significantly reduce the incidence of acute lower respiratory tract infections in Third World children.
A portion of the review article is an attempt to explain why a 2004 study providing 600 to 700 IU of vitamin D and 3,500 IU of vitamin A in the form of cod liver oil and a multivitamin failed to meaningfully reduce upper respiratory tract infections when studies from the 1930s found that cod liver oil could reduce the incidence of these infections by 30 to 50 percent. The authors of the recent commentary suggested that the older studies were more effective because cod liver oil in the 1930s contained much more vitamin D. They suggested that modern cod liver oil is low in vitamin D because the deodorization process removes the vitamin while manufacturers fortify the oil with only a fraction of the original amount. As an example, they cited cod liver oil made by Nordic Naturals, advertised as containing only “naturally occurring vitamins A and D,” which has only 3 to 60 IU of vitamin D per tablespoon but between 150 and 12,000 times as much vitamin A.
This conclusion is essentially the same as the conclusion reached by the Weston A. Price Foundation and the research of Chris Masterjohn; we have continually pointed out that vitamins A and D work together and that without vitamin D, vitamin A can be ineffective or even toxic. We do not recommend Nordic Naturals regular cod liver oil or any brand of cod liver oil that is low in vitamin D.
But it is completely inappropriate to conclude from this 2004 study that cod liver oil is toxic because of its vitamin A content. Similar reviews could be put together showing the benefits of vitamin A and cod liver oil in numerous studies—see the sidebar below for a list of recent studies showing a wide range of benefits from cod liver oil. Obviously the solution is to use the type of cod liver oil that people took in the 1930s, which did not have most of the vitamin D removed by modern processing techniques.
During the first half of the century, cod liver oil was the focus of a worldwide health initiative. Parents were urged to give cod liver oil to their children by doctors, by government officials, by teachers and principals in schools, and even by their ministers in churches. A large portion of adults in America born before the Second World War received cod liver oil as children and this practice contributed to a high level of health, intelligence and physical development in those lucky enough to receive it. In Europe in many countries, children received a daily ration of cod liver oil, especially during the war years. In the UK, for example, the government issued cod liver oil to all growing children until the early 1950s. The cod liver oil used during this period was obviously not toxic, but contributed to the good health of a whole generation of people. Surely the answer is to provide the current generation with the benefits of the same kind of cod liver oil.
Mercola Statement: Dr. Cannell and other prominent researchers believe the vitamin A contained in most cod liver oil is excessive, and can reduce the effectiveness of vitamin D by inhibiting the binding of its active form to your DNA, effectively preventing its ability to regulate the expression of your vitamin D-responsive genes.
WAPF Response: According to a comment posted on the Internet, Dr. Veith, the second author of the paper and a prominent vitamin D researcher, does not agree with Cannell’s outright ban of cod liver oil. Dr. Veith is ultimately concerned with the possibility of vitamin A toxicity, but he stated that one teaspoonful per day of cod liver oil is not of concern (
While Mercola states earlier that vitamins A and D are synergistic, he now states that vitamin A antagonizes the actions of vitamin D. The Vitamin D Council report claims that the vitamin A in cod liver oil is excessive and antagonizes vitamin D by inhibiting the binding of its active form to DNA and thus prevents its ability to regulate the expression of vitamin D-responsive genes.
Vitamins A and D are both precursors to active hormones that regulate the expression of genes. The body possesses certain enzymes that convert each of these in a two-step process to their active forms: vitamin A is converted to retinol and then to active retinoic acid while vitamin D is converted to calcidiol and then to active calcitriol. While directly consuming either retinoic acid or calcitriol would be unnatural, consuming vitamins A and D, together, as in cod liver oil, is perfectly natural. The enzymes involved in these conversions are responsible for producing incredibly powerful hormones and are therefore highly regulated.
In order for vitamin D to activate the expression of its target genes, it must bind to the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and then combine with the retinoid X receptor (RXR), which is activated by a particular form of vitamin A called 9-cis retinoic acid. Researchers from Spain recently showed that vitamin D can only effectively activate target genes when its partner receptor is activated by vitamin A.
Mercola Statement: The Weston Price Foundation, of which I am an advisory [honorary] member, holds a contradictory view. They believe vitamin D can only effectively target genes when its “partner receptor” is activated by vitamin A. If vitamin A is absent, certain molecules called co-repressors bind to the receptors and prevent vitamin D from functioning. It is their position that cod liver oil is still a highly recommended supplement.
WAPF Response: Dr. Mercola is no longer a member of the Weston A. Price Foundation honorary board. Research does indeed indicate that vitamin D can only effectively target genes when its partner receptor is activated by vitamin A.
Mercola Statement: After reviewing the evidence, I am personally convinced that there is sufficient vitamin A in the current American diet to facilitate sufficient vitamin D activation. This does not appear to be the case in third world countries, where cod liver oil, or some other preformed retinol supplement, would still be useful.
WAPF Response: Please supply us with this evidence. Where does the average American get vitamin A in the modern diet? If vitamin A in the American diet is adequate for vitamin D activation, why are Cannell and Mercola obliged to recommend such high levels of vitamin D—levels much higher than those found in traditional diets—in order to bring serum vitamin D levels into the normal range?
However, even the Weston Price Foundation acknowledges that there are dangerous versions of cod liver oil out there, even from some highly reputable companies like Nordic Naturals, which produces a cod liver oil that is clearly excessive in vitamin A as it only has 3 to 60 units of vitamin D per tablespoon but between 150 and 12,000 times as much vitamin A. It’s a delicate balance.
Both vitamins are essential to obtain optimal health benefits, however, the ratios can become dangerously unbalanced—much like the omega- 3/omega-6 balance, which has become inversed in our modern diet.
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.
First of all, this is clearly an insufficient amount of vitamin D for even the smallest child. This is in part due to the government recommendations, which are FAR too low to offer any health benefits; the recommended daily dosage being no more than 200 to 600 IU, depending on age. Meanwhile, researchers have since established that the therapeutic dosage is anywhere between 2,000 to 10,000 IU per day, depending on your weight and other factors, such as skin color and level of regular sun exposure. (Some people may require, and can safely take, as much as 20,000 IU daily.)
WAPF Response: A dose of 1000 IU vitamin D daily is adequate to avoid problems with vitamin A in adults. If the ratio of A to D in cod liver oil is 10 to 1, then it is easy to obtain a safe amount of vitamin A along with an adequate amount of vitamin D.
Mercola Statement: Consuming such high amounts of vitamin A as contained in cod liver oil and most multi-vitamins, while not getting nearly enough vitamin D, combined with the fact that most people are deficient in vitamin D to begin with, could potentially cause vitamin A to become toxic.
WAPF Response: We agree with this statement and have consistently warned people not to use multivitamins and not to take brands of cod liver oil that are low in vitamin D.
Mercola Statement: The concern Dr. Cannell and the other researchers have is that vitamin A in cod liver oil is excessive and actually antagonizes vitamin D by inhibiting the binding of its active form to DNA and thus preventing its ability to regulate the expression of vitamin D-responsive genes.
WAPF Response: As stated earlier, vitamin A can be toxic when vitamin D is absent. Vitamin A does not antagonize vitamin D—both are needed for optimal assimilation. It would be amazing if vitamins A and D were antagonistic since they are so often found in the same foods.
Mercola Statement: The Weston Price Foundation’s strong belief is that vitamin A is not at all toxic but is necessary for optimal vitamin D function. However they believe there is sufficient vitamin A in the diet of most Americans, especially if they are taking a multivitamin.
WAPF Response: If Dr. Mercola is so familiar with all the information on cod liver oil on our website, how can he make this fundamental misrepresentation of Dr. Price’s research? Our primary message is that 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. Since most of our animals are raised in confinement today, and many of the vitamin A-rich foods are unacceptable to modern palates, we recommend taking cod liver oil on a daily basis. We have never recommended taking a multivitamin. Likewise, we have never stated that vitamin A is “not at all” toxic.
Mercola Statement: In the third world this is not the case and they would likely benefit from vitamin A supplementation.
WAPF Response: Why would the average Westerner have more sources of vitamin A in the diet than people in the Third World? At least in the latter, people who are not literally starving are more likely to eat organ meats, fish heads, insects and other sources of vitamin A. But it is certainly true that children in the Third World have greatly benefited from vitamin A supplementation. Why would children in the West be any different?
Mercola Statement: The Weston Price Foundation does not agree with Dr. Cannell’s conclusion that cod liver oil itself may cause vitamin A toxicity, however they also do not recommend taking any cod liver oil that is low in vitamin D. Yet even their recommendations, in my opinion have far too low amounts of vitamin D to be clinically useful. But more importantly it appears that the high amounts of vitamin A may limit the effectiveness of vitamin D even if more is taken in addition to that received in the cod liver oil.
WAPF Response: As shown in the sidebar below, “A Preliminary Look at the Effects of Cod Liver Oil on Vitamin D Levels,” we are seeing good serum D levels in people taking balanced cod liver oil without supplemental vitamin D; Cannell and Mercola are recommending very high levels of vitamin D supplementation to get the same results. We have a genuine concern that such high levels without supporting vitamin A could suppress the immune system and be toxic in other ways. Too much vitamin D can result in calcification of the kidneys, arteries, joints and other soft tissues.
Mercola Statement: Although it’s still unclear exactly what the balance should be, Dr. Cannell and most of the prominent expert researchers in this area believe that the ratios of these two essential nutrients likely should be reversed from those typically seen in cod liver oil, as you need far greater amounts of vitamin D as opposed to vitamin A.
WAPF Response: Reference please?? If Cannell is unclear what the balance should be, why is he recommending a ratio that is impossible to achieve in traditional diets? It may be possible in primitive diets to obtain an A-to-D ratio of approximately 1:1 from food, but certainly not 1:10. This can only be done with modern supplements.
Mercola Statement: After carefully reviewing the arguments on both sides of the issue I am convinced that Dr. Cannell’s approach is far more likely to be consistent with producing high levels of health and decreased illness.
WAPF Response: What’s needed is a study comparing the health status of individuals taking a balanced cod liver oil and those taking large amounts of vitamin D without cod liver oil, as recommended by Cannell and Mercola. Meanwhile, it would be wise to err on the side of traditional diets, which generally contained higher levels of A than D in terms of International Units.
As the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency (which would benefit from cod liver oil) in the U. S. is much lower than the prevalence of subclinical vitamin A toxicity, while most everyone suffers from vitamin D deficiency, I no longer recommend taking cod liver oil for either adults or children. You’re likely getting the vitamin A you need if you regularly consume fresh vegetables high in this nutrient, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, and other colorful fruits and vegetables, and butter especially, if obtained from grass-fed cows.
WAPF Response: Here Dr. Mercola repeats the myth that we can obtain adequate vitamin A from plant foods. We have thoroughly explored this topic and shown that plant foods are a very poor source of vitamin A for humans, especially for babies and children, diabetics, and those suffering from thyroid and digestive disorders. (See Vitamin A Saga.)
Mercola Statement: Although you can obtain vitamin D from your diet, it is very difficult, and I believe it is very unnatural. It is my strong belief that we were designed to obtain virtually all of our vitamin D from exposing appropriate areas of our skin to sunshine. If this is not possible, the next best choice would be exposure to UVB rays from safe tanning beds, and if that is not possible then one should resort to a high quality vitamin D3 supplement.
WAPF Response: Why is it unnatural to get vitamin D from the diet? Is it more unnatural than taking vitamin D pills? What did our ancestors do during the winter months? Mercola was not there to sell them vitamin D pills or tanning beds. Even in the tropics, traditional peoples obtained high amounts of vitamin D from their food.
Mercola Statement: As it stands, it is my strong belief that you’re simply not getting the appropriate balance of vitamin A to vitamin D from cod liver oil, which is why I believe it is best to avoid it.
WAPF Response: With the right brands of cod liver oil, it is indeed possible to get the right balance of A and D and a myriad of well documented health benefits.
Mercola Statement: Please note that this new recommendation does NOT apply to either fish oil or krill oil, as neither of them contain the vitamins A or D, but rather are excellent sources of essential omega-3 fats. EVERYONE still needs a regular high quality source of these absolutely essential and vital nutrients.
WAPF Response: Dr. Mercola sells krill oil. Is this why he recommends it? The omega-3 fatty acids in krill oil are likely to be highly damaged from heat treatment during industrial processing. (See our description of krill oil manufacture in David Wetzel’s article, “Update on Cod Liver Oil Manufacture.”) In addition, there is a danger from over-dosing on omega-3 fatty acids, which can depress the immune system and potentially lead to cancer. By taking a high-vitamin cod liver oil, you can obtain adequate vitamins A and D without overdosing on omega-3 fatty acids.
Mercola Statement: Another potential point of confusion is that beta carotene is not a concern, as that is PRE vitamin A. Your body will simply not over convert beta carotene to excessive levels of vitamin A. So taking beta carotene supplements is not going to interfere with vitamin D.
WAPF Response: Several studies have shown that taking betacarotene supplements result in higher mortality. The body cannot convert beta-carotenes into adequate levels of vitamin A. To achieve optimum health, we need liberal amounts of preformed vitamin A from foods like liver, seafood, butter, egg yolks and cod liver oil, along with vitamin D from the same types of foods, not from vitamin D pills.

A Preliminary Look at the Effects of Cod Liver Oil (CLO) on Vitamin D Levels
Nineteen volunteers had their vitamin D levels tested using the home blood test from ZRT Laboratories and reported their vitamin D levels, cod liver oil usage and vitamin D supplementation to the Weston A. Price Foundation. The results are shown below. All volunteers are from northern latitudes and none reported recent sun exposure.
Vit D Level A/D from CLO CLO Type Vit D Supplement Duration (Months)
23 None None 0 NA
32 6,000/600 Fermented 0 12
34 857/107 Carlsons 1000mg capsules 2,000 IU 3
34 10,000/1,000 High-Vitamin 0 48
37 10,000/1,000 High-Vitamin 50,000 IU x 2, before onset of a cold 15
39 2,500/250 High-Vitamin 0 60
39 20,000/2,000 High-Vitamin 0 30
40 800/80 High-Vitamin 0 60
40 6,000/600 Fermented 0 12
41 2,000/200 Fermented 6,000 IU 24
44 10,000/1,000 High-Vitamin 50,000 IU x 3 before onset of a cold 15
45 2,500/250 High-Vitamin 0 60
45 10,000/1,000 High-Vitamin 0 36
49 17,500/1,750 High-Vitamin 0 36
53 12,000/1,200 Fermented 0 36
57 12,000/1,200 Fermented 0 24
62 20,000/2,000 High-Vitamin 5,000 IU 36
63 20,000/2,000 High-Vitamin 5,000 IU 36
77 5,000/500 High-Vitamin 0 60
While these results are merely preliminary, a tentative conclusion is that consumption of cod liver oil containing vitamin A does not interfere with the assimilation of vitamin D. Of the twelve individuals who had vitamin D levels of 40 or above, eight took cod liver oil alone, with no supplemental vitamin D. More carefully controlled studies are needed to provide definitive confirmation of this hypothesis.
Recent Studies on Cod Liver Oil
Numerous recent studies have shown wide ranging benefits from cod liver oil, as indicated by these summaries from articles published between 2000 and 2009.
PAIN IN RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: Cod liver oil supplements were better than controls in relieving pain and can be used as NSAID-sparing agents in rheumatoic arthritis patients (Rheumatology (Oxford). 2008 May;47(5):665-9).
VITAMIN D STATUS AND BONE LOSS: Inclusion of cod liver oil in the diet appears to attenuate the seasonal variation of vitamin D status in early postmenopausal women at northerly latitudes where quality of sunlight for production of vitamin D is diminished. Cod liver oil can thus protect against greater bone turnover, bone loss and obesity (Bone. 2008 May;42(5):996-1003).
DIABETES-RELATED CARDIOVASCULAR DISORDERS: Cod liver oil treatment in diabetic rats completely prevented endothelial deficiency and partly corrected several biochemical markers for cardiovascular disorders (J Pharm Pharmacol. 2007 Dec;59(12):1629-41).
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: In Arctic climates, supplemental cod-liver oil during childhood may be protective against multiple sclerosis later in life (J Neurol. 2007 Apr;254(4):471-7).
BREAST CANCER: Reduced breast cancer risks were associated with increasing sun exposure and cod liver oil use from ages ten to nineteen. “We found strong evidence to support the hypothesis that vitamin D could help prevent breast cancer. However, our results suggest that exposure earlier in life, particularly during breast development, maybe most relevant” (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Mar;16(3):422-9).
DEPRESSION: Regular use of cod liver oil is negatively associated with high levels of depressive symptoms in the general population (J Affect Disord. 2007 Aug;101(1-3):245-9).
WOUND HEALING: The combination of zinc oxide and cod liver oil was found to be superior to the formulations containing only one active ingredient. This combination was also found to be most efficient in accelerating wound healing when it is retarded by repeated dexamethasone treatment (Dtsch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2006 Sep;113(9):331-4).
BREAST MILK: Women using cod liver oil had a significantly higher levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in their breast milk. “As this may have an impact on the health and development of breast-fed infants in later life, regular maternal cod liver oil intake could be relevant for the infant as well as for the nutritional adequacy of the maternal diet” (Ann Nutr Metab. 2006;50(3):270-6).
PAIN AND JOINT STIFFNESS: Cod liver oil application allows reduction of the dose of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and improves chief clinical symptoms, reducing pain and morning joint stiffness (Klin Med Mosk 2005;83(10):51-7).
HIP FRACTURE: Multivitamin or cod liver oil supplementation was associated with a significantly lower risk of any fracture. “We found no evidence to support any skeletal harm associated with increased serum indices of retinol exposure or modest retinol supplementation in this population” (J Bone Miner Res. 2005 Jun;20(6):913-20).
HIGHER BIRTH WEIGHT: Women who used liquid cod liver oil in early pregnancy gave birth to heavier babies, even after adjusting for the length of gestation and other confounding factors. “Higher birth weight has been associated with a lower risk of diseases later in life and maternal cod liver oil intake might be one of the means for achieving higher birthweight” (BJOG. 2005 Apr;112(4):424-9).
UPPER RESPIRATORY TRACT INFECTIONS IN CHILDREN: Children supplemented with cod liver oil had a decrease in upper respiratory tract infections and pediatric visits over time (Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2004 Nov;113(11):891-901).
VITAMIN D STATUS: In Norway, three mølje meals (consisting of cod liver and fresh cod-liver oil) provided an amount of vitamin D equal to 54 times the recommended daily dose. Subjects with food consumption habits that included frequent mølje meals during the winter sustained satisfactory vitamin D levels in their blood, in spite of the long “vitamin D winter” (Public Health Nutr. 2004 Sep;7(6):783-9).
DIABETES: Use of cod liver oil in the first year of life was associated with a significantly lower risk of type 1 diabetes. Use of other vitamin D supplements during the first year of life and maternal use of cod liver oil or other vitamin D supplements during pregnancy were not associated with lower risk of type 1 diabete (Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Dec;78(6):1128-34).
INTELLIGENCE IN CHILDREN: Children who were born to mothers who had taken cod liver oil during pregnancy and lactation scored higher on intelligence tests at age four compared with children whose mothers had taken corn oil (Pediatrics. 2003 Jan;111(1):e39-44).
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: Use of cod liver oil decreased occurrence of morning stiffness, swollen joints and pain intensity in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (Adv Ther. 2002 Mar-Apr;19(2):101-7).
EAR ACHES IN CHILDREN: Children prone to ear aches (otitis media) receiving cod liver oil plus selenium needed lower amounts of antibiotics during supplementation compared to before supplementation (Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2002 Jul;111(7 Pt 1):642-52).
DIABETIC NEUROPATHY: Use of cod liver oil in mice played an important role in the prevention of diabetic nephropathy (Lipids. 2002 Apr;37(4):359-66).
FAT-SOLUBLE VITAMINS IN BREAST MILK: Maternal use of cod liver oil resulted in higher levels of fat-soluble vitamins in breast milk, especially vitamins E and A. (Ann Nutr Metab. 2001;45(6):265-72).

This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2009.

Reader Interactions

Why Fish Oil is NOT the Best Omega-3 Source

May 27, 2008 | 215,104 views

ecology, fish, farmed fish, omega-3, fish oil, krill oilCallum Roberts, professor of marine conservation at York University, predicts that by 2050 half the world population will have to go without fish; all that will be left for them may be “jellyfish and slime”. 

Ninety years of industrial-scale exploitation of fish has led to an ecological meltdown, and whole biological food chains have been destroyed.

North Atlantic fish stocks have been in decline for well over a century. Fish catch records from the 1920’s onwards show that, despite the enormous improvements in technology, catches of the great Atlantic species have remained constant or slowly declined.
Why has the international community failed so badly in its attempts to stop this long-heralded disaster?

“Quite simply,” Roberts says, “agreements and deals brokered by politicians will never be satisfactory. They always look for the short-term fix.” Quotas for fishing fleets are on average 15 to 30 percent higher than those recommended as safe by scientists. And often, for less threatened species, the quotas are set 100 percent higher than the science recommended.

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
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The average American diet is seriously deficient in the essential omega 3’s, DHA and EPA. Except for certain types of fish, there are very few sources of these vitally important fats.

Unfortunately, as this well-written article in the Guardian spells out quite succinctly, fish supplies around the world are becoming scarcer each year. Even I see it, every year that I go to Maui the fish are becoming far less abundant. And, add to that the fact that much of the fish that is available are grossly contaminated.
Additionally, eating fish before maturity (meaning it has not had time to reproduce) spells disaster for the ecology. Eating fish that is loaded with toxins spells disaster for your health, completely counteracting any of its inherent benefits.
These are both good reasons for limiting your fish intake, and being mindful of the types of fish you do consume.
The World’s Most Perfect Food – Not so Perfect Anymore
The world’s oceans are so polluted with industrial waste that most commercially available fish have become little more than carriers of toxins – especially mercury – which accumulates throughout the fat and tissues of their bodies.
This isn’t surprising, considering some 40 tons of mercury are released in the United States alone, every year, due to burning coal to generate electricity.
The most common contaminants found in fish include:
  • Mercury
  • PCBs
  • Radioactive substances like strontium
  • Toxic metals such as cadmium, lead, chromium and arsenic
Smaller fish, such as herring, sardines, and anchovies fare better than larger fish since they don’t have time to accumulate much mercury in their tissues.
The highest concentrations are found in the large carnivorous fish of the ocean, such as:
Canned tuna
Sea bass
Oysters (Gulf of Mexico)
White croaker
Largemouth bass
Swordfish is a good website if you’re curious to see just how high your intake of mercury might be. Not only do they have a handy mercury calculator, but they also perform independent testing on various sources of fish.
You also want to be especially cautious of canned tuna if you’re interested in keeping yourself and your children safe from mercury contamination. Independent testing by the Mercury Policy Project found that the average mercury concentration in canned tuna is far over the EPA’s “safe limits.”
For example, they found that:
  • A 22 pound toddler who eats just 2 ounces of tuna per week may exceed the EPA’s “virtual safe limit” of mercury by 400 percent
  • A 132 pound woman who eats 12 ounces of canned tuna per week could also exceed the EPA’s limit by 400 percent
Farm-Raised Fish is Much like Factory-Farmed Cattle
Contrary to what industry would like you to believe, farmed fish is NOT a healthier option. Not for you, the fish, nor the environment.
Not only do you still have the problem of mercury, but farm-raised fish also has higher levels of PCBs, another poisonous industrial byproduct. Residues in farm-raised fish can be as much as 9 million times the amount found in the water.
See, in order to be profitable, fish farms must raise large quantities of fish in confined areas, and the overcrowding leads to disease and injuries to the fish. The fish are therefore given antibiotics and chemicals for the parasites like sea lice, skin and gill infections and other diseases that commonly affect them.
Making matters worse, these fish are also given drugs and hormones, and sometimes are genetically modified, to accelerate growth and change reproductive behaviors.
Farmed salmon are also given the chemicals canthaxanthin and astaxanthin to turn their flesh pink. Wild salmon eat a diet of shrimp and krill, which contain natural chemicals that make the salmon pink. Farm-raised salmon do not eat a natural diet, so their flesh would be gray if they were not given these additives.
Always remember that the food chain matters. You eat what your food ate. Beef from grass-fed cattle, for example, contains a healthy balance of omega 3 and omega 6 (about 3:1), whereas corn-fed beef from factory farms has the complete opposite composition, containing far more pro-inflammatory omega 6’s than anti-inflammatory omega 3’s (about 20:1!)
So, What’s Your BEST Omega-3 Source?
Unless you have lab results in your hand that verifies the purity of the fish, I recommend you avoid it.
Your safest and most cost effective choice , however, is to take high-quality krill oil on a regular basis.
I used to recommend taking fish oil or cod liver oil (and I still do in some cases), but aside from the problem of overfishing to the point of near extinction and the potential of mercury contamination in the oil, fish oils also have other drawbacks.
Most importantly, fish oil is low in antioxidant content. And, as you increase your intake of omega-3 fats by consuming fish oil, you actually increase your need for even more antioxidant protection.

This happens because fish oil is highly perishable.
You have to have sufficient antioxidants to ensure that the fish oil doesn’t oxidize and become rancid inside your body (oxidation leads to the formation of unhealthy free radicals).
This is one of the main reasons I now recommend getting your omega-3 fats from Antarctic krill oil.
It is superior to fish oil because it contains phospholipids, antioxidants ( more than 47 times the levels found in fish oil!), and omega-3’s bonded together in a way that keeps them safe from oxidation, and makes them easily absorbed in your body. So with krill oil, you can ensure that you’re getting these incredibly healthy fats (EPA and DHA) without having to worry about oxidation issues.
Additionally, your risk of getting any mercury contamination is extremely low since krill are so small they don’t have the chance to accumulate toxins before being harvested.
Personally, I now take krill oil every day. I particularly appreciate the fact that the omega-3 is attached to phospholipids that dramatically increase its absorption, especially into brain tissue.
Remember Plant Based Omega-3s Do NOT Work as Well
Plant based omega-3 sources like flax, hemp and chia are high in ALA and are important sources of nutrients as we all need ALA.  However, the key point to remember is that the conversion of ALA to the far more essential EPA and DHA is typically severely impaired by inhibition of delta 6 desaturase.  This is an enzyme that is necessary to produce the longer chain EPA and DHA from ALA.  Elevated insulin levels impair this enzyme and over 80% of the country has elevated insulin levels.  So from that perspective alone it is important to include animal based sources of omega-3 fats.
There are even studies that show ALA from flaxseed can actually increase your risk of cancer.   Personally, I regularly include ALA omega-3 plant based foods, like flax and hemp in my diet, but these are always combined with animal based omega-3 fats.

From Wilkipedia:

Cod liver oil

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the fish oil. For the traditional Newfoundland song, see Cod Liver Oil (song).

Kepler’s Cod Liver Oil with Malt Extract

Cod liver oil is a nutritional supplement derived from liver of cod fish (Gadidae).[1] As with most fish oils, it has high levels of the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Cod liver oil also contains vitamin A and vitamin D. It has historically been taken because of its vitamin A and vitamin D content. It was once commonly given to children, because vitamin D has been shown to prevent rickets and other symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.[2]


Modern cod liver oil capsules

A cod

Making and loading of cod liver oil, Conche, Newfoundland, 1857.

Cod liver oil has traditionally come in many grades. Cod liver oil for human consumption is pale and straw colored, with a mild flavor. Ancient Scandinavian Vikings produced cod liver oil by laying birch tree branches over a kettle of water, and fresh livers were laid over the branches. The water was brought to a boil and as the steam rose, the oil from the liver dripped into the water and was skimmed off. There was also a method for producing fresh raw cod liver oil.[3]
In the Industrial Revolution, cod liver oil became popular for industrial purposes. Livers placed in barrels to rot, with the oil skimmed off over the season, was the main method for producing this oil. The resulting oil was brown and foul tasting. In the 1800s cod liver oil became popular as a medicine and both pale and brown oils were used. Brown oils were common because they were cheaper to produce. Some doctors believed in only using the fresh pale oil, while others believed the brown oil was better. However the brown oils tended to cause intestinal upset.[3]
The Möller Process was invented by Peter Möller in 1850. The livers are ground with water into a slurry, then this is gently simmered until the oil rises to the top. The oil is skimmed off and purified.[4]
Other methods used in modern times include the Cold Flotation Process, Pressure Extraction, and Pressure Cooking. These all require further purification steps to get a pure oil.[5]
Fermented Cod Liver Oil is made using a trade secret process, but is thought to be similar to the method to produce brown oil in the 1700s and 1800s. Testing has shown FCLO has high levels of free fatty acids and a high acid value, indicating possible prolonged rancidity.[6][7] However, free fatty acids and acid value may not be the correct marker to reflect the oxidation level of this product.[8][9][10]

Therapeutic uses[edit]

Though similar in composition to fish oil, cod liver oil has higher concentrations of vitamins A and D. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a tablespoon (4 drams or 15 ml) of cod liver oil contains 4080 μg of retinol (vitamin A) and 34 μg of vitamin D.[11] The Dietary Reference Intake of vitamin A is 900 μg per day for adult men and 700 μg per day for women, while that for vitamin D is 15 μg per day. The “tolerable upper intake levels” are 3000 μg/day and 100 μg/day, respectively, so people consuming cod liver oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids should pay attention to how much vitamin A and vitamin D this adds to their diet.[12][13] A 300-mg soft gelatin capsule contains about 88 μg vitamin A per dose.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, cod liver oil may be beneficial in secondary prophylaxis after a heart attack.[14] Diets supplemented with cod liver oil have also been demonstrated to have beneficial effects on psoriasis.[15]

Potential adverse effects[edit]

Retinol (Vitamin A)

Per tablespoon (13.6 g), cod liver oil contains 136% of the established daily tolerable upper intake level (UL) for preformed vitamin A (retinol).[16][17] Vitamin A accumulates in the liver, and can reach harmful levels sufficient to cause hypervitaminosis A.[12] Pregnant women may want to consider consulting a doctor when taking cod liver oil because of the high amount of natural forms of vitamin A such as retinol.[18] A toxic dose of retinol (vitamin A) is around 25 000 IU/kg (see Retinol#Retinoid overdose (toxicity)), or the equivalent of about 1.25 kg of cod liver oil for a 50-kg person.
The risks of fatty acid oxidation, hypervitaminosis, and exposure to environmental toxins are reduced when purification processes are applied to produce refined fish oil products.[19]
A high intake of cod liver oil by pregnant women is associated with a nearly fivefold increased risk of gestational hypertension. The study noted that “possibly, the amount of n-3 LCPUFA may have positive effects up to a certain level, while becoming detrimental in high doses.”[20]
Fish oil preparations that are offered with a doctor’s prescription undergo the same FDA regulatory requirements as other prescription pharmaceuticals, with regard to both efficacy and safety.[19]

Other uses[edit]

In Newfoundland, cod liver oil was sometimes used as the liquid base for traditional red ochre paint, the coating of choice for use on outbuildings and work buildings associated with the cod fishery.
In Tübingen, Germany, drinking a glass of cod liver oil is the punishment for the loser at the traditional Stocherkahnrennen, a punting boat race by University groups.

See also[edit]


  2. Jump up^ Rajakumar, K. “Vitamin D, Cod-Liver Oil, Sunlight, and Rickets: A Historical Perspective. 2003”. Pediatrics112 (2): 132–135.
  3. Jump up to:a b “Extra-Virgin Cod Liver Oil History”. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  4. Jump up^ “World Class Processing”. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  5. Jump up^ “The Fish Liver Oil Industry” (PDF). Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  6. Jump up^ Daniel, Kaayla T. “Hook, Line and Stinker! The Truth About Fermented Cod Liver Oil” (PDF). Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  7. Jump up^ Brittany Wiggins, “The Truth About Fermented Cod Liver Oil”, Nordic Naturals Newsletter, February 2015
  8. Jump up^ “Scientific Analysis of Dr. Jacob Friest”. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  9. Jump up^ “Scientific Analysis of Dr. Jacob Friest”. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  10. Jump up^ “Scientific Analysis of Oxidation Test Reports by Dr. Vicki Schlegel”. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  11. Jump up^
  12. Jump up to:a b Paul Lips (8 May 2003). “Hypervitaminosis A and fractures”N Engl J Med348 (4): 1927–1928. doi:10.1056/NEJMe020167PMID 12540650. Retrieved 6 March 2008.
  13. Jump up^ Haddad J.G. (30 April 1992). “Vitamin D — Solar Rays, the Milky Way, or Both?”The New England Journal of Medicine. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  14. Jump up^ von Schacky, C (2000). “n-3 Fatty acids and the prevention of coronary atherosclerosis”. Am J Clin Nutr71 (1 Suppl): 224S–7S. PMID 10617975.
  15. Jump up^ Wolters, M. (2005). “Diet and psoriasis: experimental data and clinical evidence”. British Journal of Dermatology153 (4): 706–14. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2133.2005.06781.xPMID 16181450.
  16. Jump up^ National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference “USDA Nutrition Facts: Fish oil, cod liver”USDA
  17. Jump up^ Jane Higdon, Ph.D. of the Linus Pauling Institute “Linus Pauling Institute Micronutirent Center”Oregon State University
  18. Jump up^ Myhre AM, Carlsen MH, Bøhn SK, Wold HL, Laake P, Blomhoff R (December 2003). “Water-miscible, emulsified, and solid forms of retinol supplements are more toxic than oil-based preparations”Am. J. Clin. Nutr78 (6): 1152–9. PMID 14668278.
  19. Jump up to:a b Bays H E (19 March 2007). “Safety Considerations with Omega-3 Fatty Acid Therapy”. The American Journal of Cardiology99 (6 (Supplement 1)): S35–S43. doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2006.11.020PMID 17368277.
  20. Jump up^ Olafsdottir AS, Skuladottir GV, Thorsdottir I, Hauksson A, Thorgeirsdottir H, Steingrimsdottir L (March 2006). “Relationship between high consumption of marine fatty acids in early pregnancy and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy”. BJOG113 (3): 301–9. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2006.00826.xPMID 16487202.


  1. What is the best Codliver oil to take
    Hello Dr. Fallon, I take Carlson’s Norwegian Cod Liver Oil. I wanted to know what is the best kind of cod liver oil to take! I do 1tbl spoon per day. Is the Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil better?
  2. I was reading your rebuttal to Mercola’s decision to ban CLO and you seem to mention a lot about vitamin D not being in the diet despite the fact very few food sources contain sufficient amount of it when we get tens of thousands of units just being outside in the sun as our ancestors have done for many thousands of years yet you feel that taking 5,000 IU of vitamin D is during the winter is too much. I’ve looked into it and I can’t ignore all those evidence by many people saying it helped keep them healthy through the winter. Since you were not very clear on the specific number of how much vitamin D or blood level we should have, you should write about that… In a way, I agree with Dr. Cannell. USA Government’s recommendation of 400 IU of vitamin D a day is extremely low during the winter. i’ve seen the way you wrote about it and you made it seem like it’s a lot worse…
    VITAMIN D STATUS: In Norway, three mølje meals (consisting of cod liver and fresh cod-liver oil) provided an amount of vitamin D equal to 54 times the recommended daily dose. Subjects with food consumption habits that included frequent mølje meals during the winter sustained satisfactory vitamin D levels in their blood, in spite of the long “vitamin D winter” (Public Health Nutr. 2004 Sep;7(6):783-9).
    Is it 200 or 400 IU for recommended vitamin D intake? That’s either 10,000 or 20,000 IU a day. No big deal. Any people with a lot of knowledge on vitamin D can see that you’re trying to distort truth on vitamin D. That’s actually the amount our skin produces during mid day in the summer when sun bathing for 20-30 minutes.
    I think it’s time for you to really look into Vitamin D entirely. I used to think vitamin A was important but it never kept us healthy at all. I put more emphasis on vitamin D this year and I can tell you that it does seem to be working to prevent cold and flu. Keep in mind, we had been taking cod liver for years and keeping up with latest information on WAP website. Not only that, I had been reading about nutrition and immunology for a long time. The fact you’re trying to dismiss Vitamin D is disturbing…
  3. what about just plain cod liver in its own oil?
    For the past month, I have been taking cod liver as well as its oil. Nobody ever talks about eating the actual liver. Here in Montréal, there is a brand, Tousain, that sells Cod Liver in its own oil, in a can, imported from Iceland. I take a spoonful of liver, along with the oil it is drenched in, in the morning during the winter (while plugging my nose, because i don’t like the taste at all).
    So my question is, how do you feel about eating the liver, since that too will give you the oil?
  4. Reply to Dr. Stein
    Dear Dr. Stein, we are aware of the prejudice against cod liver oil by the medical establishment. Please read our article Vitamin A for Fetal Development…ment.html. We provide amounts on our main cod liver oil page. Basically it is 2 teaspoons of high vitamin cod liver oil per day and 4 teaspoons of regular cod liver oil per day in the context of a nutrient-dense diet that contains plenty of saturated fat from butter, ghee, etc. Be sure that the cod liver oil has the right balance (no more than 10 units vitamin A for 1 unit vitamin D). Other good sources of vitamin D are grass-fed lard, butter and egg yolks, oily fish and fish eggs. We have a Reprint on Healthy Babies and it would be a good idea to order this and let your daughter read it.
  5. the bookpractical parenting, Hamlyn press, which has a foreword by Dame K Davis, Royal colege of Midwives, 2005, explicitly states p 43,to AVOID Fish oil supplements,as ‘contains too much Retinol’, and p 41, states high level retinol, a form of vit A, considered harmful to unborn babies. their expert contributors include a midwife an obs and gobs Dr, Various other experts, and one expert in maternal nutrition, Gail Rees, Sen Research fellow at London Metropolitan Uni. One website mentions fetal abnotrmalities from Retinol intake, but not from carotenoids.
    Yet you state even amounts of 20,000iu retino from Cod liver oil per day are safe for pregnant women, and you don’t clearly state how much vit A is in each of the cod liver oil preparations you recommend. We use St Clements, by Healthspan.
    Can you please enlighten us, how much cod liver oil she should take, as the book has spooked my wife, and our daughter is pregnant, and eats few vegetables, and takes hardly any sun. She was vegetarian up til 1 year ago.
  6. Carlson Cod Liver Oil
    My husband and I have begun taking CCLO, because of depression issues my husband has been taking 10 teaspoons/day with his daily multivit that would be 11500.00 IU of Vit A and 5000IU of vit D. without adverse effects. Would you agree with this dosage for depression?
  7. Louis- I don’t see any evidence that WAPF is trying to ‘dismiss’ Vitamin D as you have stated. They have pointed out over and over again that vitamin A & D work synergistically, emphasizing how important it is that both vitamins A&D are taken together in the correct ratio.
  8. Vit A and D
    From my own personal observations, I’ve found I feel better taking cod liver than I do taking vitamin D alone. I live in Canada so it’s important that I get vitamin D somehow in the long winters here. I’ve experimented taking 5000iu of vitamin D by itself for some time, and I generally felt a better mood, less anxiety, and more energy etc. However, I’ve also tried taking cod liver oil at two tablespoons per day and must say I felt better taking that than just vitamin D by itself. For one, vit D is a fat-soluble vitamin and so having it in a fat source makes it work better. This brings to mind the inuit in the north who get all their vitamin D from the organs and fat of seals, whales and fish etc. Those that eat this traditional diet are very healthy and do not suffer from diabetes, heart disease, or cancer and the list goes on. Now If i were to get my sustenance this way, I would no doubt be getting PLENTY of vitamin A. For example, If I ate the liver of any mammal I would get 10,000iu of Vitamin A easily and upwards to 30,000iu. I think a study should be done that compares the effects of using vitamin A and D in synthetic form VS. cod liver oil… in the same ratios. This way we could determine if the real issue is the way we recieve these nutrients that determines the outcome. It just seems more natural to get our nutrients from animals and plants as opposed to taking supplements, doing a test on these isolated vitamins, and then putting a bad name on certain vitamins because the supplement form caused harm. Let nature do it’s work!
  9. Please respond to this query
    I’ve just been reading through Mercola’s new recommendations against CLO and the WPF’s rebuttal statement. I am now thoroughly confused (as many might be when they hear 2 reputable experts having totally contradictory positions.
    My question is and has been for some time: If I take one of the (non-Blue Ice) brands of CLO (Nordic naturals to be precise) which does have a stupidly low level of D after filtration BUT then I also take a vitamin D supplement with my NN CLO as well (1 TSP CLO and 4000IU supplemental D3) will that balance out the “toxic ratio” of A to D in my NN CLO?
    I personally have to take a D3 supplement in the winter as we get no UV exposure here at this latitude during this time and my blood D levels are dangerously low. So I have been previously not worrying about the “recommended brands” from the WPF of CLO because I am not using CLO as my own source of D. Does this make sense? I use NN because I like their safety record as far as being pure of pollutants, plus I have a professional account with them and get many discounts and free bottles of CLO so it is financially a good thing for us to use their product.
    But now since my head is spinning from reading everything this morning on Mercola/WPF’s statements, I wonder if what I am doing is OK? Taking NN CLO just for the fish oil benefits of the EPA/DHA and taking a separate D3 supplement for the D.
  10. Marketing and propeganda!
    “WAPF Response: Dr. Mercola sells krill oil. Is this why he recommends it?”
    “If vitamin A in the American diet is adequate for vitamin D activation, why are Cannell and Mercola obliged to recommend such high levels of vitamin D—levels much higher than those found in traditional diets—in order to bring serum vitamin D levels into the normal range?”
    I received an email today – marketing “Dr. Cannell’s Advanced D Formula”.
    Dr. Cannell sells Vitamin D3. Is this why he recommends it?
    “…Cannell and Mercola are recommending very high levels of vitamin D supplementation…”
    I would assume as much – my assumption is that he’s hoping for people to read this and google Vitamin D. In conjunction with his name, BAM! there’s a product that HE makes!
    Just one more:
    (Mercola) “one should resort to a high quality vitamin D3 supplement.”
    AMAZING! (Heavy sarcasm.) Here’s part the product description for Dr. Cannell’s product:
    “The Vitamin D3 Revolution
    Vitamin D’s influence on key biological functions vital to one’s health and well-being mandates that vitamin D3 supplementation can no longer be ignored by individuals striving to achieve and maintain a greater state of health.* Formulated by John Cannell MD, Purity’s new Vitamin D3 Complex is a synergistic blend of Vitamin D3 with several targeted nutrients which complement many of the Vitmain D3’s desirable health benefits.*”
    Unfortunately, I am now skeptical of Dr. Cannell’s entire credibility because of the coincidences found between Mercola’s article, full of statements backed by Dr. Cannell’s conclusions or ‘research’, and Dr. Cannell’s new product. I am in no way trying to voice an opinion on vitamin A & D or any supplements, food, etc. I honestly do not have enough knowledge or experience to even discuss the matter.
    However, I do know that health is about balance. Balance is not about over-emphasizing to sell a product. (No reference, only my opinion!) It’s really sad – greed seems to seep in eventually in most people. It looks like this ‘doctor’ is either 1. trying to convince everyone that vitamin D supplements are essential, or 2. he has taken off down the path of unbalanced and illogical thoughts and conclusions (to sell his product? Or because he wants so badly to convince himself that this is the truth?) to be a credible source of information anymore for myself.
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