If You’ve Been Around For Awhile . . .
You know that if I were stranded on a desert island, fermented cod liver oil would be one of the two supplements I’d bring. Okay, that’s just silly. I’d be talking to a volleyball named Wilson while cleaning and fermenting my own fish livers. But if I were anywhere else on the planet this is the supplement for me. Here’s why:
Omega-3’s have all kinds of benefits: increased intelligence, mental clarity and even a decreased risk of skin cancer. Thing is, more is not necessarily better. Industrially produced fish oils boast impressively high EPA/DHA ratios, but only because they use heat-intensive refining processes which often included deodorizing and bleaching. These methods destroy valuable micronutrients, vitamins A,D & K, CoQ enzymes, quinones and literally thousands of nutrients we haven’t discovered yet.
In my opinion, isolating EPA & DHA from fish is like extracting fat and protein from breastmilk and leaving all those “unimportant” immunofactors, vitamins, minerals, etc. out. That’s why I love fermented cod liver oil. Unlike industrial oils (including every other brand of cod liver oil), Green Pasture’s fermented cod liver doesn’t use harsh processing methods. Instead, they keep nutrients intact through a time-honored process used by the Vikings (and before them, too!)
Cod liver oil was always fermented until 1850, when we learned to render. If heated, we could extract oil in day instead of fermenting which takes 6 months. They didn’t understand oxidation and that they were cheating the system, so as we started to industrialize fish oils, we lost a lot of the nutrition. I suspect the product wasn’t as effective, but we have no samples so it’s just a guess. Likely this heated oil would oxidize very quickly. When you heat the viscera, you break bonds and create free radicals which causes oxidation.
Around the turn of century, cod liver oil started to lose favor. The industry used heat and pressure, and they found that nitrogen would clean up the free radicals. Unfortunately, this tasteless, colorless product was also probably nutrient less. It was all about marketability.
Making fermented cod liver oil is taking it back to its historical roots. Throughout history FCLO was commonly used, and people knew what it did and that it was important without understanding nutrients. I don’t think regular cod liver oil is even the same product that was revered for centuries. (source, emphasis mine)
So, What DOES It Do?
Well, according to the my vintage ad obsession on Pinterest, our ancestors knew that it contributed to a strong back, straight teeth and a robust immune system.
Thanks to the work of Dr. Weston A. Price, we know that they were spot on! (Pssst! If you’re not familiar with the story of how a brilliant and curious dentist started the real food movement, check it the cliff notes here!)
Of course, this is more than just theory to me. Due to an undiagnosed lip tie, my daughter Katie experienced a breast milk version of “bottle rot” on her top four teeth as a toddler. One day the tip of her front right tooth broke off while she was chewing on something in her car seat (no impact, just chewing!), and her incisors were so porous they soaked up stains like a sponge,
Fortunately, I got my hands on Cure Tooth Decay and implemented it’s protocol, which heavily emphasizes fermented cod liver oil. Here she is one year later.
You can read what her dentist had to say here, but I think the pictures alone tell quite a story!
What About Purity?
Because Green Pastures does not use industrial refining techniques they make an extraordinary effort to source pure, Arctic cod far away from industrial centers and fish farms. As a result, their products consistently test free of or very low in any contaminations or heavy metals. They meet or exceed the safety standards set out by California’s Proposition 65 as well as Norwegian Medical Standards (NMS) and European Pharmacopia Standards (EPS). More on their purity standards here.
I won’t lie, it’s not awesome. The flavors really do help, though! Cinnamon Tingle is our fave, but my kids do just fine with unsweetened Arctic Mint, too. For great ideas on slurping it down check out this post from Holistic Squid!