On the occasion of the death of Val Doonican this week, I found myself listening to this song “Cod Liver Oil.”  It’s a ballad of a man fed up with life with his withered wife, and the miracle cure of weight gain, lifted depression and renewed strength that takes place when she starts taking Cod Liver Oil.

I realised that in all these years I hadn’t paid attention to talk in my actual and virtual networks about this traditional remedy, was curious, and so sent off a quick question to my good friend Anna Jenkins, a knowledgable, very critically-minded person and a tireless researcher on matters of health and sustainability.  Watch this space if she ever develops a website.

“Is there a link you’d recommend if I wanted to learn about (fermented) cod liver oil? Or fish oils in general?” I asked Anna, expecting a link or two.

But because it was Anna I’d asked, I received a thoughtful and fairly comprehensive response, which I’m very happy to share with readers.


Hey Annie

Its a big old topic!

The classic fermented cod liver oil is by Green Pasture, their website is pretty informative including full analysis info on the oil over time. http://www.greenpasture.org/public/Products/CodLiverOil/ Note however that the form of Vit D is D2 and not D3 which is controversial for some people as its not the readily usable form. The debate around Vit D is growing however and as ever its not as black and white as it appeared a couple of years back – ie Vit D supplementation is probably actually not needed by the majority of people as has previously been touted but that’s another discussion!

Also see the Weston A Price association’s website for lots of info and especially look out for Chris Masterjohn on the subject. He’s an excellent researcher on the subject of Vitamins A, D, K2, fish oil and other Essential Fatty Acids. He’s usually several years ahead of the curve… I just spotted this from him recently which calls into question the whole need for supplementation at all because PolyUnsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) are not actually good for us: http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/PUFA-Special-Report.html I would love to read the report so if you want to split the cost ($15) then I’m with you!

This view re PUFAs that has been held by a biochemist called Ray Peat for a very long time and has been very often dismissed by most except hard core ‘Peatarians’ (yes really). I have personally felt there was something in it and have kept my intake as low as possible. That said of all the fish oils, good cod liver oil (of which there is hardly any good stuff out there) is the best to take mostly because of the Vitamin A content (synthetic vitamin A is another whole discussion, as is the plant based; basically retinol the animal based vitamin A is the most bioavailable and the version our bodies actually need, few people convert the plant version very well). I am digressing…

Because of histamine issues I actually stopped taking it for a long time and have just restarted in the last weeks because I really do need the Vitamin A it turns out from tests I’ve had. I had my eye on this brand: http://evclo.com/ but it hadn’t come into production. It now has but there’s no UK distributor yet (fancy a business venture?!). Doesn’t appear to be MSC certified unfortunately (Green Pastures was/is last time I checked).

This is a recent post by one of my favourite commentators: http://chriskresser.com/should-you-really-be-taking-fish-oil/ He appears to have switched away from the fermented cod liver oil. Not read it properly yet but if you search his site you’ll see he was a former devotee. Basically he also now seems to be sharing Peat’s view but perhaps for slightly different reasons.

Sticking to fish oils there is also krill oil. Lots of understandable concern over the sustainability of it at the moment. I have previously found Krill oil that was MSC certified but not labelled, can show you if need be. I don’t take it anymore for both the sustainability reasons and concern over whether I need the Omega 3 in the first place.

In the US you can also get wild salmon oil, but not here.

I wouldn’t touch any other cod liver oil with a barge pole by the way. They are mostly way too processed and they strip out the natural Vit A & D during the processing and then have to replace with synthetic versions!

Think I may actually get blood tested to see where I am at soon actually…

So endeth my essay, hope it actually contains some info that you actually needed!

Anna XXX


Thank you, Anna ❤