What is fermented cod liver oil and why is it different from regular cod liver oil? Why should you take cod liver oil, and specifically fermented cod liver oil?
Why Fermented Cod Liver Oil?
IMPORTANT UPDATE: I no longer recommend this product. Please see my post: My Take on the Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal
Dr. Oz was on Oprah a while back, saying that he believes cod liver oil is the number one nutritional supplement and that we should all be taking it. I heartily agree!
However, now there's something even better than cod liver oil: fermented cod liver oil.
We've been using the fermented cod liver oil from Green Patures for a month or two now and we love it. It's more economical, we like the taste, but most importantly, it is much more nutritious than any other cod liver oil on the market.
A lot of people ask what is the difference between regular cod liver oil and fermented cod liver oil.
Fermented Cod Liver Oil?
I recently heard Weston A. Price Foundation President Sally Fallon Morell speak about the differences between regular high-vitamin cod liver oil and fermented cod liver oil. She said that throughout history, cod liver oil was traditionally processed via fermentation, and not processed with heat. She said that the fishermen would throw the livers into a barrel, add a little sea water, and then leave it to ferment. Today, almost all cod liver oil is processed by heating it. Except for Green Pastures new fermented cod liver oil, which is made the traditional way. (Okay, maybe they don't actually use barrels and sea water but you get the idea.)
We know the benefits of raw foods and fermentation — so it seems obvious that fermented cod liver oil would be much more nutritious and more bioavailable to our bodies.
I was doing some reading on Dave Wetzel's blog (founder of Green Pastures) and he shares the following information about why fermented fish oils (cod liver oil and skate liver oil) are better for us:
1. Fermented fish liver oils are extracted without heat but rather a natural lacto-fermentation
2. We select exclusively organ tissue as the source of the fermented fish oils (compared to industrial model fish oils) as this is where the nutrients are located. There is much more to fish oil nutrients than EPA and DHA. It is only because of the heavy industrialization of this industry that this field of products has nothing else to discuss but Omega 3, EPA and DHA. These nutrients will occur naturally in all fish oils including the fermented clo/skate liver oil. I think the real story is in the thousands of micro nutrients that are provided in a Fermented fish oil.
3. Fermented liver oils are a deep rich pigment. Pigments are nutrients.
4. The oils have a 8-9mg/g total quinone count. Butter oil is in the 23-25 mg/g range. These figures are very high! The complex of the quinones is completely different between the fish liver oils and the butter oil. Even the quinone complex between the different fish oils is unique (variety is complete nutrition). Quinones consist of nutrients such as vitamin K's, vitamin E's, CoQ enzymes and other known and unknown nutrients/components.
5. Lacto-fermentation transforms natural vitamin A into different metabolites that are easily absorbed into our bodies (just as in your gut if your gut is working properly). I have found reference to at least 15 different natural forms of Vitamin A that nature provides. Not just the 2-3 that are commonly discussed.
6. There are over 3000 derivatives of vitamin D. Many are natural and others are produced in laboratories. Not much of the vitamin D topic is understood or discussed in mainstream science. Current discussions are just scratching the surface of the topic. Reminder, vitamin D is more accurately categorized as a hormone, not a vitamin.
7. At some point I would like to see the science on the effects of plant hormones and a variety of quinones as they relate to human health. Science is just starting to look at these questions.
8. Efficacy — there is a difference between the processed cod liver oil and the fermented CLO.
9. It takes 6 months to 1 year to make fermented cod liver oil. This is why it is no longer made.
10. Fish oils have historically been fermented for extraction; back in the Roman empire days, Viking era and all the way up to the Mid 1850's. Rendering was introduced during the mid 1850's as a more efficient fish liver processing method. The livers yielded a much higher total oil volume and the process could be accomplished in several hours rather than several months. What they did not understand is the effects that heat had on the nutrients (their science was not ready to address this question) . As with all industrial models, the focus was on: profitability, speed or turns and, marketability (taste).
11. Economical. Substantially more nutrients (including A/D) per ml or teaspoon compared to other brands. Source: Green Pastures
I don't know about you but I think this is very exciting. Thanks to Dave Wetzel for bringing back REAL cod liver oil made the traditional way.