Best Cod Liver Oil? Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

Looking for the best cod liver oil? Not all cod liver oil brands are the same. I researched 10 different cod liver oil brands. In this post, I'll tell you which cod liver oil brands I recommend and why. I'll also tell you which cod liver oil brands I do not recommend and why.

Best Cod Liver Oil: Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

Please note: I have affiliate links in this post. I make a small commission when you order via my affiliate links. However, I only recommend brands I trust. Thank you for helping to support my blog!

Jump down to the cod liver oil recommended brands
Jump down to the cod liver oil brands NOT recommended

Best Cod Liver Oil: Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

What is the best cod liver oil? It's hard to know which cod liver oil has the most nutrition. And there's really no other reason to buy cod liver oil — it's not like you're buying a cod liver oil brand for the taste. So you should choose the one that has the most nutrition.

This is the longest blog post I've ever written in my life and I am sorry that I couldn't write this more succinctly. I used to rely on the Weston A. Price Foundation website for recommendations for the best cod liver oil. Ever since the fermented cod liver oil scandal last fall, I can no longer trust WAPF's recommendations. I spent a lot of time looking into cod liver oil brands and searching for the best cod liver oil. I wanted to share what I recommend, as I have spent a great deal of time talking to cod liver oil and fish oil manufacturers and experts.

In this post, I start by going over the reasons to take cod liver oil, then I talk about the processing and manufacturing of cod liver oil, then finally I will go through a comparison of different cod liver oil brands.

This is a long post… if you don't like to read and would rather watch a video, I say all of this in the video.

Jump down to the cod liver oil recommended brands
Jump down to the cod liver oil brands NOT recommended

Why Take Cod Liver Oil?

Before I get into the comparison of cod liver oil brands, let's first spend a few paragraphs covering why you should take cod liver oil in the first place. There are basically 3 reasons to take cod liver oil: vitamin A, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamins A and D: We Need Ten Times More

Dr. Weston Price, author of [easyazon_link identifier=”0916764206″ locale=”US” tag=”cheeseslave0e-20″]Nutrition and Physical Degeneration[/easyazon_link], found that people in isolated traditional cultures who experienced optimal health, consumed 10 times more vitamins A and D than people in his day in America (1930s).

The people Dr. Price studied had perfectly straight, white teeth with almost no cavities. They had no degenerative disease. They didn't need eyeglasses or braces, didn't suffer from infertility, and had no birth defects in children. In our modern day, Americans consume even less of vitamins A and D, since we no longer eat a lot of pastured lard (pig fat), seafood, egg yolks, butter, cream and liver and organ meats.

[easyazon_link identifier=”0916764206″ locale=”US” tag=”cheeseslave0e-20″]Best Cod Liver Oil? Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?[/easyazon_link]

Dr. Weston Price specifically talked about how hard it is to get adequate vitamin D in the diet:

“With the remote possibility of egg yolks, butter, cream, liver and fish it is manifestly impossible to obtain any amount of vitamin D worthy of mention from common foods.” — Dr. Weston Price, [easyazon_link identifier=”0916764206″ locale=”US” tag=”cheeseslave0e-20″]Nutrition and Physical Degeneration[/easyazon_link]

Vitamins A and D work together synergistically, and it's important to consume them in the right ratio. Too much vitamin A is toxic to human health.

Most of us are not eating pastured lard and liver on a regular basis anymore. Traditionally in America, prior to the 20th century, people ate lard (one of the best sources of vitamin D) daily and they ate liver only once a week, which ensured they weren't getting too much A. Lard was the primary cooking fat back then.

We also used to get a lot more sun. Most people farmed in the 19th century and prior, so they spent a lot more time outdoors. We also didn't use sunscreen and we work in offices all day and can't get out to sunbathe.

If you don't want to cook with lard or eat copious amounts of butter and cream and cheese every day and eat liver once a week, the easiest way to increase vitamins A and D in your diet is to supplement with 1 teaspoon of quality cod liver oil per day (1/2 teaspoon for children and 1/4 teaspoon for babies).

Vitamin A has also been shown to be incredibly beneficial for people on the autism spectrum. Please check out pediatrician, Dr. Mary Megson's work.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: They're Essential!

In addition to vitamins A and D, we also need omega-3 fatty acids. We've all heard about the benefits of omega-3s. The body can't manufacture them, which is why they're called “essential fatty acids”. Health authorities around the world recommend taking 250-500 mg of omega-3s (EPA and DHA) per day.

Health Benefits of Omega-3s

  • Prevent heart disease
  • Lower triglycerides
  • Reduce joint stiffness
  • Reduce depression
  • Brain health – prevent Alzheimer's disease and dementia and ADHD
  • Critical for making healthy, smart babies

Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio: Out of Whack

Most of us are not getting the amount of omega-3s that we used to. The ideal ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 should be about 4 to 1, which is close to the ratio humans evolved with. Today that ratio has morphed to about 20 to 1. This is because agriculture has moved from a pasture-based model to a confinement (CAFO, or confinement animal feeding operation) model.

Omega-3s are produced by animals eating grass. Fish get their omega-3s from grass — sea grass, that is, as well as algae, other sea vegetables. Oily fish like sardines and anchovies, and the fish that eat them, are great sources of the two healthiest forms of omega-3s, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Cows also get their omega-3s from grass. Unfortunately most cows today are fed corn. The reason most beef, chicken, pork, dairy and eggs are lacking omega-3s is because feed cows and chickens a factory diet of corn and grain — foods these animals don't normally eat. Corn oil has an omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio of about 45 to 1. As a result of an unnatural diet of cheap corn, cows have very little omega-3s in their milk, cheese or meat.

Grass-fed meat and dairy is rich in omega-3s. Pastured chickens that are allowed to scratch outdoors for grass, seeds and insects produce eggs rich in DHA.

Bonus: I've noticed is that when I'm eating a lot of omega-3s, I rarely get a sunburn. We've found this to be true with several members of our family. And this is obviously an advantage because if you don't use sunscreen, you will absorb more vitamin D when you do get sun exposure. Sunscreen reduces vitamin D absorption in the skin by more than 95%. (Source)

The easiest way to get increase your ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s is to take a cod liver oil or fish oil supplement. Ideally you also want to eat grass-fed meat and dairy and seafood as well. I think of cod liver oil as an insurance policy, since I can't always eat grass-fed meat and dairy (when I eat at restaurants, etc.) and I know I don't always eat as much seafood as I should (and I eat a lot here in LA with all the sushi and poke bowls around!).

Best Cod Liver Oil Brands? The Raw Milk Analogy

When shopping for the best cod liver oil, one way to think about it is to compare it to shopping for milk. According to Grist, “Like many other modern foods, most of the milk sold today has been altered, stripped, and reconstituted.”

When you buy milk, you have to know your farmer. You need to know the cows, how they are fed, whether they eat grass or grain, if they are eating organic or if they are eating pesticides. You need to know if they are given antibiotics or growth hormones. You also need to know if the fat is removed from the milk, and if it is heated (pasteurized) and/or homogenized. All of these things factor into the quality of the milk. You can buy different types of milk and some are much better than others. Some types of milk can be actually harmful to your health.

Raw organic whole milk from grass-fed cows is the best and I highly recommend it. Skim milk from cows eating grain is the worst, and I wouldn't waste your money buying it — you may as well drink water.

Best Cod Liver Oil? Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

I'll explain in detail…

Best (Recommended): Raw Milk from Grass-fed Cows
Raw milk that is not homogenized and pasteurized, and is from cows that are grass-fed, is the best milk available on the market. All the natural vitamins are intact and the milk has higher levels of vitamins because the vitamins have not been destroyed by heat (pasteurization). Raw milk also contains the living bacteria that produces the enzyme lactase that digests lactose. (This is why many people who cannot digest milk due to lactose intolerance find that they can drink raw milk.)

Second Best (Recommended if You Can't Get Raw Milk): Organic Whole Milk from Grass-fed Cows That is Pasteurized But Not Homogenized (Cream-top Milk)
Whole milk from grass-fed cows that has been pasteurized will lose some of the vitamin content. Pasteurization also destroys bacteria that produce enzymes. This makes milk harder to digest. Homogenization is not recommended because it causes the fats to become oxidized or rancid. Also, most brands of milk, even organic milk, add vitamins to their milk and they are not required to list that they do. Look for whole milk that is lightly pasteurized and not homogenized from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows. Avoid ultra-pasteurized (UHT, or ultra high-temperature processing) milk.

Third Best (Not Recommended): Whole Milk (Not Grass-fed), Organic or Conventional, Pasteurized and Homogenized
Organic, pasteurized whole milk from cows eating organic grain instead of grass does not have the benefits of grass-fed dairy. Grass-fed dairy is much higher in vitamin K2, which is produced when cows eat green grass, and grass-fed dairy is higher in omega-3s. But the biggest problem with this milk is the homogenization oxidizes the fat (i.e. it becomes rancid and toxic). You're paying a lot for organic (I don't recommend drinking conventional, non-organic milk due to the pesticides and fluoride) and is it really worth it when you are getting a lot less nutrition? I say, if you want to drink milk, pay more for organic whole milk that is grass-fed and preferably raw. Otherwise, don't buy milk.

Fourth Best (Not Recommended): Skim Milk (Not Grass-fed), Organic or Conventional, Pasteurized and Homogenized
Reduced fat milk or skim milk from cows eating or organic grains or non-organic grains is what I call “white water”. This milk is totally worthless. The pasteurization of the milk destroys the vitamins, the grain instead of grass means even fewer vitamins, and removing the fat means you lose everything. They have to add synthetic vitamins to make up for what they took out. Lastly, if it's not organic, then you're getting all the pesticides, too. But even if it is organic, that just means you're overpaying. Bottom line: Skip it. Don't waste your money. You may as well drink water, which is free. If you need something to add to your coffee, Bulletproof Coffee is a good option.

Best Cod Liver Oil Brands? How Cod Liver Oil is Manufactured

OK, so now that you understand how to buy the most nutritious milk, let's look at how cod liver oil is manufactured. Just like modern milk is stripped, refined and reconstituted, modern cod liver oil goes through similar processes. Why would you buy cod liver oil for nutrition when it's not really very nutritious?

Just like you want to know your dairy farmer, you need to know your cod liver oil manufacturer. You want to know what species of fish they are using and where they are caught, you need to know how the oil is extracted, how the impurities are removed, and how the oil is bottled, and whether any vitamins are added, and finally, what amounts of vitamins the cod liver oil contains, based on independent testing.

Let's discuss a few of these so that you know what you're looking at when we get to the cod liver oil brand comparisons below…

Sourcing of Fish
You need to know where and how the fish are sourced. Farmed fish are totally different than wild fish, and farmed fish are not recommended. You also want to make sure you're buying cod liver oil from a company that fishes sustainably (in other words, they're not hurting sea turtles and sharks in the process of fishing for cod.)

Which Species of Cod?
This is important because different fish have different nutritional profiles. It's not just important to get cod liver oil that come from the cod family, you need to know the species. Gadus morhua is Atlantic cod, whereas Gadus macrocephalus is Pacific cod. Almost all cod liver oils on the market say they are made from Atlantic cod. Green Pasture's fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) is the only one that uses Pacific cod.

Protection from Rancidity During Processing
The process of manufacturing cod liver oil has a lot of steps and there are important reasons why they do it the way they do. The most important thing is that the cod liver oil is not rancid. Rancid, or oxidized, fish oil is extremely toxic and causes serious health problems. Fish oil becomes oxidized very quickly when exposed to light, heat and air.

For this reason, during processing, cod liver oil must be protected from exposure to heat light or air. How long it takes to get the fish liver oil from the ocean to the bottle is really important. It's also important how it's done. If it's exposed to oxygen and light, the fragile oil will be damaged. Think of it this way… you wouldn't want to buy milk from a farmer who let it sit out all day at room temperature.

There are many ways to protect the cod liver oil from light and air… For example, the manufacturing plant should have low lighting. Antioxidants are added to help slow the oxidation of the oil. There should be a process in place to remove the air out of the bottle during bottling. The bottles should be dark to protect from light. Same goes for fish oil capsules — they do it in such a way that there's no air in the capsules.

best cod liver oil industrial-production-clo-corganic-2000x1294

Other Concerns During Processing
While it is extremely important to protect the oil from rancidity, we also want a cod liver oil with minimal processing in order to maintain the naturally occurring vitamins. Most modern cod liver oils on the market use industrial processing. Almost all cod liver oil manufacturers use heat to extract the oil and they use industrial processes to make it palatable — for example, winterizing and deodorizing. Almost all fish oil manufacturers also use molecular distillation to filter the impurities from the oil.

Best Cod Liver Oil? Cod Liver Oil Brands I Recommend

When you heat cod liver oil, or any fish oil, it destroys the naturally occurring vitamins, and it ends up just like pasteurized, homogenized skim milk. For this reason, almost all cod liver oil brands add back natural and vitamins to the industrially processed oil.

Best Cod Liver Oil Brands: Which Cod Liver Oil Brands I Recommend

Okay, so let's get on with the recommendations.

1. Best Cod Liver Oil: Rosita EVCLO (Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil)

The best cod liver oil, and the only brand that I recommend, is Rosita EVCLO (That's my affiliate link — yes I am an affiliate which means I will earn a small commission if you use my link. I only work with brands I believe in.)

Best Cod Liver Oil: Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil (EVCLO)

  • Ingredients

    100% Wild & Raw Extra-Virgin Cod (Gadus Morhua) Liver Oil (plus tiny amounts of rosemary & natural vitamin E as antioxidants)
  • Vitamin A: 2171-2962 IU
  • Vitamin D: 145-389 IU
  • Ratio of Vitamins A & D: Somewhere between 14:1 to 7:1 (right around 10:1)
  • Total Omega-3s: 1060 mg
  • EPA: 443
  • DHA: 605
  • Other Omega-3s: Not listed
  • Antioxidant Added: Yes
  • Fish Species: Wild Gadus Morhua (Atlantic cod)
  • Origin of Fish: Norway
  • Extraction: Cold extraction (not heated)
  • Vitamins: Naturally occurring. No vitamins are added, except the vitamin E which is an added antioxidant to protect the oil from rancidity.
  • Nutrition Data: Source
  • Testing: 3rd party independent, published online here
  • Cost Per Bottle: $49 for 5.07 ounces
  • Cost Per Ounce: $9.66 per ounce
  • Cost Per Serving (1 Teaspoon): $1.61

Where to Buy: Buy Rosita EVCLO Online

You get get the liquid EVCLO or EVCLO in capsules. I used to take the liquid, but it's so much more convenient to take the capsules so that is what I take now.

Vitamin A & D Ratio
The vitamin A/D ratio of Rosita EVCLO is excellent, right around 10:1.

They list a range of vitamins for A and D. (This is a big indicator that these are naturally occurring vitamins from the fish, not added natural or synthetic vitamins. With added vitamins, you'll almost always see exact numbers that look too perfect, like they're cheating on a test.) So their A/D ratio could be as high as 14:1 and as low as 7:1 — but we'll call it in the middle, which is right around 10:1.

Sourcing of Fish
Rosita is extremely transparent about where they source their fish, which is in Norway. They use a sustainable method of fishing wild Arctic cod with their own fishing boats which you can read about on their website.

Best Cod Liver Oil: Cod Liver Oil Brands I Recommend

In fact, my friends Dan, Archie and Karen who run Organic 3 (the United States importers of Rosita EVCLO), go to Norway every year and they go fishing for cod on Rosita's fishing boat. That's them in the photo above. Talk about knowing your farmer, or fisherman, as it may be.

Processing
Rosita also uses the methods I discussed above as far as fast processing from ship to bottle, using low lighting in the manufacturing plant, etc. Rosita is the only cod liver oil brand I know of that uses an old method Viking method of extracting the oil. Instead of using heat, they take the livers from a cold environment and move them to room temperature. The oil releases from the livers very quickly, and then they're able to process the oil for impurities, and then they bottle it.

Since Rosita EVCLO is not heated for extraction or for the molecular distillation (which is how almost all other cod liver oils are processed to remove impurities) and so Rosita EVCLO is the only raw cod liver oil on the market that I know of. Since it is raw and unheated, all the vitamins are naturally from the fish. No vitamins are stripped away, so nothing synthetic is added.

Best Cod Liver Oil evclo-process-final-2000x1294-2

Added Vitamins?
The fact that there is a range of vitamins A and D listed is an indication that Rosita EVCLO is not adding synthetic vitamins A and D. When vitamins are added, you will see exact numbers for A and D, not ranges. (Watch for this in the examples of below of the industrial cod liver oil brands I do not recommend.)

Added Flavors?
Rosita does not add flavors to their cod liver oil. It has a very mild seafood taste. The reason they do not add flavoring is they believe it is important not to camouflage the taste in any way, as consumers need to be able to tell if the oil has oxidized (gone rancid).

Where to Buy: Buy Rosita EVCLO Liquid or Buy Rosita EVCLO Capsules

Cod Liver Oil Brands I Don't Recommend

Let's talk now about all the other cod liver oil brands out there that I do not recommend. I listed all the nutrition data and information about sourcing, processing, etc. for each one so you can compare for yourself. Since this is such a long post, I numbered them so you can keep track.

To make all this info easier to navigate, here is the list of the 9 brands of cod liver oil I don't recommend (you can jump down to each review by clicking the link):

1. Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil
2. Nordic Naturals Arctic-D Cod Liver Oil
3. Carlson's Cod Liver Oil
4. Dropi Cod Liver Oil
5. Garden of Life Cod Liver Oil
6. Sonne's Cod Liver Oil
7. Twinlab Cod Liver Oil
8. NutraPro International Cod Liver Oil
9. Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil

1. Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil

Best Cod Liver Oil? Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil is the basic cod liver oil brand from Nordic Naturals. They have another formulation with added vitamin D, Nordic Naturals Arctic-D Cod Liver Oil, which I will talk about below.

Nordic Naturals is the best cod liver oil brand out of all the cod liver oil brands I don't recommend. I like them because they are very transparent about how they source their fish, they are big proponents of sustainable fishing, and they are very adamant about not adding any synthetic vitamins to their cod liver oil. They don't call other brands out, but they make a big deal about it on their website and marketing materials, which the other cod liver oil brands don't.

You can also see from their numbers that they have a range for vitamins A and D, not exact numbers. Exact numbers are a sign that the company is adding synthetic and/or natural vitamins to the oil.

However, I do not recommend Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil. The biggest reason is the ratio of vitamins A and D. The ratio for Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil is 57:1 which is very high in vitamin A. Again, we are looking for a ratio of around 10:1 or less. I'll discuss this more below…

  • Ingredients

    Purified Arctic cod liver oil, natural fruit flavor, d-alpha tocopherol (natural vitamin E), rosemary extract (a natural preservative).
  • Vitamin A: 230-920 IU
  • Vitamin D: 0-20 IU
  • Ratio of Vitamins A & D: 57:1
  • Total Omega-3s: 1060 mg
  • EPA: 340
  • DHA: 510
  • Other Omega-3s: 210
  • Antioxidant Added: Yes
  • Fish Species: 100% wild Arctic cod (Skrei)
  • Origin of Fish: Norway
  • Extraction: Heat extraction
  • Vitamins: Naturally occurring. No vitamins are added, except the vitamin E which is an added antioxidant to protect the oil from rancidity.
  • Nutrition Data: Source
  • Testing: 3rd party independent, referenced online here
  • Cost Per Bottle: $25.95 for 8 ounces
  • Cost Per Ounce: $3.24 per ounce
  • Cost Per Serving (1 Teaspoon): $0.54

Vitamin A & D Ratio
Too high in vitamin A, not enough vitamin D: 57:1.

Sourcing of Fish
Excellent, totally transparent and invested in sustainable fishing. They only use wild-caught Arctic cod.

Processing
Nordic Naturals makes an industrially processed cod liver oil, which is what almost all cod liver oils are (except Rosita EVCLO). They use heat extraction and molecular distillation, just like everybody else does. This is why the vitamins A and D are so much lower than you get with Rosita EVCLO.

Because of the modern industrial processing Nordic Naturals uses, Rosita EVCLO has 4 times more vitamin A and over 50 times more vitamin D than Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil.

Added Vitamins?
No added vitamins. This is a good thing. But because the vitamin A and D are so low due to the industrial processing, there is no real advantage taking cod liver oil over regular fish oil (which I also don't recommend due to the same kind of industrial processing). And, as I said above, the A/D ratio is wrong.

Added Flavors?
Yes. Not ideal, because it's harder to tell when the product goes rancid.

2. Cod Liver Oil Brand Not Recommended: Nordic Naturals Arctic-D Cod Liver Oil

Best Cod Liver Oil? Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

Nordic Naturals Arctic-D Cod Liver Oil is the cod liver oil brand from Nordic Naturals with added natural vitamin D.

Everything I said above about Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil applies, with two differences: (1) The Arctic-D has added vitamin D3, so it has more vitamin D than the other formulation and (2) it has a different ratio of vitamins A/D.

That said, I do not recommend Nordic Naturals Arctic-D Cod Liver Oil. The biggest reason is the ratio is screwy: .6/1. Now we have too much vitamin D and not enough A. This is much better than adding vitamin A, which some of the other brands use (you'll see below). But it's still too much vitamin D.

Also we need to talk about the natural vitamin D they are adding. The vitamin D they are adding is the natural form of vitamin D3, cholecalciferol. Cholecalciferol is a natural form of vitamin D, and is infinitely better than the version of vitamin D2, ergocalciferol. Ergocalciferol is made from mushrooms and recent studies show that people with higher levels of D2 in their blood have more psychosis and schizophrenia. D2 is not a vitamin that any human should be consuming.

D3 from cholecalciferol, on the other hand, is the form of vitamin D that comes from animals. There is no plant-based form of D3. D3 comes from either fish or from sheep's wool. The cholecalciferol used as D3 supplements in vitamins, including Nordic Naturals Arctic-D Cod Liver Oil, is made from a waxy substance called lanolin extracted from sheep's wool. They also use lanolin for lip balm and nipple cream.

However, most of the crunchy breastfeeding moms I know won't use lanolin nipple cream, due to concerns about pesticides. According to my friend, Leah Segedie's blog, Mamavation:

“…the biggest danger of lanolin is that sheep are sprayed directly with pesticides to treat mites and pests. In addition, harvested fur is treated again with pesticides during refinement. Lanolin can legally contain up to 40 parts per million (ppm) of pesticides to be FDA-compliant. This is interesting to note because lanolin that is reserved for hospital use on open wounds is regulated to no more than 3 ppm of pesticides.”

Of course, I understand this concern, as the potentially pesticide-laden lanolin in nipple cream is something you would not want your newborn baby consuming.

As for the cholecalciferol from lanolin in vitamin D3 supplements… I don't have a problem eating “sheep wax”… I mean, I eat bone marrow and blood sausage and gelatin and all kinds of stuff like that…

I understand the concern about the pesticides in lanolin. However, you only need a very small amount of cholecalciferol from lanolin to get vitamin D3. And while I would rather get D3 from fish as nature intended, it can be hard to get enough D3 from fish oil in winter, particularly in areas of the world where it is impossible to get vitamin D from the sun in winter (anywhere north of 37 degrees latitude).

Anyway, my bottom line on this is while I don't think it's bad to take cholecalciferol from lanolin to get vitamin D3 (I do it when I am low and can't get enough sun), I don't see the point of buying a cod liver oil to get vitamin D when the fish oil has been heated, the natural vitamin D3 has been destroyed, and cholecalciferol has been added. You may as well take [easyazon_link identifier=”B01IRIMG2G” locale=”US” tag=”cheeseslave0e-20″]vitamin D drops such as this one[/easyazon_link], which costs a fraction of what this cod liver oil costs ([easyazon_link identifier=”B01IRIMG2G” locale=”US” tag=”cheeseslave0e-20″]this brand of D3 drops costs 2 cents per 1000 IU vitamin D3,[/easyazon_link] versus this cod liver oil which costs 56 cents per 1000 IU D3).

  • Ingredients

    Purified Arctic Cod Liver Oil, Natural Lemon Flavor, D-Alpha Tocopherol, Rosemary Extract, Vitamin D3.
  • Vitamin A: 230-920 IU
  • Vitamin D: 1000 IU
  • Ratio of Vitamins A & D: .6:1
  • Total Omega-3s: 1060 mg
  • EPA: 340
  • DHA: 510
  • Other Omega-3s: 210
  • Antioxidant Added: Yes
  • Fish Species: 100% wild Arctic cod (Skrei)
  • Origin of Fish: Norway
  • Extraction: Heat extraction
  • Vitamins: Naturally occurring. No vitamins are added, except the vitamin E which is an added antioxidant to protect the oil from rancidity and vitamin D3 sourced from sheep's wool.
  • Nutrition Data: Source
  • Testing: 3rd party independent, referenced online here
  • Cost Per Bottle: $26.95 for 8 ounces
  • Cost Per Ounce: $3.37 per ounce
  • Cost Per Serving (1 Teaspoon): $0.56

Vitamin A & D Ratio
Very low vitamin A and too high in vitamin D: .6:1.

Also, the D3 is not from fish, it's from sheep's wool (lanolin). See above.

Sourcing of Fish
Same as Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil above.

Processing
Same as Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil above.

Added Vitamins?
Same as Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil above.

Added Flavors?
Same as Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil above.

3. Cod Liver Oil Brand Not Recommended: Carlson's Cod Liver Oil

Best Cod Liver Oil? Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

I do not recommend Carlson's Cod Liver Oil because it is industrially processed with heat and molecular distillation, the naturally occurring vitamins are destroyed, and they add back in natural vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol, from the wax in sheep's wool, known as lanolin — see above re: pesticides in lanolin) and vitamin A (retinyl palmitate).

So… I need to talk a little bit about added vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) and why it's a non-starter.

Known as retinyl palmitate and retinol palmitate, synthetic vitamin A palmitate is added to reduced-fat and skim milk, and is also added to low-fat yogurts, cereals and other foods and lots of skin care products. In fact, there was a brouhaha recently over retinyl palmitate in sunscreen.

Ann Marie Gianni explains: (excerpted — go to her site to read the whole thing)

“Both retinol and retinyl palmitate are widely used ingredients in skin care products. Both are forms of vitamin A. Retinol is a pure form of the vitamin found in green and yellow vegetables, egg yolks, whole milk, beef, chicken, and fish-liver oil. It’s essential to vision and bone development and plays a role in vision health. Retinol is also hugely popular in skin care products because the skin naturally converts it to retinoic acid, which helps to stimulate collagen production, increase cellular rejuvenation, and decrease pore size, creating softer, smoother skin.”

The concern about retinyl palmitate in sunscreen (or in other products, really) came about when the EWG, a non-profit organization, highlighted a 2009 animal study by the National Toxicology Program (NTP). The conclusions: retinoic acid enhanced the photocarcinogenic activity of UVB rays in the mice and increased multiplicities of skin lesions. Retinyl palmitate also enhanced photocarcinogenicity, increased skin lesions, and increased the presence of squamous cell neoplasm’s—the beginnings of skin cancer.

This study actually confirmed the results of other research. In 2006, for instance, scientists found in laboratory studies that when subjected to UVA light, retinyl palmitate acted as a “photosensitizer,” leading to free radical formation and the peroxidation of fatty cells. Another study in 2005 found the same thing. Researchers wrote: “These results suggest that RP [retinyl palmitate] is photomutagenic in combination with UVA exposure in mouse lymphoma cells….” In other words, when retinyl palmitate was exposed to UV rays, it created changes in the skin that could lead to damage, aging, and cancer.

Do I need to go on? Or actually, I should say, does Ann Marie (the other Ann Marie) need to go on? I think not. We do not want to take a cod liver oil with vitamin A added. We may not know if this causes cancer or not… but even if it is safe, it's a man-made vitamin. I'd rather get my vitamin A from natural sources such as egg yolks, liver and seafood. Or from cod liver oil that is not processed in a way that destroys the natural vitamin A that was there to begin with.

  • Ingredients

    100% Norwegian Cod Liver Oil, Natural Lemon Flavor, Vitamin E
  • Vitamin A: 850 IU
  • Vitamin D: 400 IU
  • Ratio of Vitamins A & D: 2:1
  • Total Omega-3s: 1100 mg
  • EPA: 400
  • DHA: 500
  • Other Omega-3s: None listed
  • Antioxidant Added: Yes
  • Fish Species: 100% Norwegian Cod
  • Origin of Fish: Norway
  • Extraction: Heat extraction
  • Vitamins: Vitamin E is added, as well as natural D3 (cholecalciferol, from sheep's wool) and synthetic vitamin A (retinyl palmitate).
  • Nutrition Data: Source
  • Testing: 3rd party independent, referenced online here
  • Cost Per Bottle: $32.90 for 8 ounces
  • Cost Per Ounce: $3.89 per ounce
  • Cost Per Serving (1 Teaspoon): $0.65

Vitamin A & D Ratio
They have a 2:1 ratio which is a little too good if you ask me. In the video I made above, I talked about how when a student cheats on a test, teachers often know because their answers are too perfect.

But the 2:1 ratio makes sense when you see that they are adding vitamins, natural D3 (cholecalciferol, from sheep's wool) and vitamin A (retinyl palmitate). They can make the ratio come out to be whatever they want.

You will see this with all the other industrial cod liver oil brands to follow. The ratio is just too perfect. This is a sign that they are adding vitamins.

Sourcing of Fish
It says on their website, “At Carlson, we ensure maximum freshness by managing our fish oils from sea to shelf. We source only the highest quality, deep, cold-water fish using traditional, sustainable methods, and all fish oil products are bottled or placed in soft gels with a touch of natural vitamin E to prevent oxidation.”

Processing
See above (sourcing). That's all they say about how the manufacture the fish oil.

Added Vitamins?
See above. Added vitamins, natural D3, synthetic A, and natural vitamin E.

Added Flavors?
Yes.

4. Cod Liver Oil Brand Not Recommended: Dropi

Best Cod Liver Oil? Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

I don't recommend Dropi for a number of reasons (see my detailed explanation below).

Before I can recommend this product, I would need to know more about the sourcing of the fish, the processing and manufacturing, and the testing.

UPDATE (10/27/16): Here is my update on Dropi cod liver oil.

  • Ingredients

    Cod Liver Oil, Vitamin E, Traces of Natural Antioxidant, Rosemary Extract Oil
  • Vitamin A: 3650 IU
  • Vitamin D: 385 IU
  • Ratio of Vitamins A & D: 9:1
  • Total Omega-3s: 1150 mg
  • EPA: 350
  • DHA: 450
  • Other Omega-3s: 350
  • Antioxidant Added: Yes
  • Fish Species: Icelandic cod (Gadus morhua)
  • Origin of Fish: Northwest Iceland
  • Extraction: Low heat extraction (?)
  • Vitamins: They say they do not add vitamins A and D and only add “traces of natural antioxidant” and “rosemary extract oil” as antioxidants.
  • Nutrition Data: Source
  • Testing: Dropi says they do independent testing but the results are not posted online. Why?
  • Cost Per Bottle: $46.99 for 7.44 ounces
  • Cost Per Ounce: $6.32 per ounce
  • Cost Per Serving (1 Teaspoon): $1.05

Vitamin A & D Ratio
A 9:1 ratio is great. But I'm skeptical because I don't have enough info.

Sourcing of Fish
I can't find any information on their website about how they are doing the sourcing. They say they are fishing in Iceland, which is great, but I want more information re: their methods of sustainable fishing.

Rosita is transparent about the fisherman that catch their fish, the boats they use, etc. I would need to know more about Dropi's sourcing before I could recommend them.

Processing
I want to know more about how they do this. How do they extract the oil? If Dropi is using the same method as Rosita, why not say so?

On the Dropi website, it says:

“Dropi oil is produced in a very gentle way and the idea is based on the old tradition. Low temperatures are used in the process to maintain all the natural properties of this valuable oil, therefore we can consider Dropi extra virgin cod liver oil and RAW food.”

They also say:

“We use low temperature in the process to maintain all the natural properties of the oil. Our production is dependent on nature, e.g. weather, circumstances at the Ísafjarðardjúp fishing grounds, and fish population.”

I am curious about this “old tradition” they speak of. Are they doing what Rosita is doing, processing the livers without heat? If so, why don't they say that? Rosita tells us everything about how they make EVCLO. So the method is not proprietary. Why not share on the website what the extraction process is?

Furthermore, they don't say how they purify the oil. How do they get the contaminants out? Again, if you scroll up, Rosita tells us how they purify their EVCLO, and they post very detailed lab results from third-party testing.

Dropi, on the other hand, does not post their lab tests. Which makes me suspicious. Why not post them like Rosita does?

Added Vitamins?
They say “We DO NOT add any vitamin A (palmitate) or vitamin D (calciferol) to our precious oil.” That's great. Just need to know how they are doing it.

They do add “traces of natural antioxidant” and “rosemary extract oil” for an antioxidant, which is good.

Added Flavors?
No.

5. Cod Liver Oil Brand Not Recommended: Garden of Life Olde World Icelandic Cod Liver Oil Lemon Mint

Best Cod Liver Oil? Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

I do not recommend Garden of Life cod liver oil for all the same reasons I do not recommend Carlson's (see above). It's industrially processed oil extracted with heat and they use molecular distillation.

So that means they have to be adding vitamins. You can't get a ratio like this without adding back vitamins if you are using heat and molecular distribution.

  • Ingredients

    Cod Liver Oil, Natural Lemon Essence, Natural Peppermint Essence, Alpha Tocopherol
  • Vitamin A: 4,500 IU
  • Vitamin D: 450 IU
  • Ratio of Vitamins A & D: 10:1
  • Total Omega-3s: 1400 mg
  • EPA: 447
  • DHA: 400
  • Other Omega-3s: 594
  • Antioxidant Added: Yes
  • Fish Species: Icelandic Cod
  • Origin of Fish: Iceland
  • Extraction: They don't say. All they say is “processed using traditional methods”
  • Vitamins: Vitamin E is added. It doesn't say on their label but they have to be adding vitamins A and D.
  • Nutrition Data: Source
  • Testing: Nothing on their website.
  • Cost Per Bottle: $14.66 for 8 ounces
  • Cost Per Ounce: $1.83 per ounce
  • Cost Per Serving (1 Teaspoon): $0.31

Vitamin A & D Ratio
10:1 ratio – too perfect. As we have seen above, this is a sign that they are adding vitamins A and D. Otherwise, you don't see perfect numbers like that.

They say on their website, “Olde World Icelandic Cod Liver Oil comes from the pure, cold waters of Iceland and is processed using traditional methods to ensure its naturally occurring vitamins and essential fatty acids remain intact.”

Sourcing of Fish
Nothing on their website other than “From the Pure, Cold Waters of Iceland”. Hmm…

Processing
Nothing on their website other than, “Olde World Icelandic Cod Liver Oil comes from the cold waters of Iceland and is processed using traditional methods.”

We're going to need more information.

Added Vitamins?
See above. Most likely it's added vitamins (A and D), and natural vitamin E.

Added Flavors?
Yes.

6. Cod Liver Oil Brand Not Recommended: Sonne's

Best Cod Liver Oil? Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

I do not recommend Sonne's cod liver oil for all the same reasons I do not recommend Carlson's (see above). It's industrially processed oil extracted with heat and they use molecular distillation.

So that means they have to be adding vitamins. You can't get a ratio like this without adding back vitamins if you are using heat and molecular distribution.

Also, their EPA vs. DHA ratio is very suspicious. It should not have the exact same number for EPA as DHA.

This is the second cheapest product I reviewed, only .24 per teaspoon. I am extremely suspicious of this oil.

  • Ingredients

    Norwegian Cod Liver Oil
  • Vitamin A: 4000 IU
  • Vitamin D: 400 IU
  • Ratio of Vitamins A & D: 10:1
  • Total Omega-3s: Not listed
  • EPA: 440
  • DHA: 440
  • Other Omega-3s: Not listed
  • Antioxidant Added: No
  • Fish Species: Norwegian cod
  • Origin of Fish: Norway?
  • Extraction: They don't say. All they say is “processed using traditional methods”
  • Vitamins: It doesn't say on their label but they have to be adding vitamins A and D.
  • Nutrition Data: Source
  • Testing: They say they do independent lab testing but they don't link to any reports.
  • Cost Per Bottle: $22.50 for 16 ounces
  • Cost Per Ounce: $1.41 per ounce
  • Cost Per Serving (1 Teaspoon): $0.24

Vitamin A & D Ratio
10:1 ratio – too perfect. As we have seen above, this is a sign that they are adding vitamins A and D. Otherwise, you don't see perfect numbers like that.

Sourcing of Fish
The website says:

“Our Cod Liver Oil uses natural Norwegian cod liver oil derived from fish caught in open waters in the North Atlantic Ocean – away from sites of industrial pollution.”

Not enough information.

Processing
It doesn't say anything about how they extract the oil. It does say, “This product is purified by molecular distillation.” If they are using molecular distillation, then that explains the 10:1 A/D ratio. They have to be adding vitamins.

We're going to need more information.

Added Vitamins?
See above. Most likely it's added vitamins (A and D).

They do not add antioxidants which is not good.

Added Flavors?
No.

7. Cod Liver Oil Brand Not Recommended: Twinlab

Best Cod Liver Oil? Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

I do not recommend Twinlab cod liver oil for all the same reasons I do not recommend Carlson's (see above). This is industrially processed oil extracted with heat and they use molecular distillation.

So that means they have to be adding vitamins. You can't get a ratio like this without adding back vitamins if you are using heat and molecular distribution. Am I starting to sound like a broken record? 🙂

They don't have a website I could find… so there's very little information on them.

This is the cheapest product available, only .17 per teaspoon. I don't trust it.

  • Ingredients

    Cod Liver Oil
  • Vitamin A: 4615 IU
  • Vitamin D: 462 IU
  • Ratio of Vitamins A & D: 10:1
  • Total Omega-3s: 970
  • EPA: 554
  • DHA: 369
  • Other Omega-3s: Not listed
  • Antioxidant Added: No
  • Fish Species: No idea
  • Origin of Fish: Norway?
  • Extraction: No information
  • Vitamins: It doesn't say on their label but they have to be adding vitamins A and D.
  • Nutrition Data: Source
  • Testing: Couldn't find any information on this.
  • Cost Per Bottle: $11.89 for 12 ounces
  • Cost Per Ounce: $0.99 per ounce
  • Cost Per Serving (1 Teaspoon): $0.17

Vitamin A & D Ratio
10:1 ratio – too perfect. As we have seen above, this is a sign that they are adding vitamins A and D. Otherwise, you don't see perfect numbers like that.

Sourcing of Fish
No information.

Processing
No information.

Added Vitamins?
See above. Most likely it's added vitamins (A and D).

They do not add antioxidants which is not good.

Added Flavors?
No.

8. Cod Liver Oil Brand Not Recommended: NutraPro International Cod Liver Oil

Best Cod Liver Oil? Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

I do not recommend NutraPro International Cod Liver Oil for all the same reasons I do not recommend Carlson's (see above). They say on their website, “Virgin Cod Liver Oil is separated from fresh cod fish livers using cold pressed & advanced purifying technologies without the use of chemicals.”

Cold pressed and advanced purifying technologies? Let's see more information about that. Nothing on their website about their process and manufacturing. I'm guessing this is industrially processed oil extracted with heat and they use molecular distillation. Unless they say what they're doing, I don't believe it.

Especially because I recently discovered that the founder of this company is a registered sex offender. Now, just because he is a convicted felon, does not mean he doesn't make great cod liver oil. But let's just say I'm a lot less likely to trust this person. Plus, he started the company just months after he was arrested back in 2007, and he runs the company out of his residential suburban home. Zero info on how he sources or processes the fish.

And yeah, once again, the ratio is too perfect.

  • Ingredients

    Virgin cod liver oil, natural vitamin E
  • Vitamin A: 5000 IU
  • Vitamin D: 500 IU
  • Ratio of Vitamins A & D: 10:1
  • Total Omega-3s: 1200
  • EPA: 700
  • DHA: 500
  • Other Omega-3s: Not listed
  • Antioxidant Added: Yes
  • Fish Species: Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)
  • Origin of Fish: Norway?
  • Extraction: They say on their website: “Virgin Cod Liver Oil is separated from fresh cod fish livers using cold pressed & advanced purifying technologies without the use of chemicals.” But they don't say how they do it or go into any more detail than that.
  • Vitamins: It doesn't say on their label but they have to be adding vitamins A and D. I'm suspicious of that ratio.
  • Nutrition Data: Source
  • Testing: They say they do independent lab testing but they don't link to any reports.
  • Cost Per Bottle: $22.50 for 16 ounces
  • Cost Per Ounce: $1.41 per ounce
  • Cost Per Serving (1 Teaspoon): $0.24

Vitamin A & D Ratio
10:1 ratio – too perfect. As we have seen above, this is a sign that they are adding vitamins A and D. Otherwise, you don't see perfect numbers like that.

Sourcing of Fish
The website says:

“At NutraPro International Virgin Cod Liver Oil is made using Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). The Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), found in the Eastern and Western regions of the Northern Pacific.”

Who does the fishing? Do they use sustainable fishing practices? How are the livers transported? Where does the manufacturing take place? Not enough information.

Processing
The website says:

“The fish is processed within 24 hours in effective and gentle manner. The oil is separated from fresh cod fish livers using cold pressed & advanced purifying technologies without the use of chemicals, to produce its exceptional fresh quality.”

I am very skeptical about this. If you are going to buck the trend of what every other cod liver oil manufacturer is doing, and make COLD PRESSED, RAW cod liver oil, don't you think you should go into more detail on your website? Especially when you are running this “international” company out of a suburban home in Utah?

I would need a LOT more information before I could ever recommend this cod liver oil.

Added Vitamins?
According to the NutraPro International website, they do not add vitamins:

“No, we do not add or take out any vitamins from our virgin cod liver oil. They are all naturally presented.”

Uh… nope. You do not get a ratio that perfect with naturally occurring vitamins. Just look at the ranges we saw from Rosita and Nordic Naturals (above).

I don't believe this.

Added Flavors?
Yes, or you can get unflavored.

9. Cod Liver Oil Brand Not Recommended: Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Best Cod Liver Oil? Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

I do not recommend Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil for a whole host of reasons.

Most importantly because I believe it is probably rancid. This is based on multiple sources of information, including Dr. Kaayla Daniel's whistleblower report and all the research I did last fall, including interviewing fish oil experts and fish oil manufacturers. You can read my whole series on the FCLO Scandal here.

Secondly, the ratio of vitamins A and D is crazily high: 53:1. This is based on the independent lab reports from Dr. Kaayla Daniel's whistleblower report from August 2015, and also based on the independent lab reports the Weston A. Price Foundation presented in November 2015. All the lab reports showed that Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil has a lot of vitamin A but almost no vitamin D.

Therefore it is not recommended, and shouldn't even be recommended by WAPF. Why they are still recommending it, I do not know.

Thirdly, we also have almost no information about how the cod liver oil is processed. David Wetzel, owner of Green Pasture Products, has shared very little information about how the fermented cod liver oil is processed. (See below.)

Fourthly, Wetzel is not adding an antioxidant. Almost every other cod liver oil manufacturer uses an antioxidant to protect the oil from oxidation. I covered this issue in this post as well.

Fifthly, just check out all these reports of adverse health reactions from FCLO customers.

Finally (glad I didn't have to say “sixthly” — and I probably shouldn't say finally because I'm sure there are other issues that will come to me), why doesn't Wetzel list nutritional and purity testing data on any of his labels or his website? Why hasn't WAPF, his biggest promoter, changed the nutritional information on their website?

Oh, and I just though of another reason I don't recommend FCLO… As you can see below, you can't find the amount of omega-3s for FCLO anywhere on their website or on their labels. Why? Because… Wetzel has some crazy ideas about omega-3s. And I quote from the Green Pasture FAQ:

“We do not have a deep focus on the fatty acids in the FCLO because, over time and work, I have concluded that these fatty acids are not what the focal point of the product should be. The only reason EPA/DHA/Omega 3's are discussed/pushed to the degree they are is after one completes the industrialization of these oils they have destroyed/damaged the real deal and they are left with some fatty acids. One always sells what they have. In the case of industrialized fish oils, fatty acids are about all that is left of value.”

He goes on and on about how you can calculate the omega-3s, but none of it makes any sense. There are a bunch of calculations with Xs and Ys and percentages. It's nuts. Especially when every other cod liver oil brand lists their omega-3 totals.

Super fishy, if you ask me. Avoid FCLO!

  • Ingredients

    Fermented Cod Liver Oil, Organic Spearmint and Peppermint Oil, Organic Wintergreen Flavor Oil, Organic Lemon Oil
  • Vitamin A: 3125 IU
  • Vitamin D: 59 IU
  • Ratio of Vitamins A & D: 53:1
  • Total Omega-3s: Unknown (see above)
  • EPA: Unknown (see above)
  • DHA: Unknown (see above)
  • Other Omega-3s: Unknown (see above)
  • Antioxidant Added: No
  • Fish Species: Pacific cod and pollock (Wetzel says it's cod but independent lab tests showed cod and pollock)
  • Origin of Fish: Alaska
  • Extraction: Oil is extracted via fermentation of the fish livers
  • Vitamins: No added vitamins listed
  • Nutrition Data: Nothing on their website or on their labels and nothing on the WAPF website except for this report from Covance which is buried and not easy to find: Source
  • Testing: Nothing on their website or on the WAPF website.
  • Cost Per Bottle: $44.00 for 8 ounces
  • Cost Per Ounce: $5.50 per ounce
  • Cost Per Serving (1 Teaspoon): $0.92

Vitamin A & D Ratio
53:1. Way too much vitamin A compared to almost no vitamin D.

Sourcing of Fish
The fish is from Alaska. Alaskan cod and/or pollock. This is the only cod liver oil product that comes from Alaska. It's sketchy because the products are called “Oslo Orange” and “Arctic Mint”. Probably should rename those to avoid fraud charges.

We don't know where the oil is manufactured. I'm curious about transport from Alaska to Nebraska. The company is based in Nebraska, but he says the fish comes from Alaska. How is it transported to Nebraska where it is supposedly manufactured? How long does the it take to go from boat to bottle and how is it protected from light and air during transport?

Processing
Is he still using a greenhouse? How is the cod liver oil protected from going rancid if it sits out exposed to air and light for months? So many questions, many of which I covered in this post.

pony-factory

Added Vitamins?
They say they do not add vitamins.

Added Flavors?
Yes.

fclo-nope

Best Cod Liver Oil? My Recommendation

Based on all of the above information, I can only recommend one brand of cod liver oil: Rosita EVCLO.

Best Cod Liver Oil — What If You Can't Afford It?

I believe that the health benefits make Rosita EVCLO well worth the price, especially for people who have health problems, and most especially for those of you who have children, especially children who have health problems…. including children on the spectrum.

If you don't have money to spend on EVCLO, There are lots of ways to cut your food budget. I'm a big believer in saving money where I can (for example, dried beans cost half as much as canned beans; making your own bread is 50-70% cheaper than buying store-bought bread).

I use the money I save to buy quality supplements like Rosita EVCLO and raw milk, which is expensive but very worth it in my mind.

I wrote a post a while back about what to buy instead of cod liver oil if you are on a budget. What I found, which I explain in the post, is that it's very tough to replace the health benefits of EVCLO. You'd have to eat a lot of seafood to get the omega-3s, and eat liver or take liver supplements to get the vitamin A.

Is it possible to get these nutrients from other foods? Yes. Do I recommend it? No. Not unless you like eating sardines on a daily basis. (Yes, you can eat other types of seafood, but it will cost a lot more than if you just take EVCLO. I explain in the post.)

EVCLO is the most cost-effective way to make sure your family is getting the nutrition they need.

Don't See a Cod Liver Oil Brand on This List?

If you see a cod liver oil brand that I left off this list and want me to add it, please comment below or you can message me on Facebook. I will be happy to check the brand out and add it to this list.

Questions on the Best Cod Liver Oil? Please Comment Below

Please comment below with your questions about cod liver oil brands or anything you'd like to share.

UPDATES

Update October 27, 2016: I spent the past month looking into Dropi cod liver oil. Ultimately I cannot recommend their product. Read my post about Dropi cod liver oil here.

Update May 9, 2017: I've received 3 requests for cod liver oil reviews to be included… Standard Process Cod Liver Oil, Swanson's Cod Liver Oil, and Nature's Answer Cod Liver Oil. I can't recommend any of these products because they are all industrially processed.

Pin This Post: How to Find The Best Cod Liver Oil — Cod Liver Oil Brands I Recommend

Best Cod Liver Oil: Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Cheeseslave.com. Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

65 thoughts on “Best Cod Liver Oil? Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?

  1. Thank you AnnMarie for such a thorough post about this! Ironically I got an email from Radiant Life this evening about Dropi, sounds like a potentially legit. competitor for Rosita. Would love to hear your take on their product. https://www.radiantlifecatalog.com/product/dropi-extra-virgin-cod-liver-oil/superfoods-supplements

  2. I’ll be interested to see what/if you are able to get more information about Dropi. Mostly because I’d like to think we could depend on more than one company to produce an excellent quality product.

    I’m glad you’re going to talk more about cost. Honestly, with no pressing health issues in our family, I’m not sure we can justify it right now. To supplement our family at the recommended dosage would cost nearly a third of our total grocery budget (this includes things like paper products, laundry detergent, and personal care items like shampoo).

    I trust your information, it’s just difficult not to be overwhelmed by cost or the amount of work necessary to cut the costs.

    Thanks for doing all of this research!

  3. Happy to come across your article while scouring the internet far too long for info on CLO (which I have never bought or taken so far). So I appreciate the hours that must have gone into researching and writing and the transparency regarding your affliations.

    Rosita’s Extra Virgin CLO had already caught my attention before landing on this page, but the price is steep.! Also, I’ve not been able to find any glowing article/blog that wasn’t either affiliated or reselling, which mostly makes me think they have a great marketing strategy going.
    And then I came across Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil by an Islandic brand called Dropi. They seem to use much of the same production processes and ethical standards as Rosita’s and (unfortunately) it’s similarly pricey too.

    I would love to read your opinion on this Dropi brand an how you feel it compares! Would you add it to the list?
    And a second question: the capsules are a bit more affordable, is there any reason not to prefer capsules over liquid?

    Holding out on ordering for now. 😉
    Twinsel

  4. P.S.
    Oops, I now see you do have some info on Dropi but are wanting more disclosure/transparency. Missed that before (must have been behind the screen too long)

    I did find some of the info you are looking for on the Islandic Dropi website. The founders seem to be an Icelandic family, who were owners of a fish factory and then started developing fish oil.
    – About the fishing boats and grounds:
    https://www.truewestfjords.is/responsible-fisheries/fishing-boats
    – About the fishing methods: https://www.truewestfjords.is/responsible-fisheries/statement/
    – And here they do specify they use cold processing (which in itself is not proof, but still): https://www.truewestfjords.is/the-product/

    Hope this helps you and you will get a chance to speak to them at the conference!
    Twinsel

    1. Hi, Twinsel, I am so sorry! Your comment got automatically moved to the trash folder. I have no idea why! Just found it there today.

      I did do a follow-up post on Dropi: https://www.cheeseslave.com/dropi-cod-liver-oil/

  5. Ann Marie- I just received a bottle of Rosita last week and the entire family is struggling to take it. Even my Italian husband whom I swear will eat anything says the CLO smells like chum. We all like fish here, we eat sardines, tuna, salmon, but we unscrew the lid off the Rosita and we all want to hurl. It tastes fishy, too, but strangely enough doesn’t taste as fishy as it smells. Do we have a bad bottle OR are we so used to the processed CLOs, that the Rosita is actually how all CLOs should smell when they aren’t overly processed?

    Thanks!

    1. If it tastes fishy like it’s off and it makes you want to vomit, and if it smells off and if it’s hard to get down (i.e. it burns or makes you nauseous and/or makes you burp) it’s possible you have a bad bottle.

      I have never gotten a bad bottle of Rosita. Rosita EVCLO does taste like seafood. Which is a good thing.

      I’m guessing you guys are just used to the cheap industrial oils. My whole family had an easy time starting on Rosita EVCLO… my 2-year-old son begs for it and will take as much as I will give him. But he’s strange that way. 🙂

      One idea is to add a teaspoon of Rosita to an ounce or two of juice.

      1. Hi Ann Marie we love rositas here and have been taking it for years my toddler is just like you’re with her CLO. However, I was disturbed to see a link from and article in Norway recently saying due to the fact rositas isn’t molecularly filtered it contains high levels of pcbs? Any thoughts on this? I was very troubled to see it as I don’t think there are any quality alternatives. Thanks much!

  6. I looked at rosita website and the capsules are not to be refrigerated as compared to the liquid …. Are the capsules as good for you as the liquid?

  7. This comes across as a rather bias recommendation for EVCLO I must say. If you want to know more about Dropi, just go on their website. They have a whole section dedicated to how they fish, and how it is sustainable (FYI Iceland has a very strict sustainable fishing policy).

    RE lab tests, not even EVCLO publishes original results. You are not assessing these cod liver oil with the same criteria. Both EVCLO and Dropi copy their results onto a webpage, if this is wrong, EVCLO is equally wrong. However, there is no reason to doubt either, be fair!

    Here are some useful links about Dropi for anyone wanting some more info on them:

    Dropi website (in English) :https://www.truewestfjords.is/

    Overview of Dropi (after actually speaking with them and asking questions): https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/introducing-dropi-extra-virgin-cod-liver-oil/

    1. Hi, Craig, well you were right — my blog did eat your comments. I just found them in the trash folder. No idea why it did that — I’m switching to Disqus!

      Anyway, I’m genuinely sorry about that. I appreciate everyone taking time to leave comments — it was not intentional on my part.

      I did do another post on Dropi as you may have seen: https://www.cheeseslave.com/dropi-cod-liver-oil/

  8. My family is getting ready to start gaps. We’re had planned to use Green PasturesW FLCO, but we won’t now. It’s not so much the FCLO as we need a good source of Omega 3s. What would you suggest as a good source of Omega 3s?

  9. The new (to me) information about FCLO is even more horrid than I knew (haven’t followed the story for quite a spell). So those of us who were damn fool enough to take that stuff were getting a huge dose of vitamin A, and virtually no vitamin D. No wonder it damaged so many people. Likely most of us were eating our liver, as well (actually one of my favorite childhood foods), thus overdosing on vitamin A. I now take no supplements, getting all the nourishment I need from food, and daily 20 minutes or so near-full-body exposure to UVB in the middle of the day between March and October for the vitamin D. Tragic that people still consume this stuff. They will regret it. Thank you so much for your research and sharing it all with us.

    1. Good job! Especially on getting so much sun.

      All of this research has shown me how hard it is to get vitamin D. Sally Fallon has been telling us we can get all the vitamin D we need from FCLO and lard. Just not true.

  10. I’ve had our family on Neolife CLO for several years now and it’s been very beneficial. I haven’t researched it extensively but it has the right ratios of vitamin A to D. Bonus the kids don’t get sunburns 🙂

    1. I’m not familiar with that brand but I looked it up. According to the label it has 5000 IU vitamin A per 2 softgels. That tells me they are most certainly adding vitamin A.

      You may as well eat fish or take fish oil (which will also prevent sunburn) and get vitamin A from desiccated liver.

      https://us.gnld.com/en-us/product/NeoLifeNutritionals/All/CodLiverOil

      1. Well it is from Cod liver oil as it says and this company has been around since the 50’s without a spot on their record. They are meticulous about their quality and have zero tolerance for contaminants in their fish oils.

  11. It looks like Dropi has updated their website with tests results. They look pretty good in terms of Vitamin A/D ratio, DHA and EPA levels, and oxidation markers. Here is the link:

    https://dropiusa.com/p/test-results

    In my own research into this company, it seems like they are also trying for as pure and un-processed a product as possible. I still have questions about their oil extraction process, but everything else seems to check out okay. Have you been able to contact them at all to get a more detailed explanation?

    Thanks for your write-up!

  12. I would like to know what your response is to the comments publishes by Sarah the healthy home economist where she states :” I don’t take Rosita … Norway pulled it off the market due to contamination with PCBs. https://www.nutraingredients.com/Regulation-Policy/Norway-warns-on-polluted-fish-oil-supplements”.
    Can you please elaborate on those claims?
    thank you

    1. Sigh… Sarah posts a lot of information that is not factual and even flat out wrong, and she doesn’t seem to feel the need to correct it. I confronted her about this over a year ago and she did not respond. I also confronted her about how she says in her videos that the tablespoon is a teaspoon, and how she says 1 tsp of fish roe has 17,000 IU of vitamin D or something crazy like that. She hasn’t corrected any of it — she just deletes my comments and she banned me from her Facebook page. I know others who have contacted her as well…

      That article she links to is wrong. The ratfish oil they tested was UNFILTERED. In other words, it had not yet been filtered. If she contacted Rosita and asked them, they would confirm this. But instead, she just posts false information and leaves it up after she is corrected on multiple occasions. Grr!

      Here are the measured levels https://ratfishoil.net/hikashop-menu-for-categories-listing/product/2-rosita-ratfish-liver-oil-50ml#testing

  13. So do you know why the cod liver oil companies say their vitamins are from the cod liver oil with no mention of them being synthetic? For example Carlson labs:

    Vitamin A 850 IU 17%
    (from cod liver oil)
    Vitamin D3 400 IU 100%
    (from cod liver oil)

  14. Couldn't find the tephlon trick for waffle irons. Can you post the link again or let me know where to find it? Also, I appreciate your dedication to this project. Means a lot, considering, my daughters are allergic to whole milk.

  15. On your recommendation I bought three bottles of the Rosita EV CLO. Despite site reviews which were quite mixed I decided to make the investment. The bottles arrived beautifully packed and padded, all good of course. Then I opened the first bottle and was shocked to discover the fumes emanating from that newly minted batch were suspiciously identical to flax seed oil. I do mean the type I use for painting as I am an artist. Why fish oil should resemble linseed oil in odor is beyond my understanding. However, I proceeded to take a tsp and add it to my cereal, which I now do everyday using the Swansons CLO, which I have used for several years with good success. The flavor was so obnoxiously fishy I nearly gagged at the first bite. I don't mix my oils with heavy covers like fruit smoothies or juice. As you know, oil only floats in juice anyway. I am gluten free, chew all my pills and supplements so I am used to some of the most foul tastes any palate could endure but this was beyond even me. As anyone will attest who knows me, that means a skull and crossbones should be posted on the label. After nearly vomiting it all up, I gulped down some water and then went about my business, hoping it would stay put. Minutes later, literally, I began experience 'fish burps' which I never do on any except the poorest quality, rancid oils….I mean, literally. The burp test is the confirmation it is NOT a good oil. I don't know what they pay you, but no amount of intelligent verbiage and apparently intensive research can make a bad oil palatable or digestible. This one is neither. Whatever grand effects it could have made in my body had I been able to endure it will never be known. BTW, I suffered indigestion all day after that and didn't feel terribly well the next day. That has never happened on my Swansons CLO. Ok, enough said. I felt your readers should be forewarned. I would love to see a small study involving a dozen people of various ages, half taking Swansons CLO and half this grotesque version for ninety days and then have them all subjected to a blood workup and cholesterol panel just to see if there was any difference whatsoever.

    1. If the oil smells or tastes rancid to you, send it back. I’ve been taking Rosita for years and never had this problem, nor have I heard from any of my readers having a problem with rancidity.

  16. I am looking on the back of my Carlson cod liver oil bottle, and it lists the source of vitamin A as from cod liver oil.

  17. I am looking at the back of my Carlson cod liver oil bottle and it says that the vitamin A is from cod liver oil. It does not list any synthetic cod liver oil on the bottle

        1. That is what is in their vitamin a pill. The liquid cod liver oil label says that the vitamin a in it comes from cod liver oil.

  18. I wanted to buy a bottle of this, and the price is hefty-ish but doable, but the $14.95 for shipping for a small bottle is ridiculous! Is there any other source for this that isn't so expensive on shipping. Sorry if that seems petty, but I mean, dang…

  19. Emotional orizzonte vento difficili da guarire i always cuori, eccitato, eccitati,e not transpo 'confuso,can come questa improvvisa sorpresa dato che lo fece entrare Ruzhui sogno. E 'vero? Sì, questo è vero, assolutamente vero! capacità dodici anni di penitenza è andato, anima Dan whereas in the cambio di oro, che è oltre ogni immaginazione. dopo un tempo molto lungo, il vento era depresso orizzonte di eccitazione,un attento studio di anima d'oro di Dan. Ora, ha già

  20. No wonder I've always had low vitamin d levels despite taking fclo for years. Too bad it cost me several cavities and lost teeth before I figured out the culprit. Ugh.

  21. My son and I have been taking Rositas. Do we have to take the concentrated butter oil along with Rositas for it to really work or is Rositas by itself enough?

  22. Thank you for great research and great reading. Do you have any thoughts on the nutritional differences between Rosita's Ratfish Liver Oil and Rosita's Cod Liver Oil? The Alkylglycerol lipids in the RLO are certainly unique, and while there are some studies out there about that specific lipid, I haven't dug deeply. Thanks!

  23. Holy crap! You went all out and put a lot of effort into this.

    Don't worry about vitamin A toxicity people. As long as you're consuming natural food it's almost impossible. The polar bear thing was because of cadmium.

    1. I forgot to say I don't like the vitamin e part. I usually don't take supplements because I believe they are all toxic. I don't believe man can present us with nutrition the way mother nature or the creator can.

  24. Well if this fish oil does not undergo molecular distillation then what about the toxic elements like Mercury are removed?

  25. Thank you for the extensive research work. I wonder if you knows if there is no danger in the heavy elements like mercury in Rosita Cod Oil. I would also like to know more about Vital Nutrients Cod Oil. Someone knows?

  26. Dear AnnMarie, I can only see 3 contaminants in the safety test on Rosita which you have given a link for. I'm not an expert but I imagine there could be quite a range of potential contaminants to check for? Thank you!

  27. What about barleans organic cod liver oil….. I have giving it to my 3 Yr old… Not much but nw 8 m tensed

  28. Why are the amount per serving on the soft gel capsules label a lot less than on the liquid label? It looks like it is more beneficial to take the liquid than the capsules.
    Capsules Liquid
    Vitamin A 1260 IU Vitamin A 3900 IU
    Vitamin D 127 IU Vitamin D 395 IU
    Total Omega 3s 417mg Total Omega 3s 1060mg
    EPA 143mg EPA 443mg
    DHA 195mg DHA 605mg

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