After sharing my prenatal supplement regimen with you all a while back, I got some questions about cod liver oil (CLO) vs fermented cod liver oil (FCLO). And since there has been a lot of FCLO controversy over the past few years I wanted to break it down and share with you what me and my family are doing.
The Report That Stirred Everything Up
In 2015, Dr. Kaayla Daniel, the Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF) Vice President, released a report on Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil. This report was the result of a lot of families contacting the foundation in regards to their doubts about the ‘fermentation process‘ due to their children getting sick, breaking out in hives, and having other adverse effects.
Side Note: The Green Pastures brand, which is the brand the report focused on, has been the gold standard for many of us in the natural food world. It was believed to be one of the best FCLO on the market. It had the full backing of the Weston A. Price Foundation for years. However, it turns out that even in the natural food world when money is involved beliefs can be swayed. The WAPF had monetary connections to multiple FCLO companies, including Green Pastures. And when Dr. Daniel’s (who has zero monetary connections to ANY cod liver oil companies (fermented or not)) wanted to look into these parent’s claims she got a lot of flack from the WAPF. Since the foundation refused to look into the claims she went through a lot of trouble to find independent labs that would.
The results of Dr. Daniel’s study confirmed these parents worst fear. The fermented cod liver oil they were feeding to their children (and themselves) was rancid.
Fermented Cod Liver Oil is Rancid
Fats and oils cannot fermented without the presence of carbohydrates.
So it would make sense to look for a carbohydrate in the ingredient list when you’re buying fermented cod liver oil, right?
Well, here’s the tricky part… the process of fermentation would remove said carbohydrate by the end of the fermentation process, meaning companies wouldn’t list it on their ingredient list. This makes it impossible to know whether or not a company used carbohydrates in their fermentation process.
And what happens when fats and oils are fermented without carbohydrates? Not only do they not ferment, but they become rancid. This was the case with Green Pastures FCLO. Dr. Daniel’s report showed multiple biomarkers of rancidity in the fermented cod liver oil samples that she took.
Since her report came out in 2015 many other studies have been done on other brands of FCLO and the same results are found. Making fermented cod liver oil a very sketchy product in terms of quality.
What We’re Doing Instead
I firmly believe that despite the issues with fermented cod liver oil, regular cod liver oil (not fermented) has many health benefits. It’s high in DHA and EPA, is a great source of vitamins A&D, and it great for cardiovascular health, just to name a few.
After Dr. Daniel’s report came out I started to research new brands of CLO; avoiding all fermented cod liver oils. That’s when I found Dropi.
Dropi doesn’t ferment their oil and uses a cold-pressing method to extract the oils naturally and safely. They catch the cod, sustainably, while they’re in season. And since in nature vitamin levels vary throughout the season (and Dropi doesn’t add synthetic vitamins to their product like some), they publish a vitamin level range, not an exact number, on their bottle.
While cod is on the list of “low mercury fish” I still wash down my CLO with strawberries (find out why here)
Question of The Day
What is your experience with CLO (fermented or not)?