The Worlds Healthiest Foods : Cod Liver Oil
Cod Liver Oil is a nutritional supplement which is extracted from the liver of cod fish. It contains very high levels of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and is considered one of the most potent sources of vitamin A and D.
Just one teaspoon (5ml) can contain in excess of 10,000 UI’s of vitamin A as well as 400 UI’s or more of vitamin D. It also contains 2 very important omega-3 fatty acids; EPA and DHA. These two fatty acids are widely known for relieving arthritis pain, improving brain function, reducing stress, relieving asthma and even helping with learning disabilities and behavioral disorders including bipolar syndrome (no remedy for bi-winning unfortunately.)
EPA or EicosaPentaenoic Acid
is an important fatty acid and an increase intake of EPA can lead to decrease risks of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and inflammatory disorders; such as arthritis. Recommended dosage should be at least 200 mg per day.
DHA or DocosaHexaenoic Acid
is also an important fatty acid which is crucial for the development of our brains and nervous system, especially during the first 6 month of birth. It also plays an important role in the visual functioning in infants. Recommended dosage is anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 mg per day.
The human brain is comprised of 60% fats, and roughly half of that fat is comprised of DHA omega 3.
Together these fatty acids produce a formidable component to good health; especially brain health. Together they can help with: infant development, rheumatoid arthritis, menstrual pain, Raynaud syndrome lupus and other inflammatory conditions.
Infant Development: Parents should be aware that EPA may not be recommended by infants or small children because EPA can upset the equilibrium of DHA and EPA during early development. Pregnant woman should always consult a doctor first.
Fat soluble vitamin A
is an essential compound that plays an important role in vision, bone growth, reproduction, cell division as well as cell differentiation. It also helps regulate the immune system by making more white blood cells to fight against harmful bacteria and viruses.
Vitamin A is a compound because it can be found in two different forms: animal or plant.
Vitamin A found in foods from animals is called provitamin A carotenoid, and is absorbed in the form of retinol and is one of the most usable and active forms of vitamin A. The main sources for this type of vitamin A include liver (because all the vitamins are stored here) and whole milk.
The vitamin A that is found in fruits and vegetables is called provitamin A carotenoid. This can be made in to retinol by the body. The most common forms of provitamin A found in plant foods are beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin; beta-carotene being the most effectively made in to retinol. Alpha-caritebe and beta-cryptoxanthin are also converted into retinol, but not as effectively as beta-carotene.
Fat soluble Vitamin D
is present in its natural form in very few foods, but remains critical for the health of bones and teeth. It’s also necessary for proper absorption of calcium in the gut and helps maintain proper levels of phosphate and calcium for normal mineralization of bone and teeth. Rich sources in vitamin D include: fish, seafood, organic unpasteurized dairy products and the sun. Intake of vitamin D in its natural form is crucial; synthetic vitamin supplements just don’t do the job.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are worried about vitamin A and D toxicity. There is always a possibility of toxicity as there is a possibility of drowning from the consumption of too much water within a very short span of moments.
It's all relative and this should always be your main reference point when it comes to any supplement and it's toxicity point.
However, you must remember that, though the levels of vitamin A and D in cod liver oil are high in dosage, they also work synergistically together. That's the beauty of vitamins and minerals. When you don't isolate them and you take them the way they're supposed to be taken then you don't run the risk of toxicity.
It must also be noted that the increase in vitamin A and D intake also requires a higher intake of vitamin K2, which can be found in most fermented dairy products (cheese, kefir, butter) but also in foods like traditional Japanese natto.
These vitamins and fatty acids are just some of the many stepping stones to maintaining our health. They all play a plethora of crucial roles in our physical body and seem to be absent in the popular western "White Man's" diet. Should it be a surprise that cancer, disease, sickness and laziness remain prominent among our nation?
Cod liver is a great choice for a dietery supplement if you find you’re not getting enough omega-3’s, vitamin A or vitamin D.
A few concerns when choosing the right cod liver oil.
- Make sure you always check the labels and check if it has been tested for heavy metals, dioxins and PCBs.
- Vitamin E in the form of d-alpha tocopherol is also common in cod liver oil. This form of vitamin E is used as a preservative or to “keep” freshness, if you may.
- During the industrialization process of cod liver oil the fat soluble vitamin A and D are removed and sometimes even replaced with synthetic replicates.
- Make sure the cod liver oil or capsules are well sealed off. If the bottle is not tinted or darkened in some way to block off light then you definitely don't want to buy it. Light can make the oil go rancid much quicker.
Where to buy
The best brand available at the moment is Green Pastures blue ice cod liver oil, which can be found here:
This cod liver oil is in it's whole food form and thus is processed in a way where the maximum amount of nutrients are preserved. There is absolutely no unadulterated, industrialized production processes involved and the cod liver oil is routinely tested for heavy metals and PCB's.
You can expect to get the deep and full range of vitamins, including : A, D, E, K; CoQ enzymes and other quinones.
However, because I live in Canada eh, the shipping price is outrageous and I refuse to pay half of my products price in shipping. Nordic Naturals seems to be second best choice and does sell a no flavor (preferable) cod liver oil with its vitamin A and D intact.
It can be found at iHerb.com for a good price and if you choose international shipping (no tracking provided) it’s a flat 4$ shipping each time. This option only applies to orders valued to 80$ and weighing 3lbs or less.
But by all means, keep looking out for something even better.