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What to Do About Cod Liver Oil

admin January 3, 2016

Cod liver oil.

Since the upset this past fall, when the report Hook, Line, and Stinker!  The Truth About Fermented Cod Liver Oil was released, many people have been uncertain what they should do about cod liver oil.

Upon first hearing of that report, I dismissed it — can’t be a real issue, I thought.  I’d been a loyal purchaser of Green Pastures for years, and had recommended them many times.  I was sure there was nothing to it all.

But, I looked into it more, and discovered — unfortunately — that there was a legitimate concern.  Read my take on all of the controversy.  Plus, my original follow-up on how to choose quality cod liver oil.

Of course, since then, Green Pastures has completed independent testing and has responded to all of the allegations made.  Today, I’m going to look at all of that and give you my final word on what I think, and what we’re doing now.

The Response

Essentially, Green Pastures has stated that they do, in fact, use Alaskan Pollock and not the Gadus Morhua, or true cod, and that all of their analyses are in line for that type of fish.  They use “…human food grade cod and Pollock livers from the Alaska Fish Processing Industry.” (This is from a report issued via email.)  Some have concerns about using fish or livers from Alaska due to radiation issues.

They also acknowledged that the free fatty acids in their products were high, although they claimed that this was not a marker of oxidation because peroxide values were low (typically both would be high in the case of primary oxidation).  However, from reading other sources, I have gathered that testing for oxidation in fats is rather tricky, so one person’s opinion on this cannot necessarily be trusted.  In an expert report Green Pastures released, the researcher stated:

I would suggest testing anisidine and TBAs at the same time to verify the secondary oxidation products in you products. Bottom line, the FFA test for your product is not a good indicator of oxidation.

I don’t know that the suggested follow-up tests were ever done, but it seems to me that secondary oxidation is still on the table — the researcher is only saying that free fatty acids (FFA) alone were not an indicator.

Ultimately, I feel like Green Pastures only addressed some of the questions that surround the product, and the scientific analyses we have (at least half of which were performed by researchers who have been working for/with them for years) are not adequate to address the issues that were raised.

So, I personally will not be taking this product, and haven’t since the information first came out a few months ago.

What to do About Cod Liver Oil

What now?

I do believe in the power of cod liver oil. I do think it is an excellent supplement.  Green Pastures has been the “go to” company for a long time in the real food world.  So what are other, safe, healthy options?

As soon as I found all of this information on fermented cod liver oil a few months ago, I began looking for new companies and better options.  I wasn’t interested in the many more “mainstream,” lower cost types of cod liver oil, which had standardized levels of vitamins and which were refined.  No, I was interested in finding the highest quality company, that was transparent about their production methods, that produced an unrefined oil, and that used the “newer” methods for producing cod liver oil (specifically, cold-pressing).

After much searching, I found Dropi.

Dropi is an Iceland-based company, that catches true cod when they are in season, and uses a cold-pressing method to extract the oil safely and naturally — and quickly, so it’s fresh.   Vitamin levels vary naturally throughout the season, so they publish an expected range and not exact numbers.  They don’t refine the oil at all.

The fish are caught in the oldest fishing spot in Iceland, in a sustainable manner.

The oil is packaged in dark glass bottles and refrigerated.  They offer a liquid, and a capsule.  The capsules are made from fish gelatin!  (More about the product.)

Out of all the companies I looked into — and I looked into several — this was the one that impressed me most.  They were extremely willing to answer questions when I contacted them, and sent me quite a bit of information.

The brand is just now being imported to the U.S., which is pretty exciting.  It wasn’t even available when I first talked to the company.

But, it’s the one I’ve been taking for a couple months now.  The one I trust for my family.

We’re only taking 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. per day, which is, I believe, enough — it’s meant to be a supplement, not replace a healthy diet.  Dropi even gives this advice on their website.

Here’s where you can buy it.

If you choose capsules, and take 2 per day, you’re looking at $15 per month (not bad!), per person.  They also have a liquid (which has a very mild flavor), 220 ml, or about 7.4 oz.  At 1/2 tsp. per day, that would last you about 3 months, and the price is $48 — so about $16 per month.  Both are very affordable, and the liquid is even more affordable if you’re taking smaller doses.

This is one of the “moderate” supplement expenses for me.   Probiotics are much more expensive; vitamin B-complex and vitamin C are less expensive.

Do you take cod liver oil?  Have you decided what to do about the controversy?

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12 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this info. I truly appreciate all the time and effort you’ve put into this cod liver oil issue. I am wondering if you are receiving any compensation from this new cod liver oil company? It’s so hard to know who to trust these days.

    Reply

    • Hi Marcia,

      Yes, I was paid for this post, and I need to update it to reflect that.

      However, you should know that I sought them out, not the other way around. I requested them to work with me in a paid relationship once I examined their products and was satisfied with their quality. I was approached by other companies and offered a paid relationship to promote them, instead, but declined because I could not do so in good faith — their products didn’t meet my standards. I hope that you can trust my recommendation — I only work with companies that I truly, 100% feel good about, and regularly decline those who are not in line with my mission. Money is necessary to feed my family (this is my full-time job) but it’s not more important than being truthful or accurate!

      Reply

  2. Well, this has solved a real dilemma for me. We stopped taking clo after we finished our last bottle of GP, but I just wasn’t sure what brand to switch to because the two best brands that I could find, at the time, only came in liquid form and my son won’t take those. Thanks so much for doing the research!

    Reply

  3. Hi Kate! I am deeply grateful for your dedication and passion in your research on this subject. I’m brand new to taking CLO and I must say that your posts have been helpful in understanding the benefits of it!
    I have a couple of questions. What’s the youngest age for administering to little ones?Also, is it best to get the liquid or capsule type?

    Thankful for you!
    Freizel

    Reply

  4. What side effects do you believe the Green Pastures caused in your family? We’ve been taking this for years so this is really disappointing. Thanks for the post.

    Reply

  5. What about Rosita raw cod liver oil, recommended by Wellness Mama?

    Reply

  6. So, are there any companies out there that sell fermented oil, that are safe!? I read the DRopi “Our Story” and it appears that the story they told has to do with FERMENTED oil(a hole in the ground!)……fermented clo has healed some arthritis in my fingers…..I’m nervous to switch to “normal” clo.

    Thanks for your research!

    Reply

  7. I will definitely look into this brand…but we’ve loved that the Green Pasture came with butter oil too. Taking this blend has made a huge difference in my husband’s tooth health…so if we switch CLO then we would need to find a butter oil too…

    Reply

  8. Does this company also offer a butter oil? I liked the pre-blended HVBO/FCLO GP offered. I’ve experimented making a blend myself with a small amount of ghee and liquid CLO just to see if it would set up right (it did!). Now I just need some high quality butter oil (I know the ghee isn’t as good as true HVBO).

    Reply

  9. What do you think about black cumin seed oil as a replacement for CLO?

    Reply

  10. I see that you still have some posts that lead to affiliate links with Green Pastures fermented cod liver oil..

    Reply

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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