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Food & Nutrition

Cod Liver Oil

Article by: Beth Blessing

Cod liver oil is the extracted fats and fat soluble nutrients/compounds from the livers of cod fish. It has been used in traditional cultures ranging from the South Seas, the Eskimos, the Nordic countries, and the ancient Romans. Cod liver oil is considered a nutritional supplement that provides the long chain fatty acids, EPA and DHA, but its primary benefits are from the concentrated presence of naturally occurring fat soluble vitamins A and D.

There are different processes in which the oil is extracted from the cod livers. It is common to find cod liver oil that has been heated, treated with chemical solvents, bleached, deodorized, flavored, and enriched with synthetic versions of the vitamins that were stripped during the oil extraction method. These cod liver oils should be avoided. The two processes that come from old-fashioned processing techniques are fermentation and a proprietary filtering method that creates extra virgin cod liver oil.

  • Fermented cod liver oil: The livers of the cod are fermented allowing the beneficial oils and fat soluble vitamins to separate from the rest of the liver. It is cool temperature fermentation so unlike heat processing methods the vitamins and omega-3s are not damaged.
  • Fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend: A blend of fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin grass-fed butter oil. This provides a higher dose of vitamin K2. The blend contains 2/3rds fermented cod liver oil and 1/3rd butter oil.
  • Extra virgin cod liver oil: An old Viking technique in which the cod livers naturally release their oil when exposed to a shift in temperature, from the icy arctic waters to ambient temperature. Like fermentation, there is no heat involved which preserves and protects the nutrients.

Key Nutrients:

  • Vitamin A: Regulates the growth and specialization of virtually all cells in the human body. It is important for fetal development, organ formation during fetal development, normal immune functions, and eye development and vision.
  • Vitamin D: Essential for bone health, normal bone development and maintenance. Also necessary for nervous system function, insulin production, immunity, and protection against depression.
  • Vitamin K2 (fermented cod liver oil): Works with vitamin D and calcium to promote healthy bones and teeth, helps reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing calcium build up in the arteries, and promotes skin health by protecting skin elasticity.
  • Vitamin E: Powerful antioxidant that helps protects the polyunsaturated fats in the oil from turning rancid. Also, protect the body from free radical damage.
  • EPA and DHA: Long chain omega-3 fatty acids that support optimal visual and brain functions. Crucial in the development of the fetal central nervous system, including the retina. EPA and DHA also help promote anti-inflammatory compounds and support the immune system.


  • Fermented cod liver oil:
    • Children age 3 months to 12 years: 1/8-1/2 teaspoon
    • Children over 12 years and adults: ½-1 teaspoon
    • Pregnant and nursing women: 1-2 teaspoons
  • Extra virgin cod liver oil: according to, Rosita Real Foods, the only company in the world that produces extra virgin cod liver oil, it is suggested that you start with ½ to 1 teaspoon daily (depending on body weight and size). After several weeks of daily consumption you may find that you can reduce your intake.



Linus Pauling Institute

Weston A. Price Foundation