23 December 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Fermented Cod Liver Oil: Why Cod Liver Oil Production Methods Matter

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Historically, cod liver oil has been used to help with numerous health conditions, and records show that the oil was used many centuries ago in cold fishing communities such as Greenland, Norway, Iceland, and Scotland. Fisherman found that using fermented cod liver oil could help them to maintain better health, and over the years that use of cod liver oil has continued.

Before there was refrigeration, stove-tops, and other modern conveniences, fisherman would put the cod livers into a barrel with sea water, and the mixture was allowed to ferment over time. In modern times, companies have made cod liver oil through harsher refining processes, which strip some of the natural benefits from the oils. Some people may not realize that there is a difference between refined cod liver oil and fermented cod liver oil, but the truth is that beneficial micro-nutrients in the oil are negatively affected during the refining process.

Benefits of Fermented Cod Liver Oil

When cod liver is fermented, there are numerous nutrients that are left in place for the benefit of the person using the oil. Fermented cod liver oil contains essential fatty acids and naturally occurring vitamins such as vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E’s, vitamin K’s, enzymes, and possibly thousands of micronutrients.

The lacto-fermentation process is very beneficial for digestive health, and it provides numerous health benefits that can’t be created in synthetic supplements. Because of the fermentation process, high quality cod liver oil is actually a living food, and many researchers have found a link between higher consumption of living foods and better overall health.

Each serving of fermented cod liver oil is very nutrient dense; in comparison refined cod liver oil has lower nutrient density, which means that it is not as beneficial for overall health. Because of the nutrient density, fermented cod liver oil can be taken in much small dosages while still achieving the nutritional benefits that are available.

Bioavailability of Nutrients

Simply ingesting a specific nutrient doesn’t necessarily mean that the body will be able to make use of the nutrient. In fact, it has been found that many synthetic vitamins have low bioavailability, which means that the body is not able to use much of the vitamin. These low bioavailable, synthetic vitamins can actually be harmful to your health, because they can accumulate in the body and cause toxicity.

Refined cod liver oils have been stripped of the naturally occurring vitamin D, which means that the manufacturer often adds synthetic vitamin D back into the refined oil. In order to get the best source of bioavailable vitamin D, as well as the many other micronutrients that are beneficial for health, it is important to only use a supplement that has the nutrients in their naturally occurring form.

When cod liver oil is fermented, all of the naturally occurring nutrients are left in place, and those nutrients have high bioavailability. It is always best to get nutrients in their most natural form, and using a low quality cod liver oil will cheat you out of the health benefits that you could be experiencing from fermented oil. On the other hand, when fermented cod liver oil is used, it allows the body to take advantage of those nutrients that are high in bioavailability, and there is not a concern of toxicity as a result of synthetic vitamins.

Resources:

Cod Liver Oil Basics and Recommendations, Weston A. Price Foundation

Update on Cod Liver Oil Manufacturing, Returning to traditional PRoduction Techniques for the Quintessential Sacred Food, GreenPasture.org

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