If you were to ask your grandma or grandpa if they were given Cod Liver Oil, they probably would have turned up their noses and said “yes, yuck!”
What I always find fascinating is to see the new science and research on something that was ancient wisdom a hundred years ago, and passed down through generations. This was a common practice, line the kids up and give them a spoonful of Cod Liver oil! The parents didn’t know exactly what was in it, or why it was so healthy for the immune system, they just knew it worked.
Fast forward to Dr. Weston Price’s research in the 1930s. Dr. Weston A. Price (1870-1948), a Cleveland dentist, has been called the “Isaac Newton of Nutrition.” In his search for the causes of dental decay and physical degeneration that he observed in his dental practice, he turned from test tubes and microscopes to unstudied evidence among human beings. Dr. Price looked for why there were fine teeth among the people who had been isolated, non-industrialized people.
Price traveled the world over in order to study isolated human groups, including sequestered villages in Switzerland, Gaelic communities in the Outer Hebrides, Eskimos, and Indians of North America, Melanesian and Polynesian South Sea Islanders, African tribes, Australian Aborigines, New Zealand Maori, and the Indians of South America. Wherever he went, Dr. Price found that beautiful straight teeth, freedom from decay, stalwart bodies, resistance to disease, and fine characters were typical of native people on their traditional diets, rich in essential food factors.
Dr. Price went on the write the book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” which documented all his findings. This book was required reading for me when I was in school to become a Nutritionist. There is now a Weston A. Price Foundation that was formed in 1999 to carry forward his work.
What He Discovered
In doing his research, one of the things that he discovered (among many) was the traditional diets all had some form of healthy fat in them. In chapter 22 of his book, he refers to a “new vitamin-like activator.” He goes on to say this vitamin “X” was a fat-soluble vitamin he found in grass-fed butter, fish, eggs and the organ meats of animals.
In studies with humans and poultry, he found that giving cod liver oil alone was not as effective in promoting growth and recovery from bone loss or tooth decay as the combination of what he called “high-vitamin natural cod liver oil (a source of vitamins A and D)” and “high-vitamin butter oil (a source of vitamin A and activator X).” He made the butter oil by centrifuging slightly heated butter to separate it into an oil and hard portion—the vitamins concentrated in the oil. Today we know that activator X is vitamin K2, MK-4, the animal form of vitamin K.
What Dr. Price does not describe in Chapter 22 is the way he used the combination of high-vitamin butter oil and high-vitamin cod liver oil in emergency situations. One person brought back from the brink of death was Donald Price, Dr. Price’s nephew. He had given him the alternating drops of cod liver oil and butter oil when he was close to death from pneumonia. The remedy quickly revived him and he was out of bed the next day.
From what I’ve read, taking the “drops” of oil under the tongue gets it into the body very rapidly without it having to go through the digestive process. The digestive process requires the gallbladder to produce bile for us to break fats down to utilize them. By taking the “drops” under the tongue, it can quickly assimilate (if you can handle the taste!) into the bloodstream.
If that is more than you can handle, taking cod liver oil (and butter oil) is to mix 1 teaspoon of high-quality cod liver oil and 1/4 teaspoon butter oil, into 4 oz. of hot water and drink it down!
Of course, we now have cod liver oil capsules, which is the easiest way to get this high-value oil into your system. If you do not have a gallbladder and have trouble digesting fats, you can take 500mg choline along with it to break it down. Lecithin is also a great way to emulsify fats for better digestion.
What Are the Benefits?
Cod liver oil is high in vitamin A and vitamin D. In Dr. Prices’ research he worked with a school where children’s tooth decay was rampant. Along with changing the diet (one meal a day) to low sugar, including fresh meats and vegetables, fresh fruit, fresh ground whole wheat bread, and raw, whole milk, he added in 1 teaspoon of cod liver oil and butter oil daily.
Price reported, “The clinical effect was apparent complete control of dental caries for the entire group, as shown in the x-ray films.” One hundred percent of the cavities in these children filled in! Moreover, the health of the children improved in numerous other ways, including overall energy and performance at school.
This is a short list of the benefits of vitamin A derived from a food source.
- Increased immune function
- Prevents night blindness
- Decreases acne
- Heals gastrointestinal ulcers
- Repairs epithelial tissue of the skin and mucous membranes
- Important in the formation of bones and teeth
- Aids in fat storage of healthy fats
- Protects against colds, flus and infections to the kidneys, bladder, lungs, and mucous membranes.
- Is an antioxidant
- Is necessary for new cell growth
- Protein cannot be utilized by the body without vitamin A
If you have liver disease, do not take any more than 10,000 IU daily.
What about toxicity? I often get this question, “I’ve heard you can get toxic levels of vitamin A.” My mentor Jim McAfee, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, once told me that in clinical studies, they gave participants 100,000 units a day for one year before they started to reach toxic levels.
Additionally, the vitamin D found in cod liver oil and butterfat from pasture-raised animals protects against vitamin A toxicity and allows one to consume a much higher amount of vitamin A before it becomes toxic.
We have heard much about this “vitamin” since COVID started. It has been also called a “hormone” because of the way it works in the body.
Again here is a short list of the benefits of Vitamin D.
- Necessary for growth of bones and teeth
- Is required for the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus
- Protects against muscle weakness
- Regulation of the heartbeat
- Protection against breast cancer and colon cancer
- Prevention of osteoarthritis
- Prevention of osteoporosis
- Enhances immune function
- Necessary for thyroid function
- Necessary for normal blood clotting
Get tested for your vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D levels put you at the highest risk for death from COVID-19!
As a general guideline, I recommend the following doses of vitamin A from cod liver oil, along with a nutrient-dense diet that contains other vitamin A-rich foods:
- Children age 3 months to 12 years: A dose of cod liver oil that provides about 5000 IU vitamin A daily, obtained from about 1 teaspoon of regular cod liver oil or ½ teaspoon of high-vitamin cod liver oil.
- Children over 12 years and adults: A maintenance dose of cod liver oil that provides about 10,000 IU vitamin A daily, obtained from 2 teaspoons of regular cod liver oil or 1 teaspoon of high-vitamin cod liver oil.
- Pregnant and nursing women: A dose of cod liver oil that provides about 20,000 IU vitamin A daily, obtained from 4 teaspoons regular cod liver oil or 2 teaspoons high-vitamin cod liver oil.
Please note that these recommended doses are 2-5 times greater than the U.S. RDA for children, 4 times greater than the U.S. RDA for adults and 8 times greater than the U.S. RDA for pregnant women. The RDA values are based on studies conducted in the general population, which is now recognized to be largely deficient in vitamin A. For a discussion of studies showing that vitamin A consumption up to 30,000 IU per day by pregnant women does not result in a greater risk of birth defects, see Vitamin A for fetal development.
My recommended brand of cod liver oil (see below) will provide you with the above-recommended dosages for cod liver oil about 500-1000 IU vitamin D for children, 1000-2000 IU vitamin D for adults, 2000-4000 IU vitamin D for pregnant and nursing women and up to 9000-18,000 IU for those taking large amounts of cod liver oil to deal with stress and disease. In 1997, the Food and Nutrition Board of the US Institute of Medicine set the tolerable upper intake level (TUIL) for vitamin D at 2000 IU per day. However, the vitamin D content experts on the Upper Limits Panel objected to this limit, and several prominent vitamin D researchers have called for an upward revision of the limit. Experiments show that even during the winter with a low vitamin D intake, humans will exhaust stores of vitamin D at a rate of 3000-4000 IU per day, an amount that many people require to maintain optimal levels of the vitamin in the blood.
I’m a real stickler for quality supplements. It’s the “Wild West” in the supplement world, with so many unknowns. If you would like to consider taking a Cod Liver oil and/or some butter oil, here is my suggestion.
The Weston Price foundation recommends the Green Pastures Cod Liver oil and butter oil. You can get liquid, capsules, and a capsule blend with Cod Liver oil and butter oil. This is Alaska caught Cod, 3rd party screening, and fermentation is used to extract the oil (not heat). You can go Here to order.
I didn’t make my kids drink the liquid, but they did take the capsule formulation from the time they could swallow. We could get rid of an ear infection in no time at all, reduce symptoms to colds and flu’s and improve their immune function throughout the winter months.
Who knew that the nasty oil everyone lined up to take one hundred years ago was an amazing healing elixir!
- Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Balch, James F. M.D., Balch, Phyllis A. CNC, Penquin Putman, 2000, pgs. 14,15, 21
- Dr. Prices Remedy, Weston A. Price Foundation, Fallon-Morrel, Sally,https://nourishingtraditions.com/dr-prices-remedy/?utm_source=mailpoet&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Shielded+Healing
- Cod Liver Oil Basics, Weston A. Price Foundation,https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil/cod-liver-oil-basics-and-recommendations/