FAQs: All about fermented cod liver oil (and why I don’t take fish oil)

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A note from me before you delve into this extensive Q&A on fermented cod liver oil:

Fermented cod liver oil is the only “supplement” I take regularly and I recommend it for others as well. I first learned of this product several years ago while beginning my nutrition studies and while weighing the differences between it and a standard omega 3-rich fish oil supplement. I chose to move forward with FCLO and, based on my continued studying and research on the topic, will remain taking FCLO and not an isolated polyunsaturated fatty acid / omega 3-rich fish oil.

Additionally, when I dug into the research for this post, I ended up taking myself down a bit of a rabbit hole and discovered more resources than I thought would exist on the production of not only fermented cod liver oil and cod liver oil, but also fish oil. In my research I’ve discovered that the industry around and production of fish oil is enormous and is very much like that of seed oils. I’ll do my best to delve more into these topics in a follow-up post to this one in the very near future, but I didn’t want to delay sharing this one as wading through the rest of the information I’ve discovered will take me some time.

Please note: With this post, as with anything you read on this website – the information is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Understand that tens of thousands of people read this blog, and I am not able to tell every unique reader a specific dose that is right for you, your family, or your friends. This is information for you to use to form your opinion and take action thereafter – or not. 


Chris Kresser, L.Ac

Chris Kresser, L.Ac


“Fermented cod liver oil is the one supplement I think nearly everyone can benefit from. I’ve seen it clear acne, lift depression, balance hormones, and reverse autoimmunity. I use it myself and recommend it to all of my patients.” – Chris Kresser, L.Ac.


What is fermented cod liver oil (FCLO)?

Fermented cod liver oil is a cold-processed form of oil that is gently made from cod livers. The fermentation process allows the oil to be separated from the livers without damaging the vitamin or polyunsaturated fatty acid (omega 3/EPA/DHA) content of the oil. This oil is then gently purified and then combined with flavorings (except in unflavored varieties) and bottled or placed into capsules.

There is currently only one company producing fermented cod liver oil that we know of, Green Pasture – many people find the cinnamon flavor most palatable. (Note: Balanced Bites is not affiliated with nor sponsored by Green Pasture in any way.)

How is FCLO different from standard cod liver oil or fish oil?

fcloVSfishoilSQProcessing is everything. Cold processing and fermentation protect the naturally occurring nutrients (omega 3 fatty acids as well as vitamins A & D) present in cod liver oil, however, heat processing will damage them.

In order to make use of nutrients that we eat in our foods, a reduction process needs to occur. We consume macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals), but the end usable form of these constituents are the metabolites of each: amino acids, glucose, and fatty acids and the individual molecules that make up the micronutrients.

In our bodies, digestive breakdown is the mechanism by which we do this internally – by means of not only the physical churning in our stomach, but also by means of stomach acid, bile, and, perhaps most notably digestive enzymes.

There are several ways in which the reduction of nutrients may occur: heat, synthetic chemical processing, and digestion (or fermentation, which is an exogenous means of pre-digesting nutrients).

Heat is damaging to delicate nutrients, especially when they are isolated from their whole-food source.

Synthetic chemical breakdown of nutrients is damaging as well. 

Digestion or fermentation (enzymatic breakdown) is by far the safest and most effective way to reduce the molecular structures in foods to their end usable constituents.  (If you are an organic chemistry-buff, perhaps you’ll know a lot more about what the following information means than I do) When reduction is initiated by digestion (digestive enzymes) or fermentation, 100% of molecules break “to the right” – which is how our body uses them best. When the reduction is initiated by either heat or synthetic chemicals, 50% of the molecules break to the left (which may be toxic or unhealthful at the very least) and 50% to the right.

I will get into a lot more on the differences of the processing and production of fish oil, cod liver oil, and fermented cod liver oil in a post in the very near future as I noted in my introduction. This is a big topic and deserves its own post. 

For more information on this redox process, check out the source of the information I just provided above in the video below from Dave, owner of Green Pasture.

How is fermented cod liver oil different from an omega 3-rich fish oil in nutritional content?

The main goal or focus of supplementation with fish oil is to increase your omega 3 fatty acid intake whereas the main goal or focus with fermented cod liver oil is to increase your intake of fat soluble vitamins that are critical for immune health – including vitamins A, D, and K2 – in ratios that are appropriately balanced for ideal nutrient assimilation from this whole-food source.

While there is omega 3 (Eicosapentaenoic acid – EPA, and Docosahexaenoic acid – DHA) content to fermented cod liver oil, the amounts are not concentrated to supply high doses of these fatty acids.

Furthermore, the primary benefit of fermented cod liver oil is the concentrated presence of naturally occurring fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K2 that are scarce in modern diets. There are omega-3 fatty acids in fermented cod liver oil (FCLO), however, the cold processing, fermentation, and concentrated food-form of this supplement make it a much safer and more health-promoting option than isolated PUFA available in traditional fish oil supplements on the market.

I consider fermented cod liver oil to be more of a concentrated superfood than an isolated nutrient supplement. Some of the many other nutrients found in fermented cod liver oil include: CoQ10 (also rich in heart tissue and some fish like sardines) and various quinones (known for anti-tumor, anti-microbacterial, and anti-cardiovascular disease properties). There are potentially thousands of other unspecified nutrients within this concentrated superfood.


“One gram per day of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil reduces cardiovascular mortality in patients with chronic heart failure or who have recently had a heart attack. However, fish oil may increase cardiovascular and total mortality, especially when used for more than four years in combination with a standard modern diet.” – Chris Masterjohn


What is the omega 3 content of fermented cod liver oil?


Click to view larger.

The funny thing about a whole-food “supplement” is that it’s not produced with the same type of exacting methods as other highly refined omega 3, isolated PUFA oils are, so determining an exact EPA/DHA content is not quite so simple. Furthermore, the value of fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) is not primarily its EPA/DHA content, though it contains whatever amount is naturally occurring, not concentrated/isolated. According to Dave Wetzel, owner of Green Pasture:

15% of FCLO will naturally be EPA
10% of FCLO will naturally be DHA

1 teaspoon of ~5000 mg of total oil in 1 tsp
1 tsp contains approx 500mg of DHA
1 tsp contains approx  750mg of EPA
1 tsp contains approx 1250mg TOTAL of EPA/DHA omega 3 (or 1.25 grams)

500mg of fermented cod liver oil per capsule
8-10 capsules = 1 tsp

Skate liver oil contains slightly more EPA/DHA per serving than fermented cod liver oil at 15-16% DHA, 12% EPA.

Information isn’t labeled because the industry is touting claims of the EPA/DHA content in fish oils, which, after processing/industrializing, the product is void of many nutrients and all that remains are EPA/DHA – so that is what is marketed. Farmed fish can change the fatty acid profile of an oil.

photo credit: http://nourishingourchildren.wordpress.com/

photo credit: http://nourishingourchildren.wordpress.com/

Also according to Dave Wetzel, (the company who is the sole producer of fermented cod liver oil at this time),

“We do not have a deep focus on the fatty acids in the FCLO because, over time and work, I have concluded that these fatty acids are not what the focal point of the product should be. The only reason EPA/DHA/Omega 3s are discussed/pushed to the degree they are is after one completes the industrialization of these oils they have destroyed/damaged the real deal and they are left with some fatty acids. One always sells what they have. In the case of industrialized fish oils, fatty acids are about all that is left of value.

This is not to say that these fatty acids are not important. These types of oils will always contain a good supply of EPA/DHA and Omega 3s. The real story of Fermented Cod liver Oil is beyond this topic. I think the real story  is the thousands of other molecular structures known and unknown.

In our society the question of EPA/DHA and Omega 3s persist so here is how you can calculate this total for any product if you know the % of EPA/DHA/Omega 3 in any oil.”

That said, I am currently of the opinion that supplementing with an isolated omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acid is not the best route to improving the omega 3 content of our cells. I have yet to come across a standard fish oil manufacturer who will discuss their production methods from fish to the consumer. What we know about delicate PUFAs is that they are highly oxidizable (susceptible to damage) by the actions of light, heat, and air. We also know that this damage occurs at a much higher rate when the PUFAs are isolated, meaning not within their original, whole-food form. For example, omega 3s in fatty cold water fish are not likely damaged by cooking methods such as poaching or baking, but when oil is extracted from the seed of the canola plant, the remaining delicate PUFA is likely already damaged by the processing it has undergone, and then we are told to cook with this oil. I believe this to be the larger issue around inflammatory PUFAs entering our system than a lack of healthful omega 3s.

Bottom line: When nutrients are readily available in food, we should eat them that way. If omega 3 fatty acids are your main goal of taking a fish oil or even fermented cod liver oil, increasing your fatty cold water fish intake is more likely your best bet.

What if I want to take more DHA than fermented cod liver oil provides?

You may be interested in trying a fermented skate liver oil which is a very rich source of DHA. Skate liver oil contains slightly more EPA/DHA per serving than fermented cod liver oil at 15-16% DHA, 12% EPA.

How much vitamin A and D are in fermented cod liver oil?

vitaminsADinFCLOUnfortunately, the levels in each batch of fermented cod liver oil vary with the batch itself as well as with the testing methods and labs use.

The best estimate that Green Pasture has is roughly 800 IUs of vitamin D per mL, though the company and a lab used to test the vitamin D content has stated that the hard and fast number-value of the vitamin D content may or may not be as indicative of its efficacy as the synergistic value of the vitamin D contained therein. The vitamin D, which is mainly D2 and some D3 in cod liver oil, is not added to the product. It is not standardized and it is not synthetic. It is present in the form of a variety of metabolites, not only one form as in most supplements. Historically, IUs weren’t how people determined dosages, we merely used a bigger or a smaller spoon to take our cod liver oil.

In terms of vitamin A content, the vast majority of the content within fermented cod liver oil is in the form of palmitate and some retinol. Again, without it being an added ingredient, it’s nearly impossible to provide value counts for isolated nutrients within the product for every batch made.

The amount of vitamins A & D in fermented cod liver oil is in a 10:1 ratio balance so that you will be consuming 10x as much vitamin A as vitamin D with each dose – these are natural, healthy, and appropriate levels as they occur in a whole food.


“When someone is looking for numbers, its almost like drug terminology. Cod liver oil isn’t like that. We’re not adding anything to the product.” – Dave Wetzel


“…we have continually pointed out that vitamins A and D work together and that without vitamin D, vitamin A can be ineffective or even toxic. We do not recommend Nordic Naturals regular cod liver oil or any brand of cod liver oil that is low in vitamin D. But it is completely inappropriate to conclude from this 2004 study that cod liver oil is toxic because of its vitamin A content. Similar reviews could be put together showing the benefits of vitamin A and cod liver oil in numerous studies, including the studies from the 1930s. Obviously the solution is to use the type of cod liver oil that people took in the 1930s, which did not have most of the vitamin D removed by modern processing techniques.” – Sally Fallon

What were traditional uses for/benefits of cod liver oil?


Click to view larger.
Source: http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1173883

Cod liver oil has been known for decades as a potent immune system supporter as well as for improving heart function, glucose tolerance, vision, and lowering systemic inflammation.

According to Krispin Sullivan,

“Cod liver oil greatly improves heart function to prevent heart disease and to treat it even in advanced stages, after a heart attack and after heart surgery. Cod liver oil alters the linings of the arteries in such a way as to improve healing after damage. This is attributed to the omega-3 fatty acids but vitamin A, D and K all have important roles to play in facilitating mineral absorption, improving muscle function and supporting elasticity of the blood vessels. The inflammation-reducing prostaglandins made from EPA help mediate the inflammatory response in the arteries. In other studies the heart-protective effect was associated with changes in the muscle response to serotonin, increasing the heart’s ability to “relax.” In a study with rats, treatment with cod liver oil actually caused artery-blocking atheromas to become smaller and blood vessel diameter to enlarge.55 Weston Price noted that heart attack deaths increased during periods when the vitamin A content of the diet was low. Cod liver oil can provide vitamin A on a continuous basis throughout the year.”


  • Cod liver oil contributes to bone health, preventing bone and muscle pain and joint pain.
  • Vitamin-rich cod liver oil has been shown to support the health of pregnant women by improving the fatty acid profile of their breast milk to optimize brain health in the infant.
  • Traditionally, infants were given cod liver oil to support immune health until Dr. Spock began to recommend vaccinations  in its place.
  • Vitamin A has long been shown to aid in vision health in diabetics and non-diabetics alike.
  • FCLO promotes proper absorption of calcium and magnesium, thereby helping to normalize blood pressure.
  • Inflammatory conditions like colitis and Crohn’s have been shown to improve with the type of omega 3s in FCLO moreso than to medications often prescribed.
  • Taken orally or applied topically, fermented cod liver oil helps to improve the quality of skin, both on the face and for issues of rashes, diaper rash, wrinkles, and more.
  • The vitamin A in fermented cod liver oil has been shown to be protective against cancer.

source: http://www.westonaprice.org/cod-liver-oil/clo-number-one-superfood

How much fermented cod liver oil should I take?

howmuchFCLOAs recommended by Green Pasture: (Dosage is best discussed with your physician.)

Below are some general ranges you might consider:

Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Children age 3 months to 12 years: 1/8-1/2 tsp
Children over 12 years and adults: 1/2-1 tsp
Pregnant and nursing women: 1-2 tsp

Emulsified oils are made of only 80% cod liver oil, so the dosages are slightly higher.

Fermented Cod Liver Oil & Butter Blend – 2/3 FCLO and 1/3 HVBO
25 pounds or less: 8 drops orally a day
25 pounds: 1/4 tsp a day
35 pounds: 1/3 tsp a day
45 pounds: 1/2 tsp a day
55 pounds: 2/3 tsp a day
Children over 12 and adults: as noted on the bottle [my note, Green Pasture did not provide a dosage recommendation here]

Chris Kresser, L.Ac. recommends a dose of between 5 mL to 10 mL per day for women trying to get pregnant or who are already pregnant or breastfeeding, and a dose of 5 mL per day for men.

Chris Masterjohn states that “An excess of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA from fish and cod liver oil can cause a deficiency in arachidonic acid. For this reason, cod liver oil should be used in moderation and in combination with a diet rich in egg yolks and organ meats.” In other words: more is not better. A standard dose is sufficient for most people.

Should I take FCLO on an empty stomach or with a meal?

It shouldn’t matter much in terms of digestive function whether you take it with a meal or away from a meal as it is a complete superfood, not an isolated supplement. That said, if you do experience any issues when taken away from food, take it after a meal – morning or evening doesn’t matter – just whenever you will remember to take it is the best time to do it.

Is fermented cod liver oil safe for pregnant/nursing mothers, children, and infants?

Yes. Many of the concerns pregnant women have about vitamin A toxicity should be quelled by the fact that FCLO provides vitamin A (and other nutrients) in balance as they occur in the natural, whole food of cod liver. Food-based nutrients are not the same as synthetic, isolated nutrient supplements and often do not carry the same toxicity dangers.

What is a good brand of fermented cod liver oil to purchase?

fcloThe only brand I recommend at this time is Green Pasture.

If I am sensitive to fermented foods, should I take a non-fermented cod liver oil?

I don’t recommend this approach at this time since I have not been able to verify that other ways of processing cod liver oil are safe to my own standards. If you are unable to take fermented cod liver oil due to a histamine or other allergen sensitivity, you may want to increase your intake of fatty cold water fish and fresh liver from pastured animals as well as your intake of vitamin K2-rich foods like grass-fed butter, hard cheeses made from grass-fed milk, and some pastured, clean-ingredient preserved meats like salamis.

Should I be taking FCLO or FCLO/Butter Oil Blend?

If you are looking for the additional value of vitamin K2, then the butter oil blend is likely your best choice. Fermented cod liver oil on its own may have some K2 value, but with the butter oil added, the K2 value is higher. You may also choose to take the FCLO liquid and add butter oil separately to your intake. Butter oil is not the same as eating grass-fed butter or ghee as it is much more concentrated, however, if you feel you eat a very large quantity of grass-fed butter, you may find that you want to only purchase the FCLO on its own. If you have a strong sensitivity or allergy to dairy, you may find you react to the butter oil, though this is far less common than you might imagine since the proteins in the butter are removed to create the butter oil.

Capsules or liquid, which is better to get?

The choices of capsules versus liquid or gel (if you are getting fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend) depends on your own preferences. The liquid or gel allows for a greater volume of dose per container, so it is a more economical option than capsules. The liquid or gel also allows for a more customized dose size, since you can pour or scoop as much or as little as you like, whereas the capsules limit this a bit. If you find it difficult to digest capsules, the liquid or gel may be your best bet. If you find that it is completely impossible for you to take the liquid or gel, then capsules are a good option to get your dose in. Most parents report that the liquid is easy enough for their kids to take.

How does fermented cod liver oil taste? Is there a flavor that is better than others?

If you get a flavored variety, it tastes mostly like the flavor you selected with a slight background of fishiness. I think the cinnamon flavor is the best and covers up the fishy taste/smell most effectively. Many I know find other flavors palatable, but the cinnamon is my top pick. Standard fish oils are often deodorized and then flavored, making them much more palatable. If you are consuming the oil from the liver of a fish, it should have some hint of fishiness to it!

How can I make my daily dose of fermented cod liver oil easier to take?

Check out Sarah Pope’s video below!


Should I take a fish oil supplement?

Fish oil is very different from fermented cod liver oil. I don’t generally recommend isolated fish oil supplementation for a few reasons.

Fish oil or any other isolated omega-3 fatty acid supplement is geared toward balancing the ratio of n3:n6 (n=omega) in your body. If you’re eating a Standard American Diet, that ratio is likely 1:10 to 1:20. From an ancestral and general health perspective, this ratio should be under 1:4, if possible.

Instead of supplementation, I recommend that you eat fish (a whole food) to get omega-3. Nutrients in food are much more bio-available than supplements. It’s also difficult to know and trust the source of your isolated omega-3 supplements.

Additionally, omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), and PUFAs are highly susceptible to damage (oxidation from heat, light, and air) if not handled carefully and appropriately. I don’t trust that the delicate polyunsaturated fats in most omega-3 supplements were not damaged in the processing and extraction of the oil. Consuming damaged isolated omega-3 supplements is likely far worse than consuming none at all, so I don’t recommend them.

You may have read about how seed oils are produced in my post about canola oil. In my research on how standard fish oils are produced, I discovered that a very similar process is used and I will cover this topic more in a future post. For now, please take a look at the processing steps and the compounds removed by them that have been summed up in the chart below.

This chart was created by a fish oil industry website to explain the processing – this is not sourced from any organization who wishes to demonize fish oil – it is simply matter-of-fact information about this oil’s production.

Processing steps used to purify marine oils

Carbon Treatment Removal of dioxins, furans, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). This can be performed on the starting crude oil if the oil is to be sold into the non-industrial market.
Oil Storage Insoluble impurities, trace moisture and some phospholipids will precipitate out in the tanks. The combination is known as “foots”.
Degumming Phospholipids, sugars, resins, proteinaceous compounds, trace metals and other materials.
Alkali Refining Free fatty acids, pigments, phospholipids, oil insoluble material, water soluble material, trace metals
Water Washing/Silica Treatment Soaps, oxidation products and trace metals
Drying Moisture
Adsorptive Bleaching & Carbon Treatment Pigments, oxidation products, trace metals, sulfur compounds, dioxins, furans, PAH and possibly some pcb’s.
Winterization Higher melting triglycerides, waxes. Used to enhance the unsaturated triglycerides.
Deodorization Free fatty acids, mono-diglycerides, aldehydes, ketones, chlorinated hydrocarbons and pigment decomposition products. This is usually the finishing step and results in a bland tasting oil.
Vacuum Stripping or Thin Film, Molecular or Short Path Distillation Removal of chlorinated hydrocarbons, fatty acids, oxidation products, PCB and free cholesterol. Sometimes this step is used as a replacement for the deodorization step.

source: http://lipidlibrary.aocs.org/processing/marine/index.htm

When it comes to omega-3/omega-6 fatty acid balance, I always recommend reducing omega-6 intake drastically (as you will do when you eliminate vegetable oils, grains, and legumes) before adding any supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil. If you’re concerned about systemic inflammation, you may even want to watch your food-based intake of omega- 6-rich items other than oils. Nuts high in omega-6 fatty acids include almonds, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and hazelnuts. For the average person, eating foods that contain omega 6 fatty acids naturally is not likely, in my estimation, contributing to excess inflammation the way isolated forms of these fatty acids may be – from seed oils and especially damaged/oxidized seed oils. This is the main problem with restaurant foods and especially fried foods – it’s not the potatoes that make French fries unhealthful, it’s the old, rancid vegetable/canola/corn/soybean oils that they are fried in that make them unhealthful, pro-inflammatory foods.

Chris Masterjohn, Ph. D.

Chris Masterjohn, Ph. D.

According to Chris Masterjohn in his article “Precious Yet Perilous“:

  • The requirement for essential fatty acids is lowest in healthy adults and highest in infants and growing children, pregnant and lactating women, bodybuilders, people recovering from injury, and people with chronic disease. Alcoholism, diabetes, insulin resistance, certain genetic variations, and strict vegetarianism may make someone more likely to become deficient. Additional liver, egg yolks, and cod liver oil can be used to correct deficiencies.

  • Essential fatty acids are vulnerable to a process called oxidation, which can cause cellular damage. Replacing traditional animal fats with polyunsaturated vegetable oils may increase the risk of heart disease, cancer and total mortality.

  • One gram per day of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil reduces cardiovascular mortality in patients with chronic heart failure or who have recently had a heart attack. However, fish oil may increase cardiovascular and total mortality, especially when used for more than four years in combination with a standard modern diet.


More related FAQs…

What is beauty balm and should I use it?

Beauty balm is a product we refer to often that has been made by Green Pasture and is a blend of oils, including fermented cod liver oil, that is created for topical application. The balm contains a proprietary blend of: Shea Butter, X-FACTOR Gold High Vitamin Butter Oil, Blue Breeze Organic Coconut Oil, Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil, Cranberry Oil, Organic Orange Oil, Lavender Oil. I highly recommend this product for anyone dealing with very dry skin or simply to apply for nourishment. I have seen great benefits from this balm applied to my face (clearer skin) and hands (softer skin) regularly.

Moller’s processing Fresh cod, steam processing, gentle refining to remove impurities, checked 8x along the way for oxidation and vitamin content (A & D), not added back. The Norwegian Health Authority recommends it be taken daily from as early as 4 weeks of age.


Sources & sites for more information:

Cod Liver Oil Basics & Recommendations (Weston A. Price Foundation – Sally Fallon & Mary Enig)
Separating fact from fiction on cod liver oil (Sally Fallon’s letter on Chris Kresser’s site)
Cod Liver Oil: Nature’s Most Potent Superfood (Chris Kresser)
Talking Nutrient Synergy with Dr. Chris Masterjohn (Episode #69 of the Balanced Bites Podcast)
Cod Liver Oil: The Number One Superfood (Krispin Sullivan – Weston A. Price Foundation website)
Superfood: Cod Liver Oil – Butter Oil Blend! (Liz Wolfe, NTP’s website)
Precious Yet Perilous (Chris Masterjohn)
Vitamin D, cod-liver oil, sunlight, and rickets: a historical perspective. (Pediatrics. 2003 Aug;112(2):e132-5.)
Update on Cod Liver Oil Manufacture (Weston A. Price – Dave Wetzel)
Cod Liver Oil Manufacturing (Weston A Price – Dave Wetzel)
Celebrating Dave Wetzel and fermented cod liver oil (Nourishing Our Children)
Processing of standard cod liver oil (Moller fish oil website)
Purchasing FCLO in the UK – Red 23

  • DenTi


    Do you by any chance have information on the totox value (peroxide and anisidine) on Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil? I find this very essential in determining the freshness of fish oils and cod liver oils.

    • balancedbites

      I definitely don’t have that info, but I strongly recommend contacting Dave Wetzel via the Green Pasture website as I know he loves to answer customer questions!

  • ticamom

    Hi, I’m hoping you can clarify something for me please. I just received my butter oil/FCLO blend and in checking this site for dosage recommendations, I noticed that you have 55 pounds: 2/3 tsp a day and Children over 12 and adults: as noted on the bottle. Well, my bottle says the serving suggestion is 1/2 tspn which is LESS than the amount suggested for 55 lbs. I’d think that the dosage for adults would be the highest, or perhaps because kids are in development that age group needs more? Thanks!

    • balancedbites

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I would recommend 1 tsp/day for an adult. I will see about editing this as I thought that was what the bottle noted. Perhaps it did before and has changed…

  • Teresa

    I understand that Carlson could be as good as Green Pasture, especially as it can be purchased for about half the price…

    • balancedbites

      I don’t recommend Carlson at this time. It is not a cold fermented product. Heat processing applied to isolated PUFAs is not going to produce the same result.

  • Frasier Linde

    The amount of vitamins A & D in fermented cod liver oil is NOT a 10:1 ratio. According to their test data page, it varies from less than 1:1 to around 5:1.

  • Sadi Nelson Michels

    regarding Omega 6s, what are your thoughts on taking supplemental GLA (from borage seed oil) or Evening Primrose oil?

  • Antonia

    Hi Diane! Amazing article. I’m from Canada and it is really difficult to get the Green Pastures butter oil and fermented CLO blend. However, some health food stores sell them seperately. Would it make sense to take both seperately or are the health benefits only when they are blended?

    • balancedbites

      Whichever works for you is fine. I use a lot of grass-fed ghee in my cooking so I often just take the FCLO without the BO blended in. It’s a personal choice really — and not everyone tolerates the BO well so it’s nice to have options.

  • Kelly Gehle LeSage

    I’d like to get the FCLO and butter blend, but I am concerned about it being shipped in this summer heat, do they ship overnight or pack in ice or anything to help protect the delicate fats?

    • balancedbites

      It should be fine- just refrigerate it when it arrives. (Sorry this reply is so late :-/ )

  • http://alittleitchy.blogspot.com/ brista

    So I have your Practical Paleo book and I was going to buy the cinnamon gel FCLO as rec’d by your book, but when I went to Amazon to buy it, it’s $70!!!! That is crazy. No way I can afford that. :( Even the other non-cinnamon gel versions are very expensive.

    • Jamie

      It is so much cheaper if you buy directly from the Green Pasture website. Still a bit pricey, but definitely worth it.

    • balancedbites

      You can opt to eat liver from pastured animals and wild-caught fish instead. This supplement isn’t cheap, but you get what you pay for. Cheap fish oil supplements… well, there’s a reason why they are cheap… ya know?

    • balancedbites

      You can opt to eat liver from pastured animals and wild-caught fish instead. This supplement isn’t cheap, but you get what you pay for. Cheap fish oil supplements… well, there’s a reason why they are cheap… ya know?

  • Jon Webb

    Hi Diane, we’ve just started selling the Green Pastures range in the UK and Europe (www.evolutionorganics.co.uk). I’m taking the FCLO caps and butter oil separately. Reason being is that my daughter has problems with her teeth, and the butter oil is meant to be good. It’s not the tastiest on it’s own, so you need to be a little inventive with little ones! Any suggestions welcome!

    • balancedbites

      I don’t have little ones so I have no ideas on that, but maybe someone else here does?

  • Alice Birchfield

    Thank you very much. You answered the questions I had in a clear and concise way.

  • Tina Coyle

    I think it is important to mention when you recommend any supplement that it can be incredibly toxic to some people, particularly those with compromised health. The FCLO definitely falls into that category. When I became horribly ill a couple of months into taking it I suffered for quite a while before I figured out the cause and have since found qute a few people who had similar experiences. What happened to many of us is that the effects took a few weeks to start and came on very gradually, so we did not at first attribute it to the oil. While cod livers may indeed be a super food, it is not readily available in the amounts we are suggested to ingest by yourself and particularly WAP, and there are many conditions that are exasperated by the fermentation. I love your book and your website and it has helped me tremendously, but am always disturbed to see this so readily recommended without any caveats and warnings, and without any suggested substitutions. I now take MCT oil and while I do get great benefits from it I always wonder how it compairs to the FCLO, but can never find a comparison.

    • balancedbites

      Any food or supplement can be toxic to a person for sure. My biggest recommendation here is actually against “fish oil” and to eat whole-food forms of omega 3, but this post is to clarify FAQs I get about FCLO daily.

      MCT oil has none of the micronutrients that FCLO has – it’s primarily lauric acid, a great fat that has some fat-burning properties to it, but in terms of vitamin or EFA density, it’s fairly “empty” in that regard.

      Thanks for the comment, and I apologize for the delayed response.

      • gary

        MCT oils generally have no lauric acid, I think you’re thinking of coconut oil

    • balancedbites

      Any food or supplement can be toxic to a person for sure. My biggest recommendation here is actually against “fish oil” and to eat whole-food forms of omega 3, but this post is to clarify FAQs I get about FCLO daily.

      MCT oil has none of the micronutrients that FCLO has – it’s primarily lauric acid, a great fat that has some fat-burning properties to it, but in terms of vitamin or EFA density, it’s fairly “empty” in that regard.

      Thanks for the comment, and I apologize for the delayed response.

  • Elena Juan

    Anyone experienced hair loss with FCLO? I am taking the Green Pastures one month ago and my hair is falling a lot. Same happened when I was on fish oil pills … please, I need help, I am taking it 5ml (1 tsp), I decreased it but my skin get worse so I am taking the tsp again,
    Thank you so much!!!!!

    • balancedbites

      I haven’t heard of this before, but it is always possible to respond negatively to new foods or new supplements. If it doesn’t work for you, then don’t take it. I would move to whole-food sources of the nutrients only versus the concentrated dose and see how you do (liver and fish).

  • Karen S

    Do you recommend taking FCLO along with an additional multivitamin?

    • balancedbites

      I don’t recommend multivitamins in general, but I don’t see how it would be a problem to take them together.

  • Elizabeth

    Dear Diane,
    Thank you for your meticulously researched article!
    A small question: If a person is eating organ meat (chicken or beef liver) regularly (4 oz. once or twice a week), should she still take FCLO? Is there a danger of toxicity if frequent organ meat consumption is combined with daily doses of FCLO?
    Thank you so much for your response, and happy New Year!

    • balancedbites

      I don’t think that the FCLO is necessary if you are eating liver and seafood regularly. That said, I also don’t presume toxicity is an issue since these are all whole-food sources of nutrients and there is a balance of vitamin D with the vitamin A you get therein. Food is always first, it’s just that many folks don’t consume much liver or omega 3-rich fish in a modern world.

      • Elizabeth

        Thank you for your quick reply!

        “I can no other answer make but thanks and thanks.” – Shakespeare.

  • Megan Boehm

    I’m really confused as to why there is more vitamin D2 than D3 in the GP FCLO, since D2 comes from plant sources. It seems totally counter-intuitive to COD LIVER oil. I’ve searched and searched and cannot come up with an explanation. Anyone?

    • balancedbites

      Perhaps ask Dave Wetzel of Green Pasture. If it was in the butter oil blend I might guess from the grass eaten by the cows…

      • Megan Boehm

        Thanks for the fast reply. I did send Dave a message shortly after posting here, and will definitely post the reply if / when I receive one.

        One thing I wanted to ask – I know you mentioned before that the FCLO should not be a solitude source of D3. Do you have any recommendation on a D3 supplement to go along with the FCLO, then? (Especially during the winter months where sun is at a premium.) I have been taking the Garden of Life “Raw” D3 mainly because I want to avoid the synthetic stuff, but ideally I’d like to take no supplements at all … just real “foods” like the FCLO. Thank you.

        • balancedbites

          I don’t. Sunshine and possibly eggs -both from poultry and from fish (roe) if you can tolerate them. I think those are the only other dietary sources… I recommend sun the most.

          • Megan Boehm

            Sunshine is definitely the ideal source, but during the winter months it can be tough. For argument’s sake – if you’re not getting much sun during the winter, would you then supplement with a D3? Or is the FCLO and eggs still enough?

          • balancedbites

            I’d say some low-exposure tanning in a bed/booth that has UVB rays with some UVA will be a better idea. But research that before you do it. The types of vitamin D we make from the sun exposure probably can’t be measured in only D3 form — so I’d opt for some tanning instead.

      • Megan Boehm

        Received a reply from Dave. (Wow – both of you are really on the ball today.)

        Here it is:

        “ocean is filled with both D2 and D3. see blog posting that shows first
        study on D in the sea, zoo and phytoplankton are loaded in both D2 and
        D3. we do not alter this nor add D3 as the other clo products… it is
        as it is… no one understands the pathway of D in fish. this study is
        barely moving at this point so the questions on this are not ready to be

  • Virginia Harlan

    Green Pastures is all a marketing scheme. There aren’t enough EPA and DHA in the cod liver oil to make it worthwhile. Other products contain much more of it.

    • balancedbites

      You’ve missed the point of the article. I don’t recommend it for the omega 3 content primarily, but rather for the fat soluble vitamins. If you want omega 3s in your diet, it’s best to eat fatty cold water fish.

      • Virginia Harlan

        You’ve missed the point of my post. You can get the fat soluble vitamins from other sources that have more omega 3’s. Green Pasture is pure marketing BS

        • balancedbites

          The point of this comment was to tell me that I can get FSVs from other sources of food that also have more omega 3s than FCLO?

          “Green Pastures is all a marketing scheme. There aren’t enough EPA and DHA in the cod liver oil to make it worthwhile. Other products contain much more of it.”

          I’m not sure how I missed your point. I don’t think that point was at all evident in that comment. If you would like to share information on other sources you think are superior, please feel free to list them.

          • Virginia Harlan

            If you read between the lines I think my post was very evident. I’ll say it more clearly, this time: You’re wasting your money on Green Pasture products. You’ve been tricked by clever marketing on their part to believe their product line is better than it really is. There are superior products that offer the same fat soluble vitamins plus more EPA and DHA per serving, which is what you should be after as a consumer. Buying Green Pasture products is akin to flushing your money down the proverbial toilet.

          • balancedbites

            I don’t care to read between lines, Virginia, but if I did, there is still nothing you’ve alluded to that you think is a better product. Please share the superior products you recommend with anyone who might read this. I invite you to do so.

    • Emilia Contressa Gomez

      if y ou want more than the supplied EFAs, take skateliver oil. AND take tbe FCLO and butteroil for the reasons she stated, Vit A, D and K.
      Not hard to follow.

  • beaumontgirl

    Thanks for all the great info, I just bought this Blue Ice brand (non-flavored) and am starting it today. I have a question that may sound dumb but can’t find it anywhere online…..do I continue to take a prenatal vitamin with this?(I am nursing) How about things like airborn/emergenC when I feel a cold coming on? Thank you!

    • balancedbites

      I strongly recommend checking out Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code for lots of info on supplements (including FCLO) during this time – http://bit.ly/healthybabyBB

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  • Andrea

    Excellent article. I am a Registered Nurse and have been taking the Green Pastures cinnamon FCLO and butter oil since October. I have been diagnosed with stage III endometriosis and menorrhagia and underwent a laparoscopy in May for extreme pain and a golf ball size endometrioma on my ovary. I tried every natural remedy, diet manipulation, and supplements but nothing helped the pain. The surgery helped lessen the pain overall, but I still had days every single month where the pain was debilitating, and I refused to be on continuous birth control, which is the conventional treatment for endo. I attended a reproductive endocrinology conference last year and heard a presentation about the link between endometriosis and lack of ability to absorb and process vitamin A, especially retinoic acid. In doing my own research, I found the FCLO was one of the best sources of vitamin A and read some anecdotal evidence of it helping other women with endometriosis. I can happily say since December I have had no endo pain and my periods are becoming shorter and more normal. Is FCLO a magic bullet for every condition? No, but disease arises from deficiencies, and in my case, the FLCO contains exactly what my body has been lacking. It has improved my quality of life immensely.

    • balancedbites

      Thanks for sharing that, Andrea.

  • Jayanthi Bhalaji

    I have been taking blue ice fermented skate liver oil 3 tablets and X factor butter oil 3 capsules.
    My tongue is very dry. I need to dring a lot of water.
    Is this normal. Am I detoxifying
    Kindly reply

    • balancedbites

      I have not heard of this before. I would consider asking the folks at Green Pasture about that one.

  • Giuseppina Paolantonio

    Hello and thank you for this interesting article. I have a question I cannot find answer to. I was interested to use this product for my immune diseases, but at the moment I have a lot of Candida. Knowing the destroying effects of candida on the gut, I think it’s a priority for me to treat it changing alimentation and getting some specific supplements. On Candida it’s better to avoid fermented foods (e.g. vinegar) but others are good because they bring inside some yeasts that are Candida antagonists. But what about fermented cod oil? I don’t know about the fermentation process in this case and what type of yeasts they use. Thank you and have good days :-), Giusi

    • balancedbites

      I’m not sure about this, but I think you could ask Green Pasture about the specific type of fermentation and any byproducts to which you may react.

      • Giuseppina Paolantonio

        thank you, it’s a good idea :-)

  • Alex w

    Also I’m curious where does green pastures source the skates and cod from?

  • Stacey

    Will this product cause the same severe nose bleeds as Nordic Naturals?

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  • Tracy T.

    I recently found out that I am sensitive to Cod fish. I assume the FCLO is made from Cod fish liver, am I correct? Any suggestions for someone who cannot take this wonderful product? Thank you.

  • Jennifer

    I have been following Weston Price and taking the very expensive fermented cod liver oil for well over a year now. My vitamin D levels are pitiful (40). I also eat liver, grass fed beef, butter, caviar, salmon, seafood, etc. My doctor now has me on 5,000 IU of bio-available vitamin D, after suffering renal exhaustion, Vitamin C and Super B complex. I feel so much better.

    I am really upset that I took this during pregnancy and didn’t supplement more vitamin D for my baby and for me. I don’t think it is bad to take, I think it is good, but I CAN’T BELIEVE I am paying $60 a month just to have low vitamin D levels.

    I’m also glad I didn’t listen about the vaccines – as babies are dying here of whooping cough.


    Do you recommend any other supplement, like magnesium, multivitamins, probiotics?

    Thank you

    PS Love Practical Paleo and this website 😉

    • http://www.balancedbites.com Diane Sanfilippo

      The details in PP specific to your needs are what I recommend.

  • Diana Cote

    I have a 3 year old picky girl. I got the chocolate flavor hoping it would be easy to take but its so strong, I dont know how i Could get her to take this. can you help me pls? I tried a chocolate smoothie but it defeats the purpose of healing her little cavity if its has sugar. :/

  • Rhys

    I have found the use of the FCLO to be effective after 2 doses(using caplets). I have swelling in the back of 1 eye and after taking the FCLO, it has been greatly reduced and found my vision to be getting better day by day. I am going to continue to take this as I am sure this will be of great benefit.

  • G. Liberman

    I think people should check the other side of the coin before making a decision: http://thecompletepatient.com/article/2014/october/28/simmering-cod-liver-oil-imbroglio-heats-wapf-conference

  • Edward