Cod Liver Oil Brands – Some contain synthetic vitamins
Excerpts from: Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Cod Liver Oil: Some Clarifications, by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD, Weston A. Price Foundation.
Several visitors to our website have noted
inconsistencies in various statements about vitamin A, vitamin D and cod liver
oil. These issues revolve around questions of dosage and safety.
Vitamin A Dosage
We have pointed out that concerns about vitamin A
toxicity are exaggerated. Synthetic vitamin A can indeed be toxic but natural
vitamin A found in foods like cod liver oil, liver and butterfat does not cause
problems except in very large amounts, and side effects from large doses of
natural vitamin A promptly resolve when the dosage is reduced.
As a general guideline, we recommend the following doses of vitamin A from cod
liver oil, along with a nutrient-dense diet that contains other vitamin A-rich
- Children age 3 months to 12 years: A dose of cod liver oil that provides about 5000 IU
vitamin A daily
- Children over 12 years and adults: A maintenance dose of cod liver oil
that provides about 10,000 IU vitamin A daily
- Pregnant and nursing women: A dose of cod liver oil that provides about
20,000 IU vitamin A daily
Individuals under stress or wishing to use cod liver
oil to treat a disease condition may take much larger doses, even up to 90,000
IU vitamin A per day, for a period of several weeks.
The recommended dosages for cod liver oil provide
about 500 IU vitamin D for children, 1000 IU vitamin D for adults, 2000 IU
vitamin D for pregnant and nursing women and up to 9000 IU for those taking
large amounts of cod liver oil to deal with stress and disease.
One of our writers has expressed the opinion that
dosages over about 2000 IU per day can be toxic, especially for individuals who
spend a lot of time in the sun, and recommends routine testing if they are also
taking cod liver oil or vitamin D supplements.
Yet a number of studies show that a brief full-body
dose of noonday summer sun is comparable to taking between 10,000 and 25,000 IU
of vitamin D. Thirty minutes of exposure to noonday summer sun releases 50,000
IU into the blood stream. Obviously, humans are designed to tolerate such large
amounts of vitamin D.
If you are a lifeguard or spend a lot of time in the
sun, you do not need to take supplemental vitamin D; however you still need to
consume adequate vitamin A. So, if you cut back or eliminate cod liver oil in
the summer, be sure to consume plenty of oily fish, liver and butterfat and egg
yolks from grass fed hens to ensure adequate vitamin A.
For a discussion of Vitamin D Toxicity, see Understanding Vitamin D Cholecalciferol.
This does not mean we do not recommend that some
individuals have their vitamin D levels tested. Such testing can be very useful
in determining vitamin D status and the effectiveness of cod liver oil or
vitamin D supplements.
Cod Liver Oil
As of February, 2005, we recommend the following
brands of cod liver oil:
[Bee's note: Please see Cod Liver Oil Products/Brands with Nutrients Levels for recommendations on the best
brands to buy and the amount to take of each kind. Some brands require additional supplements, i.e. omega-3, and vitamins A or D.]
Garden of Life, regular dose cod liver oil
By Mail Order
Dr. Ron's High Vitamin Old Fashioned Blue Ice Pure Cod
Liver Oil, 1-877-472-8701
Radiant Life, Premier High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil,
Blue Ice, High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil, (402) 338-5551
In Europe, Healthspan Ltd.,
0800 73 123 77, [Bee's Note: This site does not list ingredients so I
suggest a better source should be found.]
In Australia, Melrose
cod liver oil, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note that 1 scant teaspoon of regular dose cod liver
oil provides about 5,000 IU vitamin A while 1 scant teaspoon of high vitamin
cod liver oil provides about 10,000 IU vitamin A.
Some of the brands recommended in various articles on
our website we no longer endorse because the manufacturer is removing vitamin A
out of concerns of toxicity. An adequate dose of vitamin A-reduced cod liver
oil may supply more unsaturated fatty acids than is considered safe.
Many brands of cod liver oil are processed to remove all the vitamins A and D
and then have synthetic vitamins A and D added back in. These products should
be completely avoided as the synthetic versions of A and D are
toxic. For those living in Canada or overseas, where our recommended brands are not
available, be sure to contact the manufacturer and
inquire whether the A and D in their cod liver oil is naturally occurring or