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FEBRUARY 9, 2009 BY SALLY FALLON AND MARY G. ENIG, PHD
Brand Recommendations – Updated 2019
Most brands of cod liver oil go through a process that removes all of the natural vitamins. The resultant product contains very low levels of vitamin A and virtually no vitamin D. Some manufacturers add manufactured vitamins A and D to the purified cod liver oil and until recently, one manufacturer added the natural vitamins removed during processing back into the cod liver oil. Fortunately, we now have available in the U.S. a naturally produced, unheated, fermented high-vitamin cod liver oil that is made using a filtering process that retains the natural vitamins. The high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil is sold as a food so does not contain vitamin levels on the label. However, after numerous tests, the approximate values of A and D have been ascertained at 1900 IU vitamin A per mL and 390 IU vitamin D per mL. Thus 1 teaspoon of high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil contains 9500 IU vitamin A and 1950 IU vitamin D, a ratio of about 5:1. Based on these values, the dosage for the high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil is provided as follows:
Children age 3 months to 12 years: 1/2 teaspoon or 2.5 mL, providing 4650 IU vitamin A and 975 IU vitamin D.
children over 12 years and adults: 1 teaspoon or 10 capsules, providing 9500 IU vitamin A and 1950 IU vitamin D.
Pregnant and nursing women: 2 teaspoons or 20 capsules, providing 19,000 IU vitamin A and 3900 IU vitamin D.
Please note that the fermented cod liver oil contains many co-factors that may enhance the body’s uptake and usage of vitamins A and D; in fact, many have reported results equivalent to those obtained from high-vitamin cod liver oil with half the recommended dose, that is ¼ teaspoon or 1.25 mL for children age 3 months to 12 years; ½ teaspoon or 5 capsules for children over 12 years and adults; and 1 teaspoon or 10 capsules for pregnant and nursing women. As of 2019, we recommend the following brands of cod liver oil. Sources of high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil and high-vitamin cod liver oil with natural vitamins are in the BEST category; sources of processed cod liver oil with synthetic vitamins in the right proportions (ten or fewer units vitamin A to one unit vitamin D, and with at least 2,500 IU’s of vitamin A and 250 IU’s of vitamin D per teaspoon) are in the GOOD category. We do not recommend brands of cod liver oil that have low levels of vitamin A and/or low levels of vitamin D.
SEE FUTURE POST FOR EXACT BRAND RECOMMENDATION