Cod Liver Oil Basics and Recommendations – Part 2
Tuesday, October 24, 2023 1:36 PM
FEBRUARY 9, 2009 BY SALLY FALLON AND MARY G. ENIG, PHD
Vitamin A, Vitamin D & Cod Liver Oil: Some Clarifications
We have pointed out that concerns about vitamin A toxicity are exaggerated. While some forms of synthetic vitamin A found in supplements can be toxic at only moderately high doses, fat-soluble vitamin A naturally found in foods like cod liver oil, liver, and butterfat is safe at up to ten times the doses of water-soluble, solidified and emulsified vitamin A found in some supplements that produce toxicity. 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. Liver from land mammals is high in vitamin A but low in vitamin D, and should therefore be consumed with other vitamin D-rich foods such as lard or bacon from pasture-raised pigs, egg yolks, and oily fish, or during months in which UV-B light is sufficient to provide one with adequate vitamin D. 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 foods:
• Children aged 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 D. 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, Look for Vitamin A for fetal development (COMING IN FUTURE POST). This article also describes the vital role played by vitamin A in the development of the fetus. Pregnant women may wish to consult their health practitioner about taking cod liver oil during pregnancy. Individuals under stress or wishing to use cod liver oil to treat a disease condition may take much larger doses, even up to doses providing 90,000 IU vitamin A per day, for a period of several weeks.
Jocelyne’s Notes – Best is to get tested on Cod Liver Oil and determine if it is needed and at what does. There may be times when your body is not prepared to receive Cod Liver Oil, especially if you are on a program to handle an acute situation. It can get tested periodically as a potentially needed supplement.