Our Adventures with Cod Liver Oil

A year or so ago I ordered some chocolate cream cod liver oil that was on clearance. I took it three times, and it has been staring at me from the door of my refrigerator ever since. Now I know why it was on clearance.

It was the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted. Except for the time a lady bug landed on my water glass in the middle of the night and I woke up thirsty and took a swig in the dark. Texture: a bit like a half-popped popcorn kernel. Taste: indescribably nasty. Still makes me shudder to think of it.

The cod liver oil was nasty in a different way, not quite so bad as an evil lady bug. Just the most extreme fishy flavor you can imagine mixed with...of all things...chocolate. What was I thinking!?

I was thinking this: the benefits of taking this stuff are unmistakable. The Weston Price Foundation can tell you all about the benefits of cod liver oil in this article, but I'll name just a few. It has been known to help reverse and prevent: heart disease, cancer, depression, bone loss, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, allergies, and learning disabilities (among many other things)! The only downsides are cost and taste. I did not want to let those things stop me. I thought I could get over the cost ($44 a bottle) by buying it on clearance. Bad idea.

But, wait a sec, Joanna, why don't you just buy the cheap stuff that comes in capsule form at the grocery store?

Because not all cod liver oils are the same! Most are heated to super high temps, stripped of their natural vitamins, and have synthetic vitamins added back in. Yuck! But there is one company, Green Pasture Products, that extracts their cod liver oil using time tested fermentation. This results in a much more nutritious supplement!

I don't know about you but I'm willing to pay a little more if it means a better product that my body can actually use. And let's think about this: $44 a month, 118 servings per bottle. That means one bottle lasts almost four months for one person taking it daily. So we're paying only $11 per month! I can never remember to take it every day, so for us it lasts even longer.

OK so even if you don't buy a nasty clearance flavor, I think we can say that $11 is not a rip off. I can handle that. But it doesn't do any good to have a bottle of fermented cod liver oil in your fridge if you never take it! So how DO you get over the nasty taste?

The easy answer is to buy the capsules. The problem: they are a bit more expensive. 60 servings per bottle, and the bottle costs $30. So more like $15 a month. Not that bad, but if you've got the same frugal mindset that I have, you might think it's worth it to take the liquid. In our house, Caedmon and I take the liquid and Steven takes the capsules. It's a good compromise for us.

So, how to take the liquid? Well, here is what I do.
1. Measure the dosage of FCLO into a medicine cup/shot glass.
2. Add about a teaspoon of homemade elderberry syrup.
3. Get a glass of juice or other strongly flavored beverage ready.
4. Take the shot, chase with juice. Keep sipping til you can't taste fish.
5. Wash all utensils immediately to avoid making your whole kitchen smell nasty.

Now you can do this without the elderberry syrup, but we were taking that daily for our immune systems this winter anyway, and it really does help mellow the taste of nasty fishiness.

The FCLO liquid comes with a syringe to measure the dosage, and you can just shoot this into the back of your throat if that works for you. I prefer the shot glass method.

Now, what kind to buy? The chocolate cream I ordered is a gel, which really only lends itself to being taken right from the spoon. Gross. Currently I am taking the unflavored liquid, which enables me to mix it with the elderberry syrup. There are a few flavors, too, but really, if you can't disguise the fish, why bother trying?

They also have combination butter oil/cod liver oil liquid and capsules. Why? Because Dr. Price found that the two have a synergistic relationship and each makes the other more effective! I figure with all the grass-fed butter we eat, we're probably getting enough of this healthy fat in our diet.

So go get yourself some Cod Liver Oil - your body will thank you! One of these days I might have the strength to finish off the chocolate cream.

More info? You can find another helpful post on the subject here.

Also, have you heard that cod liver oil is dangerous because of possible vitamin A overdose? Read this for some clarifications.

Do you take cod liver oil? Why or why not?


  1. Oh, Sweet Heavens. I can only imagine the contorted grimace my face must have been in as I read the first half of this post. "Chocolate Cream" CLO?!... Please, NO.

    Confession: I've never taken the stuff, flavored or otherwise.

    BUT you are about the third trusted source I've encountered encouraging me to do so. Once again, my Natural Family Planning resources praise and herald Cod Liver Oil for what it can do to make ones fertility signs more consistent and readable. That's definitely a goal I can get behind financially, but it's a little more challenging to get my gag reflex on board. I'd have to say that capsules would be the only way I imagine myself getting it down.

    What I didn't realize is that not all vitamins/supplements are created equal. And now I'm curious about what to look for to know that I'm getting something that actually works. Are there phrases or labels on packaging of CLO's and/or other supplements that I should look for?

    I've always just "settled" for a Women's "One a Day" vitamin, and a boost of Vitamin C if I'm ever feeling the first signs of illness. I have also taken Flaxseed Oil capsules in the past (w/ Omega-3), but I think the price to continue as well as the frequency I needed to take them (three times, daily, with food) became a bit of a nuisance.

    Thanks for the post! : )

  2. Yes! CLO supposed to be awesome for fertility! BTW, this blog - naturallyknockedup.com - makes me think of you, though her focus is on trying to conceive I'm sure all the info would be helpful for NFP whether you're charting to avoid or conceive. Check it out!

    Yes, unless you're up for the challenge, I definitely recommend the capsules. :) You might still have some fishy burps but not too bad. Some people recommend taking it before bed so the fishy burps happen while you sleep. Worth a shot!

    I know, I was pretty shocked when I first realized not all vitamins were the same. I think it happened about the time I decided to start taking prenatals. I do think it makes sense that vitamins that are food based do your body a whole lot more good than ones that are all synthetic. Some forms of vitamins are more easily absorbed than others. And yes they cost more but if you're paying for vitamins your body can't use, your money is wasted - so I guess I'd rather pay more and know that I'm able to use the nutrients. I'm obviously not a scientist but that makes sense to me!

    One brand I trust for a multivitamin is New Chapter. I started out taking a synthetic prenatal and when I switched to New Chapter my nausea went away. Could be a coincidence...but maybe not! You can get them at Nature's Market here is Holland or online I'm sure.

    Flaxseed oil is awesome too - we have a bottle of it in the fridge and I add a little bit to our salad dressings or smoothies. Don't even know it's in there! I got that at Nature's Market, too.

    Thanks for reading, friend!

  3. I was taking the capsules too but now that I have the boys taking it also I just suck it up, get one bottle, and drink it in a tiny medicine cup. It's amazing how you can get little kids to do stuff that you just can't stomach yourself :) A 10 mo. old was putting me to shame w/this so I tried to step up my game :)