Cod Liver Oil – Brand Comparison Guide and Cost Analysis

I think most of us have figured out by now making a daily habit of consuming cod liver oil (CLO) is beneficial to our health, particularly now that cold and flu season is around the corner (Read: Benefits of Vitamin D – Why it’s essential to health + the best food sources). I have recently been doing some brand and price comparisons and wanted to share what I found with you.

How much do you need?

Is Vitamin D to Vitamin A ratio important?

Is FCLO really more expensive than CLO?

Which brand requires you to take 25 of their softgels to make the 1,000 IU Vitamin D requirement, thus costing you $3/serving?

Which cod liver oil brand provides “0″ IU’s of Vitamin D (and WHY would you want to bother)?

Keep reading…

How Much Do I Need?

The bare minimum to look for in a dose – preferably found in a one teaspoon serving of cod liver oil is 250 IU’s Vitamin D and 2500 IU’s Vitamin A . But – this is only sufficient if your diet also contains plenty of Vitamin D & A, or if it’s summer and you’re getting lots of sun.

Otherwise, you’ll want to use the optimal dosage recommendations based on my Cod Liver Oil Dosage Recommendations that I shared back in June:

Children
IU’s Vitamin D: 500-1,000
IU’s Vitamin A: 5,000

Adults
IU’s Vitamin D: 1,000-5,000
IU’s Vitamin A: 10,000

Women who are pregnant or nursing
IU’s Vitamin D: 2,000-10,000
IU’s Vitamin A: 20,000

Vitamin D and Vitamin A Ratios

Did you know the ratio of Vitamin D to Vitamin A is very important? Too much Vitamin A, without the backing of Vitamin D, can cause toxicity. In most cases, CLO with ratios higher than 10:1 indicates synthetic Vitamin A has been added. Ratios of 1:5 (or less) is preferred.

For example, if you are looking on the bottle, you want to see a serving providing you with 1,000 IU’s of Vitamin D, and Vitamin A not to exceed 10,000 IU’s for an adult dose.

The type of Vitamin A is also important. Beta carotene is the safe form of Vitamin A, but you want to avoid retinol/retinoic acid which is synthetic.

Bottom line: avoid all cod liver oils with ratios higher than 10:1

Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FLCO)

If you do any amount of research on cod liver oil, you will learn that fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) is the preferred choice.

Fermentation is a method of preservation, so it won’t go rancid like regular cod liver oils. Since FCLO is a food, there are no vitamin levels found on the label. However, independent testing reveals that one serving (1/2 teaspoon) of FCLO contains 975 IU’s Vitamin D, and 4750 IU’s Vitamin A. This is a ratio of 1:5.

Cost of Fermented Cod Liver Oil

You will notice there are different varieties of FCLO. You have the unflavored and flavored liquid versions, capsules, emulsified for kids (and butter oil/FCLO blends in gel and capsule versions – but we’ll discuss those in another post). Prices vary from .34/serving for the liquid FCLO to .78/serving for the BO/FCLO blend capsules.

There is a small handful of websites selling FCLO out there – they all cost roughly the same. Here is a breakdown of the cost for each version of Green Pasture brand FCLO:

Green Pastures FCLO – Liquid
Cost: $44/bottle
Serving Size: 1/2 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 118
Cost per serving: $.37

Green Pastures FCLO – Emulsified
Cost: $39/bottle
Serving Size: 3/4 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 64
Cost per serving: $.61

Green Pastures FCLO – Capsules
Cost: $30/bottle
Serving Size: 2 capsules
Servings in bottle: 160
Cost per serving: $.50

Remember, these fermented versions are giving you 975 IU’s Vitamin D, and 4750 IU’s Vitamin A per serving.

Now let’s see what plain ol’ cod liver oil has in it. Can we get the same amount of nutrition from CLO with less cost? We will find out.

Cod Liver Oil (CLO) Brand Comparison – an Alphabetical List

Here is a list that took me hours and hours to compile. I saved myself some time, however, by going to one source for prices: Vitacost. I used Vitacost’s discounted prices, so retail for these products listed would be higher, and naturally the cost of serving would be higher as well. I figured most of us try not to pay retail for anything if we can help it, which is why I used these discounted prices.

I listed the products, both liquid and softgel versions, in alphabetical order so you can look up what you are currently using. I will be choosing out the ones with the best ratios for further discussion.

Note:
BMVitD:VitA = YES means the Bare Minimum Daily Requirement for Vitamin D (250 IU’s) has been met, and the ratio of Vitamin A is 1:10 or better (less than 1:10).
ADRVitD:VitA = YES means the Adult Daily Requirement for Vitamin D (1,000 IU’s) has been met, and the ratio of Vitamin A is 1:10 or better (less than 1:10)

Barlean’s Cod Liver Oil (Lemonade) – Liquid
Cost: $15.96
Bottle size (fl oz.): 8
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 47
Cost per serving: $.34
Vitamin D IU’s: 20-195
Vitamin A IU’s: 950-2450
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:13
Omega-3 total mg’s: 1160
DHA mg’s: 660
EPA mg’s: 460
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil – Liquid
Cost: $26.45
Bottle size (fl oz.): 16.9
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 100
Cost per serving: $.26
Vitamin D IU’s: 400
Vitamin A IU’s: 850
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:2
Omega-3 total mg’s: 1100
DHA mg’s: 500
EPA mg’s: 400
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil (Lemon) – Liquid
Cost: $34.93
Bottle size (fl oz.): 16.9
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 100
Cost per serving: $.35
Vitamin D IU’s: 400
Vitamin A IU’s: 850
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:2
Omega-3 total mg’s: 1100
DHA mg’s: 500
EPA mg’s: 400
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil (for Kids) – Liquid
Cost: $14.16
Bottle size (fl oz.): 8.4
Serving Size: 1/2 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 100
Cost per serving: $.14
Vitamin D IU’s: 200
Vitamin A IU’s: 425
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:2
Omega-3 total mg’s: 550
DHA mg’s: 250
EPA mg’s: 200
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil (Super 1000)- Softgels
Cost: $17.15
Softgels: 250
Serving Size: 1 softgel
Servings in bottle: 250
Cost per serving: $.06
Vitamin D IU’s: 250
Vitamin A IU’s: 2000
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:8
Omega-3 total mg’s: 240
DHA mg’s: 120
EPA mg’s: 90
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil (Lightly Lemon)- Softgels
Cost: $22.62
Softgels: 300
Serving Size: 1 softgel
Servings in bottle: 300
Cost per serving: $.08
Vitamin D IU’s: 80
Vitamin A IU’s: 150
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:2
Omega-3 total mg’s: 230
DHA mg’s: 100
EPA mg’s: 85
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Child Life Cod Liver Oil (Strawberry)- Liquid
Cost: $12.45
Bottle size (fl oz.): 8
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 48
Cost per serving: $.26
Vitamin D IU’s: 0-40
Vitamin A IU’s: 810-1950
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:49
Omega-3 total mg’s: 1400
DHA mg’s: 700
EPA mg’s: 450
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Country Life Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
Cost: $6.91
Softgels: 250
Serving Size: 4 softgels
Servings in bottle: 62
Cost per serving: $.11
Vitamin D IU’s: 540
Vitamin A IU’s: 5000
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3 total mg’s: none listed
DHA mg’s: none listed
EPA mg’s: none listed
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Garden of Life Cod Liver Oil (Lemon-Mint) – Liquid
Cost: $8.57
Bottle size (fl oz.): 8
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 47
Cost per serving: $.18
Vitamin D IU’s: 200
Vitamin A IU’s: 5000
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:25
Omega-3 total mg’s: 962
DHA mg’s: 453
EPA mg’s: 320
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Health From the Sun Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
Cost: $10.19
Softgels: 90
Serving Size: 1 softgel
Servings in bottle: 90
Cost per serving: $.11
Vitamin D IU’s: 100
Vitamin A IU’s: 1000
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3 total mg’s: 210
DHA mg’s: 110
EPA mg’s: 100
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

KAL Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
Cost: $6.61
Softgels: 100
Serving Size: 1 softgel
Servings in bottle: 100
Cost per serving: $.07
Vitamin D IU’s: 135
Vitamin A IU’s: 1250
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3 total mg’s: none listed
DHA mg’s: none listed
EPA mg’s: none listed
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Natrol Cod Liver Oil – Liquid
Cost: $7.57
Bottle size (fl oz.): 12
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 71
Cost per serving: $.11
Vitamin D IU’s: 448
Vitamin A IU’s: 4475
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3 total mg’s: 1150
DHA mg’s: 400
EPA mg’s: 452
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Natural Factors Cod Liver Oil (Super) – Softgels
Cost: $6.57
Softgels: 90
Serving Size: 1 softgel
Servings in bottle: 90
Cost per serving: $.07
Vitamin D IU’s: 200
Vitamin A IU’s: 2500
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:13
Omega-3 total mg’s: none listed
DHA mg’s: none listed
EPA mg’s: none listed
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Nature’s Answer Cod Liver Oil – Liquid
Cost: $11.38
Bottle size (fl oz.): 16
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 96
Cost per serving: $.12
Vitamin D IU’s: 430
Vitamin A IU’s: 4500
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3 total mg’s: none listed
DHA mg’s: none listed
EPA mg’s: none listed
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Nature’s Life Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
Cost: $10.49
Softgels: 180
Serving Size: 1 softgel
Servings in bottle:180
Cost per serving: $.06
Vitamin D IU’s: 270
Vitamin A IU’s: 2500
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3 total mg’s: 160
DHA mg’s: 80
EPA mg’s: 80
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil (Orange) – Liquid
Cost: $38.12
Bottle size (fl oz.): 16
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 96
Cost per serving: $.40
Vitamin D IU’s: 0-20
Vitamin A IU’s: 650-1500
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:75
Omega-3 total mg’s: 1260
DHA mg’s: 500
EPA mg’s: 400
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil (Children’s DHA) – Liquid
Cost: $13.56
Bottle size (fl oz.): 4
Serving Size: 1/2 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 48
Cost per serving: $.28
Vitamin D IU’s: 0-10
Vitamin A IU’s: 325-750
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:75
Omega-3 total mg’s: 631
DHA mg’s: 313
EPA mg’s: 205
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
Cost: $33.96
Softgels: 180
Serving Size: 3 softgels
Servings in bottle: 60
Cost per serving: $.57
Vitamin D IU’s: 1-12
Vitamin A IU’s: 390-900
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:75
Omega-3 total mg’s: 756
DHA mg’s: 375
EPA mg’s: 246
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

NOW Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
Cost: $9.57
Softgels: 250
Serving Size: 1 softgel
Servings in bottle: 250
Cost per serving: $.04
Vitamin D IU’s: 135
Vitamin A IU’s: 1250
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3 total mg’s: 70
DHA mg’s: 40
EPA mg’s: 30
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Solgar Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
Cost: $11.12
Softgels: 250
Serving Size: 1 softgel
Servings in bottle: 250
Cost per serving: $.04
Vitamin D IU’s: 135
Vitamin A IU’s: 1250
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3 total mg’s: 56
DHA mg’s: 28
EPA mg’s: 28
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Sonne’s Cod Liver Oil – Liquid
Cost: $15.76
Bottle size (fl oz.): 16
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 96
Cost per serving: $.16
Vitamin D IU’s: 400
Vitamin A IU’s: 4000
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3 total mg’s: 880
DHA mg’s: 440
EPA mg’s: 440
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Spectrum Cod Liver Oil (Lemon) – Liquid
Cost: $13.20
Bottle size (fl oz.): 8
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 47
Cost per serving: $.28
Vitamin D IU’s: 0
Vitamin A IU’s: 940
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:940
Omega-3 total mg’s: 1300
DHA mg’s: 540
EPA mg’s: 360
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Spectrum Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
Cost: $15.88
Softgels: 200
Serving Size: 4 softgels
Servings in bottle: 50
Cost per serving: $.32
Vitamin D IU’s: 0
Vitamin A IU’s: 416
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:416
Omega-3 total mg’s: 133
DHA mg’s: 240
EPA mg’s: 150
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Swanson Cod Liver Oil – Liquid
Cost: $6.99
Bottle size (fl oz.): 7
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 40
Cost per serving: $.17
Vitamin D IU’s: 180
Vitamin A IU’s: 1800
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3 total mg’s: 890-1350
DHA mg’s: 460-640
EPA mg’s: 330-510
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Swanson Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
Cost: $6.99
Softgels: 60
Serving Size: 1 softgel
Servings in bottle: 60
Cost per serving: $.12
Vitamin D IU’s: 40
Vitamin A IU’s: 380
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3 total mg’s: 190-310
DHA mg’s: 100-140
EPA mg’s: 70-110
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? NO
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Swanson Cod Liver Oil (Double-Strength) – Softgels
Cost: $6.99
Softgels: 250
Serving Size: 1 softgel
Servings in bottle: 250
Cost per serving: $.03
Vitamin D IU’s: 270
Vitamin A IU’s: 2500
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3 total mg’s: 182
DHA mg’s: 81
EPA mg’s: 63
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Twinlab Cod Liver Oil – Liquid
Cost: $5.77
Bottle size (fl oz.): 12
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 71
Cost per serving: $.08
Vitamin D IU’s: 462
Vitamin A IU’s: 4615
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3 total mg’s: 970
DHA mg’s: 369
EPA mg’s: 554
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Twinlab Cod Liver Oil (Emulsified) – Liquid
Cost: $6.87
Bottle size (fl oz.): 12
Serving Size: 1 Tablespoon (TBSP)
Servings in bottle: 124
Cost per serving: $.29
Vitamin D IU’s: 430
Vitamin A IU’s: 4303
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3 total mg’s: 900
DHA mg’s: 344
EPA mg’s: 516
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA? NO

Twinlab Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
Cost: $7.45
Softgels: 250
Serving Size: 2 softgels
Servings in bottle: 125
Cost per serving: $.04
Vitamin D IU’s: 270
Vitamin A IU’s: 2500
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3 total mg’s: 132
DHA mg’s: 68
EPA mg’s: 64
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Vitacost Cod Liver Oil – Liquid
Cost: $20.87
Bottle size (fl oz.): 16.9
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Servings in bottle: 100
Cost per serving: $.21
Vitamin D IU’s: 800
Vitamin A IU’s: 1600
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:2
Omega-3 total mg’s: 1100
DHA mg’s: 500
EPA mg’s: 400
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Vitacost Cod Liver Oil (1000 mg)- Softgels
Cost: $10.99
Softgels: 250
Serving Size: 1 softgel
Servings in bottle: 250
Cost per serving: $.04
Vitamin D IU’s: 250
Vitamin A IU’s: 2000
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:8
Omega-3 total mg’s: 240
DHA mg’s: 125
EPA mg’s: 85
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Vitacost Cod Liver Oil (2200 mg)- Softgels
Cost: $14.19
Softgels: 300
Serving Size: 2 softgels
Servings in bottle: 150
Cost per serving: $.09
Vitamin D IU’s: 500
Vitamin A IU’s: 4000
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:8
Omega-3 total mg’s: 420
DHA mg’s: 250
EPA mg’s: 170
Does one serving meet BMVitD:VitA ? YES
Does one serving meet ADRVitD:VitA ? NO

Cod Liver Oil with Ratio of 1:10 or Better

Below you will find the cod liver oil brands that meet the 1:10 ratio or better (less than 1:10) taken from the list above – again listed alphabetically.

Why focus on the ratio? Well as you’ve seen, the amounts of vitamins in CLO is all over the place. Vitamin D is anywhere from 0 to 540, and Vitamin A anywhere from 325 to 5000. We want the Vitamin D to meet 250 IU’s for bare minimum, and 1,000 IU’s for adult dose recommendation. In order for most brands to meet that, we’d have to take multiple servings. To be sure we aren’t over-doing it on the Vitamin A, we need the ratios to be as tight as possible.

Notes:
1. I have condensed the Omega-3 totals to indicate with a YES or a NO whether or not omega-3′s are included or not. YES, high indicates approx. 1,000 or more mg’s of omega-3′s, YES, low means the amounts are under 300mg’s.
2. I have calculated how many of the brand’s servings are needed to meet  the Bare Minimum Daily Requirement (BMDR) of Vitamin D (250 IU’s), and have included the cost per serving to meet the BMDR. I have rounded up, as I would rather be over than under.
3. I have also calculated how many of the brand’s servings are needed to meet the Adult Daily Requirement (ADR) of Vitamin D (1000 IU’s), and have included the cost per serving to meet the ADR. I have rounded up, as I would rather be over than under.

Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil – Liquid 16.9 fl oz.
Cost: $26.45
Cost per serving: $.26 (100, 1 tsp servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 400
Vitamin A IU’s: 850
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:2
Omega-3: YES, high
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.26 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 3
Cost per ADR serving: $.78

Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil (Lemon) – Liquid 16.9 fl oz.
Cost: $34.93
Cost per serving: $.35 (100, 1 tsp servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 400
Vitamin A IU’s: 850
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:2
Omega-3: YES, high
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.35 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 3
Cost per ADR serving: $1.05

Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil (for Kids) – Liquid 8.4 fl oz.
Cost: $14.16
Cost per serving: $.14 (100, 1/2 tsp servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 200
Vitamin A IU’s: 425
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:2
Omega-3: YES
# of servings to meet BMDR: nearly meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.14
# of servings to meet ADR: 5
Cost per ADR serving: $.70

Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil (Super 1000)- Softgels 250 ct.
Cost: $17.15
Cost per serving: $.06 (250, 1 softgel servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 250
Vitamin A IU’s: 2000
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:8
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.06 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 4
Cost per ADR serving: $.24

Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil (Lightly Lemon)- Softgels 300 ct.
Cost: $22.62
Cost per serving: $.08 (300, 1 softgel servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 80
Vitamin A IU’s: 150
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:2
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: 3
Cost per BMDR serving: $.24
# of servings to meet ADR: 13
Cost per ADR serving: $1.04

Country Life Cod Liver Oil – Softgels 250 ct.
Cost: $6.91
Cost per serving: $.11 (62, 4 softgel servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 540
Vitamin A IU’s: 5000
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3: NO
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.11 – same
# of servings to meet ADR: 2
Cost per ADR serving: $.22

Health From the Sun Cod Liver Oil – Softgels 90 ct.
Cost: $10.19
Cost per serving: $.11 (90, 1 softgel servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 100
Vitamin A IU’s: 1000
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: 3
Cost per BMDR serving: $.33
# of servings to meet ADR: 10
Cost per ADR serving: $1.10

KAL Cod Liver Oil – Softgels 100 ct.
Cost: $6.61
Cost per serving: $.07 (100, 1 softgel servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 135
Vitamin A IU’s: 1250
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3: NO
# of servings to meet BMDR: 2
Cost per BMDR serving: $.14
# of servings to meet ADR: 8
Cost per ADR serving: $.56

Nature’s Answer Cod Liver Oil – Liquid 16 fl oz.
Cost: $11.38
Cost per serving: $.12 (96, 1 tsp servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 430
Vitamin A IU’s: 4500
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3: NO
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.12 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 3
Cost per ADR serving: $.36

Natrol Cod Liver Oil – Liquid 12 fl oz.
Cost: $7.57
Cost per serving: $.11 (71, 1 tsp servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 448
Vitamin A IU’s: 4475
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3: YES, high
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.11 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 2
Cost per ADR serving: $.22

Nature’s Life Cod Liver Oil – Softgels 180 ct.
Cost: $10.49
Cost per serving: $.06 (180, 1 softgel servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 270
Vitamin A IU’s: 2500
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.06 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 5
Cost per ADR serving: $.30

NOW Cod Liver Oil – Softgels 250 ct.
Cost: $9.57
Cost per serving: $.04 (250, 1 softgel servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 135
Vitamin A IU’s: 1250
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: 2
Cost per BMDR serving: $.08
# of servings to meet ADR: 8
Cost per ADR serving: $.32

Solgar Cod Liver Oil – Softgels 250 ct.
Cost: $11.12
Cost per serving: $.04 (250, 1 softgel servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 135
Vitamin A IU’s: 1250
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: 2
Cost per BMDR serving: $.08
# of servings to meet ADR: 8
Cost per ADR serving: $.32

Sonne’s Cod Liver Oil – Liquid 16 fl oz.
Cost: $15.76
Cost per serving: $.16 (96, 1 tsp servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 400
Vitamin A IU’s: 4000
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3: YES
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.16 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 3
Cost per ADR serving: $.48

Swanson Cod Liver Oil – Liquid 7 fl oz.
Cost: $6.99
Cost per serving: $.17 (40, 1 tsp servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 180
Vitamin A IU’s: 1800
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3: YES
# of servings to meet BMDR: 2
Cost per BMDR serving: $.34
# of servings to meet ADR: 6
Cost per ADR serving: $2.04

Swanson Cod Liver Oil – Softgels 60 ct.
Cost: $6.99
Cost per serving: $.12 (60, 1 softgel servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 40
Vitamin A IU’s: 380
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: 7
Cost per BMDR serving: $.84
# of servings to meet ADR: 25
Cost per ADR serving: $3.00

Swanson Cod Liver Oil (Double-Strength) – Softgels 250 ct.
Cost: $6.99
Cost per serving: $.03 (250, 1 softgel servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 270
Vitamin A IU’s: 2500
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.03 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 4
Cost per ADR serving: $.12

Twinlab Cod Liver Oil – Liquid 12 fl oz.
Cost: $5.77
Cost per serving: $.08 (71, 1 tsp servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 462
Vitamin A IU’s: 4615
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3: YES, high
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.08 – same
# of servings to meet ADR: 3 (2 would almost do it)
Cost per ADR serving: $.24

Twinlab Cod Liver Oil (Emulsified) – Liquid 12 fl oz.
Cost: $6.87
Cost per serving: $.29 (124, 1 Tablespoon (TBSP) servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 430
Vitamin A IU’s: 4303
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3: YES, high
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.29 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 3
Cost per ADR serving: $.87

Twinlab Cod Liver Oil – Softgels 250 ct.
Cost: $7.45
Cost per serving: $.04 (125, 2 softgel servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 270
Vitamin A IU’s: 2500
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.04 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 4
Cost per ADR serving: $.16

Vitacost Cod Liver Oil – Liquid 16.9 fl oz.
Cost: $20.87
Cost per serving: $.21 (100, 1 tsp servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 800
Vitamin A IU’s: 1600
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:2
Omega-3: YES, high
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.21 – same
# of servings to meet ADR: 2
Cost per ADR serving: $.42

Vitacost Cod Liver Oil (1000 mg)- Softgels 250 ct.
Cost: $10.99
Cost per serving: $.04 (250, 1 softgel servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 250
Vitamin A IU’s: 2000
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:8
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.04 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 4
Cost per ADR serving: $.16

Vitacost Cod Liver Oil (2200 mg)- Softgels 300 ct.
Cost: $14.19
Cost per serving: $.09 (150, 2 softgel servings)
Vitamin D IU’s: 500
Vitamin A IU’s: 4000
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:8
Omega-3: YES
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.09 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 2
Cost per ADR serving: $.18

Most Economical Cod Liver Oil – Liquid and Softgel versions

Here you will find cod liver oil brands listed by type, taken from the 1:10 Ratio’s List we just read. I will list the liquid versions first, then the softgels. They are sorted least expensive first, within type.

I have chosen to focus on the Adult Dose Recommendation (ADR) cost per serving, although I have left the Bare Minimum Recommended Dose (BMRD) info there for consideration.

Cost per serving for liquid versions ranged from $.22/serving to $2.04/serving. I have chosen to show only those with a cost of $.78/serving or less. 7 fit the bill.

Cost per serving for softgel versions ranged from $.12/serving to $3.00 a serving. I have chosen to show only those with a cost of $.56/serving or less (it jumps from $.56 to $1.04 and up). 10 fit the bill.

Note:
I have consolidated the information since we’re finally getting down to the nitty-gritty: bang for buck. I have included the price per bottle, servings in bottle, size of serving, and cost for that serving in one line. It is the first line under the Name of the brand.

LIQUID

Natrol Cod Liver Oil – Liquid
$7.57 (71, 1 tsp, $.11)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3: YES, high
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.11 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 2
Cost per ADR serving: $.22

Twinlab Cod Liver Oil – Liquid
$5.77 (71, 1 tsp, $.08)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3: YES, high
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.08 – same
# of servings to meet ADR: 3 (2 would almost do it)
Cost per ADR serving: $.24

Nature’s Answer Cod Liver Oil – Liquid
$11.38 (96, 1 tsp, $.12)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3: NO
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.12 – same
# of servings to meet ADR: 3
Cost per ADR serving: $.36

Vitacost Cod Liver Oil – Liquid
$20.87 (100, 1 tsp, $.21)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:2
Omega-3: YES, high
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.21 – same
# of servings to meet ADR: 2
Cost per ADR serving: $.42

Sonne’s Cod Liver Oil – Liquid
$15.76 (96, 1 tsp, $.16)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3: YES
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.16 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 3
Cost per ADR serving: $.48

Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil (for Kids) – Liquid
$14.16 (100, ½ tsp, $.14)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:2
Omega-3: YES
# of servings to meet BMDR: nearly meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.35
# of servings to meet ADR: 5
Cost per ADR serving: $.70

Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil – Liquid
$26.45 (100, 1 tsp, $.26)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:2
Omega-3: YES, high
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.26 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 3
Cost per ADR serving: $.78

SOFTGEL

Swanson Cod Liver Oil (Double-Strength) – Softgels
$6.99 (250, 1 sg, $.03)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:10
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.03 – same
# of servings to meet ADR: 4
Cost per ADR serving: $.12

Twinlab Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
$7.45 (125, 2 sg, $.04)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.04 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 4
Cost per ADR serving: $.16

Vitacost Cod Liver Oil (1000 mg)- Softgels
$10.99 (250, 1 sg, $.04)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:8
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.04 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 4
Cost per ADR serving: $.16

Vitacost Cod Liver Oil (2200 mg)- Softgels
$14.19 (150, 2 sg, $.09)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:8
Omega-3: YES
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.09 – same
# of servings to meet ADR: 2
Cost per ADR serving: $.18

Country Life Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
$6.91 (62, 4 sg, $.11)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3: NO
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.11 – same
# of servings to meet ADR: 2
Cost per ADR serving: $.22

Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil (Super 1000)- Softgels
$17.15 (250, 1 sg, $.06)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:8
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.06 – same
# of servings to meet ADR: 4
Cost per ADR serving: $.24

Nature’s Life Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
$10.49 (180, 1 sg, $.06)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: meets BMDR
Cost per BMDR serving: $.06 - same
# of servings to meet ADR: 5
Cost per ADR serving: $.30

NOW Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
$9.57 (250, 1 sg, $.04)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: 2
Cost per BMDR serving: $.08
# of servings to meet ADR: 8
Cost per ADR serving: $.32

Solgar Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
$11.12 (250, 1 sg, $.04)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3: YES, low
# of servings to meet BMDR: 2
Cost per BMDR serving: $.08
# of servings to meet ADR: 8
Cost per ADR serving: $.32

KAL Cod Liver Oil – Softgels
$6.61 (100, 1 sg, $.07)
VitD/VitA Ratio: 1:9
Omega-3: NO
# of servings to meet BMDR: 2
Cost per BMDR serving: $.14
# of servings to meet ADR: 8
Cost per ADR serving: $.56

So How Does the Cost of CLO compare to the Cost of FCLO?

We’ll compare the cost differences of cod liver oil (CLO) and fermented cod liver oil (FCLO), but we have to keep in mind we are not taking quality into consideration. We are also not asking the question which brands of cod liver oil contain soy? These are questions I will come back to soon, but this post has gotten quite lengthy, and I have taken longer than I wanted to in completing it.

To re-cap, here are the prices per serving for FCLO (serving contains 975 IU’s Vitamin D and 4750 with a ratio of 1:5)

FCLO Liquid: $.37/serving
FCLO Emulsified (kid-approved): $.61/serving
FCLO Capsules: $.50/serving

And here are the prices per serving for CLO (serving contains a minimum 1,000 IU’s Vitamin D and have a ratio of Vitamin A of 1:10 or better):

CLO Liquid: ranges from $.22 to $.78 for the best prices per serving
CLO Softgels: ranges from $.12 to $.56 for the best prices per serving.

Conclusion

So is FCLO more expensive per serving? Liquid FCLO is less expensive than all but three of the CLO brands I have listed (and all three contain soy). However, there are nine brands of CLO capsules that are less expensive than the FCLO caps.

NEW POST: Brands Containing Soy

Where does your brand of Cod Liver Oil fall in this list? Or are you taking Fermented CLO? Don’t see your brand/type listed? Leave me a comment and I will add it.

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proud contributor
Lea Harris founded Nourishing Treasures in 2006. A mom passionate about her family's health and well-being, Lea believes education is power. Encouraging others to take baby steps in the right direction of health for their families, Lea's goal is to raise awareness of what goes into our mouths and on our bodies, providing natural alternative information that promotes health and prevents disease by using traditional foods and nature's medicine.

Lea is a Certified Health Coach graduate from Beyond Organic University, and a Certified Aromatherapist graduate from Aromahead Institute.

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Comments

Cod Liver Oil – Brand Comparison Guide and Cost Analysis — 26 Comments

  1. But, wait…. hold the phone.
    I once saw Dave of Greener Pastures Speak.
    and, wow, it was life changing!

    He went to Norway to see the way they made CLO. He found that they were ALL made by heat distillation. This rendered the oils rancid and vitamins void. So, all the vitamins in these oils (all natural brands above except FCLO) are added back in!! (so you might as well just eat D3 caps if you are going to eat any of those CLO. They only way the US govt. will let you put the amount on the label is if that amount is added back in. (which is why FCLO is listed as a food and not a supplement)

    Oh, there is more to the story. But, amazingly, the above calculations while nice and neat and must have taken you tons of time… are void.
    links please! http://www.westonaprice.org/cod-liver-oil/update-on-cod-liver-oil-manufacture

    • Yes, there is definitely more to the story!

      My point with this post was to compare the listed vitamin amounts on the bottles, and show the cost differences.

      I did mention near the end this was not taking quality into consideration, or noting which brands contain soy.

      It makes lots of sense that these are synthetics, added, which is to account for the differences in vitamin amounts and ratios.

      You will be hearing more from me on this, that’s for sure!

  2. Wow! Thanks for doing all this work! Regarding FCLO, my understanding is that 8 capsules equals one teaspoon of liquid, so that would greatly throw off the price per serving. For me, it’s worth it, because there’s no way I can choke that stuff down without the capsules, but for those really concerned about cost, 4 FCLO caps = $1 per dose, and this puts you at the bottom range of the WAPF recommended dosage 1/2-1 teaspoon per day for an adult.
    Emily Bartlett @ Holistic Kid recently posted..4 Reasons to Let Your Kids Eat Junk this Halloween

  3. Wow, Lea, thanks for this post – it must have taken ages to research all of this! It’s really helping me to rethink the cost involved in taking FCLO (we’re using the one that ranks lowest in cost on the acceptable list) and put it into perspective. Here’s hoping that we can find a way to make it happen in our budget!
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  4. Hello, thank you so much for the informative information. I recently purchased COD capsules to get my stubborn cystic acne under control. After reading your post I realized this may never happen because my dosage, ratio, quality just don’t add up to give what I need in order to be effective. Now that I’m much more informed I’m also confused.. 1:10 is recommended or preferably lower? Can you please recommend the best capsules out there, CLO, FCLO, ECLO… What is the difference? Does CLO have added vitamins ( I got this information from someone on your thread back in October) does this make it less effective? Where can I best results? I’m desperate to see if this can help my skin, I’ve been on Accutane twice and scared to go back on it but I read that this may help?! Thanks in advance.

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    • I did include this on my long list, but it didn’t make the short list due to the ratio being 1:13 (1:10 or lower is preferred)

      However, your label is different than the label I had gone by when I originally wrote the article. This label shows it can have anywhere from NO Vitamin A to 2287 IU’s Vitamin A. Going by their high end, the ratio is good at 1:3.5, but if it’s on the low range, it won’t provide enough Vitamin A.

      As for the Vitamin D, it meets the minimum daily requirement for a child, but is on the low end.

      All brands except Green Pasture don’t use the fermentation process. They use molecular distillation which removes all natural vitamins, so the ones in there now were added back and are synthetic.

      All that said, taking it is better than not, so if he likes it, let him have it :) Meantime, try and get him to like Green Pastures LOL

  7. Thanks! He decided he really doesn’t like Green Pastures, so today I bought another bottle of Barlean’s (the only liquid CLO I can find at the local health store). Will try to sneak some Green Pastures FCLO in his yogurt/smoothies ;)

  8. I heard my friends talked about that. And I keep on asking them ‘what’s with cod liver oil?’. Because people around me talks about it even my mom. I didn’t know that it has tons of benefits. Thanks for the information. :)

  9. Hi there! Thanks for this write-up… my husband and I just started GAPS so we are now taking Green Pastures. :) We take it in capsule form, so I was interested to see the cost per serving for that. Just wanted to correct the “servings per container” – it should be 60, not 160 (since there are 120 capsules in the container).

    Thanks for all you do.

    • Randa,

      I saw your May 7, 2012, post on Nourishing Treasures regarding cod liver oil. You stated that you and your husband are on the GAPS diet. What do you think about it and have you seen an enhancement in your health and quality of life?

      I was recently diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder (Fibromyalgia) and Chronic Epstein-Barr Syndrome. I truly don’t want to take pharmaceuticals that have more side effects than I can shake a stick at! So, after my sister told me about GAPS, I purchased the book and am almost finished reading it.

      My mother was diagnosed with seven or eight different auto-immune disorders (they seem to tend to go hand-in-hand), and both my sisters suffer from similar symptoms to my mother and me. That being said, we are all determined to improve our health and life quality using as natural a means as possible. It just makes sense.

      So, if you don’t mind, could you give me some feedback on your experience with GAPS thus far?

      I would truly appreciate it!!

      Teresa

  10. I am currently taking Garden Of Life CLO, 8oz, Lemon Mint (which you listed) and I am confused… The bottle right in front of me says it contains Vitamin A 4,500 IU Vitamin D 450 IU. EPA 447 & DHA 400. But you have it listed as having vA 5000, vD 200, EPA 320 & DHA 453. I wanted to repost this here as it seems relivent. I know Vitacost says differently than what you came up with too. ??????

    • Thank you for letting me know. It’s likely Garden of Life updated their formula, and that is what is now being sold through VitaCost. Looks like their new formula has more Vitamin D and certainly a better ratio.

      Thanks for sharing!

  11. I CAN’T stand liquids. I mean, they don’t just taste bad, they stick to my throat and burn. I’ve tried multiple brands, ones people rated as tasting good, emulsified, etc. It sticks and burns for HOURS and would not be worth it even if it made me immortal!

    The pills of FLCO I tried, just opening the bottle made me nauseous; I couldn’t take them. They were darned expensive and I wound up throwing them out/

    So I do either the Swanson double-strength (4 per day) or the Carlson Super (5 per day). Which I take depends on which is a better deal at the time I reorder.

    Because I have heart disease, I do not consider this enough EPA & DHA, so I take fish oil on top of the CLO.

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