Benefits of Fermented Cod Liver Oil – How to Take it Without Gagging, and How it Saves You Money

There are three main questions that pop up about fermented cod liver oil (FCLO):

1. Why do I need FCLO when I am already taking CLO?

2. It’s expensive – I just can’t afford it!

3. It tastes strong – how do I mask the taste? And how do I expect my kids to take it when I can hardly down it?

This post will address these questions

Why is FCLO better than CLO?

FCLO is created traditionally, is not processed using methods which destroy nutrients. Cod Liver Oil has traditionally been processed using fermentation. Fishermen would toss cod livers in a barrel of seawater, let it sit 6-12 months, then skim the oil off the top.

In our rushed society, manufacturers don’t have time to wait 6-12 months. They want it made now, to sell now. Most brands use molecular distillation (code name for “removes all the natural vitamins and replaces them with synthetics”) or heat to process cod liver oil – which destroys EPA’s and DHA’s in the omega 3′s.

Green Pasture is the only company in the world that makes fermented cod liver oil. Using a natural lacto-fermentation method which takes several months, you can see for yourself by the dark color of the pigment it is full of nutrients.

FCLO has naturally-occuring nutrients, not synthetic. Fermented cod liver oil contains several varieties each of naturally-occuring Vitamins D and A. Most CLO’s on the market are deodorized, refined, and/or bleached which removes all of the vitamins. This of course means vitamins must be added back in, often in the form of synthetic versions of Vitamins D and A. I will be expounding on this in a future post.

FCLO is the #1 food choice for Vitamin D. According to Green Pasture’s recent test data, their latest batch of FCLO from June contained as much as 2200 IU’s Vitamin D, and 1836 IU’s Vitamin A per ml (1/4 teaspoon) - 1/2 tsp serving contains approximately 4400 IU’s Vitamin D and 3672 IU’s Vitamin A. Because this is a naturally-fermented food, the readings will vary. Compare this against your current brand of CLO and see how many servings it would take to get the same IU’s of D and A as there is in FCLO using my Cod Liver Oil – Brand Comparison Guide and Cost Analysis.

Also read: Benefits of Vitamin D: Why it’s Essential to Health + the best food sources.

FCLO contains no hidden soy. You also won’t find any soy in FCLO. For a list of CLO’s containing soy read Cod Liver Oil Brands Containing Soy.

Bottom line: Fermented cod liver oil is processed traditionally leaving all nutrients intact for ultimate absorption in our bodies. FCLO is better because it is unaltered and does not contain synthetic vitamins or hidden soy. Fermented CLO is nutritionally superior.

It’s Expensive – I just can’t afford it!

This is what I was telling myself. When I see FCLO is $44 for an 8 oz bottle, and Carlson’s 16 oz bottle is $34, it’s easy for me to go for the $34 bottle. Who wouldn’t?

However, it’s just like buying a $14 bottle of watered-down soap when you could buy the $24 bottle of soap concentrate. In the long run, we know the bottle of concentrate will last us much, much longer.

In Cod Liver Oil – Brand Comparison Guide and Cost Analysis, I shared the amounts of Vitamin D and A per serving of dozens of brands of CLO, including Green Pastures FCLO. I was trying to see if it would be possible to simply double up on, say, Carlson’s CLO, saving some money and still getting an adequate supply of Vitamins D and A. I found it was actually cheaper to buy liquid fermented cod liver oil, as the amount of vitamins was so low compared with the fermented.

You see, in just 1/2 teaspoon FCLO you get 4400 IU’s Vitamin D and 3672 IU’s Vitamin A for $.37. It would take six teaspoons of Carlson’s to get roughly the same D & A, costing $1.56.

Find your brand in the list and see what it would cost you per serving: Cod Liver Oil – Brand Comparison Guide and Cost Analysis. You can see FCLO is less expensive than all but three other liquid forms – and those three brands contain soy.

Bottom line: It’s pretty plain to see liquid FCLO is not only highest in quality, it’s economical. Consider FCLO a concentrated form of CLO. More punch in less volume = less $.

How to Deal with the Taste

Okay, when you ferment fish, do you really expect it to taste like anything other than rotten fish? ;)

Fortunately, Green Pasture has given us options. Hooray!

If you can’t  take FCLO plain (over time you will get used to it, believe it or not) you have the following liquid flavor options:

Some children do better with the emulsified versions in these flavors:

You will pay more per serving if you use capsules, but it does protect you better from the taste. They come in Unflavored and Orange versions.

The best trick I’ve found for masking Plain FCLO is this (don’t laugh!)

1. Chew up 1/2 a Dark Chocolate Lindt square (I like 85% or 90%). Keep it in your mouth, making sure it’s gooped up on your taste buds.

2. Take the FCLO and askquicklyaspossible add the other 1/2 square of dark chocolate, chewandswallowfast.

I think the richness of the dark chocolate does the trick. Then again, I am partial to dark chocolate :)

FCLO/Butter Oil Blends

This could easily run into another post, but I want to mention the FCLO/BO blendsbecause the Cinnamon Tingle gel is my favorite. I literally can NOT taste ANY fish whatsoever. When it first arrived and cool but not refrigerated yet, I could taste a hint of fish that quickly was over-run by cinnamon. Since refrigerating it, I have not tasted any fish whatsoever. Score!

Their “gels” are more of a putty. It’s very easy to swallow. I find the oils to get all over my mouth and teeth – not so with the gel! It also comes in Chocolate Cream gel, but I do find I can taste the fish through the chocolate. It’s still beats plain, though, and is my son’s favorite. They also make a Flavor- and Antioxidant-Free version, but I like mine with antioxidants. FCLO/BO is also available in capsules.

Where to Buy

My favorite place to purchase my fermented cod liver oil is on Live Superfoods. I had been purchasing Cinnamon Gel on amazon, but the price keeps going up! I was so relived to find Live Superfoods, where I am now spending $20-$30 less – and free shipping when I purchase $99 or more.

Shared on: Fat Tuesday

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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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Benefits of Fermented Cod Liver Oil – How to Take it Without Gagging, and How it Saves You Money — 34 Comments

  1. Thanks for breaking down the numbers. I take it in capsules because I just couldn’t handle the other (being pregnant doesn’t help). My kids will chew on Carlson’s like it’s candy, yet when I got the chocolate cream FCLO they too a bite and about had a panic attack trying to get it out of their mouths lol! The only reason I say this is that now I have a $50 bottle of FCLO that nobody can eat. So if someone is new to this and thinking about taking it, maybe you should try the capsules or cinnamon tingle liquid.

  2. I’ve got the cinnamon FCLO/Butter Oil Blend and just can’t handle taking it. I try swallowing it as a lump, but feel like I can’t keep it down even with warm water and food. So I have it in the frig. I need it in me, but I need a new method of taking it.

    • I recently bought the blend and expected the worst after reading comments. I keep mine in the fridge too. I drink coffee in the mornings so took a drink of the hot coffee first, then swallowed the gel whole and it went down fine. I do it this way every time now. I bought the cinnamon flavor and don’t taste any fish, but a lot of cinnamon. Maybe drinking something hot before taking it will help you be able to take it, I don’t know.

  3. Thanks for doing all the work to compare numbers. It’s something I’d like to do, but haven’t. I really appreciate it! I’m taking the ginger FCLO right now. I don’t know that I could get my 2 year old and husband to take it, though. Maybe I’ll order the cinnamon tingle next time!

  4. Chocolate is usually my way of dealing with it, too! My oldest has become a bit resistant to taking it so the promise of a few chocolate chips afterwards is sometimes the difference between a fight and it just getting done.

    The Healthy Home Economist did a blog post about how she gets hers down and she puts her FCLO and butter oil in a shot of warm water and gulps it down. I did this with my butter oil, as much as I love butter I do not love butter oil but can’t just squirt it into the back of my throat. I didn’t even taste it this way. It’s an extra step and dirty cup but worth it to get it all down easily.

  5. I have the chocolate gel FCLO/BO blend, and I too can just taste a hint of fish, but my 3 year-old son can definitely taste it, so getting it in him is a challenge. I’m going to try the cinnamon for him I think.

  6. I have the chocolate, which I gagged on the first time b/c I didn’t take it with anything. I am on the GAPS diet, and take mine with a spoonful of real, raw honey!!! I love it!, and it goes down so well :D . It’s my “treat” everyday!

    Try honey everybody, its great!


  7. I just started taking fclo and fso. I was unsure of why I needed to purchase the butter oil because I eat a ton of ghee from pasture raised milk, but now I think I’m going to try it.

    I had a question about the best time to take you oils. Do you do it on an empty stomach or with breakfast? Just curious.

    • I take mine with breakfast. I am not sure the time of day matters as much as take them with other fats since they are fat soluble. If you take the BO with the CLO, it’s probably not as important that you take it with a fat – the butter IS the fat :)

  8. I read this on Amazon and it works like a charm. Hold your nose, take the FCLO (gel) toss it in your mouth swallow (I use a bit of water to force myself), grab a chocolate covered espresso bean, chew it up while making sure it gets all over the inside of your mouth. You literally will not taste it AT ALL. I thought I was going to be forced to toss a $45 bottle of FCLO.

  9. I don’t know about the best way to take and absorb this but a really good way to get it down without tasting it is to buy a bag of empty capsules at the health food store and use a baby medicine dropper to fill a couple. Again, I’m not sure if the capsule would intefere. You can buy the capsules in really large sizes. It’s a sure way to get oils down though (as long as you can swallow pills).

  10. Great post! Thanks for taking the time to do all the comparisons. I get our FCLO from Perfect Supplements; they seem to have very good prices. My kids like the Cinnamon Tingle Gel FCLO/HVBO blend. The way I get them to take it is mix it with maple syrup. They love – LOVE! – having their special “vitamin syrup” every night. And these are young, picky eaters. My 6yo told me recently that when he is a grown up he’s going to give his kids “vitamin syrup” every day and it will be just like I make it. Success!!

  11. Hi – Any idea how long the FCLO lasts in the fridge? You’re post reminded me to go back to trying to take it every day – but I’ve had it quite a few months now…

  12. I wonder if you can help me….I am primarily vegetarian but eat lots of eggs and whole milk yogurt and occasionaly fish. I am pregnant and have just started using GP’s FCLO, thinking it would be a great supplement to my diet. I recently came across WAP Foundation’s warning about omega 3 EPA and hemorrhaging if you do not add ARA-rich foods such as liver, egg yolks. So now I am nervous….do you have any thoughts for me? I do try to eat 2 eggs a day, and use a lot of butter, but I am not sure if that is enough considering I do not eat any meat fat or liver (other than the FCLO!) thanks!!

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