“Fermented cod liver oil is the one supplement I think nearly everyone can benefit from. I’ve seen it clear acne, lift depression, balance hormones, and reverse autoimmunity. I use it myself and recommend it to all of my patients.” – Chris Kresser, L.Ac.
Interesting to know the differences between fermented and a standard omega 3-rich fish oil supplement. I chose to move forward with FCLO and, based on my continued studying and research on the topic, will remain taking FCLO and not an isolated polyunsaturated fatty acid / omega 3-rich fish oil.
The industry around and production of fish oil is enormous and is very much like that of seed oils.
What is fermented cod liver oil (FCLO)?
Fermented cod liver oil is a cold-processed form of oil that is gently made from cod livers. The fermentation process allows the oil to be separated from the livers without damaging the vitamin or polyunsaturated fatty acid (omega 3/EPA/DHA) content of the oil. This oil is then gently purified and then combined with flavourings (except in unflavoured varieties) and bottled or placed into capsules. There is currently only one company producing fermented cod liver oil that we know of, Green Pasture – many people find the cinnamon flavor most palatable.
How is FCLO different from standard cod liver oil or fish oil?
Processing is everything. Cold processing and fermentation protect the naturally occurring nutrients (omega 3 fatty acids as well as vitamins A & D) present in cod liver oil, however, heat processing will damage them.
In order to make use of nutrients that we eat in our foods, a reduction process needs to occur. We consume macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals), but the end usable form of these constituents are the metabolites of each: amino acids, glucose, and fatty acids and the individual molecules that make up the micronutrients.
In our bodies, digestive breakdown is the mechanism by which we do this internally – by means of not only the physical churning in our stomach, but also by means of stomach acid, bile, and, perhaps most notably digestive enzymes.
There are several ways in which the reduction of nutrients may occur: heat, synthetic chemical processing, and digestion (or fermentation, which is an exogenous means of pre-digesting nutrients).
Heat is damaging to delicate nutrients, especially when they are isolated from their whole-food source.
Synthetic chemical breakdown of nutrients is damaging as well.
Digestion or fermentation (enzymatic breakdown) is by far the safest and most effective way to reduce the molecular structures in foods to their end usable constituents.
Green Pasture is a family owned business.