Separating fact from fiction on cod liver oil

cod

I’ve received several questions about the safety of cod liver oil (CLO) since the Vitamin D Council warned consumers about the ingestion of CLO due to concerns about potential vitamin A toxicity in their November bulletin.

Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, recently wrote a letter to members clarifying the issues raised by the Vitamin D council and exonerating cod liver oil.

If you’re having second thoughts about the health benefits of CLO, please read this and pass it on to anyone you know who currently takes or is considering taking cod liver oil.

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Dear Members,

We are obliged to issue another official statement on cod liver oil after the November bulletin of the Vitamin D Council, which contains “an unprecedented warning about the ingestion of cod liver oil and resultant vitamin A toxicity.”

The warning accompanies a report on a review article co-authored by Dr. John Cannell, head of the Vitamin D Council, and fifteen other researchers, entitled “Cod Liver Oil, Vitamin A Toxicity, Frequent Respiratory Infections, and the Vitamin D Deficiency Epidemic” in the November issue of Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology.

NO PROOF THAT VITAMIN A IS TOXIC
Most of this paper is a review of studies showing the benefits of vitamin D in protecting against various illnesses, including respiratory infection. THIS PAPER DOES NOT PRESENT ANY INFORMATION WHATSOEVER INDICATING THAT COD LIVER OIL IS TOXIC, and, in fact, admits that vitamin A can significantly reduce the incidence of acute lower respiratory tract infections in Third World children.

A portion of the review article is an attempt to explain why a 2004 study providing 600 to 700 IU of vitamin D and 3,500 IU of vitamin A in the form of cod liver oil and a multivitamin failed to meaningfully reduce upper respiratory tract infections when studies from the 1930s found that cod liver oil could reduce the incidence of these infections by 30 to 50 percent. The authors of the recent commentary suggested that the older studies were more effective because cod liver oil in the 1930s contained much more vitamin D. They suggested that modern cod liver oil is low in vitamin D because the deodorization process removes the vitamin while manufacturers fortify the oil with only a fraction of the original amount. As an example, they cited cod liver oil made by Nordic Naturals, advertised as containing only “naturally occurring vitamins A and D,” which has only 3 to 60 IU of vitamin D per tablespoon but between 150 and 12,000 times as much vitamin A.

This conclusion is essentially the same as the conclusion reached by the Weston A. Price Foundation and the research of Chris Masterjohn; we have continually pointed out that vitamins A and D work together and that without vitamin D, vitamin A can be ineffective or even toxic. We do not recommend Nordic Naturals regular cod liver oil or any brand of cod liver oil that is low in vitamin D. But it is completely inappropriate to conclude from this 2004 study that cod liver oil is toxic because of its vitamin A content. Similar reviews could be put together showing the benefits of vitamin A and cod liver oil in numerous studies, including the studies from the 1930s. Obviously the solution is to use the type of cod liver oil that people took in the 1930s, which did not have most of the vitamin D removed by modern processing techniques.

Our recommendations for cod liver oil brands can be found here.

Healthy Skeptic note: I recommend either high-vitamin cod liver oil or fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture and Wolf River Naturals.

VITAMIN A DOES NOT ANTAGONIZE VITAMIN D
The Vitamin D Council report claims that the vitamin A in cod liver oil is excessive and antagonizes vitamin D by inhibiting the binding of its active form to DNA and thus preventing its ability to regulate the expression of vitamin D-responsive genes.

Vitamins A and D are both precursors to active hormones that regulate the expression of genes. The body possesses certain enzymes that convert each of these in a two-step process to their active forms: vitamin A is converted to retinal and then to active retinoic acid while vitamin D is converted to calcidiol and then to active calcitriol. While directly consuming either retinoic acid or calcitriol would be unnatural, consuming vitamins A and D, together, as in cod liver oil, is perfectly natural. The enzymes involved in these conversions are responsible for producing incredibly powerful hormones and are therefore highly regulated.

In order for vitamin D to activate the expression of its target genes, it must bind to the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and then combine with the retinoid X receptor (RXR), which is activated by a particular form of vitamin A called 9-cis retinoic acid. RESEARCHERS FROM SPAIN RECENTLY SHOWED THAT VITAMIN D CAN ONLY EFFECTIVELY ACTIVATE TARGET GENES WHEN ITS PARTNER RECEPTOR IS ACTIVATED BY VITAMIN A.

In the ABSENCE OF VITAMIN A, molecules called “corepressors” bind to the VDR/RXR complex and PREVENT vitamin D from functioning.

The molecular biology of 9-cis¬ retinoic acid, however, is extremely complex, and this has led to some confusion. The RXR and its activator 9-cis retinoic acid partner up not only with the vitamin D receptor, but also with the receptors for steroid hormones, thyroid hormone, and most other nuclear receptors. In fact, if enough 9-cis retinoic acid is present, RXRs will even partner up with themselves. Ordinarily, this versatile form of vitamin A is gradually derived in small amounts from the larger pool of all-trans retinoic acid as needed. When scientists add large amounts of 9-cis retinoic acid to isolated cells, then, it may cause effects that smaller amounts naturally produced in the cell would not cause.

Researchers have shown, for example, that 9-cis retinoic acid interferes with the ability of vitamin D to stimulate the production of osteocalcin, a vitamin K-dependent protein involved in organizing the mineralized matrix of bone. This may have been because the excessive amount of 9-cis retinoic acid caused RXRs to pair up with themselves and thereby made these receptors unavailable to vitamin D. When scientists incubate cells with activated vitamin D and all-trans retinoic acid, ordinarily the source of 9¬-cis retinoic acid in the cell, the two hormones stimulate the production of osteocalcin with remarkable synergy.

More information on the interactions between vitamins A and D can be found in these articles:

Vitamin K2

Does Vitamin A Cause Osteoporosis?

Vitamin D Safety

The Spanish research demonstrating the necessity of 9-cis¬ retinoic acid for the functioning of the vitamin D receptor can be found here, and here:

PLANT FOODS ARE NOT A GOOD SOURCE OF VITAMIN A
In the December Vitamin D Council newsletter, Dr. Cannell further claims that consuming preformed vitamin A is “unnatural” and that the body highly regulates the conversion of carotenoids found in vegetables to vitamin A as needed. However, the enzymes that convert carotenoids to vitamin A are less critically maintained because they are unneeded when preformed vitamin A is provided in the diet-as it usually is. They are therefore, like the enzymes that convert essential fatty acids in plant oils to their elongated and desaturated forms, subject to variations in genetics, circumstantial health, and dietary and environmental influences.

Many factors can interfere with the conversion of carotenoids into vitamin A including thyroid problems, liver problems, diabetes and genetics. Babies and children convert carotenes very poorly if at all.

The statement that preformed vitamin A is unnatural is ludicrous in the light of what we know about traditional diets. The chief source of calories in the traditional Inuit diet, for example, is seal oil, which Weston Price found to be higher in vitamin A than cod liver oil. Fish heads, extremely rich in vitamin A, are a staple in the Japanese diet. Many cultures consume liver, often in high amounts-yet the authors of the review paper imply that liver is toxic. Tell that to the Frenchman enjoying his foie gras, the Englishman consuming liver and onions, or the South Sea Islander who submits to great danger to obtain shark liver for men and women, in order to ensure healthy children. The truth is that pre-formed vitamin A is more plentiful in traditional foods than vitamin D, yet politically correct nutrition insists that we must obtain vitamin A through the laborious process of converting carotenes.

More information on the conversion of carotenoids to vitamin A can be found in this article and this one: (see the section “Vitamin A Vagary”).

COD LIVER OIL IN PREGNANCY
The Annals paper does not cite any studies showing toxic effects from cod liver oil, but Dr. Cannell cites one study in his December newsletter associating intake of cod liver oil with hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. Users of cod liver oil in this study had about twice the intake of vitamins A and D as non-users and eight times the intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. The study found the most robust association with long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which were associated with lower risk between 0.1 and 0.9 grams per day and higher risk above 0.9 grams per day. The authors suggested that the association with high blood pressure might be related to oxidative stress caused by a high intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

The abstract of the study can be found here:

The new Annals article offers nothing new to incriminate cod liver oil. It provides a well-written argument that vitamin D intakes need to be higher and incriminates only highly processed modern cod liver oils that have inadequate amounts of this critical nutrient. We recommend only high-vitamin cod liver oils that provide abundant vitamins A and D without an excess of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

THE COD LIVER OIL PUBLIC HEALTH INITIATIVE
As we pointed out in our last update on cod liver oil, during the first half of the century, cod liver oil was the focus of a worldwide health initiative. Parents were urged to give cod liver oil to their children by doctors, by government officials, by teachers and principals in schools, and even by their ministers in churches. A large portion of adults in America born before the Second World War received cod liver oil as children and this practice contributed to a high level of health, intelligence and physical development in those lucky enough to receive it. In many European countries, children received a daily ration of cod liver oil, especially during the war years. In the UK, for example, the government issued cod liver oil to all growing children until the early 1950s.

What has led to the demise of this obviously beneficial practice? Cod liver oil is a food; it can’t be patented, it can’t be created in a laboratory; it can’t create millions for the drug companies. So interest in this wonderful superfood has naturally waned. But if you are basing your dietary habits on the principles of healthy nutritional diets, don’t hesitate to include cod liver oil-our recommended brands of cod liver oil–as a healthy and natural food source of critical vitamins so lacking in modern diets.

Sally Fallon, President
The Weston A. Price Foundation

recommended links

  • Dr. Ron’s: a great place to purchase Blue Ice High Vitamin and Fermented Cod Liver oil.  I also like Dr. Ron’s line of additive-free supplements.

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. says

    When it comes to the how vitamin D benefits the population in several more ways than is commonly known. The ‘sunshine’ vitamin, as it is sometimes called, is commonly known for its effect on strengthening the bones and joints in the human body by aiding the absorption of calcium. It also helps the body build up immunity. Our bodies can produce vitamin D naturally, if we have enough sun (at least an hour a week). Alternatively, it can be found added to certain foods such as milk, egg yolks, fatty fish, sardines, mackerel, tuna and salmon. These vitamin d rich foods are known to be a great source of omega 3 fatty acids. Cod liver oil capsules are one of the most popular nutrient and Vitamin D dense supplements. I’ve found that adequate vitamin D levels are absolutely essential for a healthy life. I hope it helps you as much as it did for me.

  2. Fleur says

    All the cod liver oil capsules available in my local shop contain added vitamins A (Retinyl Palmitate) and D, as well as synthetic vitamin E (alpha tocopherol).

    I can understand putting a tiny amount of synthetic vitamin E as a preservative, but they seem to be using nutritionally significant amounts that could upset the natural tocopherol balance.

    And why do they add synthetic vitamins A and D to cod liver oil, which is the richest natural source of both?

    Some brands even contained a lot of other rubbish, like vegetable oils that may or may not be partially hydrogenated.

    I settled in the end for some very expensive Vitamin D3 tablets, which still contained rubbish like sucrose (why do you need sucrose in tablets you are going to swallow with water?)

    Is it possible to buy any vitamin D supplement that doesn’t contain a load of added junk, whether in the form of D3 tablets, or cod liver oil capsules without added vitamins and junk?

    • Molly Malone says

      You can get vitamin D3 in olive oil from vitacost.com, just google search for them. I use it and it works for me. You need to use vitamin A, D3, and K2 all together. I use Life Extension vitamin K. I don’t know if it’s the best, it’s just the best I can afford.

  3. Kathy says

    I am confused about which Cod Liver Oil supplement to buy. The link to your recommended list under “here” doesn’t work.
    Thanks for your help,
    Kathy

  4. Julia says

    Though I supporter of Weston Price foundation and intake of Cod liver oil, but toxicity of Vitamin A is not disputable. It’s the most toxic out of all vitamins. If you eat only a couple of ounces of the polar bear liver you will die from Vitamin A intoxication. But it’s still essential vitamin, as any other. So my point of view do not go over 100% of daily dose, especially if you’re pregnant. Because, I was teached that high dose of Vitamin A can cause birth defects, and it was like 10 years ago. And even if you can’t find a study (it’s can be just old enough to exist only in paper format) that’s enough do not take a risk with your developing child.

    • Molly Malone says

      http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil-basics-and-recommendations/
      “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.(1) 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.(1-3) 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 age 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, see Vitamin A for fetal development. 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.”

      And no, I don’t work for or with the WAPF, though it might look like it; I’m just a member.

  5. says

    I would like to start recommending fermented cod liver oil to my patients but I am concerned about the contamination of the fish (mercury and PCBs). Does fermented cod liver oil go through a distillation process to insure it’s safety? If not, how do you know it is not a contaminated fish? Thank you, lindy ford

  6. Bellabear says

    I am not opposed to experimenting on myself. I have in fact for many years taken, vitamins, foods,herbs beyond their reccomended dosages. If you read the web long enough, I’m sure you will find a doctor, a vet, or a scientist that will tell you an Apple a day is worthless.. my efforts to find a nstural solution for bellas pain in her rear leg are extensive. Peanut oil, and cod liver oil are next….Vitamin K has been given to her after my ignorance of prednisone became knowledge….I weaned her of prednisone ( she has it) and for over a year purpura has Not visibly recurred. The option to give her prednisone is unacceptable. The bizarre behaviors and obvious pain of prednisone use, are like a dirty bandaid on a shotgun wound. Meanwhile Dr. Vet offers corn as a food for a carnivore. At a nominal fee of course. The irresponsibility, and profit motive has allowed the medical industry to be educated by drug companies. Remember that when you see your doctor or vet……

  7. Asha says

    Whoops, I have Nordic Naturals cod liver oil soft gels… If I take them with a Vit D capsule (I have ones that are 1000 IU), does that help with the Nordics low Vit D?
    Thanks

    • Liz McMillan says

      I do the same thing. Take nordic naturals and supplement with a liquid Vit D/K2. So I’m also hoping this is ok…..

  8. Mrs. Agyei says

    Thank you for your informative articles I take vitamins daily with vitamin a already in it. I have spoken to people 70 and up and they would say they never got sick. I am going try your suggestions only, which was for the cod liver oil you can order frm Green Pasture or Wolf River Naturials.

  9. Sage says

    What if you can’t afford the hefty price tag of nearly $50 a bottle for the Green Pastures? What’s an affordable alternative?

    • Molly Malone says

      The WAPF (Weston A. Price Foundation) has a list here: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil-basics-and-recommendations/#brands

      “BEST (Available Online/Mail Order):

      Green Pasture Products: Blue Ice High-Vitamin Fermented Cod Liver Oil, (402) 858-4818, greenpasture.org
      Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure: Blue Ice High-Vitamin Fermented Cod Liver Oil, (877) 472-8701, drrons.com
      Radiant Life: Blue Ice High-Vitamin Fermented Cod Liver Oil, (888) 593-8333, 4radiantlife.com
      Natural Health Advocates: Blue Ice High-Vitamin Fermented Cod Liver Oil, 888-257-8775, building-health.com/
      See our list of local chapter leaders and members who sell fermented cod liver oil.

      GOOD (and available in Stores):

      Carlson soft gel Cod Liver Oil Super 1,000 mg capsules
      Nature’s Answer liquid cod liver oil
      NOW double strength Cod Liver Oil capsules
      Sonne’s Cod Liver Oil
      Swanson double strength Cod Liver Oil capsules
      Twin Labs non-emulsified liquid Cod Liver Oil
      Garden of Life Olde World Icelandic Cod Liver Oil”

  10. Jade says

    I and my family have been taking cinnamon fermented cod liver oil for 5 days now, but stopped today after experiencing headaches, muscle pain, depression and upset stomach. My tooth which is greying due to a injury has stopped hurting which is the only positive thing I have noticed and my family have not noticed anything positive. After researching Stevia (contained in the cinnamon flavoured oil), animal studies have shown health problems with consuming Stevia and so I am putting our symptoms down to that and I am going to return it and replace it with a pure unflavoured oil. Perhaps the reason why some people feel negative effects from Stevia and others do not is just down to different biology and sensitivity, I can feel the burning pain in the side of my head from a couple of minutes on a cellular phone on a call (the pain lasts for hours) whereas many others do not, I guess people who feel effects are like canaries in the coal mine alerting everyone else to the danger.

    • Molly Malone says

      I sympathize, and am similar, often describing myself as a canary in a coal mine as well! I agree with you, I do not use stevia as it causes gastrointestinal distress, and I do not willingly use anything with natural flavors in it. Those natural flavors are anything but natural! Cinnamon can also cause trouble for some as another commenter mentioned; it used to for me but no longer.

      Natural flavors are so called because the law allows it, but all it really means is that it is a cocktail of chemicals that mimic the real thing: they taste or smell (or both) like the extract or oils found in nature, but they are not those things, they are instead a mixture of chemicals made in a lab. The name sounds like the real deal, but it is a lie and is just another one allowed by law.

      I was actually quite surprised that Green Pastures uses any ‘natural’ flavoring in their cod liver oil at all. You can buy the unflavored stuff and add your own organic essential oil such as peppermint (not too much but enough to help) or orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit. Try https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/ for organic essential oils, that’s where I get mine. Click on the Aromatherapy tab at the top, then essential oils.

  11. Lekha Joshi says

    Can i give codliver oil to my 3 year old daughter who gets recurrent respiratory infections and she is very sensitive to every season change, if so what dosage?

    • Molly Malone says

      The short answer is yes, it’s a valuable food. Here’s the long answer from: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil-basics-and-recommendations/#brands

      “Our recommended brands of cod liver oil (see below) will provide with the above recommended dosages for cod liver oil about 500-1000 IU vitamin D for children, 1000-2000 IU vitamin D for adults, 2000-4000 IU vitamin D for pregnant and nursing women and up to 9000-18,000 IU for those taking large amounts of cod liver oil to deal with stress and disease.”

      “The high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil is sold as a food so does not contain vitamin levels on the label. However, after numerous tests, the approximate values of A and D have been ascertained at 1900 IU vitamin A per mL and 390 IU vitamin D per mL. Thus 1 teaspoon of high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil contains 9500 IU vitamin A and 1950 IU vitamin D, a ratio of about 5:1.

      Based on these values, the dosage for the high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil is provided as follows:

      Children age 3 months to 12 years: 1/2 teaspoon or 2.5 mL, providing 4650 IU vitamin A and 975 IU vitamin D.
      Children over 12 years and adults: 1 teaspoon or 10 capsules, providing 9500 IU vitamin A and 1950 IU vitamin D.
      Pregnant and nursing women: 2 teaspoons or 20 capsules, providing 19,000 IU vitamin A and 3900 IU vitamin D.

      Please note that the fermented cod liver oil contains many co-factors that may enhance the body’s uptake and usage of vitamins A and D; in fact, many have reported results equivalent to those obtained from high-vitamin cod liver oil with half the recommended dose, that is ¼ teaspoon or 1.25 mL for children age 3 months to 12 years; ½ teaspoon or 5 capsules for children over 12 years and adults; and 1 teaspoon or 10 capsules for pregnant and nursing women.”

  12. Graeme says

    Can cod liver oil cause skin peeling? And if so, it is temporary?

    I found out I was low in vitamin A, so I starting taking green pasture’s FCLO a couple weeks ago. I noticed that I am having a bit of skin peeling. Doesn’t feel dry, just peeling a bit.

    It’s only in areas of sun exposure – back of arms, forearms mainly. I don’t normally have this, and I can’t think of anything apart from the FCLO that changed.

    I take a couple teaspoons a day. Could this vitamin A be causing the peeling? And if so, is it a good sign (skin repair), or a sign I’m taking too much?

    • Molly Malone says

      Peeling skin is one sign of vitamin A toxicity, so it is possible. A couple of teaspoons a day is actually 5 times more than they recommend, so unless you know that you are deficient, I would stick with the recommended amount, which on my bottle is 2ml. Please keep in mind that 1t = 5ml, so 2t may be too much for you. Perhaps you need less vitamin A than most? Perhaps also, it has to do with a little too much sun?

      The one sure way to find out is to stop taking the FCLO for a few days or a couple of weeks, and then go into the sun and see what happens.
      http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/vitamin-a-saga/

  13. Molly Malone says

    From what I’ve read, Vitamin A palmitate, Retinyl Palmitate, Retinyl acetate and Retinol Palmitate are all synthetic and toxic, especially to the liver. The Natural form of vitamin A is a mixture of several molecules: retinoic acid, retinal and retinol. Vitamin A is from animal sources, and is fat-soluble. Only the synthetic forms are toxic, even at low doses for some people; the natural food sources of vitamin A are well tolerated and even at even high doses are not dangerous for almost everyone. This is not to say that you can’t over-dose, yes, eat polar bear or seal liver and anyone just might do themselves a mischief since the vitamin A is in the MILLIONS of IUs, but in most of the USA and Europe that is not even possible so it is an extreme case. Further, it reversed by ceasing to eat the offending food.

    Please read here for further info beyond the following quote: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/vitamin-a-saga/

    “The Merck Manual describes vitamin-A toxicity in less hysterical terms. Acute vitamin-A poisoning can occur in children after taking a single dose of synthetic vitamin A in the range of 300,000 IU or a daily dosage of 60,000 IU for a few weeks. Two fatalities have been reported from acute vitamin-A poisoning in children, which manifests as increased intracranial pressure and vomiting. For the vast majority, however, recovery after discontinuation is “spontaneous, with no residual damage.”

    In adults, according to the Merck Manual, vitamin-A toxicity has been reported in arctic explorers who developed drowsiness, irritability, headaches and vomiting, with subsequent peeling of the skin, within a few hours of ingesting several million units of vitamin A from polar bear or seal liver. Again, these symptoms cleared up with discontinuation of the vitamin-A rich food. Other than this unusual example, however, only vitamin-A from “megavitamin tablets containing vitamin A. . . when taken for a long time” has induced acute toxicity, that is, 100,000 IU synthetic vitamin-A per day taken for many months.

    Unless you are an arctic explorer, it is virtually impossible to develop vitamin-A toxicity from food. The putative toxic dose of 100,000 IU per day would be contained in 3 tablespoons of high vitamin cod liver oil, 6 tablespoons of regular cod liver oil, two-and-one-half 100-gram servings of duck liver, about three 100-gram servings of beef liver, seven pounds of butter or 309 egg yolks. Even synthetic vitamin A is not toxic when given as a single large dose or in small amounts on a daily basis. Children in impoverished areas of the world are routinely given two 100,000-unit doses of retinol per year for infants and two 200,000-unit doses for children over 12 months.”

    Vitamin-A-rich foods help combat tuberculosis, night-blindness, blindness, reproduction and immune system function, and bone health. In 1904, the Japanese physician M. Mori found that cod liver oil was even more effective than liver in restoring visual function.

    Proper ratios of A:D = 5-8:1 You need 5-8 times more vitamin A as D. Dr. Weston A. Price determined this and it has been supported by the work of others.

    It sometimes becomes a bit tricky trying to do the right thing, and trying to make the best decisions and choices. What used to be common knowledge concerning nutrition and health is no longer so “common.” Because this knowledge and these traditional methods have been lost, we now seem to depend upon science more than ever, making something as simple as a food choice into an unwieldy scientific experiment. Many problems arise when scientists lump all of a certain nutrient, such as A or E, together with all of it’s synthetic counterparts and call it by the same name. This is neither truthful nor accurate – and they may not even be aware of this. It yields useless data leading to false conclusions – all because the scientist(s) did not understand the vast difference between a synthetic and something found in nature, in food. This causes further issues for people when they want information and do not know how to interpret the broken science. What a mess!

    Here’s my advice, not that anyone asked, but it works for me to do one of two or three things, if not all. 1 – find the original researcher and look at that data, experiment and conclusions. Read what the original MD or PhD did and said; and 2 – dig back into history as much as possible and find what once worked and was successful. Apply these 2 simple methods to nutrition and health questions and often you will be able to find the answers without needing to become a PhD in biology or physics. The third thing I do is find people whose knowledge and ethics I respect and read what they have to say, such as this site. Excellent article!

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