Below are questions and answers regarding cod liver oil supplements and their health benefits.
My answer is probably going to be more subjective than objective but I will also give you the reason why I prefer one product over the other and it is up to you to decide what is best for you based on your research.
First choice: Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend with Concentrated Butter Oil by Green Pastures.
Next choice(s): Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil and Dropi which is cold-processed cod liver oil, extra virgin, made only from Atlantic cod.
These cod liver oils are the only three I have done enough research for my personal use and to recommend them to my clients.
The reason I choose fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) is that I have used it before the other two brands showed up on the market. The other reason is I have a decent understanding of fermentation processes on meat, eggs, livers, and of course the more known fermentation of vegetables and dairy.
And in the fermentation process, there is usually an added benefit coming from bacterial by-products and in the case of fermented cod liver oil, it is processed with no heat, solvents, nor chemicals.
The added bonus I was mentioned above is antioxidants which are naturally created due to the fermentation process that preserves the cod liver oil and its fragile properties such as the elongated omega-3 DHA and EPA. (1)
Fermentation is not a new thing and our ancestors have been fermenting precious food to preserve them during scarcity times and they have fermented almost every type of food from veggies, dairies, organs, eggs, meat, fish, poultry, and grains.
Some individuals might get some reaction to fermented foods and fermented cod liver oil is no exception. Therefore, the other two products I have tried and are excellent options too. However, I suggest you include another supplement with the raw cod liver oil and that is butter oil concentrate which contains vitamin K2.
Dr. Weston Price found out that cod liver oil combined with concentrated butter oil produces better health results and he called it at the time the activator X because he wasn’t sure what that nutrient was at that time. But now we understand the three vitamins A. D. and K2 are needed together to exert better health benefits.
In molecular distillation where the cod liver oil is subjected to a significant amount of vacuum pressure, the vacuum creates heat sometimes above 350℉ boiling the oil and separating different nutrients according to their molecular weight. The molecular weight of nutrients such as EPA and then DHA.
Then you have toxins like dioxins, PCBs, mercury, and other chemicals. Molecularly Distilled Cod Liver Oil is high pressure and heat process which removes toxins however I am not sure about the integrity of the heat-sensitive elongated omega-3 fatty acids and how much is left of vitamins A and D during the distillation process. That’s why some companies choose to fortified the cod liver oil with vitamin A and D and are these vitamins synthetic?
Some of the scientific studies I have found about cod liver oil and asthma is that cod liver oil is rich in the elongated omega-3 DHA and EPA they have the properties to improve individuals with asthma (2).
These properties of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are viewed to be anti-inflammatory nutrients with protective benefits in inflammatory diseases like allergies and asthma (3).
Other studies have shown the effect of vitamin D as an immunomodulator and the ability to lower inflammatory responses in a number of cell types that are involved in the asthmatic response.
And vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased inflammation, aggravation, and in general poor results in patients with asthma (4).
High-quality cod liver oil is rich in vitamin D and individuals who have asthma may benefit from supplementing with cod liver oil to alleviate asthma conditions. One more study has shown that children with severe and frequent asthma had markedly low serum vitamin A levels (5) and cod liver oil is very rich in vitamin A so it might be beneficial to all these nutrients (omega-3, vitamins A, and D) in one convenient supplement.
Dr. Weston Price discovered combining high vitamin butter oil with cod liver oil which contains vitamin D for bone formation was more effective for tooth decay.
High vitamin butter oil contains what he named at his time activator x and what we think now is vitamin K2. But it is also possible saturated fat in butter oil which also helps in vitamins assimilation.
One study shows individuals who have vitamin D deficiency are more frequent to have acne or more susceptible to this skin disorder and acne vulgaris is a common inflammatory health condition of the pilosebaceous unit.
The other study shows how omega-3 (DHA and EPA) might have promising results in helping with skin inflammation like acne vulgaris (6).
Even though these are promising studies but are not conclusive, however, cod liver oil can benefit acne sufferers with these powerful nutrients that many of us lack with our modern diet. Not to mention vitamin A which is involved in hundreds of physiological processes that we still don’t have a full understanding of.
There are two other physiological mechanisms that can cause acne, hormonal imbalance and gut flora imbalance also known as gut dysbiosis. So my speculation is that even if you take the best quality of cod liver oil for acne treatment but your diet is low quality and full of highly processed foods the results can be poor or ineffective. Cod liver oil is a heavy lifter but it can only do so much.
Hormonal imbalance can also be connected with the health of (or lack thereof) your gut flora. It is known scientifically that the gut flora is not only an organ of itself, but it is a powerhouse as much as the endocrine system in the human body.
Gut flora produces hormones that connect to the brain in bidirectionality affecting our emotions, mental health, and physical organs such as our skin.
So if you have acne it is very possible you have overgrown pathogens that produce toxins impacting your skin health and other organs. Even though cod liver oil can help with acne cure you probably need to work on your gut health. Please read more about how to improve gut health here to understand the big picture.