Children on the autism spectrum require copious amounts of absorbable nutrients to help reverse and prevent further damage to their nervous system. When food is not able to furnish the necessary levels supplementation becomes an important component of their diet. Cod liver oil is a whole food supplement that is highly recommended by nutritionists and holistic practitioners. Considered a superfood in some circles the oil extracted from the codfish’s liver is loaded with natural forms of vitamin A, vitamin D3 and Omega 3 fatty acids.
Cod liver oil has a colorful history. In the early days cod liver oil was one of several fish liver oils highly sought after by the Scandinavian Vikings for health and vitality. During the Industrial Revolution (mid-1700’s to 1900) the cod’s abundant liver oil was used primarily for commercial use as lantern fuel, tanners oil, lubricants, paint base, etc. In the late 1700’s it was discovered that cod liver oil had tremendous healing powers when ingested. The Industrial Revolution also saw the rise in rickets as a major health issue. Cod liver oil prevented rickets but it was also known to cure gout, tuberculosis infections, rheumatism and other health issues.
The popularity of cod liver oil took off in the early 1900’s. No longer extracted for commercial use the oil was rendered and bottled for shipments around the globe as a medicinal. Children everywhere were given their daily ration of cod liver oil much to their dismay, for as much as the oil was a healing agent the rancid taste was disgusting. By the early 1960’s most of the cod liver oil production in Norway was bought up by the large pharmaceutical conglomerates. The production of the oil took on a very different look that is still in use to this day. Many of the new production techniques purify the oil, provide a milder taste and increase the shelf life. And while all of these ‘improvements’ make for greater profitability they also destroy many of the nutrients inherent in the oil.
Most all of the popular cod liver oil brands e.g. Nordic Naturals, Carlsons, Mollers, Barleans, Sonne, Solgar, NOW, Sectrum, Swanson, Twin Lab, etc. are purified to the point where the natural vitamin A and vitamin D3 are damaged or completely destroyed.
The following is a list of processes most of these companies employ for the production of cod liver oil:
• Alkali refining: Removes free fatty acids (a sign of rancidity).
• Bleaching: As cod liver oil goes rancid (which happens quickly) the oil goes from a beautiful pale golden color to being cloudy and murky. Eventually the oil turns brown in color. Bleaching removes the color substances and the oil is once again clear in appearance.
• Winterization: removes saturated fats
• Deodorization and Molecular Distillation: Removes pesticides, PCB’s and much of the vitamin and nutrient content. Heating ranges from 200 to 400 degrees F.
• Addition of Synthetic and ‘Natural’ Vitamins: Much of the synthetic vitamin D added to cod liver oil to compensate for the natural vitamin D destroyed in processing is in the form of vitamin D2. Cod liver oil naturally contains vitamin D3 which is the same form your body produces when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D2 does not follow the same pathways in the body as vitamin D3 nor is it as easily absorbed leading to possible vitamin toxicity. Nordic Naturals and other producers will add natural vitamin D3 is from lanolin to compensate for vitamin D3 destroyed in processing. The lanolin is separated from wool fat, purified and exposed to UV-B radiation. It is not a process designed by nature and anyone allergic to lanolin may have concerns. The addition of synthetic and natural vitamins does not have the same ratios and synergistic healing effects of the vitamins naturally found in cod liver oil.
• Addition of Synthetic Antioxidants: Vitamin E from soy and other allergen producing sources are added to prevent further oxidation (rancidity) of the oil.
• Addition of Synthetic Flavors: To completely mask the taste of fish artificial mint, strawberry, lemon or other flavors are added. So called natural flavorings are not derived from the actual berry, fruit or mint leaf but rather from ingredients that create an aroma perceived as being natural.
When fish oils are deodorized and distilled, important micronutrients some of which are not yet understood by the science community are forever destroyed. Picture a fine China plate broken into hundreds of tiny pieces and then put back together, it is never the same as the original. Similarly once destroyed, the many nutrients and important synergies inherent in cod liver oil cannot be put back together in their original form. They are forever lost. The complexities and ratios of the vitamins and lipids can never be duplicated by the addition of synthetic or even ‘natural’ vitamins.
The major cod liver oil producers are careful to protect the Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA during processing and often artificially concentrate them for advertising purposes. Most people are unaware that fish and fish oils contain more than just Omega 3 fatty acids. Science is only aware of the function of approximately seventeen of the 50 plus fatty acids contained in fish and fish liver oils. Certain cod liver oil species contain unique fatty acids structures that may play important roles in the healing process. Destroying fragile nutrients and fatty acids defeats the purpose of taking a fish oil. You want the entire nutrient structure intact.
In the last twenty years there has been very little in the way of choice when it comes to cod liver oil. Most every cod liver oil brand you see at the store or online is over processed as described above. That has recently changed with the introduction of Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil (EVCLO). Produced by a small family run company in Northern Norway called Rosita EVCLO is the first fresh cod liver oil ever created for worldwide distribution. Only wild caught Atlantic cod (Gadus Morhua) fished from the deep Arctic fjords.
Extra Virgin Cod Liver does not use heat, chemicals, solvents or pressure to extract the fresh oil from the cod’s liver. Tiny amounts of natural antioxidants (Rosemary and vitamin E) are then added and the oil bottled quickly in refrigerated and oxygen free conditions. Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil contains all of the natural and full spectrum vitamins and fatty acids that once made cod liver oil a powerful healing medicinal.
The taste of EVCLO is fishy but very fresh and quite easy to take by spoon even for children. For those children and adults with sensitivities to fish and fish oils Rosita also makes Ratfish Liver Oil. Only drops of Ratfish Liver Oil are needed to obtain high levels of nutrients and the taste is very easy on the palate. Both Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil and Ratfish Liver Oil are available at www.corganic.com.
For more information on EVCLO please visit www.evclo.com.