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In the past, there has been some concern expressed around the vitamin A content of Cod Liver Oil.
This concern stems from the fact that almost all cod liver oil products on the market are supplemented with added vitamin A (natural or synthetic) because many so-called cod liver oil products are not actually made from cod! Many brands use fish body oil (from species such as pollock or haddock) as a less expensive source of oil, and then add vitamin A and D to mimic cod liver oil.
So Why Can They Do This?
This practice is allowed because the international production of cod liver oil is regulated by only one rule—the final product must merely match the specific EPA ratio (EPA to DHA) found in cod liver oil (not relevant to their vitamin content).
What Is The Risk Of Vitamin A in Cod Liver Oil?
Any ‘Cod Liver Oil’ product that contains synthetic additives of any kind can not only provide a risk of toxicity, but augment the Vitamin A content to its ratio with Vitamin D (a crucial factor in determining toxicity).
On the other hand, 100% natural cod liver oils contain a rare supply of naturally formed Vitamin A in balance with Vitamin D, and consequently have always had health-promoting levels of naturally occurring, fat-soluble vitamin A (retinol). A full teaspoon serving should supply about 650 – 1,500 IU of vitamin A, which falls well below the standard range compared to fortified products that can contain more than 4,500 I.U. of synthetic vitamin A per serving.
How Can I Trust A Cod Liver Oil Supplement?
Firstly look for transparency with the brand. If the certificate of analysis is readily available and you can be sure of where and how they source and store the cod (if it is coming from cod livers!) is a good start. Never hesitate to ask a company these simple questions to make sure you are getting the best product available.
In situations where a toxic concern HAS applied to natural vitamin A, (beyond the use of synthetic forms, out of balance with any pre-existing Vitamin D deficiency), the issue has been related to the dose and chronicity of supplementation.
Balance is always the key. You can have peace of mind that Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil, at standard doses, provides a very safe source of high quality essential fatty acids and natural vitamin A, that stands to benefit a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Alex is a qualified naturopath and has been in the natural medicine field for over a decade in Australia. During this time, she has had the opportunity to experience almost every aspect of the industry.
She has been in clinical practice, vitamins manager at a pharmacy, marketing coordinator for an organic skin care company as well as actively involved in natural health practitioner training from within an area manager’s role.
This diverse experience helps her ability to deliver high-quality content and cutting-edge research to consumers in a simple and relatable manner.