Should Babies Get Cod Liver Oil?

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 18, 2010

cod liver oil babyLast week’s post about the right way to feed babies purposely excluded a discussion about whether babies should get a cod liver oil supplement.

The reason for the exclusion is because, at the time I wrote the article, I was not sure about the current position of the Weston A. Price Foundation, the only organization I know of that puts out a recommendation on the subject.  I considered adding the information which follows to the comments section of last week’s post, but then decided that it was such an important issue that I should devote an entire article to it.

Changing Manufacturing Process

In recent years, a number of companies that produce cod liver oil have cheapened their manufacturing process to either remove natural vitamins A/D and replace them with synthetic versions, reduce the amounts of A/D, or both.    For example, Carlson’s brand of cod liver oil used to be recommended by the WAPF only to be dropped from the list because this brand no longer contains enough vitamin A to support robust health.

One company, Green Pastures, refused to cheapen its product and stopped using a Norwegian manufacturer a few years back because the natural vitamin A/D was going to be replaced with synthetic versions.   The owner of Green Pastures has since developed a method for fermenting cod liver oil and processing/purifying the product with no heat.   The resulting product is a far superior brand of cod liver oil to anything on the market today and mimics the cod liver oil used historically prior to the advent of industrialization some 150 years ago.  However, this fermented cod liver oil does contain some beneficial lactic acid which can produce a mild burning sensation on the back of the throat for about 10% of folks who take it.

Should Babies Get Cod Liver Oil?

Based on the ever changing manufacturing process, what brands are actually currently appropriate for babies?   In addition, what is the appropriate dosage for a young child given that the daily recommended intake of Vitamin D has increased significantly in recent years?

When my children reached 3 months old, I started giving them 1/4 tsp of Green Pastures Blue Ice high vitamin cod liver oil daily with an eyedropper.   Green Pastures’ high vitamin cod liver oil at that time was not fermented so there was no risk of a mild burn on the back of the throat.   As explained above, Green Pastures no longer offers this product line due to a parting of the ways with their industrialized Norwegian partner.   The product line now only includes the superior, fermented line of high vitamin cod liver oil.

Not sure about whether the Green Pastures fermented cod liver oil was appropriate for babies, I emailed Sally Fallon Morell (President of the Weston A. Price Foundation) about it.

She told me that her grandson has been getting 1/2 tsp (approximately 1500 IU vitamin D) of the fermented cod liver oil (find it here) on a daily basis with no problem since the age of 3 months.  This is a significantly higher dose than I gave my own children, but then again, the appropriate daily dosage of vitamin D for children has increased significantly in recent years as more remarkable information about this nutrient has been revealed.

Krill Oil Not a Good Sub for Cod Liver Oil

Do not use krill oil as a substitute for cod liver oil as the krill oil manufacturers do not reveal how much vitamin A/D is in their product.   Similarly, plain fish oil is not a desirable substitute as it is a highly industrialized product (processed at obscenely high temperatures) and contains no natural vitamin A or D whatsoever.  Fermented cod liver oil is so far superior to anything else on the market, there really isn’t any reason to consider any other brand, in my opinion.

To eliminate any possibility of a mild burn on the back of the throat with the fermented cod liver oil, it is recommended to put the 1/2 tsp daily dosage in a bottle of expressed Mother’s milk (or homemade baby formula if you are not able to nurse or have adopted a child) starting at age 3 months.     As the child gets older, an eye dropper or spoon can be used.   A bit of cream can be added to soften the effect of the lactic acid on the throat.    My children all take the fermented cod liver oil right off the spoon and chase with water.   My youngest transitioned to this approach at age 2 with no trouble.

Whatever you do, please consider this very important supplement for your baby from a very young age.  The benefits of adequate vitamin A and D in a child’s diet are significant and numerous, including healthy bone structure, higher IQ, increased lung capacity, lowered risk for autoimmune disease, and markedly reduced risk for respiratory infection among many others.

If you have a creative way to get cod liver oil into your babies and children that would be helpful to share, please add in the comments section below.   I would be very interested to hear of your experiences as I’m sure other readers would as well.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

 

Comments (116)

  1. Jennifer Ostermeyer via Facebook September 8, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    The tidbit on the burning throat is interesting. I’ve been taking FCLO from Green Pastures for 6 yrs now. Only recently (after a recent birth) did it start burning my throat regularly. And I’m also experiencing a bit of reflux too. Its so strange.

    Reply
  2. Kerry Chong Tarks via Facebook September 8, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    My 9month old takes it. I am nursing and do too. I just give her a few drops every few days. I try to take once daily.

    Reply
  3. Jennifer Harris Bell via Facebook September 8, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I’m a new follower to your Facebook page and to a more natural lifestyle. Can someone explain why the cod liver oil needs to be fermented. I’ve been taking Arctic-D cod liver oil by Nordic Naturals for a few months. I’m guessing from this article that the vitamin D & A may not be naturally occurring. The bottle does not say fermented. Why does it need to be fermented? Thanks!

    Reply
  4. My daughter just loved FCLO. But she cannot have the histamine in it…. I’m still looking for an alternative to give her, not found anything yet.

    Reply
  5. Andreas Herczeg via Facebook September 8, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    I have been giving my son the unflavored cod liver oil from Carlson since he started solids. I’m willing to spend the extra cash for the fermented cod liver oil from Green Pastures, but I’m wondering if it has had a truly negative affect on his health. He’s been a super healthy baby thus far.

    Reply
  6. Nicole Pyle via Facebook September 8, 2014 at 11:40 am

    My 11 month old loves the stuff! He’s been taking FCLO since he was around 8 months. I didn’t realize it caused a burning in the throat because I take capsules, and sometimes he has a choking fit from taking it off the spoon. I always thought he was just having a hard time swallowing! Today I mixed it in some yogurt and he ate it all up with no problems. Poor guy. Silly mommy.

    Reply
  7. Megan Loukota via Facebook September 8, 2014 at 11:22 am

    I couldn’t take it while breastfeeding without baby having severe reactions to it. I was able to start taking it when he was around 6 months old (when a baby’s naturally leaking gut starts to close). Now that he’s a year old I will introduce it. He has sucked on the syringe a couple of times with no ill effect. He has never taken a bottle so mixing it milk is not an option. I personally do not believe it wise to give a three month old baby FCLO.

    Reply
  8. Danae Marie Carroll via Facebook September 8, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Thanks so much! I just ordered green pastures FCLO for myself(pregnant) and for my 1 year old and husband. I wondered about the dosage for toddler. Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Nina Gregg via Facebook September 8, 2014 at 11:12 am

    What if you are nursing and taking FCLO yourself? Do you still need to give it to your baby? If so, would the dose change?

    Reply
  10. Orthomol Immun vitamin c deficiency October 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm

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    Reply
  11. I give my 10-month olds 1/2 tsp FCLO daily. Can I give them high vitamin butter oil, too? About 1/3 their dosage of FCLO? Thank you!

    Reply
  12. Hi there,
    Can Fermented cod liver oil be given to a child with cod allergies? I hear the allergy is usually to the proteins in the fish, not the liver so I’m curious as to whether It’s safe.
    Thanks,
    Denise

    Reply
  13. We started taking Carlson’s cod liver oil earlier this year before learning about it being unapproved by WAPF now. I hate to waste the money and the remaining CLO. DO you think it is ok to continue taking it until it is finished?

    Reply
  14. Hi Sarah :)
    Why take the FCLO in liquid form instead of capsule for an adult? I understand using the liquid for a baby….How much should a 1yr old get?

    Reply
  15. For my 7-month old, I use an eye dropper to put 2-4 drops of CLO per spoonful of mashed bananas. Works great for us. The reason I don’t completely mix all of the CLO into the bowl of mashed banana is to prevent the overwhelming fish flavor. I like to keep some of the spoonful to be all banana flavor. We’ll gradually build up his tolerance.

    Reply
  16. Hi Sarah. I have a couple questions abou this. First one is I have a son with severe disabilities. He has a feeding tube and recieves everything by the tube. I have been giving him a blenderized diet for about 2 years now. He gets all the traditional foods, with the exception of dairy, nuts, eggs and gluten. I do include bone broths, beef, chicken, liver, pork, fermented veggies, soaked grains, fruits and veggies, coconut oil, coconut milk and some seeds-chia, flax, sesame. SO anyway mmy question is this…I’ve been told to not give him CLO because it stores in the fat and for someone who is not moblie(cannot move on his own, though does go into positioning equipment daily) can be poisened by the build-up in the fat. The person who told me this is a practicing dietician, though she does lean more towards conventional doet including lowfat everything, unsoaked grain and so on. His doctors really have no opinion either way so I’m torn. My son, who is 4 by the way, is also scheduled for surgery in a few weeks. The brand I have of CLO says do not give to people who are anticipating surgery…what to do, what to do? Next question is do you have a recipe for liver pate? I find my other kids aren’t crazy about it and I can’t afford to buy so much CLO. And is it only chicken liver, because I usually give cows liver. Thanks so much for your time and for your website. You’ve changed the way I feed my family and look at food forever!

    Reply
  17. what about a 7month old baby? i just bought the carlson cod liver oil, lemon flav ithink.. how much is it ok to give him and how often? i havent been able to find the green pastures and the carlsons was highly reccomeended(i am totally a newbie to all of this)…. also you mentioned homemade formula? i stopped being able to breastfeed couple months ago and had no idea this was an option? where would you reccomend a reciepie? or more info! thanks! LOVED the blog!

    Reply
  18. I just wanted to comment on other comments from people saying they gave their baby the FCLO straight into their mouth with a dropper or spoon; I would not recommend this! I just tried it with my 5 month old, and she started screaming and crying harder than I have ever seen her cry. It was terrible. I could tell it was burning her throat because she started coughing a lot. I felt so terrible. I would really recommend mixing it with breast milk and giving it that way to cut the sting. I don’t wish the sorrow of seeing your baby that upset on anyone! Happy ending: she calmed down after getting a bottle of milk from daddy; I had one bottle with the FCLO and one without and she could tell the difference!! This will be trickier than I thought at 5 months!

    Reply
    • Ditto! I gave to my 5-month old twin boys. One was ok, and one screamed and cried and coughed for several minutes. I also felt terrible and vowed never to give it straight again (as babies, anyway)…yet all of our baby bottles smell like fish and my little one turns up his nose before he even tastes what’s in the bottle, which is sometimes only breast milk. They can definitely tell if there’s even 1/8 of a tsp in their milk, and sometimes refuse it. I may have to try rubbing it on their skin, although I’m not sure if an equivalent dose gets absorbed that way?

      Anyone have any tricks to get the smell out of silicone bottles? I know I should probably switch to glass, but they love the natural breast shape of the silicone ones.

      Reply
      • Well Jessica, I feel your pain! So hard to have your little one upset! And my bottles stink too (we use Dr Browns). I tried the dishwasher but it actually did a way worse cleaning job than handwashing. I use one of the bottle brushes with a sponge end and really douse the sponge in soap and use very hot water and scrub a lot. Sometimes I let them soak for 10 min too…They still have a slight smell but not too bad. I find the nippes can really stink unless you hand wash them by actually putting soap on your finger and running it all over the nipple piece, then rinsing on hot. We put about 1/4 tsp in 5 ounces of milk and she will drink it; sorry to hear yours won’t. I have no idea about rubbing it on the skin–would be very curious to know if that would work…although that would make one stinky baby, lol, but anything for good health! ;-)

        Reply
        • Michelle, thanks for the suggestions! We use Comotomo bottles, and yes, the nipples are the worst. I think the problem was that I added the fclo to only a couple ounces of milk the first time, so it really stunk up the bottles & tipped them off to my trick. Our bottle cleaner is a brush, so maybe that’s also the issue. I can see how a sponge tip would work better, and I will try more soap directly on the nipples. Sarah has a great post on how to get kids to take fclo, which includes the tip about topical application. I was also worried about smelly babies, but she says it dissipates surprisingly fast. I haven’t tried it yet, but may just do it today. Here’s her post: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/how-to-get-your-child-to-take-cod-liver-oil/

          Reply
        • Thanks, Kaitlyn. I did try that, and expected it to work better. Maybe I needed to use more vinegar or let it soak even longer. As Michelle P says, it is actually the nipples that are the worst.

          Reply
  19. Pingback: Friday Link Love: 9.9.10

  20. I just ordered the green pastures cod liver oil w/ the butter oil capsules. How many would I give my 12 month old daughter?

    Reply
    • I have a similar question… I give 1 TBS (15 ml) to my almost 13 month-old baby with a spoon. I believe that this dosage has helped her stay healthy even when mum and dad had strong ‘flu (she only sneezes and can have some mucus in her nose but nothing more). When my husband or I are sick, I increase the dosage (16 ml/daily). My question is – since I thought that this was the right dosage – what is the correct dosage of FCLO for a 1-year old baby? Good information is really very much appreciated as I am afraid I might e harming my baby instead of protecting her!

      Thank you so much.

      Reply
      • Correcting myself: I give my baby 1 tsp (= 5ml) daily (and not 15 ml!). When I increased the dosage I gave her 6 to 8 ml daily (not 16 ml!). I am not familiar with US measures :)

        Reply
  21. Hello, Sarah. I am giving my 4 months’ baby girl the fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture. I just give the clo to her without adding other food at the same time, and she seems to be so happy about eating it every time. So will it burn her throat?

    Reply
  22. Hello, Sarah. I am giving my 4 months’ baby girl the fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture. I just give the clo to her without adding other food at the same time, and she seems to be so happy about eating it every time. So will it burn her throat?

    Reply
  23. I have been making the WAPF homemade baby formula for our adopted baby since he was around 3 weeks old. I did not see that I was supposed to wait on the fermented cod liver oil until he was 3 months old. Now I am worried I have been giving him something harmful with too much vitamins D and A. He is almost 2 months old. Have I endangered his health in any way? Why is it recommended to wait until the baby is 3 months old? I am very worried about this and would greatly appreciate a response.

    Reply
    • Hi
      Im just wondering if you got a reply to your question. I will be giving this to my second baby much earlier than my first. As I am not able to breast feed.

      Thank you
      Seana

      Reply
  24. I make the nourishing traditions baby formula for my 5 month old. I recently took my baby in to see a dietician to make sure I am doing the right thing with my baby getting everything she needs. The dietitian said the Vitamin A level was too high. In the 36 oz formula batch the level is at around 5000IU and she said infants should be getting no more than 2500IU. I am so confused now…. I’ve been reading every where and everyone says something different. Please help! Thank you.

    Reply
  25. hello i had a question about the fclo i went to the store and found a baby’s supplement called “baby’s dha” by nordic naturals it s says “made from 100% artic cod liver oil” here are the ingredients:
    purified artic cod liver oil, rosemary extract (a natural preservative), d-alpha tocopherol, vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)

    is this a good product?? or i should i just buy the FCLO by green pastures? i felt a little better bc the product is specifically marketed for “babies” and i heard about vitamin a toxicity and dangers of using too much vitamin d. my baby its 6months and he is currently being fed comercial formula “Baby’s Only” by Nature One. my milk supply dimished to the point that i dont make milk anymore :( i breastfed my baby until 5months and supplemented with formula (had issues with my supply) anywho… could adding the FCLO be a problem if im giving my comercial formula???? (too much vitamin d and a? and help with the question about the nordic natural baby’s dha vs green pastures FCLO, please!

    Reply
  26. Pingback: having a baby (with eczema) changes everything

  27. I have a healthy 2 month old and we just went for our check up at the dr office. The dr recommended a multivitamin for her. I plan on starting her on FCLO at age 3 months and she is exclusively breastfed. Does she need a multivitamin with FCLO and breast milk?

    Reply
  28. Hello there I’m glad I found this blog as I’m a soon to be father in about 7 months and once my little one is old enough I will definitely be giving them cod liver oil.
    I was watching the food network the show Chef at Home and the host showed that if a child has an aversion to fishy tastes to simply mix the proper amount into something that has a stronger more pleasant taste. His son was a little older do he mixed the Oil into a homemade berry smoothy for him.
    We plan on making homemade organic food for our little one and are going to mix it into that and mothers milk.

    Reply
  29. My concern about CLO is that it falls under the category of moderate levels of mercury and Krill is the lowest. I have read the “myths about mercury” from Green Pastures and now am even more concerned about mercury. They talk about mercury levels being lower then in the past, and from my understanding isnt the mercury levels due to coal plants, gold mining and volcanos. If anything industrial coal plants have increased and so has gold mining. How can I trust green pastures if they refer documents from the FDA.

    Reply
  30. My baby had severe eczema and I started giving her CLO (Carlson’s, cuz I didn’t know any better) and it cleared up in a WEEK!!! This thing is AWESOME! I will continue giving it to her but I’ll switch to the green partures. Thanks for the article!

    Reply
  31. i started my baby on green pastures blue ice fermented high vitamin cod liver oil at the beginning of the 4th month. before the midday feeding, usually around noon, i lay him on his back (to keep gravity on my side to avoid spitting out), i gently open his mouth by pressing down on his chin and slowly administer with a dropper (purchased at an online chemistry store). i give about 1.5 ml (0.75 ml at a time) making sure to get it in his mouth without shooting it down his throat to avoid choking. he swallows it as it mixes with his saliva. don’t put too much in their mouth at once because they’ll push some out with their tongue. i have found that 1 ml is too much at once for a 4 month old. i use 2×1 ml droppers pulling up about 0.75 ml into the dropper each time so i don’t contaminate the clo bottle. i dab around his mouth with a napkin (i heard getting it on clothing and burp rags causes them to smell even after washing) and then i wait a few minutes with my napkin on the ready before i try to breast feed him. he’s been teething and refuses to eat sometimes so i haven’t been able to wash clo down with milk most times but that doesn’t seem to bother him. he is a little puzzled at the novelty but does not protest or cry. i’ll add that i am very neutral when doing this as opposed to showing my pleasure and excitement that he is cooperating. his spit up does not smell like clo or seem to effect him any differently so it seems to be absorbed quickly once swallowed. this has worked for me and i’ll stick to this daily regimen until he’s old enough for me to put it in a sippy cup or take it off a spoon or whatever i decide at the time.

    Reply
  32. I am currently giving my 4 month old a 1/2 tsp of Green Pasture’s FCLO (non-flavored) each day. My question is when or if I should be giving him the butter also? Both myself and 2 yr old take the Royal Blend and Skate. Thanks for your help on health!

    Reply
    • Hi Martina, I am starting my 6 month old on the same thing but I have no idea how to feed it to her. I have tried putting it into her formula but she ends up not drinking much probably because of the taste, plus I am not sure if it withstands some warmth of the milk or the food. How do you feed your 4 month old?

      Reply
  33. Thanks for the information on CLO. I live in India and I dont know whether the CLO by Green Pastures is available. We have the Seven Seas brand of CLO globules (gel covered). Could these serve the purpose? Can CLO be massaged instead of giving it orally?

    Reply
  34. Hi Sarah, I had the same question as Regina above … is it ok to give the high vitamin butter/FCLO *blend* to an 8 month old? I have given her straight FCLO, but I don’t see any information on whether or not to give the blend. Thank you.

    Reply
  35. Great to read everyone’s ideas. I started taking FCLO when I was pregnant. I thought I’d just take it straight but it made me throw up, then I tried it mixed with juice but I felt most of it was sticking to the glass. Finally I bought some empty gel caps from the health food store and I now make my own little pills with FCLO and butter oil in them. I came across this post because I’m getting ready to start my 5 month old on FCLO and was wondering about dosage. Thanks for all the input.
    City Share\’s last post: Thanksgiving Dinner

    Reply
  36. As recommended by you, I have purchased the FCLO from Green pastries. I did it before reading through the comments on this post and the heal your kids cavity post. I didn’t realize how many capsules I would have to take! I also see your point about separating the two, so in the future (which is probably sooner than anticipated) I will get them separate. Can anyone recommend the EXACT products they use from Green Pastures? I would rather not get the liquid, as I am transitioning my family over and the fewer “bad” experiences with these new habits, the better, BUT I do have a 19 month old and it seems I should be giving him a tsp/day as well, so what is the best flavor? Also I am very nervous about all the “mainstream” buzz about CLO having too much vitamin D. Although I realize natural and synthetic are two different stories, especially with my 19 month old it still makes me hesitant use too much. What is the best way to be sure we are not getting too much?

    Reply
  37. My twins’ pediatrician recommended cod liver oil to me for our babies, too. He actually said the dosage should be 1 tsp. Anyway, there was no need to get creative in giving the oil to my boys – they suck it down readily from a dropper and seem to really like it. I started giving it to them at 7 months after they had been experimenting with solid food for a month. So far so good.

    Reply
  38. I also am an exclusive breastfeeding mom who never uses bottles. Anyone have any other way to give this to babies? That would just be a pain for me to do it that way. I don’t even own any bottles!

    Reply
  39. I have found that putting the spoon way back in my throat (so the FCLO only touches the back of my tongue when I swallow) and then immediately taking a couple sips of orange juice seems to be the fastest way of clearing the flavor out of my mouth.

    Reply
  40. Hi Sarah, my son is unfortunately on commercial baby formula. I really want to get him the fclo. My only concern is the mention of high vitamins in the fclo and isn’t he getting enough vitamins from the formula, I don’t want to overdose him with too much vitamins. And I also think I saw you tell another reader to also get the butter oil, what does that do? Thank you so much.

    Reply
  41. I’m very new to this way of living and still trying to transition over. I just found out about GAPS and want to use it to help my son’s allergies. But in regards to the FCLO I have a baby 8 months. I BF but don’t pump or do any bottles. Due to an older child I have with food allergies (milk, eggs, nuts, sesame, and the dr told us to avoid sea food though he has no known allergy to them) I’m waiting to introduce solids to the baby. Should I just try to use a dropper to get it in her. What about just rubbing it on her skin after a bath? Would it absorb that way?

    Should I try a small pea size amount on my sons wrist to see for an angry red allergic reaction? He has had an anaphylaxis reaction to nuts. Hence how we discovered the allergy. So I don’t want to do anything that would be more harmful to him.

    Reply
  42. I don’t understand the fuss about the fermented CLO!

    Call me crazy, but in my opinion FCLO mixed with the high vitamin butter oil tastes good! I think people are having a mental block. I remember hating CLO when I was a kid which reminded me more of clear motor oil in texture and consistency than food. It was probably refined and/or rancid. I’m also a person who has loved whole canned sardines, since I was a kid, and grew to love whole fried fish when I lived in Spain and there they don’t cut the heads off either! The FCLO is no where near as strong tasting as the fish guts parts of eating tiny fish whole. I also like raw salmon roe from Japanese restaurants.

    I gave my 7 month old the FCLO mixed with butter oil, (at 6 months his second food after the egg yolk was some mashed sardines that I like to eat for breakfast – I was waiting for liver from our grassfed beef rancher) and he didn’t even flinch or make a face! He almost choked trying to re-lick the spoon! Of course he’s been eating fish via me since before he was born and via nursing…

    Crazy suggestion, but maybe if you take it and make a genuinely pleased or neutral face, your kid will take it and also be pleased? I’ll take the taste of FCLO over fake grape/fish flavored gummy fish any day of the week.

    Reply
  43. Hey Sarah,
    I give my 14mo old twin girls nortic naturals childrens DHA (with a dropper.) Any thoughts on this product?
    Also, they were borderline anemic at their 12mo visit so i give them poly vi sol with iron. But im so skeptical – im not sure if this product does more harm then good, but i want to make sure they get adequate iron.
    any thoughts would be great!
    Barb

    Reply
    • Nordic Naturals has virtually no vitamin D. I know that brand very well and I do not recommend it. They use soy as a source for vitamin E. If you can afford Green Pasture just buy it. Even their colours are different let alone the natural vitamins.

      Reply
  44. Hi Sarah,

    I need some help to clarify on FCLO intake for my 10-month old son. I just got high vitamin butter/FCLO blend in cinnamon flavor…is it ok to give it to the baby ? How much ? Also, his ND is recommending high doses of D3 vitamin to strengthen immunity…Is this safe combined with FCLO ?

    I saw your post about giving only plain FCLO antioxidant free to babies….Can you please send me exact name of the product if you think I need to give this product instead of what i bought ?

    Thank you in advance…

    Reply
  45. Hi Sarah,
    Is it absolutely necessary to take butter oil capsules if you eat plenty of butter in your diet? We buy Kerrygold butter, and I eat approximately 4 T. per day. Just trying to see if the butter oil is something I could opt out of since the FCLO is expensive enough as it is. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Charlene, you should get local grassfed butter and make ghee. Kerry Gold is not good enough quality IMO. It’s a nice cooking butter, but that is it. This is not expensive to do and taking 1/2 tsp of the homemade ghee WITH your FCLO will make a huge difference.

      Reply
      • Sarah–
        Is this what you would recommend for babies too? (taking the butter oil)? I am starting the FCLO with my 5 month old but was not planning on doing the butter oil too unless I should be doing that? I was thinking maybe the fat in the breastmilk would be enough, but we are getting donated breast milk (adopted baby) so I can’t really say for sure how fatty it is. What would you suggest?
        Thanks!!

        Reply
  46. Hi Sarah. My son just turned 6 months (breastfed). I’ll be purchasing the fermented cod liver oil for him and will do as you suggest – 1/2 tsp daily dosage in a bottle. I see where you recommended the “antioxidant free liquid”, however I do not see that as an option on the Green Pastures website. I see the “BLUE ICEâ„¢ Fermented Cod Liver Oil – Non-Flavored – Non-Flavored (Liquid)”. Please let me know if you would recommend this for my son. Thank you.

    Reply
  47. Thank you, Sarah, for another great article!

    I have Carlson brand here at home and it looks like WAP says that is a ‘good’ brand. I haven’t given it to our daughter yet and will as soon as I start the liver formula. Good idea to perhaps leave it out…and then just add the appropriate dose to a couple of bottles.

    Reply
  48. Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for your site!
    I know you stand by your Green Pastures recommendation, but we are a family of 7 trying to survive unemployment right now. What brand would be a less expensive but still quality choice? Or should I just not bother with CLO till we can afford Green Pastures?

    Reply
  49. Hi,
    I have just come across your site Sarah – looking forward to reading over more of your past posts.

    I have three little ones, DD7, DD5, and DS 11mths. My girls have been taking the GP FCLO for a while now – first the chocolate cream one (cause it was on sale) which they got to calling chocolate fish – lol and more recently, the salty cod (also on sale, but when I thought about it, it seemed like salt would be a natural flavour to have with fish). We(and now they also) call it their vitamins and they tend to remind us if we forget to give it to them these days. We all take is straight out of the syringe followed by the BO (we let them squirt it in their own mouths – they seem to prefer that) and then follow with a glass of water in which we put the vitamin C supplement we use (Loving Earth, Camu Camu powder), their pro-biotic dose (Primal Defense), and a small amount of azomite powder. The strong taste of the drink helps to mask the FCLO nicely and seems to stop it repeating to some degree also.

    We started my little boy on solids following the WAPF guidlines when he was just over 9mths old because I felt strongly to do extended exclusive BF with him and he was thriving well on that. Soon after, we started him on the FCLO. We would start feeding him his solid food and then pause to give him the FCLO – squirting it gently straight out of the syringe in little bursts and then return to his food to eat the rest of it. The first couple of times, I think he wasn’t sure what to expect, and just swallowed it, barely even flinched. After that, he started trying to refuse it and would try to spit it out, but we would use a spoon to scoop it off his chin and put it back in his mouth and we continued to persevere. Now (two months later) he sees the syringe coming and he opens his mouth for it. We give him the first couple mouthfuls of food, then start on the FCLO with a little squirt, let him swallow it, give him another little squirt, etc until it’s all gone and then back to the rest of the food. It’s quite amazing, but since the initial period of refusing it, he never has again – just quite happily takes it every day. Oh, and his BO I mix in his food.

    My personal preference is for the liquid rather than the gel as the gel tends to get stuck all gooey in the roof of your mouth whereas you can basically just swallow the liquid straight down.

    Anyway, was just enjoying reading the post and all the comments so I felt inspired to share. Nice to talk with people who are on the same page. :D

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist February 14, 2011 at 9:30 am

      Thanks for commenting Shanna. Your detailed explanation of how you give the Fermented cod liver oil to your children will certainly help some other Moms and Dads trying to figure out the process for the first time!

      Reply
  50. Hi, I just ordered the high vitamin butter/fermented cod liver oil gel for my daughters (4yrs old and a 14 month old). I am considering taking it as well. I have a few questions though. First, how much a day do I give my 14 month old (who has developed a case of early childhood caries aka bad cavities) to help give her the vitamins she needs to help stop the demineralization process and help rebuild her teeth. Second, I am pregnant (and still a nursing mama)with my 3rd baby, is it safe for me to take and if so, how much should I take? Lastly, my kids only drink water, any suggestions on getting the to take the gel other than straight? Thanks for any help!!

    Reply
  51. Sarah- love your site- my naturopath introduced me to standard process calamari oil- she says it is super concentrated. I give my 8 yr. old just a 1/4 of a tsp. it is lemony flavored. Wondered if you had heard about this product and what you think about it compared to regular cod liver oil. Thanks

    Reply
  52. I’m trying to get my family on a healthier diet. We are vegetarians and I don’t see us starting to eat meat anytime soon. I do keep coming across how great cod liver oil is however. Is there anything vegetarians can take to get similar vitamins or should I just suck it up and take it?
    Thanks

    Reply
  53. Oh, and I read to eat food with it and make that have fat in it…maybe the butter with the vitK/X Factor is why? We take it and then eat an egg, almost everyday, for breakfast and/or cream cheese, butter, bacon fat.
    It also seems to be clearing up my 5yo’s keratosis pilares, which I and then one of my older girls had also. It’s that “chicken skin” some ppl get. My parents were told by the dermatologist that I didn’t get enough sunlight, and it IS worse in the winter. I put this sticky, awful, prescription lotion on my oldest daughter and I’ve been putting a healthfood one on my 5yo for a couple yrs. It can itch awful in the winter. Anyway, DUH when I learned about vit D being so necessary, it struck me. I bet THIS is the cure for keratosis pilares! It’s a vit D deficiency skin condition. My 5yo does seem to be better this winter and we’re not being near as good about lotioning her up as b4. We used to do 2x a day. Now this year, we’re doing it once every few days and her skin looks not bad at all. I had been giving her flaxseed, ground–since babyhood, in hopes the omega-3s would do it. It never seemed to do much at all. It’s not the O-3s, it’s the vit D! CLO “just happens” to be rich in DHA and EPA also. That and vit A of course, which helps skin, period.
    We take the concentrated brand rec’d by NT btw. Can’t think of the name right now.

    Reply
    • I don’t know about that. I’ve been taking CLO for about 4 months now and when I went for my blood tests my serum levels were at 65.1 (which is considered a nourished level) and my keratosis actually got WORSE! I don’t think the vitamin D caused the keratosis but I also don’t think it cures it. It must be something else.

      Reply
      • Keratosis is also a symptom of gluten sensitivity. So, you may be gluten intolerant and/or have a leaky gut and not be absorbing the vitamin D. Maybe try going gf and drinking bone broth/taking probiotics to heal your gut in addition to taking the FCLO?

        Reply
  54. My 2 girls include one very very very picky 3yo. They rarely get juice full strength and so I put the CLO (unfermented as I haven’t coughed up the money for Tthe femermented yet ) and an immune herbal formula I buy (with glycerine which is sweet too) in a little bit of str8 juice. The first few times were difficult but I started with a spoonful and then held it to their mouth to drink. I told them to drink their nummy up quick. My 3yo was calling it their nummy in a few days and drinking it NO problem. The 5yo still doesn’t think it’s the greatest but I added vit C subs to it the first week–Acerola powder from NOW. She got so she really liked that concoction and the 3yo also. HOWEVER this still has ascorbic acid in it and I want real Vit C, so I switched to Pure Radiance C —-which has a grassy taste. The 5yo still gets a half dose of Acerola powder to mask the grassy taste but she really fusses about it.
    The crucial test though was the other day when we’d ran out of juice here. I gave them str8 CLO on a spoon. No problem, but they didn’t exactly like it. I tried it in milk the next day, just a little to get the CLO down, but NO GO. It was very hard to get them to drink it. I won’t do that again.
    I would try cream cheese if necessary too. ANYthing they will willingly eat that you put it with. Applesauce maybe? Use just a little of whatever you try. I wouldn’t make them just take it str8. I tried it becuz it had been 4 mos that we’ve been taking it now. And I will keep buying juice to take it in with the herbals and vit c.
    I can throw it down my throat in a little juice. I don’t relish it at all. But my 3yo really LIKES it I think…
    I also give them garlic, minced, on a spoon, covered with honey. 1/2 clove each. They chew it even though I tell them to try to just swallow it. It is quite hot, I’ll tell you, as I do it too and I don’t really chew it. The 3yo even does it. I’m very surprised with at that. Some days they ask me for it and if I give to one without the other, she insists I give it to her also! I’m not as regular on this as it’s one more pain in the butt thing to do at breakfast, but it works so well as a preventitive and as an antibiotic for sickness trying to take hold.

    Reply
  55. What about mixing it in with OJ? I have done this, and it tastes a little fishy, but if I just chug it down it’s okay. It does leave an oily texture in my mouth. I hid some in some fruit juice for my son too. He drank it all, no problem, but I wonder if the sugar in the juice would negate the benefits of CLO.
    Dem\’s last post: Keeping up your Egg Supply During Winter

    Reply
  56. donielle@ Naturally Knocked Up November 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I started giving my little one FCLO when he was 2. He didn't care for it the first week or so – but I think when starting at an age like that, it's all about the reactions. If you wait or hesitate, or watch them take it, they are apprehensive about it! I'd take a small baby spoon, put a bit on it, serve and walk away without notice. After a couple weeks he started asking for it! I started giving it to my next baby at about 6 months and at 18 months she asks for more each time. :-)

    Personally I take the capsules! Though I've heard a small amount of honey on the spoon helps the gel go down easier.

    Reply
  57. Thank you for clarification as to what the burn in the back of my throat is all about. I was a little concerned that maybe I was sensitive to it. So glad to realize it's just lactic acid. Maybe I'll follow up with some butter (yum) since I can't do other forms of dairy.

    We have the licorice (because it was on clearance, lol) and my boys, 4 and 6, just take a squirt to the back of the mouth followed by a small spoon of honey. They've done this for the past few years.

    Reply
  58. Thank you, Sarah. That is very helpful. If you have time, why the antioxidant free for my baby and for how long would we need a different type?

    Reply
  59. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist September 14, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Hi Michelle, congratulations on your healthy change in lifestyle! If the fermented cod liver oil is for your baby, get the antioxidant free liquid. If it is for you, either mint or oslo orange liquid is great. I would also suggest taking the butter oil .. we take the capsules in our family (2 per day per person). Hope that helps!

    Reply
  60. Help! I've been to the Green Pastures site four or five times and I don't know what to order. I'm a 39 y.o. mother of a 9 month old. I am in the process of changing our diet and overcoming a sugar/grain addiction which I believe has robbed me of physical and mental health and vitality most of my life. I haven't had either in over six weeks! I know we need this supplement but there are so many options: with butter oil/without, cod liver or skate, flavors, ghee, liquids, caps and gels…. I don't know where to start! Any suggestions for my first order?? Thank you!

    Reply
  61. the spicy orange fermented skate liver oil is a great alternative to the FCLO if you're a gagger. i find a glass of raw milk is the best way to take it. my kids take it neat.

    Reply
  62. Our method of taking fclo has helped several to get it down easier…especially some men who thought they could only take capsules (which is costly in the long haul). Close off the back of the throat with the tongue and to slightly tip back the head. Fill the syringe provided by GP to the appropriate dosage and aim it to the back of the throat and dispense. Swallow and immediately follow with a swallow or two of milk, milk kefir or coffee with cream. It seems the fat in the milk/cream picks up the oil in the milk and helps wash it down, lessening any burn. My children like to follow with elderberry syrup or gum with xylitol, which is a nice treat for taking something difficult.
    For those with older children who are reluctant to take it, I would encourage you to lay down the law in a diplomatic way. Sit down with them at a time that is not full of the tension that surrounds dosing time. It would be ideal for both parents to be on the same page if possible. Explain that some things in their life are negotiable, but this is not. Be honest and tell them that you think it is pretty nasty, too, but that you know what the benefits are, so that makes it easier for you. Let them help come up with a solution to getting it down. I feel strongly enough that this is one of the most important things we take that I would be willing to offer some reward or compensation…a quarter for their bank, a treat of some sort, so much praise they are overwhelmed, mom standing on her head, whatever! Take the fight out of it, and don't let it become a battleground. You may have to think about a plan for a few days before you come up with the best solution, but there is always something you can POSITIVELY leverage with children. If all else fails, make a deal with them that they can take the capsules every third day if they take the liquid on the other days with no fight. Stick to whatever plan you agree to, because children will lose respect for a weakly executed agreement.
    I know this is long, but am praying it helps someone.

    Reply
  63. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist May 20, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    In the Green Pastures blended products (FCLO/BO together), the ratio is 3:1, so I assume this is the right ratio if you are taking them separately.

    With regard to a Mother's diet, the baby should still get a FCLO supplement as many Mothers have gut and absorption issues they may not be aware of so it is best to give the supplement to baby directly starting at 3 months. Mothers seem to be especially low in vitamin D – so much so that for a long time, it was assumed that breastmilk didn't even have vitamin D in it. Turns out, it was just the Mother's that had such low levels of it.

    Reply
  64. If the mother is eating a healthy diet and taking CLO, would there not be enough vitamins passed through the mother's milk to her baby?

    Reply
  65. My 2 yr. old loves to help me juice in the morning, so when she is almost done with her "green juice" as she calls it I add the FCLO, which she endearingly calls her "yucky vitamin". The funny thing is that she gets excited for her "yucky vitamin" and always "reminds me" to add it to her juice. We use the unflavored kind.
    I am wondering how much high vitamin butter oil to give. Is it a one-to-one ratio? Currently, we do 1/4t. of both (clearly I need to increase her doesage). What about for adults and the butter oil?

    Reply
  66. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist May 18, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    1 tsp is appropriate for an older child and a bit more for an adult (1 1/3 tsp to equal 4000 IU vitamin D). Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should take 1 Tbl.

    Reply
    • For nursing mothers, is that 1 Tbsp. of just the FCLO liquid? I am only taking 1 tsp. the FCLO/BO gel blend, how much should I really be taking of that particular variety?

      Reply
    • Hehe, I’m glad I read this … I just went and took a big spoonful. I realize I’m in the extreme minority here, but I find the stuff delicious and have to restrain myself from taking too much (since it’s so expensive). :D The suggested serving size on the back of the bottle reads 1/2 tsp (this is the FCLO and HVBO blend) so that’s what I’ve been limiting myself to every day.

      Reply
    • I realize this is an older post but isn’t the WAPF recommendation for pregnant and nursing mothers only 2 tsp? I am having a hard time getting even the 2 down!

      Reply
  67. How much should an older child take (age 11-14)? How much should an adult take?
    Or…where can I find the amounts recommended for all ages? thanks!

    Reply
  68. Hey Ashley!

    I have the same problem (so I don't blame my daughter!) and actually the gummy fish I bought HER I can handle way better then the liquid. GP also has them in capsule form I think? Maybe you want to try that?

    Thanks Sarah- so I will order the cinna liquid next time and get her to hold her nose or something and follow with cold h2o. It will still be a fight, sadly.. I just don't like the idea of having kids eat healthfully but ALWAYS find it distasteful. She is really picky.. I have tried all the tricks to "hide" the healthy stuff in kid friendly foods that I can find!

    ;)

    Jani

    Reply
  69. Does anyone have some tips for taking the FCLO as an adult? I took the cod liver oil from Green Pastures no problem before it only came fermented. I tried the FCLO and gagged every time – once I actually threw up. I was pregnant at the time though, so maybe it would be better now, but I seem to have developed a mental block ;)

    Reply
    • I had a really hard time taking it too so I put it in the fridge to make it a little firmer, then scrape out my teaspoon- it stays congealed, and then take it like a pill while I down a cup of water. Really helps with the taste- plus the cinnamon flavor is so far the easiest to take

      Reply
  70. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist May 18, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    No, that is not what I meant. Thank you for having me clarify this important point. You are right, the homemade formula recipe already has FCLO in it. I think it might be more precise (to make sure the baby is getting the correct daily dosage) to make the formula without the FCLO (the oil doesn't mix well with the milk if you've noticed) and then be sure to add 1/2 tsp of FCLO to one of the baby's bottles each day or divide the dose between 2 bottles.

    Reply
  71. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist May 18, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    The gels have some texture issues. Not sure your child would care for it much. My kids have found it easiest to just hold their breath, take the liquid FCLO off the spoon and swallow some water (cinnamon seems to be the favorite flavor). Chasing with water seems best for some reason. Chasing with juice or milk seems to make it even harder to swallow as the mixing of the flavor of the FCLO and the juice/milk is very unpalatable.

    Reply
    • My baby has been having green pastures clo with harmless harvest coconut water. A tiny cup of coconut water clo on top. It’s a delicious combo. I take it that way too. She loves it!

      Reply
  72. So you're saying that if you feed your baby the homemade baby formula (which contains the FCLO) you should still give an extra 1/2 tsp dose of it daily?

    Reply
  73. Oh THANK YOU for bringing up this issue! I believe very strongly in CLO and came to the same conclusions as you have about green pastures. I am hoping someone can help us though! My 5yo is a VERY fussy eater and I have been giving her the "gummy fish" and raspberry flavoured butter oil. It is like WWIII every breakfast time. Tears, the works and I just HATE knowing that she has such a negative view on something so healthy. "mama knows best" just isn't cutting it here. Any other parents out there have any tricks or ideas? It has to be "well chewed" according to the label… has any one had any luck switching to one of the gels? Thanks!

    Reply

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