I’m going to say something almost unforgiveable among Weston A. Price groupies. Prepare yourself.
I have not met a single pregnant woman who could stomach fermented cod liver oil during her entire pregnancy. At some point in there, she just couldn’t take it. Maybe it was the smell. Maybe it was the taste. Maybe it was her overly active gag reflex.
And even if you’re not pregnant, you may still struggle with taking it. You know who you are. Put simply, fermented cod liver oil is beyond you — even when taken in capsule form.
Yes, it may be a superfood. Yes, you’d love to take it daily and get all the nutritional benefits it can offer. Do you? No.
Or, perhaps you’ve read up on the debate in recent years surrounding the supposed health benefits of fermented cod liver oil and no longer want to take it.
What should you take instead of cod liver oil?
Here’s how I answered this question for myself.
Nutritional Benefits of Cod Liver Oil
First, I took a look at the nutritional benefits of cod liver oil. It’s most important virtues seemed to be:
- It’s a fish oil, so it’s a source of Omega-3s.
- It’s from an organ, so it’s high in the perfect trifecta of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, & K-2.
Second, I asked myself one question:
What other whole food supplements can provide these same nutritional benefits?
While there’s no single supplement that can claim to have the same balance of omega-3s and vitamins A, D, & K-2, I believe that with a judicious application of supplement combining, we can at least know that we have our bases covered.
Instead of Cod Liver Oil #1: Krill Oil with Astaxanthin
Unlike cod liver oil, Krill Oil is actually sustainable (see: Why I started taking Krill Oil with Astaxanthin). It’s also rich in phospholipid Omega-3′s and naturally non-toxic (no heavy metal worries here!)
Unfortunately, krill oil is just a “fish” oil and does not have the added benefit of being from an organ. Therefore, it’s not a rich source of vitamins A, D, and K-2. For those, we’ll need to look elsewhere.
Instead of Cod Liver Oil #2: Dessicated Liver Capsules
Liver is a traditional superfood, and extraordinarily rich in B vitamins, folate and vitamin A. If you’re not eating liver twice per week (or taking a daily dose of cod liver oil), then it’s a good idea to supplement with raw, dessicated liver capsules.
These babies are tasteless, easy to swallow, and really good for you (particularly when made from the liver of grass-fed cows).
Now all you’re missing a great source of vitamins D and K-2.
Instead of Cod Liver Oil #3: High Vitamin Butter Oil
High-vitamin butter oil is a little like ghee, but it’s been centrifuged to concentrate the vitamins. If you’re not taking fermented cod liver oil, it’s an absolutely essential supplement. That’s because (when made from grass-fed cows) it’s an excellent source of vitamins A, D, and K-2.
But what if you can’t stomach High Vitamin Butter Oil?
While HVBO is more palatable than fermented cod liver oil, it’s still hard for some people to swallow.
So, if you’re like me and prefer taking pills to swallowing oil, then this is what I recommend:
Instead of Cod Liver Oil #4: Vitamin D3 + K2
Vitamin D3 is fat soluble and best served up with fat. That’s why I take mine in an MCT oil-based liquid supplement. The supplement I use combines D3 and K2 for max absorption.
Don’t confuse vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. K2 is an essential nutrient that can only be found in animals eating grass or through certain fermented food (like natto, gouda, and brie). While I prefer to get mine from well-sourced food, I also use a natto-derived K2 supplement to cover my bases.
SUMMARY: What to Take Instead of Cod Liver Oil
Put as simply as possible, I believe that from the list above, you can take either one of these combinations and have your non-cod-liver-oil bases covered:
- Krill Oil with Astaxanthin, Dessicated Liver Caps, High-Vitamin Butter Oil
- Krill Oil with Astaxanthin, Dessicated Liver Caps, Max Absorption Vitamin D3 + K2 in MCT Oil.
Now, is any of this endorsed by the Weston A Price Foundation? No. I’m just telling you what my family’s done as we’ve journeyed through years of trying (and failing!) to take our cod liver oil.
Hope it helps!