Everyday Whole Food Supplements for Resilient Health.

cod liver oil and supplements

I believe that nourishment should come from food, not supplements. And that sentiment has drawn a bit of ire from Nourished Kitchen readers in the past few weeks who feel that routine vitamin and mineral supplementation is a necessary aspect of wellness.  I disagree, and we don’t take daily vitamins in our home.

Our bodies, you see, are meant to receive their nourishment not from pills and isolated formulas of minerals and (often synthetic) vitamins, but from honest-to-goodness real food which is, of course, not to say that those who are suffering from particular health conditions won’t achieve benefit from consuming supplementary vitamins and minerals as prescribed by a health care practioner.   For most of us, though, we should get our vitamins and minerals from food and not supplements as nutrients are better absorbed from foods rather than pills. Further, when consuming vitamins and minerals in isolation you are likely to miss other nutrients complementary to the isolated mineral or vitamin pill you’re swallowing.  That is,  vitamins do not occur in isolation in nature; rather, vitamins occur in complementary groups and it is these companion vitamins, minerals and healthy fats that give the greatest benefit to our bodies.

Nonetheless, we could all use a bit of nutritional insurance policy – boosts of concentrated vitamins and minerals.  And, for this reason, my family chooses to consume whole food supplements with their naturally occurring array of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats rather than isolated vitamins, minerals or multivitamins.  Whole food supplements, like fermented cod liver oil or dessicated liver capsules, provides that concentrated level of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats but in a minimally processed way.  These aren’t multivitamins, folks, but whole foods brimming with concentrated nutrition.  As such, they contain their full and natural complement of associated vitamins and minerals so that you get your boost of nutrition, but in the most natural state possible.  It’s real food, folks – just beautifully concentrated.

Our Everyday Whole Food Supplements

Fermented Cod Liver Oil / High Vitamin Butter Oil

In accordance with the dietary guidelines of the Weston A Price Foundation, we consume fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil daily, usually as a blend. Fermented cod liver oil, unlike straight fish oil, is processed gently and retains its naturally-occurring array of vitamins – particularly vitamins A and D.   Indeed, cod liver oil is the most concentrated food source of both vitamins A and D.  It is, in the truest of meanings, a superfood.  Further, fermented cod liver oil   It is strongly anti-inflmmatory and contains a potent dose of omega-3 fatty acids.  The docasahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are extraordinarily difficult to assimilate from plant-based sources1 of omega-3 fatty acids like flax seeds, but provide a formula for resilient health.  Clinical studies suggest that EPA can help to lower overall systemic inflammation, decrease risk of depression and provide potential benefit for psychological disorders like schizophrenia and help to ameliorate symptoms associated with hyperactivity.  DHA offers similar benefits including some protection against Alzheimer’s disease, and the inhibition of cancer.

When Dr. Price administered cod liver oil to his patients, he did so in conjunction with high vitamin butter oil.  High vitamin butter oil is produced from the vitamin-rich cream of grass-fed cows.  It is a powerful source of fat-soluble vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K2.  Vitamin K2 is a potent cancer fighter and known to support bone health.  High vitamin butter oil also contains the Wulzen factor (stigmasterol) – which may be useful in the prevention of certain cancers and which also promotes joint health.  When taken together, fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil work together – almost synergistically.  That is, the arachidonic acid (AA) – an omega-6 fatty acid –  found in high vitamin butter oil helps to balance the EPA and DHA found in fermented cod liver oil thus promoting a good ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.

What’s in fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil blends?

  • Healthy Fats: DHA, EPA, AA, Butyric Acid, Stearic Acid, Conjugated Linoleic Acid, Lauric Acid, Myristic Acid
  • Vitamins: A, D, E, K2.
  • Minerals: Zinc, chromium and iodine (in trace amounts).
  • Other Goodies: Wulzen Anti-stiffness Factor, Lecithin

How to take it and where to buy it:

  • How we take it: At the suggestion of our nutritionist, my husband and I both take 1 1/2 teaspoons of a fermented cod liver oil / high vitamin butter oil blend daily.  My husband and I take it off the spoon, and chase it with a big gulp of water or herbal tea.   Our son takes 1 capsule of fermented cod liver oil / high vitamin butter oil daily.
  • Where to buy it: You can buy it online (see sources).

Dessicated Liver Capsules

Liver and other offal were prized among traditional peoples who enjoyed resilient health; however, they’re not too friendly to most modern tastebuds.  And while I try to serve my family organ meats at least once or twice a week , it doesn’t always come together.  Still, we don’t want to miss the many nutritional benefits of liver so we consumed dessicated liver capsules daily.  Liver is extraordinarily rich in vitamins – particularly vitamin A, vitamin B12 and folate.  It is also a good source of trace minerals and co-enzyme Q10 which is traditionally thought to support cardiovascular health.  Co-enzyme Q10 is also a potent antioxidant and researchers are now examining the link between co-enzyme Q10, oxidative stress and life span.  Heart and liver are the most concentrated sources of co-enzyme Q10; however, if heart and liver don’t make it to your dinner table too often, you might consider supplementing with dessicated liver capsules.  They’re easy to take, and as a food, they contain all the benefits of liver without the flavor.  Which is not to say, of course, that you should skip organ meats and rely fully on dessicated liver capsules; rather, consider them an insurance policy – a little nutritional boost to start your day.

What’s in dessicated liver capsules?

  • Vitamins: A, B3, B5, Folate, Choline, Betaine, B12.
  • Minerals: Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper, Selenium.

How to take it and where to buy it:

  • How to take it: My husband and I consume three capsules daily; our son consumes two capsules.  Six capsules equate to one ounce of liver.  If you do not routinely consume organ meats and offal, you might consider taking the full dose.
  • Where to buy it: You can buy it online (see sources).

Therapeutic-grade Probiotics

We also consume a therapeutic-grade probiotic at every meal in addition to our regular retinue of fermented foods.  Health begins in the gut and probiotics help to build a healthy array of intestinal flora which then help us to make and absorb vitamins, train the immune system and build immunity.  Further, probiotics help to boost the body’s detoxification process.  We typically take Bio-kult which contains 14 species of beneficial bacteria and about two billion active probiotics in each capsule, but any therapeutic-grade probiotic with a similar array and concentration of beneficial bacteria should work.  Probiotics are valuable to anyone whose normal and healthy intestinal flora have been compromised – usually by formula feeding during infancy, antibiotic use or the use of other pharmaceuticals like the birth control (in effect, almost all of us).  Probiotic supplements in conjunction with fermented foods and a healing dietary protocol of whole foods can help to restore the body’s natural balance.

What’s in therapeutic-grade probiotics?

  • Other Goodies: Beneficial bacteria – and lots of ‘em.

How to take it and where to buy it:

  • How we take it: My husband and I consume one capsule each at breakfast and at dinner, and our son consumes one capsule at breakfast.
  • Where to buy it: While I’ve found many, many probiotic supplements at my local health food and vitamin stores, they are not typically therapeutic-grade probiotic supplements.  I purchase my probiotic supplements online (see sources).