What You Need to Know About Children’s Fish Oil

Fermented Cod Liver Oil

I thought I should pass on a bit of information I discovered a few weeks ago by accident. One morning I ran out of fish oil and so I set out to replenish the supply. I couldn’t find the brand I was looking for so picked up a few bottles of cod liver oil to read the DHA and EPA details on the back. It caught my eye that there were negligible amounts of Vitamin A and D in every bottle.
How strange, I thought. Shouldn’t all cod liver oils have Vitamin A and D since they are naturally occurring in the liver?
I’ve been taking CLO for ages. How could I have never noticed that before? I looked up from the bottle to find that I was in the kids section.
But why would they remove those essential nutrients from children’s fish oil?

The Amazingly Annoying Answer

Because kids don’t like the fishy taste so they deodorize the oils.
The naturally occurring vitamins A and D are removed in the process of deodorization and, since synthetic vitamin A is toxic, especially for children, it’s better to leave it out of kid’s formulas all together. So, if you thought you were giving your child all the benefits of CLO, you probably weren’t, unless you used an adult brand of CLO.
Most adult brands have vitamin A and D present because the manufacturers add synthetic vitamins after removing the naturally occurring ones. Kids and adults alike have to be careful about the brands they choose. Most of the inexpensive brands out there have synthetic vitamins added.
The best type of cod liver oil is derived via a fermentation process. The traditional practice of fermenting cod livers renders oil which is replete with vitamins. Nothing is damaged, nothing is removed. There are several brands on the market which employ the age old practice of oil separation by fermentation. The oil that my family has used for years comes from Green Pastures.
For a list of other brands check out the Weston Price list of best and good CLO.

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  1. Rachelle December 22, 2011

    Wow, wow, wow! I’m totally swapping out my Walgreens omega-3s for some of this! I wonder tho, with the high amounts of Vit. A if I shouldn’t take my multivitamin which also has about 90% daily value of Vit.A? Assuming my body is even properly utilizing my multi…Which multi do you take if you do indeed take one, Peggy?

    1. Peggy the Primal Parent December 23, 2011


      I don’t take a multi but I do take a few specific nutrients separately.

  2. Kristin Friesen July 16, 2012

    But is it safe to give kids the adult version? I never know what levels of vitamins are ok for their little bodies… I usually rely on the labels to tell me how much/if it is safe for little ones.

    1. Peggy the Primal Parent July 16, 2012

      Well, first of all you aren’t likely to go wrong with whole foods. If you can get your kids to eat liver and butter and grass fed meats, you probably don’t need to give them CLO at all but if not and CLO is a necessity, then I’d say follow the Weston Price Foundation guidelines:

      For children age 3 months to 12 years, they recommend: 1/2 teaspoon or 2.5 mL, providing 4650 IU vitamin A and 975 IU vitamin D.
      Children over 12 years and adults: 1 teaspoon or 10 capsules, providing 9500 IU vitamin A and 1950 IU vitamin D.
      Pregnant and nursing women: 2 teaspoons or 20 capsules, providing 19,000 IU vitamin A and 3900 IU vitamin D.

  3. Laura July 16, 2012

    What flavors does your little one like and how does she get it down?

    1. Peggy the Primal Parent July 16, 2012

      My little one has been taking clo since she was about one. She takes it plain just like me. And she loves it. It cracks us up every day that she goes so wild for her fish oil. Ah the benefits of starting early.


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