Fish oil supplementation is nothing new, many older generations consumed fish oil and their products, you may have even been given a teaspoon by your grandparents followed by a quick tablespoon of malt, I never enjoyed the fish oil but malt the chaser was delicious!!
Its not what you eat, its what you absorb
Children and often adults have problems absorbing other forms of vitamin A commonly found in supplements. Retinal palmitate, retinal acetate and others cannot be assimilated easily by the body. Therefore a natural form such as those found in animal foods, oily fish and cod liver oil are cited as the best sources.
Often we are told you can absorb vitamin A through the conversion of foods high in carotenoids, such as fruits and vegetables.The problem with this statement is in the Western world the conversion is very problematic, and this conversion can be as low as 5% which makes it very useless as a reliable source to prevent difficiencies.
Also because the conversion requires magnesium, zinc, and various amino acids which may be lacking in the diet the situation become worse.
A good cod-liver oil should have a synergy of about 10 units of vitamin A to 1 unit of vitamin D, this synergy aids absorption of each other but also stops toxicity of either which can occur when either is given in isolation.
Vitamin A & D are synergistic
Fat soluble vitamins are synergists in absorbing nutrients from food and ensuring a good supply is coming through the diet with meals will increase the amount of nutrients taken up by the body. You can literally starve for nutrients that you may be consuming in your diet because they are not being absorbed without the appropriate synergists.
My own experiments
I am currently working at a health retreat and have been for 15yrs so have experienced this first hand. In the past when guests arrived each week I would scan their levels of antioxidants, being health conscious myself I would always question those who'd the highest levels to see if I could learn some secrets. There were a few specific guests who always had very high readings which I couldn't catch. Then one day I learnt a secret, by adding an egg yolk to juices my levels started to jump considerably.
It was the same fat soluble activators found in the fish oil that were also in egg yolks increasing my uptake of nutrients.
More than meets the eye
I had heard a rumour that the supplement industry was not as pure as I had once believed so starting calling various companies in Australia to clarify the sourcing and processing of their products.
I mentioned that I had clients who were extremely allergic to synthetic vitamins A & D and that any ingesting of these may result in hospitalisation. I knew that these synthetic vitamins were sometimes added to mask the destruction of these through heat processing and manufacturing.
Many of the companies I called told me not to give these specific clients their products, typically the vitamin D added was from sheep's wool oil out of china, the lanolin had been removed and put under UVB light to produce vitamin D3. I was also told that some of the oils were heated to hundreds of degrees and held there for hours, but "no damage has been done".
Working in a kitchen I know that if I burn my hand for a few seconds there is tissue damage let alone a few hours.
Some of the other vitamins that had been added back in couldn't be traced back to a particular source, but I was told probably China.
From there I decided to find a fish oil that I would not only take myself but one that I was proud to recommend.
I personally recommend two products at present which have not been altered with the aim of a long and stable shelf life. As mentioned the processing of these oils at high heat degrades these natural vitamins to which the industry often adds in synthetic versions to take their place.
Well done Green Pasture's and Rosita's
The two products I recommend are Green pastures "Royal blend" and Rosita's extra virgin cod liver oil.
Both these products are raw, clean, and actually made from real wild cods liver's with no nasties added and nothing beneficial removed. You will not tend to find these at the average health food store but will find them easily online, I have however noticed the "Royal Blend" at Mrs Flannery's Miami on the Gold Coast.
There are recommendations to take half a teaspoon with meals, especially during winter months where you may not be outside enough to be keeping your vitamin D levels at recommended levels.
A last tip is the oil is always better value than capsules, purchase small airtight bottles and store in the fridge.