Once a standard supplement in traditional European societies, no Englishman ever forgets having a spoonful of cod liver oil from his/her mum each day. There was good reason for this as the rates of bone disease like rickets and other developmental abnormalities were rampant in Europe and elsewhere.

Rickets, a disease of vitamin D deficiency, is a disease of abnormal bone development. Although rare, rickets and other bone diseases are still diagnosed in the United States. Infants who are recent immigrants or adopted from orphanages abroad are at risk for rickets; as well as children who are kept on strict vegan diets. Vitamin D status is determined by diet and degree of exposure to sunlight.

The late 19th century and early 20th century witnessed a phenomenal expansion in the knowledge of rickets and other bones diseases. Understanding the histopathology of rickets, advances in biochemical and radiologic testing, clarification of the anti-rachitic features of cod-liver oil and ultraviolet light were all responsible for the conquest of rickets.

An interesting study in 1889, a researcher names Bland-Sutton observed florid rickets among lion cubs at the London Zoo. Affected cubs were subsisting on an exclusive diet of boneless lean meat. Addition of cod-liver oil and crushed bones to their diet helped the cubs recover fully. Even as early as 1800, we knew that bones diseases stemmed from a dietary fat deficiency.

The link between cod-liver oil and UV light energy in treatment and prevention of rickets had to be explained. By carefully controlled clinical studies performed in Vienna between 1919 and 1922, Dr Harriette Chick and her coworkers explained the preventive and therapeutic value of cod-liver oil and sunlight against rickets in young infants. The seasonal variation in the incidence of rickets, the role of skin pigmentation in exacerbation of rickets during the winter months, the role of diet and appreciation of the fact that breast milk per se was not an adequate source of vitamin D were understood. The bridging of the knowledge that photosynthesized vitamin D and vitamin D in cod-liver oil were similar was responsible for the eventual conquest of rickets. By the 1930s, the use of cod-liver oil in the treatment and prevention of rickets became common place. The eventual public health prevention initiative of fortification of milk with vitamin D led to eradication of rickets in the United States.

Stories about the conquest of rickets and its link to nutrition are often forgotten lessons in medical school and other places of learning. Cod liver oil is a nutritional supplement derived from liver of cod fish. As with most fish oils, it has high levels of the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Cod liver oil also contains vitamin A and vitamin D. It has historically been taken because of its vitamin A and vitamin D content. There has been some concerns of getting too much vitamin A from cod liver oil.

Cod liver oil has traditionally come in many grades. Cod liver oil for human consumption is pale and straw colored, with a mild flavor. Ancient Scandinavian Vikings produced cod liver oil by laying birch tree branches over a kettle of water, and fresh livers were laid over the branches. The water was brought to a boil and as the steam rose, the oil from the liver dripped into the water and was skimmed off.

In the Industrial Revolution, cod liver oil became popular for industrial purposes. Livers placed in barrels to rot, with the oil skimmed off over the season, was the main method for producing this oil. The resulting oil was brown and foul tasting. In the 1800’s cod liver oil became popular as a medicine and both pale and brown oils were used. Brown oils were common because they were cheaper to produce.

Enter DROPI Cod Liver Oil

While attending Dave Asprey’s Bullet Proof conference this year, I met a person named Ash. He was representing Dropi oils. Specifically, they produce cod liver oil from Iceland. Anybody who knows Iceland will tell you it is a very traditional country and the Golden triangle trip is well worth it!

I was impressed with how they make cod liver oil and even more impressive he showed me the process by how they fish the cod from the sea in Iceland. These guys put a lot of honest work into their product. All the fish are wild caught from the Icelandic seas. And just to be clear I am not receiving product from them or reimbursed in any way shape or form.

Dropi’s oil is a pure natural Cod liver oil. The texture is clear without any cloudy appearance.  It is important to keep in mind, that Dropi cod liver oil is less processed than regular commercially produced cod liver or fish oil. It is cold processed and therefore classified as virgin oil.  The vitamins A & D are in their natural state and may therefore vary between seasons. There are no added vitamins or omega-3 or other fatty acids. Small amounts of Rosemary combined with natural vitamin E are added to preserve this delicate oil.

It’s all about balance and natural life cycles!

To your health

Doc Edwards