Thursday, September 12, 2013

Clearing Controversies and Confusion With Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Is fermented cod liver oil a by-product of a "rotting process?"
Is fermented cod liver oil that nutritious?
Is it really a traditional food?
Is fermentation safe?
What is the difference in nutrients between regular and fermented cod liver oil?

These are questions that we have when cod liver oil comes to mind. To give a peace of mind, here's a very helpful article to clarify some of the confusions you may have. Written by Alison Birks, MS, AHG, CNS, who is a nutritionist and researcher who has looked into the issue of cod liver oil, fermented and otherwise. 

Excerpts from this article that I found useful and interesting:

The process of preparing cod liver oil by fermentation is similar to that used in traditional Thai cuisine to produce fish sauce (Nam phrik) and fish paste (Kaengtai pla).

In general, the process of fermentation has been shown to reduce toxic components in food. In one dramatic example, a recent study showed that the deadly nerve toxin in “fugu” or puffer fish, (terodotoxin) was virtually eliminated by traditional methods of food preparation such as prolonged fermentation, and that it yielded a non-toxic, edible food product. It is also well established that anti-nutrients in plant foods are degraded during fermentation. Based on these assumptions, fermented CLO quite possibly may have less naturally present toxins than other forms of CLO.

Putrefaction versus Fermentation 

Putrefaction or "rotting" is very different from lactic acid fermentation. The formation of putrescine and cadaverine are biomarkers for incomplete lactic acid fermentation. Both are foul-smelling, toxic biogenic amines produced during putrefaction. Cadaverine is a breakdown product of the amino acid lysine, while putrescine derives from the amino acid ornithine. Both are components formed during decomposition of the proteins in rotting meats through anaerobic bacterial action. Interestingly, small traces of these compounds are often present in fermented meat products and contribute to the overall flavor profile without causing any harm to human health. Some individuals are intolerant of even trace amounts of biogenic amines in the diet and need to restrict intake. Many factors can affect the formation of biogenic amines, and the process needs to be tightly controlled. A quality manufacturing facility can optimize the environmental conditions to allow only beneficial microorganisms to thrive, and for complete fermentation to occur. According to Dave Wetzel of Green Pasture, Green Pasture Fermented CLO has repeatedly tested free of undesirable biogenic amines such as putrescine and cadaverine."

To learn more about fermented cod liver oil, click here.

Hope you find this article helpful!

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