My New Favorite Skin Supplement: Cod Liver Oil!

by Kate on June 3, 2012

in Acne, Health, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Natural Beauty, Simple Living

Alright I’ve been taking Cod Liver Oil for about two weeks now and my skin has this glow to it that it hasn’t had since…ever.  I’m really not a huge fan of supplements-I tend to think once you start taking them your body grows dependent so if you ever stop taking it, it can screw you up for a while. But after seeing cod liver oil come up on just about every blog I read, I had to try it.

First, A Word About Weston A Price:

So why is the blogosphere so obsessed with cod liver oil? It’s pretty easy to trace it all back to the Weston A. Price Foundation. If you haven’t heard of WAPF and you’re at all interested in health, then I suggest you head there now. Weston A. Price was a doctor who studied nutrition and its effect on health in the early to mid 1900’s. Specifically, he studied primitive cultures and what they were eating-and not eating-to avoid the numerous diseases and conditions that were plaguing modern cultures. In general, Price found that the cause of many modern health conditions and problems could be traced to our diet of processed foods (and this was in the early to mid 1900s so you can imagine how much worse off we are now) and recommended a diet of real foods for optimal health. The Weston A Price Foundation exists to honor Price and his research and carry on studying and espousing the benefits of natural real food diets.

Dr. Price recommended cod liver oil because it is rich in natural vitamin A, vitamin D, and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, all of which Dr. Price found were in abundance in the primitive cultures he studied. Apparently our modern intake of these vitamins is minimal at best, and thus he recommended taking a Cod Liver Oil supplement. Cod Liver Oil is said to help with many conditions, but I was attracted to its supposed benefits for skin tone and acne.

What’s in Cod Liver Oil?

Vitamin A, as some of you might know, is the vitamin in Accutane. Only Accutane is made of synthetic Vitamin A, which is why it has so many side effects. Cod Liver Oil has natural vitamin A, and much less than what’s in Accutane, but the benefits may be similar because in theory your body should absorb and use natural vitamin A more eagerly and fully than the synthetic version in Accutane. Even if you don’t have a problem with acne (which Accutane is used to treat), Vitamin A is essential for skin’s health and great for treating scarring.

Vitamin D we naturally get from sunlight. Unfortunately most of us don’t get enough due to all that time spent in the office and indoors watching tv. A deficiency in Vitamin D can cause depression, low energy, and yes, even acne.

Finally you’re probably all familiar with Omega 3 fatty acid, which is lauded again and again for being one of the best anti-inflammatory supplements you can take (crucial for treating acne, redness, rosacea, and any other inflammatory skin condition).

Why Take Cod Liver Oil?

Why not go out and grab supplements of Vitamin A, D, and Omega 3’s? Because since cod liver oil is natural, the theory is your body more readily absorbs its nutrients. Plus, because it is naturally occurring, you can take it (in moderation) without having to worry about toxicity. That said, you still want to be careful not to take too much–I had headaches the first week, but they have since subsided. If you have any side effects, monitor them closely and if they last longer than a week you may want to stop or have your vitamin levels tested. The Weston A Price Foundation recommends taking about a tablespoon a day–I’m actually taking more like a half tablespoon a day (for cost reasons) and still seeing great improvement to my skin. I haven’t broken out in any new spots in the last 2 weeks (normally I’d have at least 1-2 a week) and the ones I had when I started taking the supplement have healed and subsided remarkably fast. Best of all, the little red spots that my acne tend to leave behind are healing crazy fast. Normally they’d linger for months and now several significant ones I had when I started have already disappeared.

Which CLO Should You Take?

I take Green Pasture Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil blend in capsule form. I just can’t stomach the idea of swallowing straight oil-blech-but if you can then it’s cheaper to get the non-capsule versions. The capsules aren’t at all fishy tasting…can’t speak for the straight oil. WAPF reccommends Green Pasture’s because the company ferments their cod liver oil (which means more nutrients are retained) and takes great care to follow an extraction process that best preserves the CLO’s nutrients and purity. Most bloggers out there recommend this brand as well. Unfortunately, it’s pretty expensive–you’d probably spend upwards of $25 a month to take this. If you’re not willing or able to make that leap, then you could also try Carlson’s CLO, which a few bloggers I follow have tried and found success with.

For me, it’s totally worth it. Let me know if you decide to start taking it and how it goes–and I’ll obviously keep you posted on what I hope will be continued improvement. Supposedly you really start to see the effects after 6 weeks-if it’s this good now I can’t wait to see where I’ll be in 6 weeks!

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*In the spirit of full disclosure, links to products in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you decide to purchase any of the products I recommend. Know that I only recommend products that I have used and love myself.

*I am not a doctor, a nurse, or any kind of health practitioner. I’m just a gal with a pretty keen intuitive sense, great research abilities, and curiosity that is easily peaked. Please understand that my advice is really just another opinion and it’s for you (and your doctor) to decide the best course for your health and well-being.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy July 2, 2012 at 6:12 am

Hi, I just stumbled onto your blog and I love your posts! I started taking Green Pastures FCLO about a week ago and think I’ll continue with it. So far I haven’t seen any noticeable difference in my skin. Nothing seems to completely clear my skin except Spironolactone, but I know it was damaging my health, so this time I’m committed to healing my skin through proper nutrition. I’d be interested to read any updates about your use of FCLO. Thanks!


ms khalil September 9, 2012 at 2:33 am

It has saturated fat??? those with high cholesterol… would it badly affect them?


lightcleansimple September 19, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Hey there! Good question and tough to answer since the answer is different for everyone. While you might assume a high fat diet would be bad for cholesterol there’s another camp that disagrees. I’m going to refer you to this great article from one of my favorite health blogs “Mark’s Daily Apple” for a more technical explanation:

Again that’s just one point of view. Always best to trust your instincts and talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.


Coco October 9, 2012 at 9:35 am

Thanks for this post! I like you get a few pimples a week ever since i came off Diane 35 :(
Can you update us on your skin situation since you ve been taking the cod liver oil?



admin October 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Hey Coco,
I actually went off the CLO a few months ago when I went off the pill. I started to break out again (predictable…but so frustrating) and I stopped taking all supplements to make sure it was just hormones and not supplements causing my breakouts. I’m now going to begin gradually adding back in supplements to see what helps. CLO is my first and I just restarted it a week ago so I’ll let you know how it goes. My skin actually cleared up pretty nicely this week but I’ve also begun drinking spearmint/peppermint tea (which is a natural anti-androgen so it may help prevent hormonal breakouts) and that may have something to do with it too. I’m going to write a post about spearmint/peppermint tea once I’ve been taking it long enough to know if it works.

Going off the pill is such a pain. :( But so worth it!


Sue January 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Has anyone had the experience of CLO curing acne for about a month and then stopping working? I am taking 3 capsules every morning, and it worked like a miracle. But then it stopped working. I am still taking the 3 capsules every morning, trying to figure out what to do next — stop the CLO or increase the CLO. Does anyone have any advice that has worked for my situation?


Kate January 30, 2013 at 11:13 am

Hey Sue,

Wow how interesting that it worked for a month and then stopped. I’ve heard of people having an initial breakout from the CLO–basically, detox side effects. But generally you hear about initial breakouts happening about 2 weeks after starting something. Have you changed anything else in your routine? Started or stopped any medications or altered your diet/lifestyle in any significant way? I don’t know that I’d recommend stopping the CLO just yet. I’d say give it another month and if you still feel like it’s making things worse then maybe consider giving it up. You might also try splitting up your dosage–maybe take 1 in the morning and 2 at night or something.
Let us know it how it turns out!


rachel February 25, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Just wanted to let you know, I’ve just taken my 1st dose of cod liver oil caps, six in fact instead of two lots of three. This the 26th feb 2013. Will update if i see noticeable improvement. I am also applying it to skin aswell.


Kate March 9, 2013 at 12:20 am

That’s awesome! I’d love to know if applying the CLO topically has any positive effects! Please check back and let me know :)


Annie June 30, 2013 at 7:54 pm

How many capsules do you take? I’ve heard that you have to take a lot of capsules to get the same dosage as 1 tsp of the liquid form…


Kate July 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm

VERY true. The capsules are small, so I’ve actually since switched to the liquid (it’s really more of a gel) form. It’s not too bad–the cinnamon flavor goes down alright and this is coming from a taste sensitive pregnant lady :) I was taking 8-10 capsules a day…and it was just getting too costly. Now I just take a tablespoon a day.


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