How and Why To Give Your Child Cod Liver Oil


While I don’t advocate supplements for kids, there is one exception and that’s cod liver oil.

Cod liver oil has been used for hundreds of years. It used to be a staple in American households in the 1920-1950′s because it helped reduce colds, flus, asthma, and even treated rickets! My grandmother swore by it. Mike’s grandmother, who just turned 94 this week, takes only one supplement or medication each day and, you guessed it, it’s cod liver oil.

Cod liver oil is great for everyone, including kids! But getting them to take it can be… challenging ツ

Benefits of Cod Liver Oil

how to give your kids cod liver oilI believe its greatest benefit is the high levels of fat soluble vitamins A, D and K. These are super important for a child’s immune systems and overall vitality. It’s also been found that fat soluble vitamins help us absorb the minerals from our diet more effectively. Weston A. Price, a dentist in the 1900′s that traveled the world to study nutrition, found that the cultures with the highest longevity rates consumed 10 times the amount of vitamin A compared with the diet of his time (and that’s when people were still eating cod liver oil, beef liver and raw whole milk!)

Cod liver oil also contains omega 3′s and fatty acids like EPA and DHA. These are essential for a child’s brain development, intelligence, and vision.

The Cold Liver Oil I Recommend

You want to be sure you purchase the highest quality of cod liver oil since most store bought brands use chemical solvents to extract the oil and they tamper with the vitamin A content for fear of toxicity.

So, the only brand I recommend is Green Pastures. They make several different varieties in liquid or capsules. You can find here: Fermented Cod Liver Oil

How to Feed Cod Liver Oil to Kids

Let’s face it, cod liver oil doesn’t taste like honey. It’s a challenge to get this straight up in your child’s mouth. So, here’s how I get my 2.5 year old son Griffin to not only put it down, but to love it! ツ

  • Get a little ramekin. Put an ounce or so of fresh orange juice in the ramekin. It’s important to put the juice in first as the cod liver oil will otherwise stick to the bottom.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of cod liver oil. I’ll have a chart of quantity for child based on age/weight in video description below.
  • Take a little syringe and administer this way. (Many bottles of Green Pastures cod liver oil come with a syringe.) Griffin loves it and even likes pushing the  juice mixture into his mouth himself.

Cod Liver Oil Dosages for Kids

The Weston A. Price Foundation recommends the following dosages:

  • Children age 3 months to 12 years: A dose of cod liver oil that provides about 5000 IU vitamin A daily, obtained from about 1 teaspoon of regular cod liver oil or ½ teaspoon of high-vitamin cod liver oil.
  • Children over 12 years and adults: A maintenance dose of cod liver oil that provides about 10,000 IU vitamin A daily, obtained from 2 teaspoons of regular cod liver oil or 1 teaspoon of high-vitamin cod liver oil.
  • Pregnant and nursing women: A dose of cod liver oil that provides about 20,000 IU vitamin A daily, obtained from 4 teaspoons regular cod liver oil or 2 teaspoons high-vitamin cod liver oil.

Please note that these recommended doses are 2-5 times greater than the U.S. RDA for children, 4 times greater than the U.S. RDA for adults, and 8 times greater than the U.S. RDA for pregnant women. The RDA values are based on studies conducted in the general population, which is now recognized to be largely deficient in vitamin D. Of course, as always, talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplement.

Here’s information about Vitamin A toxicity, as well as Vitamin A for fetal development.

How about you?

Do you take cod liver oil? Do you give it to your kids? Share with us in comments below and thanks for tuning in!

 

About Genevieve

After battling weight, digestive, and immune system issues for years, I know firsthand the harmful effects of conventional life. Through a long road of detox, I discovered the healing power of natural living. This transformation spread into every area of my life - physical, emotional & spiritual. Now I'm on a mission to help other mamas live happier, healthier lives.

Please note: Many links on this site, especially those to Amazon, are affiliate links. Should you click on these links and purchase something, the price is no different for you and I earn a small commission. Thanks for supporting Mama Natural!

Disclaimer: The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

54 Comments

  1. Marilyn July 30 at 6:04 pm

    Fats have long been vilified in our society when without it, fat soluble vitamins can’t be absorbed by our bodies. That said, we need fats but we need the good source of it. The cod liver oil is the best source of fat soluble vitamins or vitamins ADEK and needs to be taken with a good form of fat to be absorbed by the body. As to why CLO needs to be fermented because it is the natural means to preserve it without using heat to kill off the vitamins. This is how it was made then during Dr. Price’s discovery. The butter oil which the GP company sells is acquired from a type of cows which feed on grass that’s only abundant during spring time but any yellow form butter or any good source of fat should be enough to help absorb the fermented CLO. It’s like iron it is best to take it with vitamin C because it is easily absorbed that way.

  2. Meagan May 9 at 1:49 pm

    I’ve been taking FCLO/butter oil blend by Green Pastures for about 6 months to heal my acne, and I love it! I’ve been giving it to my 16 month old for about the past 3 months. I started by giving 1/2 teaspoon in a syringe, but he recently stopped taking that (and the syringe was super hard to clean), and now takes it directly off a spoon. He seems to like both the cinnamon tingle and unflavoured. I prefer the gel/liquid type. More affordable and I find it more effective then the capsules. For Canadian peeps – you can order directly through the Family Herbal Health clinic in Alberta. Faster shipping and cheaper

    • natalie July 22 at 4:44 pm

      how do you get it in a syringe? I have put it in the fridge as it says on the bottle and its set?

  3. Shannon April 30 at 5:42 pm

    I have a 2.5yro, 7 year old & 16yro. I take 2 capsules of Green Pasture’s butter oil/fermented cod liver oil, but prior to this I still have some of Nordic Natural ‘s Article Cod Liver Oil. I don’t want to toss & it & want to give to our kids. The label reads Vitamin A 425-1500 IU per serving of 1 tsp. Why such the big range in dosage?

  4. Tracy February 27 at 7:21 pm

    I put homemade elderberry syrup in a little medicine cup and add the fco. My 5 year old drinks it right down. I spread a little high vitamin butter oil on a cracker for him. He looks forward to it. Wish I did! I take it, but yuck!

  5. Barbara February 27 at 4:44 pm

    I ordered green pastures orange liquid for my almost 5 year old yesterday. Would it be considered high-vitamin CLO – 1/2 t dose? I am hoping this will help with his anger and aggression.

  6. Jacqueline February 27 at 3:31 pm

    I give 2.5 year old the high vitamin butter/cod liver oil gel combo and she just likes it! I tried, but I couldn’t do it-I had to get the gel caps. There may come a day when she’s not so in to it and I’ll give this tip a try :)

    • Tanya March 27 at 9:47 am

      I just got the FCLO/Butter Oil blend. What dose do you give your child? My daughter is 2.5 years old as well.

  7. Dana February 5 at 2:24 pm

    HI! I was wondering if the Blue Ice orange flavored is dosage is 1/2 or 1 tsp? I’m not sure if it’s high vitamin or not.

  8. Heather11 January 27 at 11:19 am

    What dose did you take throughout your pregnancy?

  9. Kristina January 17 at 1:31 pm

    I can’t find the amount of DHA/EPA on the label. Maybe I’m just missing it?

  10. Brenda January 17 at 1:15 pm

    My husband and I take the capsules with the butter. We haven’t been bold enough to give some to our son, but this is a good reminder… especially since it helps with immunity.

  11. Nauana January 6 at 3:58 pm

    Which other cod liver oil brand do you suggest? A not fermented cod liver oil

  12. Nauana January 6 at 3:57 pm

    Which other cod liver oil do you suggest? A not fermented cod liver oil

  13. Ada December 26 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Genevieve,
    I ‘d like t start giving my daughter the cod liver oil you recommend. I just came across an article saying that it is best to take it with butter oil.
    Would you agree? DO you give Griffin butter oil as well?

    Thanks, Ada

    • Genevieve December 27 at 10:57 am

      Griffin eats a lot of grass-fed butter throughout day so I don’t worry about giving him the butter oil.

      • Amy W January 17 at 8:27 am

        However, I do believe the K comes from the butter not the Cod Liver Oil as stated in the article. Check out the Weston Price website for specific details. Here’s an excerpt.

        Dr. Price always gave cod liver oil along with high-vitamin butter oil, extracted by centrifuge from good quality spring or fall butter. He found that cod liver oil on its own was relatively ineffective but combined with high vitamin butter oil produced excellent results. The butter oil contains what he called Activator X, now considered to be vitamin K2, which works synergistically with vitamins A and D …. Your diet should include sources of vitamin K, such as good quality butter from grass-fed cows and/or high-vitamin butter oil, fat from grass-fed animals, cheeses from grass-fed animals and duck or goose liver, along with cod liver oil.

  14. Taylor December 20 at 12:14 pm

    Hi! My son is 13 mos old and I have been giving him the Green Pastures fermented cod liver oil since he was a few months. Recently he started spitting it out and refusing to take it. I use the syringe that comes with it and usually put it in his cheek. Any suggestions on how to get him to take it?? Should I mix it with honey?

  15. Amy W December 12 at 8:45 am

    From what I just read of Price, you need to combine the butter oil with the Cod Liver Oil in order to get the K in there. Cod Liver Oil only provides A & D…..correct?

  16. Ajay December 1 at 3:22 pm

    I have a 3 year old who I give cod liver oil to. I take a softgel each day along with my daughter. I administer it to her with honey. I would use a teaspoon, pop the capsule and squeeze the cod liver in the spoon followed by the honey. The honey somewhat mixes with the cod liver so it makes it easy for her to take. Haven’t had a complaint from her yet, with the taste that is. I’ve always lived by it. Moms, be cautious because a lot of doctors would never recommend this because they’d rather you get an over the counter med instead.

  17. Kafayat funke November 17 at 8:40 am

    I want my girls age 4.5yrs and 1.4yrs to take clo in capsule(1000mg).how should i give them?

  18. Marina Gajardo November 15 at 1:48 pm

    Thank you for your post. I loved it.
    I heard that Cod Liver Oil consumption had to be stopped during the 8th month of pregnancy because it worked like a blood thinner. I know you’re on your 8th month (so am I. I’m a week behind you), and would like to know what you think?
    Also, at what age did you start giving Griffin cod liver oil?

    • Genevieve November 16 at 6:00 pm

      I think it’s the mamas that take cod liver oil AND fish oils that need to be concerned about this. I still take… 1 tsp a day.

  19. sara November 14 at 8:36 am

    Hello,
    I want to give my 10 and 11 year old cod liver oil in capsule form. Can you give me any brand suggestion. Also the green pastures cod liver oil label don’t mention the amount of Vitamin A, how do i know the amount.
    Thanks
    Ontario, Canada.

  20. Pei October 22 at 11:42 pm

    I mix the fclo (Green Pasture lemon flavor) with a runny egg yolk (from solf boiled egg), then mix the oil-yolk mixture in breast milk. My 4-month-old happily drinks it all : )
    I tried mixing just fclo and milk in a bottle before but found it very wasteful — the oil was all stuck around the bottle. So I tried using a syringe but she spat everything out. I also tried different combinations with the syringe: egg yolk + fclo, banana puree + milk + fclo, etc. She refused them all. Thank goodness I suddenly remembered egg yolk as an emulsifier…
    What I want to say is, keep trying. All children is different and you finally will get there ; )

  21. Vino October 22 at 12:18 pm

    I have a 9 month old and am considering fermented cod liver oil for him. How much should I give him…I can see std doses only for 3 years and above or have I missed anything…any guidance wl be a blessing. Will clo help with issues of near sightedness and farsightedness as it has been written that it improves vision?

  22. Neelam September 14 at 10:46 am

    Hi, I have a little girl who is now almost 2. She had to be born early because I wasn’t well, the hospital messed up and she ended up in NICU for help with her breathing. I was unable/unsupported in brestfeeding after an awful c-section. She now suffers from viral induced asthma. Sadly she is on a daily preventor steroid inhaler. I’m seeking advice on natural immune boosters. I’ve given up work and taken her out of daycare as I was off work every two weeks, often in hsopital with her. I give (we’re from the UK), Abidec which is a vitamin supplement with omega 3s + sambucol (elderberry syrup). I gave her some of my milk by expressing during the first 6 weeks but she was given antibiotics. I am thinking of supplementing her diet with probiotics and cod liver oil, is it too much with the multi-vits too (abidec)? Advice appreciated.

    • Genevieve September 17 at 2:07 pm

      Hi Neelam,

      I would talk to your doctor as I’m not familiar with Abidec. You wouldn’t want to go over 5,000 units of vitamin A a day for a child. Probiotics would be a great idea. Same with bone broth or grass-fed gelatin which can help heal linings and tissue. Keep gluten, processed food and even dairy if she’s sensitive to a minimum. Best to you! XOXO

  23. Heather Campbell September 11 at 9:54 am

    I never saw the chart with dosage based on age/weight. Did I overlook it somewhere? Thanks!

    • Genevieve September 13 at 3:26 pm

      It’s in the full post. Here it is:
      Children age 3 months to 12 years: A dose of cod liver oil that provides about 5000 IU vitamin A daily, obtained from about 1 teaspoon of regular cod liver oil or ½ teaspoon of high-vitamin cod liver oil.

      Children over 12 years and adults: A maintenance dose of cod liver oil that provides about 10,000 IU vitamin A daily, obtained from 2 teaspoons of regular cod liver oil or 1 teaspoon of high-vitamin cod liver oil.

      Pregnant and nursing women: A dose of cod liver oil that provides about 20,000 IU vitamin A daily, obtained from 4 teaspoons regular cod liver oil or 2 teaspoons high-vitamin cod liver oil.

  24. Jenn September 2 at 9:12 am

    Funny that its called Green Pastures. (is that ironic or an oxymoron?) Green pastures are not what comes to mind when I think of Cod or even vice versa. ;)

  25. Fragrances Discount Online Store July 24 at 4:14 am

    Wonderful things in this article. Now i’m prepared to look a person’s document. Thanks a great deal using this program . waiting for touch a person. Do you want to be sure to shed us a snail mail?

  26. Paula P July 11 at 4:04 pm

    Hi, my daughter is 16 months old. I give her the Nordic Naturals brand of cod liver oil for babies (have been since 8 months old). She is breastfed and has not yet been sick (except 2 different fevers that lasted 1-2 days). I wonder if the cod liver oil is part of this?!

    My daughter takes her 1/2 tsp serving right off the spoon and looks forward to it every evening. My trick is I’ve always sung her a little song just before giving it to her and get excited about it – the song is “cod liver oil, cod liver oil, Hana’s going to have some cod liver oil – yayyy!” Cod liver oil is kind of like with the tune of 3 blind mice. Anyway works for us! And I used to let her hold the cold blue bottle, which she got a kick out of and clacked against the spoon to hear the sound!

    Genvieve, I would love to know your answer to Kelly’s questions above, particularly about the cod liver oil with vs. without the butter oil. And why you chose fermented and what you think about Nordic Naturals cod liver oil. Thanks again for your great posts. If baby #2 doesn’t love it, will try the method you use with Griffin! :)

  27. Heather D. July 10 at 2:12 am

    Awesome awesome! I need to start doing this with my little man. I hope health food stores where I live (in Saskatchewan Canada) have the same brand you mention here with the orange flavour. Maybe even I can partake in this stuff… I only take omega 3 supplements for myself.

  28. Sabrina May 20 at 5:18 pm

    That’s fantastic! He’s so into it! I took Green Pastures High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil in Cinnamon Tingle throughout my whole pregnancy and I really believe it attributed to such a healthy boy I have! I kinda fell off taking it a few months ago and now I’m ready to get myself another bottle next month. Hmmm..I might have to rethink getting the cinnamon tingle gel and instead get a liquid kind so my son can take it too. Thanks for this video!

  29. Mama Going Natural May 19 at 6:21 am

    What a great article :)
    My little one seems to constantly have the sniffles, I am going to go out & get her some Cod Liver oil pronto & see if it helps.
    Thanks for the great info.

  30. Joan May 18 at 7:28 pm

    Thanks for highlighting cod liver oil Mama Natural. We’re longtime fans of Nordic Natural. I’ll read about your favorite brand and listen to your video learn more.

  31. Sara May 18 at 6:16 am

    I gotta brag on this one – my boys love their CLO, too. It’s amazing. They actually whine for it (they’re 2). I do mix mine with some raw honey.

  32. karli May 17 at 5:27 pm

    my daughter LOVES her fermented Green Pastures Cod liver oil! I pour some in a small spoon to give her-she swallows it, licks the spoon and puts it back in her mouth to “make sure I didn’t miss any!”
    she is almost 4 and has been taking it since age 2 1/2. although I wish I had known about it when she was younger…

  33. Kristin May 17 at 12:58 pm

    Do you take cod liver oil? If so, what kind? Capsules? Also, have you tasted the mixture you give to griffin? Does it mask the oil well? I don’t do well with swallowing pills, so I was wondering how I would do with taking the oil in a mixture.

  34. Laurel May 17 at 9:32 am

    Wow, Griff is such a big boy now! Mr. Handsome! Thanks for sharing -

  35. carrie May 16 at 3:03 pm

    Mine take it off the spoon, we find orange most palatable.

  36. tracy May 16 at 2:21 pm

    My 4 yo takes his in a little medicine cup mixed with his elder berry syrup. He drinks it right down!

  37. Liza May 16 at 1:55 pm

    Super interested! I just email my daughter’s doc to double check with her. My daughter is 11 months old.

    Also, they are out of the orange flavor… Any more suggestions?

    Greatly appreciated it!!!

  38. Katie L May 16 at 1:35 pm

    My 2 year old has always taken the butter oil/cod liver blend (non-flavored) by itself! She did go through a phase where she didn’t want it (we had switched to the plain CLO, no butter oil) so I rubbed it on her bare bum at night. Got the idea from the Mommypotamus blog :)

  39. Gazelle May 16 at 1:29 pm

    My 15-month-old quickly learned to LOVE the Green Pasture cinnamon tingle combo gel (cod liver oil + butter oil). He’s often “particular” about what he will and won’t eat depending on the day but will always smile and open wide for a spoonful of it. And he asks for more!

    • jamie January 27 at 11:04 am

      How much of the combo do you give? Thanks!

  40. Kelly May 16 at 1:22 pm

    One other question…. You recently posted the supplement you took while pregnant with Griffin “Baby and Me Herb free”. Did you also take cod liver oil? Which kind, how much and did you worry about too much vitamin A?

  41. Kelly May 16 at 1:12 pm

    Do you ever give Griffin the butter oil as well? I have the combination butter oil/fermented cod liver oil in chocolate. I combine it with elderberry syrup and probiotic powder and give it to him with a syringe. I give him about 1 tsp and he is 20 months. How did you decide to use the fermented cod liver oil instead of the combo? Do you give Griffin probiotics?

  42. perla May 16 at 12:57 pm

    Why didn’t I think of that Mama Natural lol it’s so simple. I used to to pour juice into my son’s sippy cup and then add the oil but if he didn’t drink it all right away the oil would just sink to the bottom and leave his cup super greasy

  43. Renee K May 16 at 12:24 pm

    My 2.5 year old has a syringe with 1/2 tsp of (melted) high vitamin butter oil and 1/2 tsp of unflavored fermented cod liver oil combined. He’s been having cod liver oil since he was 7 months and he has no issue taking it and pushes the syringe in himself.

    My 5 year old hasn’t had it since he was as young and still doesn’t love it as much so he wants me to push the syringe but he takes it fine.

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