Yep. That's my youngest happily slurping down cod liver oil.
I am shocked on a daily basis that my children take CLO with such ease. We've even tried the flavored cod liver oil with no luck. Here're the tricks that are currently working in our house.
Kids and adults: tricks for taking cod liver oil
For the kids, I fill a handy-dandy syringe that comes with about 1/2 teaspoon of cod liver oil. The syringe reduces the likelihood of your hands smelling like fish liver for the rest of the day.
I then fill the remainder of the syringe with elderberry syrup for added immune support.
I have also had good luck mixing it with Child Life liquid vitamin C.
Both the vitamin C and the elderberry syrup are quite sweet, and you know what they say about a spoonful of sugar…
The combo gets squirted into the side of their mouths when their mouths are closed. Be sure NOT to squirt too quickly or aim it in the back of their throats, lest you have the odiferous liquid spewed back out onto you.
On many days, my kids ask for more. And so I oblige because you never know when I may forget to give it to them for a day or two. (Since FCLO contains fat soluble vitamins, the body will store the nutrients, and it is not necessary to take it every single day).
If it's a grumbly day, I'll offer a chaser of kombucha or straight elderberry syrup. Yes, it's a bribe, and I'm fine with that.
Now, the grownups in the house are admittedly a bit more chicken when it comes to cod liver oil. After my first attempt at downing the stuff, I promptly spent the day gagging as the flavor continued to revisit my palate. Only recently have I gotten to the point where I can smell my kids' CLO without feeling ill.
That said, my husband and I both take the cod liver oil capsules. I take mine at night, that way if there are any fishy burps, they're between my dreams, my hubby, and the pillows.
My husband only takes his when he's feeling under the weather (tsk, tsk!).
My favorite tips for taking fermented cod liver oil
Chill it – The colder the better when it comes to diminishing the flavor.
Freeze it – In a shallow baking pan, break off a chunk, and swallow it frozen like a pill.
Float it – Suspend the emulsified gel into water or juice and throw it back in a single gulp.
Chase it – Some swear by something tart (kombucha, OJ, or a squeeze of lemon) and others prefer to chase fat with fat by chugging some raw milk after CLO.
For the kids, bribe them – If it doesn't mess with your morals, offer your child a tiny sweet treat in exchange for taking her CLO. Perhaps a few chocolate chips or a fruit juice lollipop. It may not be ideal, but in my opinion, the health benefits outweigh the health and emotional risks, plus the small piece of candy will help to mask the aftertaste.
For kids, don't force it – My advice for parents is firm and clear, but do not force a child who is unwilling as you will only meet with more and more resistance.
Now this will be interpreted in many different ways, I am sure, but if you are confident in the reasons and importance for taking any supplement or eating a particular food, your child will pick up on that. Conversely, if you are thinking, “Oh, Frankie doesn't like it so Frankie won't take it, I don't even know why I'm bothering,” your child will smell your doubt.
Explain to her (even if she's too young to understand) that you know CLO doesn't taste great, but it will help her body to grow healthy and strong. Work together to find a method that works. And if she still refuses, honor that, and try again in a few days with the same firm confidence.
For adults and kids who can swallow pills – When in doubt, do capsules. Yes, you will spend more money, but as the adage goes – pay for the cod liver oil now or the doctor later.
What if I've tried everything and my kid will simply not take cod liver oil?
In a case where your child will not take the cod liver oil, the second best option is to load up on the essential nutrients found in CLO from alternative sources.
There are several fish oil brands on the market that cater to kids including Nordic Naturals and Carlson's (use fish oil not cod liver oil as the proportions of vitamins A and D will be out of the proper ratio). Feed your child oily fish regularly, but do not consider it a substitute for fish unless your child eats 2-3 healthy servings per week.
For vitamin A, be sure to include liver in your child's diet 1-2 times per week. For most children, this can be easily disguised in pasta sauce, meat dishes, or a thin layer of pate spread on toast or crackers. Carotene veggies such as carrots and squash are not easily converted to vitamin A in the body, so stick with the animal sources.
You can read more about Vitamin A here.
For vitamin D, be sure your child gets at least 20 minutes of sunshine per day when it is warm enough to play outside with skin exposed. The top food sources of vitamin D include lard from pastured pork, oysters, and fish roe. A small spoonful of fish eggs can be added to food for a salty hidden punch of vitamin D.
You can read more about Vitamin D here.
Up next – What's so great about High Vitamin Butter Oil. Got questions? Drop them below.
What are your best tips on how to take cod liver oil?