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Every year when fall weather hits, I start to think about keeping our immunity strong. From experience, I know if we eat healthy food and take immune boosting supplements we catch less colds and other sicknesses.

One supplement I especially feel is important is cod liver oil.

How to Find Natural Sources of Immune Boosting Vitamin A

Cod liver oil contains high amounts of vitamin A. Vitamin A is powerful for warding off illnesses and/or making them less severe.   It’s even proven to prevent and/or treat more serious viruses like the measles. The type of vitamin A I’m referring to isn’t found in carrots, it must be obtained from animal foods (like cod liver oil).

We’ve taken various kinds of cod liver oil, and I’ve done some research over the years on different brands. But, this year I really wanted to dive into some research and find out which kinds were truly great.

I found out some surprising things:

  • Many cod liver oils had synthetic (fake) vitamins added.
  • One of the popular cod liver oils is fermented, and some people seem to be having bad side effects from this type of cod liver oil.  There’s also some debate on whether oils can be fermented or if they simply go rancid. (Also, I’d bought a bottle of the fermented cod liver oil some years ago and had a bad experience with it.)
  • Many of the cod liver oils don’t even seem to be from cod as their nutrients aren’t in the proportions that would be expected from Icelandic cod livers.
  • The optimal ratio of Vitamin A to Vitamin D in cod liver oil is 10:1 which means that there is 10 times the amount of vitamin A compared to Vitamin D.

As I was learning all this, I discovered Rosita cod liver oil. It’s a very high quality cod liver oil and contains the right amounts of vitamins A and D. This cod liver oil seems to line up with Weston A Price’s principals and I consider him the expert on cod liver oil. I was impressed with their methods of obtaining and handling the cod liver oil.

How to Find Natural Sources of Immune Boosting Vitamin A

Because of all these reasons, I considered buying the Rosita cod liver oil. And, if my children had reoccurent ear infections or otherwise caught a lot of illnesses, I probably would have. However, my children are healthy and I had other supplements that I needed to buy.

I couldn’t find a less expensive cod liver oil that was as good as the Rosita brand, so I began to research other ways to obtain vitamin A. I found out that it wasn’t that easy to obtain!  Especially in the amounts that are contained in cod liver oil. But, I did find a few foods that really stood out as exceptional sources of Vitamin A.

Foods with High Vitamin A Content:

Egg, Conventional:

Vitamin A: 487 IU
Vitamin D: 34 IU

Egg, Raised on Pasture:

Vitamin A: 792 IU
Vitamin D: 136 – 204 IU

Grass Fed Cheese, 1 oz:

Vitamin A: 241 IU
Vitamin D: 6.8 IU

Wild Coho Salmon, 4 oz:

Vitamin A: 191 IU
Vitamin D: 511 IU

The vitamin A content in cod liver oil can range anywhere from around 1,000 IU-4,000 IU per teaspoon. The vitamin D content is around one tenth of that (100 IU-400 IU).  Since cod liver oil is so effective at reversing cavities, and preventing sicknesses, I wanted to find out if I could obtain from food the correct ratio of 10:1 vitamin A to vitamin D.

One way would be to eat 2 pastured eggs and 2 oz. of cheese per day. That would be a total of 2,066 IU of Vitamin A and 285 IU of Vitamin D. Luckily we love eggs and eat them all the time! (Although we need to find a better source, since we still eat a lot of conventional eggs.)

How to Find Natural Sources of Immune Boosting Vitamin A

We could also eat 4 oz. of salmon and 4 oz. of cheese which would give us 1,155 IU of vitamin A and 525 IU of vitamin D.  This would give us a good amount of vitamin A, but isn’t a 10:1 ratio.  (Of course some people would actually benefit from the extra vitamin D.)

After I’d learned all this about cod liver oil and food sources of vitamin A, I decided on a plan for my family: We’ll eat lots of eggs, some cheese, and salmon. However, since my grocery money is being spent on other things right now (I’m still on a specific diet and supplement plan), I won’t be able to buy only grass fed cheese and pastured eggs, so we’ll still be buying some conventional eggs and cheese.

So, as extra “insurance”, I decided to buy a cod liver oil that isn’t perfect: Garden of Life’s cod liver oil.  Even though it doesn’t meet all the criteria for a “perfect” cod liver oil, it doesn’t contain synthetic vitamins and has a high vitamin A content. As I mentioned before, I would have more seriously considered the Rosita cod liver oil if my children kept catching lots of illnesses or had repeated ear infections etc., but for us this is a good compromise. I feel we’re getting what we need to stay healthy.

How about you – how do you try to make sure you’re getting vitamin A for immune health?

Kristie is a contributing writer for Whole Intentions who's had the privilege to be a stay at home mom for 15 years. Homeschooling became a passion for her after she was blessed with her first daughter. In 2010 Kristie's chronic health problems became serious enough that homeschooling became very hard to keep up. Her prayers and research led her to health and then to blogging! Nowadays you can find Kristie busy in the kitchen making family-approved, allergy-friendly meals - unless she's busy researching her next health topic or homeschooling! She blogs at Family, Home, Health and you can also find her on her Facebook page or Pinterest.

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    3 replies to "Immunity and Vitamin A"

    • […] One vitamin that really helps keep our immune systems strong is vitamin A.  Find out how I make sure we are getting enough in my latest guest post on Whole Intentions. […]

    • Jen

      Pastured lard is also a good source of vit D as I recall.

    • Kristie Mobley

      I didn’t know that. Thanks for sharing Jen!

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