Something smells fishy

First, let’s define: “smells fishy”. “To be suspect or suspicious, as in His explanation definitely smells fishy; my guess is that he’s lying. This idiom alludes to the fact that fresh fish have no odor but stale or rotten ones do.” (

Fish oil supplements

Isn’t it ironic that the exact phrase we have used since as early as the 1800’s to describe something that just doesn’t seem right, is the exact opposite warning we heed when buying fish oils supplements. The other irony of this is the two types of fish oil supplements that tend to smell fishy – whether it is the moment you open the bottle, the minute it touches your mouth, or what you burp up 10 minutes later – are Krill and Fermented Cod Liver Oil – two of the most over-hyped, omega-3 sources out there today.

Why it smells fishy

Let’s get one thing straight. The reason fish or fish oil taste or smells fishy is because it has oxidized. If I am not mistaken, the number one reason we ingest anti-oxidants from foods, super foods, and supplements, is to prevent or counteract the negative affects of too much oxidation in our bodies. Why would we consume a supplement that is potentially full of oxidized raw material?

We have already posted about Krill, “the magic pill”, now we want to touch on:

Fermented cod liver oil

The process of fermentation does not remove impurities and the exposure to oxygen will weaken the double bonds in the healthful fatty acids. This forms “free” fatty acids, making the fish oil rancid.

The fermentation hype is akin to the hype of raw foods. Not all foods are healthiest or should be consumed raw, and the same holds true for fermentation. Some foods do not get healthier, last longer, or become more palatable by fermentation. Cod liver oil is one of them.

It is also important to know that cod liver oil is naturally high in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. Therefore, any brand of 100 % pure cod liver oil should naturally show an omega profile higher in DHA than EPA or other omegas. Look for clearly labeled amounts of DHA and EPA on all cod liver oil supplements.

When in search of optimal health, we whole-heartedly support embracing classic healing traditions. The way our ancestors used what Mother Nature provided using the technologies available to them at the time, was many times profound, and should still be utilized today. However, in the case of cod liver oil, follow the commonsense phrase of our ancestors, if it smells fishy, don’t buy it.

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