Our grandparents knew the power of cod liver oil: Rosita is a modern-day solution for Wahls Warriors
Wahls Protocol® Seminar Sponsor Rosita USA talks about the history of cod liver oil, how it’s naturally made, why the body responds to this nutrient-rich supplement and more
Did you know that before big pharma was around, our recent ancestors turned to cod liver oil as a natural remedy and to prevent common ailments?* Yes, grandma knew best when she turned to a spoonful of this natural, nutrient-rich food.*
And now, I consider quality cod liver oil an integral part of my protocol. I have Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil in my fridge. That’s because it’s the only fresh, raw and unprocessed fish oil that yields a full spectrum of omega fatty acids (especially DHA and EPA) and vitamins A and D — wild-caught and bottled in Norway by the Rosita family.
The nutrients in cod liver oil are supportive of brain health and may ease inflammation.* This is particularly relevant for those embarking on a real food, dietary protocol for autoimmune issues.*
In my revised and expanded book, “The Wahls Protocol,” I cover why adding a premium cod liver oil supplement (that’s not molecularly distilled) to your routine is necessary, because even when we eat grass-fed meat and wild-caught fish, we still might not be getting enough of these powerful and rare nutrients:
“Your brain needs DHA to make myelin. EPA is very helpful in lowering inflammation. You can see why anyone with MS or another autoimmune condition would benefit greatly from these compounds!… Cod liver oil (also) maximizes content of fat-soluble vitamins A, D… if you are not consuming liver, cod liver oil is an excellent way to get some retinol as well as vitamin D in your diet.”
In this interview, I speak with Dan Corrigan, a co-owner of Rosita USA. Dan is a pioneer of the real food movement, a supplement maker — and he helped develop and launch Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil for the Americas. Like me, Dan is a survivor of a life-threatening health condition who uses his knowledge and experience to help others: He took his health transformation and now gives back to the world with a healing product like Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil.* For that, I am grateful.
You can hear more about Dan’s experience in our interview. We also cover:
- How cod liver oil was historically used before the use and availability of commercial drugs*
- How the Norwegian Rosita Real Foods family creates completely unprocessed cod liver oil
- Rosita’s sustainable ethos
- The ideal dosing for maintenance (and why you don’t need much)
- How real food and cod liver oil can support immunity and respiratory health*
- Industry and advertising terms that signify a cod liver oil is overprocessed
You’ll find the transcript below the video player.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Dan, welcome. I’m so glad you’re here today. Now, again, to my tribe, Dan has a remarkable healing story. He himself had a serious chronic health challenge that he reversed when he learned the power of food. And the particular food that I talk about is cod liver oil, raw cod liver oil prepared in a traditional way, all the way from Norway. And now Dan’s going to tell us all about his healing story and his product, Rosita Cod Liver Oil.
But before we get into that, I want to remind everyone that the US Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated any of the comments that Dan is going to make, or that I’m going to make in this conversation. But Dan, I’m so glad, forgive me, for your misfortune, because it allowed you to make these really important discoveries that we’re about to share with our audience. So, Dan, can you tell us about your healing journey and a bit about Rosita Cod Liver Oil?
Dan: Of course. Yeah. Pleasure to be here. Yeah. When I was in my 20s, you think you should be at the top of your health, and my health was declining. So throughout my 20s, my health kept getting worse and worse. And I went to a variety of doctors and nobody could really figure out what was going on. And so the big takeaway was that I really had to take control of my own health. And so, I started doing research, doing the work, putting in the work and the time. And this really led me to the Real Food Movement, which then in turn led me to Rosita Real Foods out of Norway.
And so, I had found a local farmer to get my fresh veggies from, my meat, raw milk. And so, you go around and you interview farmers, you really try to find the best that you can get. And so, I applied that thinking to cod liver oil. Like, “Let me find out who’s making it, what they’re doing.” And so, what we found in the marketplace, there was this little company out of Norway called Rosita, and they had a raw ratfish liver oil, which was like, “What is that? What is ratfish liver oil?”
But it was intriguing because they just really had this gentle process to make that oil. And so, it really intrigued us. I said, “I got to go out there.” Because I got to talk to these people and to figure out, could they apply that same process to making a cod liver oil? Because I was a little bit familiar with cod liver oil, but I wasn’t familiar with the ratfish liver oil. So, anyway, so about eight years ago, I went out there and got to see firsthand what they were doing, working closely with them to launch Rosita Cod Liver Oil in the Americas.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Wow. And so, can you tell us a little bit more about cod liver oil, about its history and about how the Norwegians began using this product?
Dan: Yeah. So, obviously, in Norway, they have a rich tradition of fishing, and part of that tradition is consuming cod liver oil. And it’s funny, when I was out there, we were driving around and it was like 3:00 in the afternoon, it started to get dark, because it was so North, and so it was in the winter, so they have dark winter months.
And so, it creates a sturdier bunch of people when you’re trying to survive. And so, they use cod liver oil. You don’t get as much daylight in the winter. And then, in the late 1800s, early 1900s, really before the advent of big pharma, cod liver oil was really used. It was pretty common for a natural remedy, both to maintain good health, but also to help treat and prevent different ailments. I think they used it for anemia, rheumatism, rickets, just a variety of different things.
I know, like measles, things… These different, there was no assortment of drugs out there. So people were using high nutrient rich foods. And so, that’s how I view cod liver oil. It’s really a really nutrient-dense substance and it’s not synthetic or anything like that.
So, anyways, it got written about in medical journals, cod liver oil, that is. So, it was interesting that we gone away from that. So, in the ’40s, during war time, people were struggling and so they kept, in the Vatican, the Pope kept cod liver oil at their disposal to help those in need, to help boost their health and anyways, yeah, it’s just-
Dr. Terry Wahls: And by the way, when I was growing up, all mothers were giving their kids Cod liver oil.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Of course, we now realize that that was really very beneficial because of the vitamin A, the vitamin D and the Omega-3 fatty acids.
Dan: Yep. And so, I think a lot of people that do remember taking it, they’re either at school, they were doling it out at school, or maybe their parents were giving it to them, or they remember hearing about their… Maybe they hear about their parents or grandparents talking about, “Oh, it was kind of, it had a bad taste.” [crosstalk].
Dr. Terry Wahls: It had a bad taste, yeah. But my mom talks about how she’d give me the cod liver oil, and I’d make this terrible taste, terrible face. But I had to have it, she made sure I had it every day. I think instead of the seafood.
Dan: Yeah. And so, I think part… fish oil is probably not, everybody maybe doesn’t love it, but I think one of the things back then was they didn’t really maybe realize as much that, some care has to be taken to preserve the freshness of it. So, if it’s sitting out on the counter, on the sun, on the shelf, warm and it can go bad or turn rancid. Even though there’s still vitamins in there, but the oil itself can get a bad taste if you will.
Dr. Terry Wahls: So, why don’t we take a step back and can you review how the Norwegians make the Rosita Cod Oil? What’s the process?
Dan: Yeah. So, that’s great. Yeah. So, back in the day, people who were making, they had a couple of different methods of making cod liver oil. And like I said, one of the challenges was keeping it fresh. And so, what Rosita does is they’re using an ancient technique of just basically capturing the oil and they’re not-
Dr. Terry Wahls: So, they’re pressing the livers or they’re pressing the whole fish, what’s the?
Dan: Yep. Great. Thank you. So, it’s specifically using the livers of the cod. So, the cod liver will provide the Omegas fats. And what’s different about cod liver oil versus other fish oils is cod liver oil will contain vitamin A and D. And so, what’s unique about Rosita’s method is, since they control the whole process from fish to bottle, is they can do this technique that actually they have a patent on it. And so, nobody else is doing this. So this is unique to them, is they’ll take the liver, and then just from the change of temperature and pressure.
So the fish, they’re swimming in the ocean under pressure and it’s cold. And so, then when they take the liver out of the fish and when they bring it up to just a little bit warmer than room temperature, or actually it’s in the 50s, but maybe room temperature in Norway, but not in America, but anyways, it triggers a release of the oil.
So, they’re not really doing a lot to the livers and it triggers the release of the oil. They capture the oil. So, they like to say that they are capturing the oil. They’re not manufacturing or producing, these types of terms that… Doing some big process. So, they capture the oil and then they have this special technique that they use to remove any contaminants. Because, unfortunately, in the world we live in today, there are contaminants and probably in your vegetables, in your meat, and in the ocean and in the fish.
So, they have to meet the region guidelines in terms of purity. And so, what they use as a technique that allows them to keep the oil cold, so they don’t have to heat the oil. So the common method, and this is a big distinction between Rosita cod liver oil. So, it’s not only the extraction method that’s unique, but also the purification method is unique. And so, they use a substance, it’s almost like a chelator or a magnet that pulls the contaminants out of the oil and leaves the oil basically untouched or unadulterated, I should say.
And so, what you get is fresh raw cod liver oil that’s unadulterated, retains all the fatty acids, retains all the vitamins. And this, if I can compare it to the normal, modern processing technique. The normal, modern processing technique is this, most manufacturers are buying fish from various sources, and so they’re not catching it themselves. So this is number one.
And number two is, when they produce the oil, it’s more akin to a vegetable oil, not like an olive oil, but like maybe canola or corn oil, where there’s a lot of machinery and mechanics to process the oil. So some of the things that they’ll do is, they’ll heat it to help get more oil out, then they’ll cool it to remove, it’s called winterization. They remove some of the fatty acids, so it doesn’t get cloudy. So it looks better for the consumer.
Whereas Rosita, when you put it in the fridge, it might get a little bit cloudy because it retains all the full spectrum of fatty acids. So, it goes through about a 10-step process. But one of the big steps during the process is the way that the normal way to purify, to remove the contaminants out of cod liver oil is to heat the oil, it’s basically boil the oil. It’s a distillation method. So, sometimes they’ll call molecular distillation or short-path distillation.
And so, that distillation method is just simply boiling the oil. And then that’s a way to remove, like distill water, you remove any extra contaminants. So it’s very effective at removing contaminants. The downside of that is, it’s most people probably don’t want Omega-3 fatty acids heated, because they’re more fragile. The other impact is the vitamin A and D are heat sensitive. So, that will reduce the vitamin content.
And so, some manufacturers will basically add synthetic vitamin A and D just to standardize the oil. So, it all has the same vitamin A and D. However, most people, when they’re seeking out a cod liver oil, they’re seeking it out to get the naturally occurring vitamins, versus maybe they don’t want to take a pill that has synthetics, they’re trying to avoid synthetic. They want the most natural. And anyways, so that’s really what distinguishes Rosita from the other ones in the market.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Rosita has a capsule and it has a liquid. Can you tell us about why one would take a capsule or why one might take the liquid?
Dan: Yep. For sure. So, yep, the liquid is when they produce the liquid, it’s when they bottle it and this is what I didn’t touch on was the keeping the oil fresh. So, Rosita controlling the whole process. They take great measures to keep the oil at a low temperature. And because a warmer temperature or heat can accelerate oxidation. And so, Rosita takes great care in making sure that no oxidation is going to occur. So, they keep it cold.
And then also the one thing that they do when they’re bottling is they’ll add in a natural antioxidant, natural vitamin E and rosemary, and because cod liver oil just doesn’t have any naturally occurring antioxidants in it. So that’s why, hence, back in the day, taking a spoon of oil when you’re a kid, it maybe tasted bad, because there’s some oxidation or rancidity. So, Rosita is adding all-natural vitamin E and rosemary.
And then, also when they bottle the liquid is they’ll nitrogen flush the bottle, which means it just removes the oxygen, because it cannot oxidize without the presence of oxygen. So, that oil can be shipped in all temperatures. So, even if it’s hot outside, there’s no oxygen in the bottle of the liquid. And so, it arrives fresh, no matter if you’re in Arizona or wherever you are. It’s going to arrive fresh. And then once you open the bottle of liquid, that would expose it to oxygen and all you simply do is keep it in the fridge after it’s been opened. So, that’s how you maintain the freshness of the liquid.
Dr. Terry Wahls: And how long should I anticipate that the liquid bottle will stay fresh?
Dan: So, the liquid bottle would stay fresh, we say about 60 days. And so, that’s about a half teaspoon a day for, one half teaspoon serving a day that would last 60 days. And then you’d be fine. And it’s not going to automatically go bad overnight type-of-thing.
So, whereas the softgels, the softgels are protected entirely from oxygen because it’s sealed. And so, that makes it better for people that are traveling. They want to carry a bottle, they don’t have to worry about refrigerating or anything like that, or spilling in their luggage or anything. And so the softgels will even have, I think, a little bit longer shelf life because there is no exposure to oxygen and you can keep it at room temperature.
And in fact, we recommend that you don’t put it in the refrigerator, which is kind of odd, but the rationale is the softgel itself is made from fish gelatin. And if you get it cold, really cold for a long time, it could create little cracks in the softgel. So, then you could expose it to oxygen. I mean, so that’s more theoretical that if you kept it cold or got it really cold, that would be.
Dr. Terry Wahls: So, these are small capsules, these are smaller than the one gram fish oil capsules that people see. So how many capsules would a typical adult take?
Dan: Yep. So, with the capsule, we call it softgels, they’re little soft squishy. So, the softgels, the recommended dose is three softgels a day. And in each bottle it’s 90 softgels. So, that would be a month supply of the product. And like I said, the two things, one is the storage and convenience of it, of not having to refrigerate or for traveling is one thing. And then some people really just don’t like the taste of cod liver oil, even though Rosita has a really fresh, raw, fishy taste. Some people just prefer not to take that liquid. And so, they take the softgels.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Can you comment on the sustainability of how we’re getting this cod liver oil?
Dan: Yep. Yeah. So, Rosita, like I said, they control the whole process from fish to bottle. They have small fishing boats and they are using line fishing. And so, the line fishing, you’re not going to have trawling with big nets and have bycatch and capturing fish that you don’t want. So, they’re using line fishing, they have their own boats.
And then, in Norway, the Norwegian government has set fishing quotas. So, back, I think it was in the ’70s or early ’80s, the cod was over-fished. And so, it was reducing the overall population of fish. So, they went in, the government went in and said, “Hey, we’ve got to put restrictions.” And so, Rosita follows those guidelines of how much you can catch. And since those guidelines had been put into place, the fish population has grown tremendously.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Good. Good.
Dan: So, it’s very sustainable. And so, Rosita as a company, they’re always very conscious of, and so when they’re throwing back the fish parts back into the water, feeding the birds or feeding fish. So, the whole thing is respectful and mindful of the whole ecosystem.
Dr. Terry Wahls: I think we’ve talked about cod liver oil production and some of the misinformation that’s out there. Is there any other information that people should be aware of when they’re out thinking about buying cod liver oil?
Dan: Yeah, for sure. So, some of the things that are advertised, if you will, in this industry is words will be used like cold processed, and you envision cold process meaning kind of Rosita, from start to finish, it’s kept cold, but it’s kind of a misnomer. So, there’s different parts of a regular, let’s say, standard processing of oil is, like I said, there’s like a 10-step process.
So, some of those steps can be a little bit different from manufacturer to manufacturer. And so, one of the steps, they could use less heat or no heat and use chemicals, or what have you to help extract the oil out of the liver. So the cold processing would be referring to one step of the 10-step process, even though later on in the process, they might use heat to distill the oil. And so, it’s not incorrect, but maybe it’s-
Dr. Terry Wahls: Not the full story.
Dan: … Maybe not totally give you the whole picture. And so, that’s one thing. I think the other thing that’s challenging is when I talked about distillation, that’s pretty much promoted as a good thing. And like I said, it works great at removing the contaminants. The challenge from a consumer perspective is everybody, when they look at a bottle, first time they look at supplement facts, they look how much vitamin A, how much vitamin D. But what’s not apparent or obvious when you have an oil that’s distilled. If the levels are normal or high of vitamin A and D, you can be rest assured that they’re adding some back in, because if it’s distilled, that means it’s being reduced.
So, even though it might not be in bright neon lights, “Hey, we’re adding back in some vitamins.” You would deduce that if it’s heated and distilled and boiled, it’s reducing vitamins and it’s a supplement [inaudible] it looks great. Then, they’re likely adding it back in.
Dr. Terry Wahls: [inaudible] yeah.
Dan: And then the other one is, and this is kind of what makes Rosita unique is some manufacturers will promote the fact that their oils are from the Marine Stewardship Council, which is a great organization that helps traceability. So you know that they’re getting it from a good source. However, Rosita doesn’t have Marine Stewardship Council because they are a source. So, it’s like if you looked at two bottles and you say, “Oh, this one’s certified traceable back to the fishermen.” Well, that kind of means that that company might be buying from one or more fishermen, even though they’re respectable and legitimate, and they’re traceable. Rosita, there’s nothing to trace back to, because they’re the guys that are going on the boats and catching the fish. So, some things might look better and might not be as apparent to what it means.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Now, we’ve been talking about this being a raw fish oil. How do you keep it fresh during warehouse storage and shipping? We’ve touched on that a bit before, but can you clarify that again one more time?
Dan: Yep. Yeah, for sure. So, the liquid, we do keep it refrigerated in the warehouse just for, it helps with long-term storage, even though that it can ship, like I said, in any temperature. Because it is-
Dr. Terry Wahls: So, that’s the liquid and the capsules or just the liquid?
Dan: Just the liquid. So, the liquid, we keep cold, even though Rosita, when they manufacture it, they nitrogen flush, remove the oxygen so we don’t have to worry about it. But in case there’s any little bits of oxygen and they’re keeping it cold while it’s still bottled is not a bad idea. And then, from a consumer’s perspective, they could put that in their freezer and it could even last even longer. And then, on the softgel side of things, like I said, those are very impervious to… They’ll stay fresh readily because they have no exposure to oxygen whatsoever. So, both of them can be shipped in any temperature. And when they arrive, we would say, put the liquid in the fridge and the softgels you can keep unrefrigerated.
Dr. Terry Wahls: But there’s probably still an upper temperature for the softgels.
Dan: Yeah. So, for the softgels. Yeah. So, yeah. So, in our warehouse, it is temperature controlled. We just don’t refrigerate it, because once it gets to be above a certain temperature, the only issue with the softgels is that if it gets too warm, then they can stick together, the softgel.
Dr. Terry Wahls: So, it’s the gel that deteriorates.
Dr. Terry Wahls: It’s not the fish oil. Because the fish oil is protected.
Dan: Yeah. The fish oil is projected, but the gel would be, so you wouldn’t throw it on your dashboard in your car and leave it in the parking lot during the summer.
Dr. Terry Wahls: So how much fish oil are you taking? I’m curious, are you taking the liquid or do you take the softgels?
Dan: I take the liquid. I pretty much, half teaspoon, maybe in the summer, maybe in the winter, I’ll bump it up to a full teaspoon. Or if I feel a scratchy throat or something going around, maybe I’ll take a little bit more than that. But we’re kind of the mindset is more is not always necessary, it’s one teaspoon should be plenty for most people at most times, or for maintenance dose, a half teaspoon is more than adequate.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Yeah. More is not better. All of our nutrition, even water has a U-shaped curve. So, too little is a problem for water, too much is a problem, too little vitamin A and vitamin D is a problem, too much is a problem. So when Dan just told you a half teaspoon every day, follow that, do not go out start thinking like, “Oh my God, I’ll drink the whole bottle. I’ll take a tablespoon.” That was definitely not what Dan is suggesting, and it’s definitely not what I am suggesting. I’ve been guilty of that, thinking, “Well, a little is good. More is better.” That is not the case.
Dan: I think we’ve all done that at some point in time.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Yes. So, let’s circle back to your health. So, when you were in your 20s, you saw yourself going steadily downhill. And how old are you now, Dan? I know you’re not in your 20s.
Dan: I am, yeah. It was funny, because I’m like, “Yeah, my 20s, like 20 years ago.” And I’m like, “Well, [inaudible] be about more like 30 years ago.”
Dr. Terry Wahls: Okay. So, how do you feel your health is now compared to back then in your 20s?
Dan: Yeah, I mean, we can always do better and I know I can improve better right now. But in terms of comparison, I mean, there’s no comparison. I mean, I’d wake up in my 20s, I felt like, like flu-like, I was achy all over very, very stiff, achy, would always get whatever… I was getting food poisoning on a regular basis, which is just weird, because my gut was so messed up and allergies.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Allergies, probably frequent respiratory infections. And as I think about the world being worried about the Coronavirus, as well we should be, and the influenza virus, as well we should be, nutrition is so important. I think cod liver oil can be helpful. Vitamin D can be helpful. Sauerkraut can be helpful. The Wahls Diet can be helpful. So, if you hadn’t made this discovery of food and the benefits of cod liver oil, where would you be?
Dan: Oh, really, really, I don’t know how I would’ve made it to be honest. There seemed to be no bottom to my free-fall in terms of downward health. And thank God that I was able to figure this stuff out and get my feet on the ground and then I’m able to help others. So, that’s really… I had two takeaways. One was take control of my health. The other was, I’m here to help other people to regain their health. So, it would have been a waste just for me, but now it’s, I can help others.
Dr. Terry Wahls: This is why we love you and your company, Dan, that you took your health transformation and you’re giving back to the world. And just as I had taken my health transformation and giving back to the world. So, Dan, again, I’m so pleased that I’ve met you, that we partnered together and that I can celebrate your success and let the world know about the benefits of Rosita cod liver oil. Much love to you and your family. And again, thank you everyone. If you have enjoyed this interview, please give us your comments to us, what was the one take home message
And if you’ve not yet signed up for my newsletter, where I go through the latest research every month, do that at Terrywahls.com and be sure and sign up for that newsletter. Again, thank you, Dan, for being part of this really great interview, much love to you and your family.
Dan: Thank you, Dr. Wahls, thank you.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Bye bye.
Dan: Bye bye.
About Rosita Real Foods:
Rosita Real Foods is a small, family-run company based in Norway that provides wild-caught, raw and unprocessed fish liver oils. The company is made up of old-time, genuine Norwegians and fishermen who know all about fish liver oils. Rosita follows sustainable hand-caught fishing practices using an open boat with a shelter deck on the crystal clean Norwegian fjords. They handcraft their oils in small batches under the total absence of chemicals and heat. Therefore, the oils retain all of their original fat-soluble nutrients and fatty acids in their natural form.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.