Vitamin A from Fish Liver Oil

Willis: The problem with supplementing vitamin A is threefold:

1) Vitamin A as palmitate is not assimilated well by these kids with gut problems. The palmitate is not only ineffective, there can be a negative response.

2) The usual form of many supplements of vitamin A from cod-liver oil is a gelatin capsule. This inactivates most or all benefit from the vitamin A and fatty acids it is supposed to supply, and now we learn it also inactivates the DPP IV enzyme necessary to digest peptides. Do not use vitamin A capsules.

3) We now learn that the cis vitamin A is largely removed in processing cod-liver oil, and then replaced with palmitate, another reason the capsules don’t work. Only one cod liver oil guarantees only cis A is used, and that is Kirkman. One mother has reported that cod liver oil was not only ineffective, but negative to her child, until she ordered Kirkman. There was a definite beneficial response immediately. So, buy Kirkman, but not their capsules, the bottled oil only.

Polly: Kirkman labs usually carries the more popular supplements for the autistic population. They even have samples of different supplements for $3 so that you don’t waste a lot of money on things that aren’t going to help. Besides selling the fish oil, they have casein-free colostrum, and other products specifically for those with autism. Go to or phone (800) 245-8282 if you wish to order from Kirkman. Dr. Megson states that if the autistic child has a G protein defect then they will have trouble converting the trans form of vitamin A into the cis form. This is all the more reason to be careful about brands.

A good percentage of the children with autism cannot tolerate the fish liver oil. One mother posted that she tried the fish oil, and when it wasn’t tolerated, she switched to micellized retinyl palmitate as her source of vitamin A. The supplement seemed to help her child. So perhaps the best we can do is experiment.

Joy: I recently gave my son cod liver oil for the first time about two days ago. After a couple of doses, I stopped. He has been waking at night acting as though he is having stomach pain. Last night he was awake from 10:30 to 3:40 and some of that time he was crying. He is crying right now. He has also started having tantrums during the day—not typical for him. Has anyone else experienced this with cod liver oil?

Kathy: My son had a cluster of seizures. Make sure you are balancing correctly his omega needs. Sometimes our kids have problems converting cod liver oil.

Rose: Joy, my son has always been intolerant of cod liver oil; it has never agreed with him. However, after we switched to the orange flavored cod liver oil from Nordic Naturals, which has a good taste. He threw up, and of course, his stomach hurt. We had to give him some Alka Zeltzer Gold that time, even though we had just started him with 1/4 teaspoon of the Nordic Naturals in applesauce. When we received the NO FENOL, we tried it by opening up the capsule and mixing 1/2 capsule into the Nordic Naturals cod liver oil mixture. (The mixture I created also had added minerals and extra vitamin E.) It was amazing; he held down the cod liver oil mixture and there was absolutely NO STOMACH UPSET AND NO CRAMPING. The NO FENOL has enabled him to take the cod liver oil everyday with no problem. He is now taking 1 1/4 teaspoons of the cod liver oil and still using just the 1/2 capsule of NO FENOL. I would highly recommend anyone to try this. I don’t know if it will work with your son, but it Autism Interventions 27 sure helped my son. I am very happy with the NO FENOL!!!

I asked Devin Houston, a biochemist and the manufacturer of NO FENOL, if it has lipase in it; he said it does not have any lipase activity, and lipase doesn’t really do much for cod liver oil, since lipase only works on triglyceride fats. Devin said he could not give me a ready explanation as to why NO FENOL would help with cod liver oil, but if it does, that is great!

Polly: Rose, did your child have exactly the same problem with the cod liver oil that was not flavored? It could be just that the No Fenol is helping him tolerate the orange flavoring.

Rose: Yes, he could not tolerate the plain cod liver oil either. It was really bad.

Dana: My son did not tolerate cod liver oil either. I would give it to him, and it would give him major diarrhea and a bright red bottom with little bloody spots. Plus he would really have visual issues, waving his hands in front of his eyes all the time. I tried giving it with No-Fenol enzyme and he was able to tolerate it just fine. No bowel problems. And it eliminated his visual issues also.

Polly: Fish oil also has hormone-like components and fat-soluble vitamins in it. The No-Fenol must be making a difference by acting on one of these.

Note: Dr. Patricia Kane wrote a short article about cod liver oil. It is at Mercola’s website: iver_oil.htm No Fenol is a digestive enzyme that was designed to help people digest foods that contain phenolics. The product is made by Houston Nutraceuticals. phone (866) 757-8627 or (510) 549-4548.

Polly —- Important 2008 Update:

According to the Vitamin D Council (, anyone low on vitamin D, should probably not be taking cod liver oil supplements. Cod liver oil has too much vitamin A relative to vitamin D to be a healthy supplement for many of the people in today’s sun deprived population. The relatively high levels of vitamin A in cod liver oil will suppress vitamin D levels further.

There is a case report of an autistic child improving significantly when he stopped receiving vitamin A supplements and instead started taking vitamin D. This case report can be found in the June 2008 newsletter of the Vitamin D Council,

The Vitamin D Council suggests using a 25-hydroxy-vitamin D [25(OH)D] blood test To find out whether or not you need more vitamin D. They say not to use the Do 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D test because it can be misleading. So, how much is enough? In their Vitamin D newsletter for October 2008, they state:

“If the 25(OH)D level is less than 70 ng/ml, the mid range of American references labs (30–100 ng/ml), give your child vitamin D3 supplements. Generally children require 1,000 IU per 25 pounds of body weight per day. However, great individual variation exists and autistic children need to be retested and the dose adjusted about every month until levels are at least 50 ng/ml in healthy children and at least 70 ng/ml in any child with autism, diabetes, frequent infections, or any chronic illness.”

There is a danger of getting too much vitamin D from supplements. So, Dr. Mercola believes that a safer way to get your vitamin D is with sunlight. You can’t get too much that way. People in the US are too far North to get much vitamin D. So he suggests using mid-day sunlight in the Summertime. If sunlight is hard to get, another option is to purchase a vitamin D light and use it daily on the trunk of the body. (Sperti makes these vitamin D lights.)

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