Why is fermented cod liver oil so expensive?

The price of cod liver oil varies dramatically from manufacturer to manufacturer, and it can be both the cheapest and most expensive product on the market. You’d be wrong...

The price of cod liver oil varies dramatically from manufacturer to manufacturer, and it can be both the cheapest and most expensive product on the market. You’d be wrong to think that all cod liver oil is the same and that you should just get the cheapest though, and there is a lot to think about when it comes to cod liver oil supplements. Here I’ll explain why fermented cod liver oil is so expensive and compare it to another brand. If you wanted to just read about a comparison of different fish oil quality and price, you can read about that here.

cod liver oil comparison

The fermented cod liver oil (product A) works out at £0.24 for one capsule (based on our store price), and product (B) is £0.03 for one capsule. This makes product A over 700% more expensive than product B, and they are both supposed to be the same product. Assuming that they are both indeed both cod liver oil, there are some very important differences.



Packaging for these supplements is more than just a way of attracting customers, it is a way of protecting the product. Light (particularly UV light) damages the omega-3 fatty acids contained in these capsules. The purpose of these supplements is to deliver the body these omega-3 fatty acids. If they are damaged they have no benefit to the body, and can have negative effects.
With product (B) light penetrates the packet and right through the capsules (you can even see the table through all the capsules), this causes damage to the product. Product (A) is in a black bottle, this prevents light passing through and damaging the product.

Purity & Testing

Product (A) has independent and random testing for purity of contents, toxins and quality. These results are openly available to be seen and show that you are actually getting hight grade undamaged cod liver oil supplements.

We know nothing about product (B) other than the fact that the label says it is cod liver oil, but it could be olive oil for all we know. It could even be water and it could also have lots of heavy metal toxins.  We have no way of knowing!


Processing & Extraction

Cod liver oil can be extracted in a number of ways, and it is possibly the most important factor in determining the quality of the oil. We know very little about how product B is produced, but it is likely the processing is focused on producing a high yield product, so they can sell it cheaply. Prioritising yield over quality often reduces the quality. In all fairness, we don’t know this for sure, it might be the best quality cod liver oil ever made, but the point is we don’t know it. Besides, don’t you think if it was the best quality cod liver oil ever made that they would make a big deal about it?

Product A is produced via a natural fermentation process, which is very similar to the fermentation process used by the Romans. This doesn’t damage any vitamins or fatty acids meaning that all the nutrients are natural and undamaged. This increased their bio-availability and benefits. During the fermentation process there is also many beneficial enzymes and co-factors (such as co q10) produced, which aid digestion and further benefit the body.

The makers of product A do know theirs is the best cod liver oil available, and do make a song and dance about it.



The fermented cod liver oil (product A) clearly demonstrates its quality and care with the production of the oil. We know that the nutrients it contains are undamaged and there are no toxins.
On the other hand, we know very little about product B, other than it is sold in clear packaging which allows light to damage the product.

In conclusion, cheap is not always cheerful, and can sometimes be toxic (I’m not saying that product B is toxic, just that it could be). Fermented cod liver oil is expensive because it is extracted in a nutrient preserving manner, it is tested for purity by a third party, and is carefully packaged. Sometimes it is as simple as ‘you get what you pay for’.

I hope you enjoy the site, and like what we have worked hard to create, any feedback is very much welcome, after all this site is for you! Graduate of Nutrition & Food Science (Bsc) at Reading Uni.

    The Health Cloud was created in December 2011 by Craig and Morg who have been friends since high school. Our focus is to educate our readers with unbiased health articles and on the side we run our own online health shop. This website is for you, so drop us a comment or send us a tweet, we always take the time to reply!