Introduction to Yellow Fat Disease and Fermented Cod Liver Oil


Alaska PollockOn the Sulfur Hour Plus One broadcast heard over the American Voice Radio Network on March 24, 2016, my organic sulfur supplier, Patrick McGean, hosted a group discussion about yellow fat disease and the efficacy of taking fermented cod liver oil. This blog post includes website links to assist the reader in becoming familiar with these two health subjects.

What is Yellow Fat Disease?

Yellow fat disease is a vitamin E deficiency syndrome affecting various mammals, in particular cats, who are fed excess omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from fish oils, especially tuna.

Clinical findings
Greasy, dull coat and flaky skin; severe pain when touched; anorexia, fever. In humans, excess fish-oils cause increased bleeding time, especially after aspirin ingestion, which may play a role in cardiac necrosis and increased susceptibility to catecholamine-induced stress.

Management
Limit intake of tuna; add vitamin E to diet.

Source: Segen’s Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc

As noted on Wikipedia, signs and symptoms related to a vitamin E deficiency include the following:

• Neuromuscular problems-such as spinocerebellar ataxia and myopathies.
• Neurological problems-may include dysarthria, absence of deep tendon reflexes, loss of vibratory sensation and proprioception, and positive Babinski sign.
• Anemia-due to oxidative damage to red blood cells
• Retinopathy
• Impairment of the immune response

There is also some laboratory evidence that vitamin E deficiency can cause male infertility.

Finally, Sally Fallon Morrell, noted book author and founder of “A Campaign for Real Milk,” posted a report on August 28, 2015 on the Weston A. Price Foundation website that has generated much debate and discussion as to whether fermented cod liver oil is actually rancid and unhealthy for human consumption. Below is an excerpt from her report:

What about free fatty acids? Dr. (Kaayla) Daniel claims that high levels of free fatty acids mean that fermented cod liver oil is rancid.

Dr. Daniel is expressing a view put forth by a number of companies in the cod liver oil industry. The process used by most companies in the industry removes all the free fatty acids from an oil in the refining process and then claims that the absence of free fatty acids is a sign that the oil is not rancid. But two lipid scientists (Dr. Fred Kummerow and Dr. Martin Grootveld) assured me that free fatty acids are not a sign of rancidity.

Most or even all unprocessed oils contain free fatty acids, which are just fat molecules not attached to a triglyceride. When we digest our food, we break down the triglycerides into free fatty acids, so they can’t be bad for us! Because fermentation is a kind of pre-digestion, one would expect a lot of free fatty acids in fermented cod liver oil. Green Pasture has been very open about the high levels of free fatty acids in fermented cod liver oil. If an oil has no or low levels of free fatty acids, it is a sign that it has been processed.

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